Our Reading Lives

Slowing Down for Summer

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Jaime Herndon


Jaime Herndon finished her MFA in nonfiction writing at Columbia, after leaving a life of psychosocial oncology and maternal-child health work. She is a writer, editor, and book reviewer who drinks way too much coffee. She is a new-ish mom, so the coffee comes in extra handy. Twitter: @IvyTarHeelJaime

stopwatch with books

I confess: if I start to not like a book, often times, I will stop reading. I am an impatient reader, a fast reader. It’s nothing for me to zip through a book in a day or two. If a book doesn’t hold my attention, I will go on to the next one, figuring life is too short to hate the book I’m reading. But I started to wonder whether I should re-evaluate that. I knew that I had the bad habit of dropping a book the minute it started to get “boring.” How many books had I missed out on because I didn’t push through the “boring” parts?

This summer I’ve decided to read Big Books. Big Books meaning either long ones or complex ones or simply ones that have been brain busters. Finally got through The Sound and the Fury. Working my way through Infinite Jest. The Brothers Karamazov sits on my bedside table, along with All the Pretty Horses and The Unvanquished. Will I actually read them all? I’m not sure. It can’t hurt to try.

Reading these books has forced me to slow down, which is new to me. I have had to give myself over to the writer. I have often found myself thinking, “I have no idea what is going on right now”, but kept reading, and was eventually glad I did. I have forced myself to read through boredom, and lo and behold, found I actually really liked the book or the writer. Or if I find myself getting frustrated with the style of writing, it has been worthwhile to ask myself, “Why do I hate this so much? Is it really the writing, or is there something else going on?“.

Slowing down my reading pace has allowed me to think about my reading and enjoy it a bit more. I may not make my Goodreads goal this year, but that might just be okay.