A link about reading comprehension that’s worth sharing

The Passive Voice posted a link to a great little article about reading today, “How to Get Your Mind to Read,” that tempted me to comment. I wrote one, but then decided the comment went a little too personal for me to post it there, so I’m putting it here instead. :-)

“This was a great piece. I always did spectacularly well on the reading portions of standardized tests, but only after I passed the fifth grade, when I started reading stuff that I wanted to read, a wild collection of random things. Up until then, the school had kept me in the slow reading groups. I also started doing much better than my classmates on games like Trivial Pursuit at about that time, even though I really didn’t like the game much. I can almost bet that had something to do with the kind of reading I started doing at about that time. Not kids’ books, that’s for sure. :) In the end, I graduated third in my class and ended up with my picture on the wall because of my test scores on the ACT. It’s still there, unfortunately, and my poor kids had to live with it staring down at them all through high school. It was awkward that my daughter looks so much like me. She actually had friends ask her why her picture was on the wall and had to tell them it was her mother.”

I liked that this article gave me some interesting ideas about why I might be a “good reader” even though I actually read pretty slowly. I do tend to comprehend what I read, but there are times when I question how I think of myself when it comes to reading. Just yesterday I read an article online that required me to reread a paragraph about four times before I felt like I knew what the heck it was saying!

Sometimes I wonder why it can feel so hard to read some things and not others—even when the words aren’t any more challenging in one piece than another. (In fact, I was thinking about this just yesterday.)

Maybe it’s simply that I’m trying to make connections with knowledge that’s full of gaps.

The article is good reading. Go read it. :D

I’ve been reading (instead of writing!)

Today I read a book. Actually, I read a book the day before yesterday too.

Yesterday, I’m not sure what I did, but I didn’t write, so I had to have done something to pass the time. I did watch this interview with John Banville/Benjamin Black—it was actually fascinating, despite the fact that I’ve read none of the man’s books. Oh, and I did write a post about not writing. It’s quite obvious I wasn’t happy about that. :D

But back to the book I read today: Dauntless by Jack Campbell.

I’ve been planning to read this book for a very long time. At least two years. But I finally got to it today.

The thing that most interested me about the story was the idea that Captain Jack Geary is found in stasis after a hundred years where everyone thought he was dead—and believes he’s a hero. Only he doesn’t see himself that way at all. I like this theme and it’s one that I find difficult to pass up as a reader. :-)

I liked Geary a lot, and I liked the way the book was written. The space battles were ridiculously slow and nail-biting, which sounds totally weird, I know. But when I say slow, I’m not talking about the tension or the pacing, I’m talking about the fact that it takes hours for these guys to make contact after getting visuals because of the time delay that is light in space. It was nerve-wracking waiting for things to happen. :D I have no idea what is and isn’t possible or correct, but as the reader, I believed it, and that’s what matters when it comes to reading fiction.

It was a good book, and I enjoyed it. I still wish I’d spent the day writing instead, but that’s not the fault of the book, trust me.

Of course, you can find out more about Dauntless at Amazon if you’re interested!

The day before yesterday I read The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne and got halfway through it before I realized I’d read something else by this guy. It was a book on writing called How to Write a Novella in 24 Hours (Amazon). I don’t remember much about the book, to be honest.

I didn’t mean to read the whole book in one sitting (of ten hours! because I’m a slow reader), but once I’d started it, I just couldn’t bring myself to stop.

That might say more about me than the book in my current state, but I actually liked this book a lot. If the last couple of chapters had been just a little different I might have loved the book. :D

Dr. Theo Cray was a great character and the science in the book was really cool. I’m not a biologist so don’t ask me if any of it was accurate, but it was interesting and entertaining trying to guess just how knowledgeable Mayne is about this stuff, because he did a fantastic job of making me believe he knows quite a lot. But—and there’s definitely a but—the ending of the book disappointed me.

It ended a little too abruptly to be satisfying. (And now I feel a lot more sympathetic to the reviewers who complained about that with a couple of my books, lol.) (Although, honestly, I felt pretty sympathetic to start with. I still have a problem with endings despite the fact that I’ve been publishing for five years and that’s how I make my living. I’m working on it!)

I’m not even sure why I decided to read The Naturalist instead of something else, but once I’d started the first page, I was hooked. :-)

The book was a Kindle First selection a while back and that’s how I got my copy. This makes the fourth (I think) Kindle First book I’ve actually read all the way through. (Let’s see if I can remember: Doubt, A Death in Sweden, When They Come for You, and The Naturalist.) I definitely liked The Naturalist best of all those books.

The Naturalist is at Amazon if you want to know more!

Practicing longer session lengths today

Writing longer is a problem I need to tackle. So today I am writing in one hour blocks. Practice is the key to improvement, right? So practice I will!

Also, I might reach a higher wph with a shorter session but I have a real problem doing a great many sessions. At least with the one hour blocks, even if I just finish one, I’m almost guaranteed to have a few more words than I’ll get from fifteen minutes. ;)

On that note, though, I am planning to do three of them, for three hours of timed writing today, minimum. As long as I reach 519 wph, I’ll reach 1,557 words. I have stuff to do today that isn’t writing, so I also want to finish those three hours relatively early. Relative, because it’s already 11:20 and I’m just about to have breakfast.

Yes, I did stay up too late, and I don’t have any writing to show for it. Kind of sad, huh?


Update

Well, I didn’t write. I started reading a book and it was good, and I just never got started writing. Then I had things to do and came home tired. I would have gone to bed early but the spider infestation made itself known again (another spider tried to crawl up my bed—the third one in four days!) and I started vacuuming ceilings at 10:30 and finished at about midnight. Really shouldn’t have procrastinated that the night before. :o After that I had to take a shower because I was ridiculously hot and sweaty. Got in bed at 1 a.m. All I can say is that if they’re using old webs to travel the skies, the spiders are going to have to build some new ones. Maybe I’ll get a few days of peace out of that. This is the problem with living in the middle of the woods on a mountain. Ortho can’t save you, unfortunately. Spiders are everywhere. I hate spiders.