The title is just a representation of how we usually start to think about the progress, in developing a reading habit. As I have written about the books one should choose to read and the importance of reading, the quantification seemed a matter to talk about. I myself had a resolution this year to read at least a book a week, focusing mainly on non-fiction. But as I started, I finished my first book in 10 days, which wasn’t so bad, considering I was gradually going to increase the page count and reading speed hence eventually read a book a week. But I knew that just reading a book won’t do justice to the actual goal of reading, improvement (at least for me). I was merely reading and cutting off book after book from my checklist, psychology and philosophy are usually the main books I read and they 100% need more than just one read to fully comprehend. Another technique is to read slowly, empiricism being the next step and thus understanding the complex structure better. But wouldn’t it take a long time to read just one book? Yeah, you won’t be able to finish books fast and the list on Good Reads will remain an epitaph to your resolution. But it will all depend on the reason you read books for. If its a competition with your friend, go on, read a book a day, not understanding a thing, in an illusion that you “read”. But that’s not the right way to look at reading (at least non-fiction). You need to be able to understand the analogies, irony, bathos and more importantly the didactic the author maybe trying to portray.
In fiction its relative. I’d still argue that you need to understand the fiction book you’ve picked up, but also I’d say it depends on why you read fiction. If its to relax, go on man, warp yourself in the times of a 1000 BC, totally fine, I know many people who read fiction to relax.
The point you need to get, is that fast and slow reading are first and foremost a skill, not a way. They aren’t methods to “read” fast, but skill, rather speed at which you can COMPREHEND the book. That’s the main goal with reading for most after all, downloading hundreds of minds into yourself and creating a flexible enough mold of your mind so that you can be stretched and frozen as per required. If you take children and read them fiction, let’s take this line, “…and the bunny went across the river…” I can almost guarantee that the kid will shout “bunny” and hop around. That’s how children represent and explore the world, they try to comprehend and fiction is a good way, they don’t do it on their though. You need to teach them at first, you need to ask them if they know what a bunny is, what is does, how big or small it is, what it eats etc. As their brains develop, the representation of the world will keep on updating and the child’s capacity to later on read and understand really hard and dry books will be incredibly useful to him or her. And so, as any other skill, start slow and gradually increase the speed, if it seems that the words aren’t imprinting on your head, decrease the speed then, its a process. Good luck!