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February 2016


This month the theme is #speedread. Will you be racing through your way through your #speedread choices, or taking things at a more leisurely pace?

Delta II rocket - ICESat and CHIPSat

Delta II rocket – ICESat and CHIPSat – NASA on the Commons

How quickly do you want to get through a gripping page-turner, keen to find out what happens next? Are there books you’ve not been able to put down until you finished reading them? Or do you prefer to take your time and savour the words? Maybe it’s an easier read… a Mills and Boon that you whizz through, or a fast-paced western. Does Dr Who time-travelling faster than the speed of light grab your attention?

Exam preparation sometimes has to be a speedy affair – identifying and pulling out the relevant information from resources and textbooks as quickly and efficiently as possible before the exams.

Do you prefer your books to be short, or even shorter than that? Is your attention best kept by short stories? Some writers can be very quick reads indeed, even if those books aren’t particularly short – the writer’s style just makes it easy to sprint through.

Athletics and sports often emphasise the importance of speed. You could be a fan of racers and racing in a particular sport. Are fast carsboats, or sports such as luge or downhill skiing your favourite sports? Speed is often behind world record attempts – the fastest person, animal, vehicle – and the need to break those records is a driving force for some people. Take a look at The World’s Fastest Indian and Donald Campbell’s Bluebird. Time taken to travel overland and in the air was shortened by services such as bullet trains and Concorde, the commercial airliner that broke the sound barrier.

Do you love getting out on your motorbike at weekends? Sons of Anarchy are fond of the biker lifestyle too, but the TV series portrays a darker side of motorcycle clubs.

The pace of plot development in some books can make them a #speedread. Action and thriller books and films, often carry the reader along at a fast pace through the twists and turns in the plot. For example try James BondJason Bourne books and films, and the books of Matthew Reilly.

Are you a fan of fast classical music, such as the Minute Waltz or Flight of the Bumble Bee, or is modern electronic dance something that gets your blood pumping?

Speed is also slang for amphetamines. Find out the impact this drug had on Lemmy from rock band Motorhead in his autobiography White line fever. However, you might be more interested in a professional pharmacological opinion of them instead.

Find out how to get things done quickly. It could be fast cleaning and saving time on housework15 minute mealsspeed dating. While we’re on the subject of dating, what about taking the time to show how much you care about your libraries on Library Lovers Day (14th February)? Maybe you prefer to slow it down instead and take your time. Do you prefer slow cookingrelaxing walks rather than running, taking time to get to know someone? Your pace of life might be something you want to change, so it might be time for a sea change/tree change.

A fast paced life often calls for quick thinking. Some of the quick thinking techniques in Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink could be what you need.

If you’re looking for easy and quick reads for children you could try out these recommendations for those in middle school, or these graphic novels for children.

What will be your favourite #speedread this month? Don’t forget …while you are reading, playing or watching your #speedread, you might like to tweet about it using  hashtags #speedread and #rwpchat so that other people can have a conversation with you about your  #speedread.  You can add to the discussion on Pinterest too. You might like to post your photographs to Instagram or Flickr and use  #speedread #rwpchat so others can share in your reading, watching and playing.

There will be a Twitter discussion on 23Feb starting at 11am and 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 9am – 11am and 2pm – 4pm BST.  Note this is a staggered discussion.

Use the tags  #speedread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of  #speedread, so others can join in the conversation too.

Gary Green (Surrey Libraries)

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