Posted by: billpurdue | December 3, 2008

33 Reading faster … and some new local books

….but first of all we go to Pinxton (Derbyshire), where on Saturday December 6th a new book about the people whose names are listed on the Pinxton war memorial will be launched. The people responsible for most of the work involved are Don Pryor and Stan Berrill, two good friends of mine. I’ve been in touch with them at various stages during its compilation and I know how much hard work they have put into the book – I’ve also seen some of the draft pages, so I’ve a pretty good idea what it will be like. If you are interested in the history of Pinxton, then why not go along to the Parish Hall between 1.30 and 3.30 this Saturday. I’ll be there in the queue to buy a copy.

There are so many books to read out there and so little time – have you ever thought it would be nice to be able to read a bit faster and still take it all in? I certainly have and since I started this blog in the Spring, I think my reading and comprehension rates have improved simply by reading more. There are some websites which try to help you read faster. The Open University has a section on its website which has brief information about the techniques of reading faster, but this is aimed more at the student who has a number of texts to get through in a given time. It describes skimming and scanning and advises readers about other websites. The University of Sheffield devotes a large chunk of its website to reading skills and starts with a quiz to test your knowledge of which reading technique (skimming or scanning for example) you would use for a range of materials from train timetables to novels. You can then choose between 4 different approaches to reading such as the “SQ3R” (Survey, Question, Read, Recall, Review) or the “LCM” track, the “reading between the lines approach”: the different approaches are all suited to particular types of study, so again this is mainly for the benefit of students, but I might have a closer look at that when I have more time (whenever that might be!).

Mind Tools has a series of articles about reading techniques and discusses the reasons why some people find reading tedious and talks about understanding your learning preferences. This got quite heavy after a while and I was starting to think ” I just want to read quicker and understand more for pure enjoyment, not for study purposes” . Turboread will actually measure your reading speed and comprehension rate online by setting you a little test – this might be fun and you could learn something about your reading habits, but they actually want to sell you a CD-ROM with a comprehensive speed reading course. The website is still worth a look whether or not you want to splash out . So, with the possible exception of the Sheffield Uni site, I haven’t found anything on the web that fits my requirements precisely – yet.

Nearer to home

From time to time Derbyshire Libraries produces a list of recent publications about Derbyshire or by local authors or organisations. (If only Nottinghamshire Libraries would do something similar.) In their latest list I came across several that might have fairly wide appeal. The first title that caught my eye was Castleton and its Caves by Trevor Ford [Landmark Publishing £9.99 9781843064060 ] but, according to the Landmark Publishing website this is not currently available… but it is available to borrow at 4 Derbyshire Libraries: check their catalogue. Now for a railway book published by the same publshing house – atHeart – that brought you John Lomas’ book about the The Stags – End of an Era . It’s the Derbyshire Times Railway Album by Clive Hardy [ atHeart £14.99 9781845472009 ]. Clive Hardy has also produced a similar title for the Sheffield Star. Finally , when you read or hear the name “Ann Summers”, what or who do you think of ? Well I’m not talking about that Ann Summers (or should it be Anne?). I’m referring to the lady who is credited with the invention, if you can call it that, of the Bakewell Pudding (not  the same as the Bakewell Tart you find in your local supermarket). Paul Hudson has written a book all about it : Ann Summers, Creator of the World Famous Bakewell Pudding [ Pynot Publishing £5.95 9780955225178 ]. Of course, if you visit Bakewell, you’ll know that more than one person claims to have originated the first Bakewell Pudding, but I won’t go into that here.

In the next few days I’ll be putting together my own personal list of books of the year and I’ll tell you about it next time


  1. I read your detailed post about a reader’s desire to get through it “all”. I’m the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading and 10 Days to Faster Reading. Since there are so few places a person can go to get speed reading training, I thought your readers might have interest in knowing about a NEW online course we just came out with that is only 3 hours in length (though it may take longer to complete with practice exercises.) There is a demo of it posted on my website and a YouTube intro at I hope this is helpful!

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