Struggling with the reading...


Just a moan really, but need to get it out.

I was supposed to have finished reading this darn book this weekend, but I've still got about 300 pages to go!!! It's Sunday night now and I just don't think it will be possible to get it all read by tonight, and even if I try I probably won't remember anything I've just read!!

300 pages probably doesn't sound an awful lot, but oh my word is this book tough! It speaks to me in a tongue I am just not getting - a load of ole mumbo jumbo.

The thing is, I don't have much choice. I HAVE to read it - it's what my next 7000 words is going to be about.

I'm making little notes as I'm going along, but when I go back over them they just seem a load of nonsense!

Is this common, and does anyone have any tips on how to overcome this stupid little episode?

I've only got just under a month to get the 7000 words done, and at this rate it feels like I'll end up handing in a load of rubbish. :-(


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It sounds like you got most of the book done and you still have a month left to go over it again. But after reading it once and having made notes, you could use these to recognise parts of the book of more importance and this may save you reading all of it over again. As for the deadline tomorrow, just try to read as much as possible tonight and say tomorrow you just have a bit left, like 50 pages. Surely that should be acceptable? Books, particular academic books, take time. Your supervisor should understand that. :-)


Thanks for your reply Verypoor. Thankfully I don't need to see the supervisor after reading it - getting the book all read by tonight was part of my own personal plan, as I have created quite a tight schedule for myself in order to accomplish the main 7000 word deadline at the end of the month, which the supervisor WILL see, so that's the important one. Not having the book read when I had planned to still really worries me though, because I've got a lot of other work to do aswell, and now this stupid book is just going to cut into that stuff.

If I didn't worry about it so much I would probably really enjoy reading it. I really do want to be more patient with my understanding of this material, but when it feels like I'm getting behind I struggle to understand it, let alone enjoy it.


Awww, poor you! I think we can all empathise with this! Most of my reading tends to be journal articles which are usually horribly complicated but not so long, but when I do have to get through a whole book, it is hard work! I think the most important thing is to try not to force yourself through it... if you are not having a good day for reading then most likely you will just end up skimming the words and taking nothing in, and just end up wasting your time. I find it helpful to break it down and commit myself to just 30 minutes at a time of really concentrating on the reading, then do something else for a while, etc etc. Some days you might find that after 30 minutes you are still with whatever's being said, and you can keep on reading. Other days even 30 minutes might be a struggle and you will be best off just doing something different, however frustrating it feels! Personal goals are a good idea, but I think flexibility is the key to success with something like this! Good luck with it! KB


I'm an English phder and always set myself personal deadlines like yourself. However i always rate the success of the reading by the quality of notes taken and the amount of (relevant) info I can recall.

I used to be seriously proud of the words I could wade through - but in reality its more important to become an efficient reader rather than a fast or heavy reader.


Thanks for all your advice guys - you are all absolutely right.

The notes that I've made aren't brilliant to be honest because I was trying to skim through it too quickly. This isn't like me at all - normally I make loads of really GOOD notes, so I'm a bit disappointed with myself there.

I think I'll try that mytomatoes website so I can cut the workload into little chunks - it might help having a little alarm to tell me that I can take a break too.

Thanks again

Avatar for sneaks

I never read a book haha. I just write and flick through the book when I need to find something specific out. At the most I will read 3/4 of a chapter out of a book to get the idea of it. Problem is my memory is so bad that there is no point of me just reading it and then going to write about it. I prefer to have the book open on my desk and when I read something of interest just note it down and stick it to my wall for later (if its not related to the thing I am currently working on).