Reading is Not a Race

John Freeman: “The sentences run to typical Pynchonian length, and the typeface is alarmingly small. One can spend 20 hours of a weekend reading this book and barely make a dent.”

From David Markson’s This Is Not a Novel:

Harold Bloom’s claim to The New York Times that he could read at a rate of five hundred pages per hour.

Writer’s arse.

Spectacular exhibition! Right this way ladies and gentlemen! See Professor Bloom read the 1961 corrected and reset Random House edition of Ulysses in one hour and thirty-three minutes. Not one page stinted. Unforgettable!


  1. I don’t see reading speed triumphalism here. Its all about time investment.

    The reviewer does right to inform his readers that Pynchon’s book will take some time and effort.

  2. Funny you mention that Markson moment because it came into my mind when I read the Kakutani review in the NYT. I had the feeling she didn’t read the book?

    I think she and Harold should have speed reading contests perched atop the Time Warner building in Columbus Circle, one on one building, the other on the other.

  3. John Freeman is perfectly correct – the type is alarmingly small, the book alarmingly long. I am wading through it at the moment, wading is the only appropriate word.

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