I am a huge fan of skimming. As a busy reader, I don't always have the kind of quality time I would like with all of the books begging for my attention, especially when I was working. So, I employed the skim. I figured that it let me get a good enough picture of the book to book talk it and recommend, or never speak of again.
My system of skimming is one that I honed during grad school, when I was assigned at least 2 YA books per week, along with my 3 other grad classes. Note: I was crazy in grad school and did the whole program in 12 months, which is fast. I honestly would not recommend that to anyone, not that it's that terrible hard, but more so because grad school was fun and I wish I'd had more of it.
How to skim like a pro:
1. Read the first chapter-this most often establishes all the biggies like character, setting, and main conflict.
2. Read the first and last paragraph of every chapter. This is usually a quick and easy way to find and resolve cliff hangers.
3. Read the first sentence of every paragraph. Again, gives you an overview.
4. Read all dialogue. This will give you the high points of the plot.
Now, this system has served me very well. That's how I got through The Golden Compass. Come on, there's a six page bear fight in that book, and all I needed to know was who won. I also think this is the system that I used on Crime and Punishment in high school, because I couldn't tell you two things about that book today. When used on middle grade chapter books, this is a very effective system to blow through a bunch of books in a short amount of time, and it's a great librarian tool.
I admit that I often skim my book club books. My book club books are often books that I would never pick up, or even know exist because they are real big-kid books written by literary type authors that all live in some writing commune in Vermont or something. Okay, that might not have been too nice, but that's how I feel.
Anyway, this Thursday we will be talking about The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. I was looking forward to this book. The short summary is that a girl name Rose can taste the emotions of the person that baked the food she eats. This reminded me of Savvy by Ingrid Law, which I loved! But, this is not a middle grade book, this is a literary adult novel, so no such luck. Instead of a book about Rose's ability and how she uses it, or grows into it, it's more a book about her family denying their feelings and falling apart. It's a short book, but it's heavy and there was nothing in it that made me what to read it. I just did not care about these people at all, what so ever. Blah.
And, the worst part was that my skimming technique was not effective because there were no quotation marks! Somewhere my high school lit teacher is crying. It was so annoying, and I think just served to keep the reader even further from the characters. It was like the author didn't even feel like putting the work into it, so why should I?
Ugh. So that's my fail in skimming. Actually, I did still skim, it was just a little less precise, so I probably missed a bunch of stuff that might make this book redeemable, but judging by the GoodReads reviews, there is precious little here anyway.
I hope that my skimming technique works for you! I'll likely be employing it again soon as I blaze through Caudills.