Coming back on the train from Hull today, where I attended the launch of our Lightship Anthology yesterday, I sat next to the fastest reader I have ever met in my life. We left Doncaster at around 11:00am. I noticed that the woman was reading a book by Michael Connelly – I don't know which one because the publisher doesn't use running headers. I saw she was on Chapter 5 when I sat next to her. Ten minutes later I happen to glance over my shoulder and saw she was at the beginning of Chapter 11. "That can't be right," I thought. So I tried to time her reading and realized that she could read 2 pages in 25 seconds, and 4 pages in 50 seconds. Obviously she was quicker when there was dialogue – and they were fairly normal pages of around 250 words each. When we reached Kings Cross she was on page 300 or something, only around 150 pages to go – about half an hour. I am green with envy, having managed to get through only about 50 manuscript pages in the same time.
* * *
A Greek, an Italian and a Portuguese go to the pub and get something to drink. Who pays?