I must let you into a secret. I have three different ways of reading books: lightning fast, with serene attention; and, as with Smashing Physics, postmodern.
The fast mode is forced by unavoidable professional requirements. This week, for example, I received a (thankfully) slim volume just hours before having to record a satellite interview with the author who is based at Harvard. I had ninety minutes to skim the novel to obtain enough ‘feel’ for the work so that I could lead a credible discussion. All went well.