According to Jessica Moyer, author of Research-Based Readers' Advisory (ALA Editions, 2008), you can! In an article that she wrote for ALA editions, Moyer provides guidelines for analyzing a book you haven't read in just ten minutes.
First things first: choose a book. Moyer suggests selecting a book that you don't intend to read later, preferably written by an author you're unfamiliar with.
Next, get ready to take some notes! These can be logged electronically or organized in a notebook or book journal (for future reference).
Moyer provides a number of questions that you can use to help you "read" the book -- questions about the cover, jacket blurb, typeface, physical characteristics, genre, plot, characters, author. According to Moyer, these questions can be answered just by looking at the physical characteristics of the book and reading some sample pages from the beginning, middle, and end of the story.
Here is a sample of some the questions she asks:
- Do the cover images look like they are aimed at a particular audience?
- What do other authors think of this book? Who are these authors?
- How easy or difficult to read is the typeface used?
- Is the book hardcover, paperback, or mass market?
- What is the pacing like? Is there more dialogue or description?
- Is the story serious or light? Comedy or drama?
- Does the story emphasize people or events?
- What other books share similarities to this one?
Personally, I think this method of reading books will take some practice -- especially if ten minutes is the goal! What do you think? Can you read a book in just ten minutes?
To try it for yourself, click here for the original article with the full list of questions.