My take might be a little backwards, but I get frustrated when I can skim every few pages, or skip entire chapters, and still have a firm sense of everything that’s happening in the story.
That feels “slow” to me.
When a book doesn’t give me anything to sink my teeth into or feel curious about, if I can burn through 300+ pages in a couple hours without missing a beat, I feel short-changed. Like food that goes right through you – I won’t be ordering more of the same.
For example, a contemporary novel (Sue Monk Kidd) that switched POV between a slave and her master every other chapter. If you skip all the master chapters, it’s a much more enjoyable book, and you don’t miss a thing. Why dilute the soup?
N.K. Jemisin on the other hand… Gosh, you could teach entire graduate courses on each singular novel. Everytime I read through her work, I come away with something new. There are so many layers and secreted nuggets of nourishment that it can feed your heart for days – years even, if you can savor.
That pacing pulls me in – it feels rich, and worthwhile, and before I know it, the sun’s come up again and I’m still knee-deep in her dreams. It makes my lived-time pass by more rapidly, if that makes sense, where work with a lot of empty space or fluff allows me all the bandwidth to keep pace with my own clock’s tick-tock.