What Kind of Reader Are You?
I can relate to a lot of what Jonathan says. I also don’t feel like I have to finish a book, but I try. Since my backlog of books is so impossibly large, courtesy of my biblioholism, I know there’s always something better around the corner. I also feel virtuous when I read something that supposed to be “good”. Jonathan cites Gene Wolfe as an example. I’ve yet to read a book-length of his story for fear that I won’t like an author whose stuff is supposed to be very good. I’ve enjoyed the shorter works of his I’ve come across, so I know the fear is not really founded in reality. Thus, I’m really doing myself a disservice. I’ll come around soon.
I do enjoy the guilty pleasures of reading. While reading literary works make me feel virtuous, other writing often re-injects the fun back into sf. In the end, it’s the reading experience that is paramount, of which the book’s writing style is only a part. (It’s the same guilty pleasure I derive from Star Wars. It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s fun.)
I prefer science fiction over fantasy. I also like to occasionally read horror and mystery, but mostly, I like sf. Few fantasy books really make me stand up and take notice because of that preference. I do notice that the fantasy books I find most appealing are geared towards young adults. I think it’s because my expectation of fantasy is one of simple escapism. The promises and challenges of the future excite me; the lands of make believe are there for me to turn off my brain and forget the now. Young adult fantasy tends to do that more than fantasy aimed at adults.
I don’t like it when I’m forced to read something, as I was back in school. I like to read for pleasure. I remember reading Lord of the Flies in high school and not liking it much. But, because I wanted to, I picked it up again in my late 20′s and loved it.
Reading, to me, is relaxing and at the same time mentally stimulating. I like the process of turning words into images and like it when the writing helps me to do that. Yet, I abhor longwinded descriptions of terrain and such. I am a big fan of action, but also enjoy the mental exercises of logical arguments and thought-provoking issues.
I tend to read at night, when the interruptions are kept to a minimum. However, when I was pushing myself last year to read a short story a day, I often read during the day and that was OK. Oftentimes, my daytime reading was done on a computer screen. That’s OK, too, but I prefer to physically hold a book.
I like to stop reading at chapter breaks. Even so, I will back up a page or two to refresh my memory between reading sessions. Since I mostly read at night, I’m sometimes tired when I pick up a book and I’ll start falling asleep when doing the recap. The result is that I’m moving backwards by un-reading the book. I hate when that happens.
I’m prone to distraction while reading. I need either complete silence or the white noise of large crowds to stay immersed in a book. I find it difficult to concentrate if I can hear the TV in the other room.
I’m more than reasonably conscious of my reading environment. The light has to be right – no shadows on the page. I need to have a comfortable chair. And it can’t be too warm. Cold is OK as that allows me to get a blanket and “curl up with a good book”. I’m often readjusting my position while reading until everything is just right.
Actually, now that I think about it, it’s a wonder I get any reading done at all.
Filed under: Books
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