Sunday, April 23, 2017

What Sort of Reader Are You?

by Vicki Delany

I got a chuckle out of this cartoon.

What sort of reader are you, this chart asks.

I am a variation of a monogamist reader.

I usually read one book, straight though. Beginning to end. And then I start another book. I never read two books at once.

But unlike the above category, I don't often re-read books. I have lots of favourites that I would probably enjoy discovering again, but time is short and there are so many new books out there.

There are only a few books I've re-read. I've read the Lord of the Rings maybe twenty times. Seems excessive, doesn't it? Most of that would have been a long time ago, although I did reread the entire series when the movies came out.

I've read The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart several times. Gosh, how I loved that book. And her others about the life of Merlin as well.

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A couple of years ago, I bought a bunch of Barbara Michaels' books and re-read them. I did enjoy them, but in some ways I found them dated. Michaels (who we all know was Barbara Mertz AKA Elizabeth Peters) was an early feminist and wrote with a feminist sensibility, but her female characters still needed saving, rather than saving themselves.

I re-read an early V.I. Warshawski novel for a radio interview I did on influential books. And I found it really dated.

I recently re-read The Hound of the Baskervilles to reacquaint myself with the story for writing the next Sherlock Holmes Bookshop novel, and enjoyed it very much. Of course it's horribly dated, but as I read I could hear Jeremy Brett's voice in my head.

Speaking of reading new books, last time I wrote about the book I'd read for my book club and how I thought it needed a bit of food and drink to liven it up.

This month’s book club choice is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I just loved Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng. It's very slow and lyrical, so beware if that's not your taste. I am now just beginning the next book by him, The Gift of Rain, and so far enjoying it as just as much.

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So much, that I've decided to go to Malaysia for my next year's trip.

Tell me, dear readers and fellow bloggers, what reading type are you? And do you re-read old favourites?


Donna S said...

Found your post very interesting. I sometimes read just one book at a time if it is engrossing enough. But usually I have at least 2 on the go - one by the bed, these are usually short stories and another out in the livingroom to read when the TV shows are so lousy that I do not want to watch them anymore.

I do re read books. I liked the Mary Stewart trilogy of Merlin and King Arthur; have read some of the Brother Cadfael books again just because I like him and I like the writing. Sometimes I want to read something but nothing appeals to me so I pick up an old favourite because i know I will like it!

Deborah Decker said...

Definitely polygamist. Ereaders make so easy! They also make it easy to reread books or chapters from books. I consider it "literary comfort food."

Rick Blechta said...

I guess I'm a monogamist introvert reader. Monogamistic because I generally read crime fiction (although I do enjoy other types of books — especially history). And I'm an introvert because I certainly do ponder what I’m reading. But both things are leavened by the fact that I also write crime fiction and have very time to read. If I am reading, I have to feel it’s a valuable use of that time, because otherwise, I should be writing instead of reading.

It’s all very complicated...

Good post! Thanks.

Vicki Delany said...

Donna talks about old favourites. I really should get back to my old favourties, but sometimes I worry they will have lost a lot of their appeal over the years. As I found with the early Warshawski novel. Then again, the classics are classics for a reason.

Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

I tend to read one novel, plus one collection of short stories, at a time. The short stories when I only have a few minutes to read, and then the novel when I have more time to invest. I typically stick to crime fiction, but will occasionally read other genres. I've only re-read 2 books. Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery (read as a kid and loved it, reread as an adult, and still loved it), and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Read it in grade school -- was likely a bit too advanced for me at the time but I remember doing a book report on it and getting an A. Reread as an adult and was still impressed by Capote's ability to paint a picture with words. Great post!

Sybil Johnson said...

I'm definitely a polygamist reader. I often have 3 or 4 books going at a time, though usually no more than 2 mysteries. The others are non-fiction, history, historical true crime or linguistics based. Those are the types of books I read most often, though I do branch out on occasion.

Donis Casey said...

I'm an extrovert polygamist, which is interesting since in my life I'm an introvert monogamist. I don't read books over much any more, but I really do love reading a good book several times. Every time I read a book (or see a movie) again I see something wonderful that I missed all the times before. When I was a teen, I read Beau Geste seven times in a row. Which really would seem dated, now, especially since it takes nearly seventy pages for the story to really get rolling. Somehow a dated story doesn't bother me too much.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

I'm a polygamist extrovert -- I always have more than one book in progress and I read multiple genres. But that's in part because I have so little time to read for pleasure, and I do research both for my academic work and my crime fiction. I also read books that I assign in my classes and for the library book discussions I lead several times a year. It's a marvelous luxury when I can settle in to read a book by a favorite author for the sheer pleasure. I have a list of favorite books I'd love to read again. One of them is The Day Must Dawn. I fell in love with that book -- about a pioneer family in a Revolutionary era frontier settlement -- when I was a teenager. I must have checked it out from the library at least a half dozen times. On the other hand, I need to read Gone with the Wind again for the 1939 historical I'm working on, and I'm gearing up to read a long book that I once zipped through in a weekend.

Eileen Goudge said...

I'm a polygamist reader, but only where it invokes Kindle samples. Once I'm hooked, I download the book and stay the course. This way I can weed through and not waste my time. It's helped me as a writer, because I think long and hard about how to hook readers from the get go, to get them past the sample.

Rick Blechta said...

That is a very good idea, Eileen.

Mind if I steal it?