Ménage a trois, and other reading habits

30 Aug

I find many personal habits endearing. For instance, the speed at which people dial their home phone numbers (back when we actually dialed numbers) or the way girlfriends dress alike when they go out.  Reading is one area rife with these kinds of personal quirks. I love all the ways that people read. For instance: I have one friend who, instead of flying through the newest Harry Potter books like the rest of us did, would read only one chapter a day to make it last longer. Here are my personal reading habits. What are yours? (P.S. I serendipitously came across this article on BookRiot about reading habits pre- vs post-kids that’s pretty astute and entertaining).

I read at least three books at once.

I think this habit stems from the weekly trip to the library we took when I was a kid, and the stack of books we’d bring home and devour. It’s a lot harder to simultaneously read books that are more than 10 pages (and no pictures!), but somehow I just keep doing it anyway. Nowadays, I am usually reading one non-fiction reference-y book (like now: Happiest Toddler on the Block), one book that I keep at work for my lunch breaks (generally one that makes me look smart), and one book at home on my nightstand (generally one that makes me look dumb–right now: Deadlocked, Sookie Stackhouse book #312). Usually I’m also listening to an audio book on my commute,  following several blogs, and reading a few magazines.

Book=bedtime.

Reading has become a signal for my brain to shut down and sleep. Unfortunately, I can now only read about 4 pages before I zonk out, which is why it takes me like a month to get through a book. That, and the fact that I read three at a time.

I always have something to read with me.

It’s a crutch. It keeps me from having to talk to actual people.

Paper is king.

After fighting the tide for a long time, I think I may finally be caving to the pressure of the e-reader. But even if I do surrender, it will never ever take the place of a real, live book. I love the weight of a book, the feel of the pages, the smell. Oh yeah, and actual page numbers. This is one of many ways in which I am a 60-year old woman.

I’m a slow reader.

This feels like a confession. You’d think a person who loves to read, also write, and does both all the time would zip through things. I don’t. I wish I could tell you it’s deliberate (like my savoring HP friend). I can’t. This was true even before I got too pregnant busy/tired to read as much. I get distracted, start thinking about something (usually triggered by what I’m reading!), and before I know it, I’ve “read” two pages without really ingesting them and have to go back. Other times, I just want to reread a sentence and think about it some more…like if it was revelatory to the plot, or the wording was neat, or–let’s be honest–it didn’t really sink in the first two times (shaking my fist at you, The Magus). It’s even worse with audiobooks.

How do you like to read?

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2 Responses to “Ménage a trois, and other reading habits”

  1. Katie August 30, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    I always read more than one book at a time! I have no idea where the habit came from, but if I only have one book going, I get the itch to start a new one.

    When I read, I have to finish the chapter before putting the book down. I’m completely incapable of putting a book down halfway through a chapter.

    • janielyoung August 30, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

      It’s so funny you say that! I always read the first two or so paragraphs of the next chapter before I put a book down! I can’t stand cliff-hangers.

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