Questions For Readers

I’m really interested in the reading habits of other people.

There seems to be two opposing feelings from society at the moment. Firstly, that no one reads anymore and that technology is replacing this form of entertainment. Yet, secondly, websites like Amazon are huge and book shops are enormous. Authors like J.K Rowling, Stephanie Meyer and Dan Brown are becoming gazillionaires. I can’t decide whether a hard core group of readers keeps the publishing industry afloat, with an occassional hit such as Twilight attracting the masses, or if your average person actually reads more consistently than the media and teachers would like us to believe.

So please comment on these questions. You can answer them all if you like, or some of them, or just generally discuss your reading habits.

  1. How often do you read? Or, how many books a year do you complete?
  2. Have you been an habitual reader all your life? Or do you only read when something of special interest comes your way?
  3. Do you re-read your favorite books?
  4. Do you tend to borrow or buy books?
  5. Do you prefer fiction or non fiction? Or both?
  6. Do you prefer to read a single genre or do you read any genre?
  7. Is there a particular genre or non-fiction subject that you really dislike? What are your reasons?
  8. Do you buy ‘picture books’ at all (as in art books, architecture books or other books that are dominated by images instead of text)?
  9. What is your attitude towards introductions, forewords, notes on the text and afterwards? Do you read these at all? If so, do you read them before, during or after you’ve completed the book?
  10. How much importance do you place on the opinions of academics (or their deconstruction) of books you’ve read? Does ‘deconstructing’ a book (as in, trying to find it’s perceived deeper meaning through study) have any appeal to you? Do you read essays about books you’ve read?
  11. What do you think of electronic reading devices, such as Kindle?
  12. How do you come across books you would like to read? (the internet, recommendations from friends, reviews, notoriety etc) Do you tend to follow up on recommendations from your friends, colleagues and family – or do you ignore them? Do you try to recommend books to other people?
  13. Do you think that reading has improved your general knowledge?

To get the ball rolling, here are my long-winded answers.

  1. I read every day. I probably finish around 3 books a month on average, depending on the size of the books. However, I tend to read about four books at a time and I’m very sporadic, so this is just a guesstimate. Some months I would finish more, others less.
  2. I only started reading seriously in 2006-2007, when I was around 17-18 years old. When I was younger I would read the occasional book, usually a fantasy affair like Harry Potter, but that was all. Strangely enough, leaving school was perhaps the biggest motivator on my part to read, because I wasn’t having the literary opinions of teachers being rammed down my throat or being forced to read books I hated.
  3. At the moment, no. I have too many new books to read. When I was younger I read the Harry Potter series around four times, but that was mainly because it was the only book I liked. Maybe when I’m much older I’ll return to reading my favorites, such as Lolita and Nineteen-Eighty-Four, but at the moment I feel as if it would be wasteful to re-read when there is so much more out there.
  4. I buy books, because I can’t read on a schedule and I would end up getting library fees. I get them mostly first hand from book shops, sometimes from the internet and occasionally from second hand book stores.
  5. I love both fiction and non-fiction, though lately I’ve been focussing on non-fiction.
  6. I read any genre, but I especially love the classics.
  7. Because I read a bit of bad fantasy when I was younger, I have developed a distaste for the fantasy genre in general. I also dislike romance novels. Non-Fiction, I’ll read pretty much anything.
  8. Obviously, yes.
  9. In fiction I read them after I’ve finished the story (don’t want any spoilers) and with non-fiction I read them in chronological order.
  10. I don’t place much importance on academic opinions of books. I’m with Vladimir Nabakov – I’m not really into the current movement of trying to ply hidden meanings out of texts. This is not to say that I don’t think about the issues portrayed in the book, but I refuse to attempt to ply into the author’s soul or drag long-winded meanings out of random metaphors. The stupidity of the high school emphasis to ‘deconstruct’ everything has really turned me against the movement and I’ve read too many ridiculous conclusions from pseudo academics (for instance, one feminist tried to point out that the Predator movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger was the symptom of men wishing to escape to a female free environment. Such bullshit! Never mind that a woman was one of the main characters). This is not to say that there aren’t some texts, such as Paradise Lost, that require study to understand, but there is a key difference between the two.
  11. I’ll never use one, because I love the feel and smell of books. I also don’t like staring at another screen.
  12. It started with the ‘1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die’, but now I get most of my reading fodder from recommendations off the internet, this blog and other blogs. I don’t usually follow recommendations from people in ‘the real world’ because they tend to recommend things like ‘The Da Vinci Code’. I have given up trying to recommend books to others outside of this blog, because most people I know don’t read regularly or they only read big hits. This is elitist in nature, but I’ve realised that because the people I know don’t read much, they are easily impressed and can’t tell the difference between good and bad prose.
  13. Exponentially. Reading classics and non-fiction has exposed me to so much. It horrifies me how ignorant I was, and still am, of a lot of important events and history. It has really opened up a new world for me and made me realise how important it is to educate yourself.

6 Responses to Questions For Readers

  1. B says:

    1. Once overy few days. About one book a month.
    2. When I was younger, yes, but not as much now.
    3. Eventually, but only a fair while after I’ve read them.
    4. I only ever buy – I like to keep the books I read.
    5. I like both equally, but I’m into a bit of a fiction fix at the moment.
    6. I will read nearly any genre (except for romance!)
    7. As above. Romance books are porn for woman – cheap, dirty, removed from reality porn. The romance genre causes so many false expections and disappointments, it should be given an R rating.
    8. I will only buy image books if I am acutely interested in the subject matter, otherwise, no.
    9. I generally have no time for these things, except if written by the author. I dont buy books to read another persons opinion on them. I want to form my own opinion without outside influence.
    10. The amount of time ‘academics’ get things wrong or say foolish things about literature is astounding, so no. I dont subscribe to the concept of traditional literature deconstruction unless the text is so weighty as to have little value until said deconstruction is attempted. And no, I dont read essays.
    11. Well I haven’t used a Kindle, but i have used a Sony Reader Digital Book, and let me tell you, those things are junk. Even though they only have to display simple text, they are so slow, you could probably read a whole other book whilst waiting for it to load a new page, or trying to navigate through the hopelessly unintuitive menu. With that rant out of the way :), I dont really like the concept myself – I just prefer real paper. However, they may be good for other people, perhaps travelers and the like.
    12. My girlfriend, and the internet. Yes, I do follow up on recommendations, but I’m in the middle of a giant fiction series at the moment, so I’ve only been reading that. And no, I don’t recommend books to other people.
    13. Yes, naturally. Books are a potent conveyance of knowledge, a powerful tool of self improvement and general understanding of life.

  2. Cain Doherty says:

    1. I really only read novels when I travel to work on the train. I’ve been watching the West Wing series to send myself to sleep nowadays, which was originally a novel’s job. I’ll finish half a dozen novels a year.

    2. Habitual in that I’ve always a book in progress sitting by my bed.

    3. Rarely re-read fiction.

    4. Buy pre-loved (or hated) from the co-op bookshop at uni.

    5. Fiction for entertainment – I take in way too much factual information during the day.

    6. Limited in the genres that interest me.

    7. Mills & Boon doesn’t sit well with me – kindling as far as I’m concerned.

    8. Rarely buy picture books – usually too expensive.

    9. I would browse a ‘notes on the text’/forward before the novel to determine if it’s worth reading. Usually if it has a forward, it is.

    10. Having said that I do not hold the academic who wrote it to account – I like to form my own opinion but be aware that it may have room to grow.

    11. A book has to be bound.

    12. The Penguin Classics will keep me busy for a while! One of my favourite authors, Paul Theroux, references a lot of texts in his novels. This has shown to be a good source for works I may be interested in.

    13. I’d like to think so.

    • aurea says:

      1. I read everyday. I complete ten or more books in a year.
      2. I started reading when I was seven and never stopped. I always have something to read and I’m not driven by any special interest.
      3. Some of the great books I read I re-read. Saramago’s books for example and before that, Sartre’s books.
      4. I always buy books I want to read
      5. I read both genres but I do prefer fiction.
      6. I prefer romance and science fiction books
      7. I am very suspicious of autobiographies, so I don’t really enjoy the genre.
      8. Yes, specially when the pictures are high quality work.
      9. I always read short introductions. If they are too long I simply don’t read them. I never skip notes on the text. I don’t mind spoilers at all.
      10. Opinions of academics mean nothing to me although I appreciate essays about books I want to read.
      11. I’m dreaming of a e-book. I wouldn’t mind not having traditional paper books. Reading is what matters to me.
      12. When I don’t know the author of a recommended book, I try and find reviews and/or follow up on recommendations from friends, etc.
      13. I believe it has. Books are a great source of knowledge acquisition and self improvement. Books help us understand the world around us.

  3. Compulsive Writer says:

    1.How often do you read? Or, how many books a year do you complete? I read everyday. On average 3-5 books a week
    2.Have you been an habitual reader all your life? Or do you only read when something of special interest comes your way? I have read since…well…since I can remember.
    3.Do you re-read your favorite books? Not often, I get bored easy. Especially when I know how it ends.
    4.Do you tend to borrow or buy books? buy, I hate returning a book. I get atache easily
    5.Do you prefer fiction or non fiction? Or both? both
    6.Do you prefer to read a single genre or do you read any genre? any except Westerns
    7.Is there a particular genre or non-fiction subject that you really dislike? What are your reasons? Westerns…yuck….don’t really know why.
    8.Do you buy ‘picture books’ at all (as in art books, architecture books or other books that are dominated by images instead of text)? Have very few. One on Cats and one on London. That’s it.
    9.What is your attitude towards introductions, forewords, notes on the text and afterwards? Do you read these at all? If so, do you read them before, during or after you’ve completed the book? Read it all. However it comes in the book.
    10.How much importance do you place on the opinions of academics (or their deconstruction) of books you’ve read? Does ‘deconstructing’ a book (as in, trying to find it’s perceived deeper meaning through study) have any appeal to you? Do you read essays about books you’ve read? I enjoy deconstuction of a book and do read essays, if I highly enjoyed the book.
    11.What do you think of electronic reading devices, such as Kindle? I will not ever use one as a replacement. I don’t currently have one…..use the laptop for ebooks sometimes. I hate the idea really.
    12.How do you come across books you would like to read? (the internet, recommendations from friends, reviews, notoriety etc) Do you tend to follow up on recommendations from your friends, colleagues and family – or do you ignore them? Do you try to recommend books to other people? I recommend to others, I usually will take the recommendation if it comes fomr a trust worthy person. I read whatever speaks to me no matter where I see or hear about it. If is feels right to read it I do.
    13.Do you think that reading has improved your general knowledge? Oh yes, I do. yes..reading improves knowledge.

  4. aurea says:

    aurea says:
    February 10, 2011 at 10:55 am

    1. I read everyday. I complete ten or more books in a year.
    2. I started reading when I was seven and never stopped. I always have something to read and I’m not driven by any special interest.
    3. Some of the great books I read I re-read. Saramago’s books for example and before that, Sartre’s books.
    4. I always buy books I want to read
    5. I read both genres but I do prefer fiction.
    6. I prefer romance and science fiction books
    7. I am very suspicious of autobiographies, so I don’t really enjoy the genre.
    8. Yes, specially when the pictures are high quality work.
    9. I always read short introductions. If they are too long I simply don’t read them. I never skip notes on the text. I don’t mind spoilers at all.
    10. Opinions of academics mean nothing to me although I appreciate essays about books I want to read.
    11. I’m dreaming of a e-book. I wouldn’t mind not having traditional paper books. Reading is what matters to me.
    12. When I don’t know the author of a recommended book, I try and find reviews and/or follow up on recommendations from friends, etc.
    13. I believe it has. Books are a great source of knowledge acquisition and self improvement. Books help us understand the world around us.

  5. Anita says:

    1. I read daily and can finish a book every 2-3 days. Mind you that’s fiction; if you chuck in Non-fiction then it takes longer. So I suppose 200+ books a year.
    2. I’ve read ever since I was taught to.
    3. Yes, I have been known to re-read books I especially like.
    4. I buy and borrow books. Buy mostly
    5. I prefer fiction, but read both.
    6. I read crime fiction mostly, but will read something else on a recommend
    7. I really don’t like chick-lit. I’m not really a girly girl and can’t deal with all that saccharine pink and fluffiness, give me gun fights and murder any day.
    8. No, I don’t buy “picture books”
    9. If the introduction etc. is pertinent or helpful to the reader then fine, but mostly i feel they are self gratifying waffle.
    10. I did English Lit at A ‘Level and the deconstruction of a novel was painful for me. I found it took away the enjoyment.
    11. Have Kindle – good for travel. Prefer the paper versions.
    12. I keep up with blogs and news feed and my local bookshop to find out new releases. I also read titles that have been recommended by family and friends or that come through on my blog.
    13. Yes, reading has improved my knowledge, but perhaps not in useful areas (well not unless I want to be a serial killer).

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