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.
- How often do you read? Or, how many books a year do you complete?
- Have you been an habitual reader all your life? Or do you only read when something of special interest comes your way?
- Do you re-read your favorite books?
- Do you tend to borrow or buy books?
- Do you prefer fiction or non fiction? Or both?
- Do you prefer to read a single genre or do you read any genre?
- Is there a particular genre or non-fiction subject that you really dislike? What are your reasons?
- Do you buy ‘picture books’ at all (as in art books, architecture books or other books that are dominated by images instead of text)?
- 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?
- 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?
- What do you think of electronic reading devices, such as Kindle?
- 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?
- Do you think that reading has improved your general knowledge?
To get the ball rolling, here are my long-winded answers.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I love both fiction and non-fiction, though lately I’ve been focussing on non-fiction.
- I read any genre, but I especially love the classics.
- 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.
- Obviously, yes.
- 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.
- 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.
- I’ll never use one, because I love the feel and smell of books. I also don’t like staring at another screen.
- 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.
- 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.