Friday, September 18, 2009

Reading habits meme

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

It's easier to ask when I don't snack. Olives, cheese, a glass of wine, a cup of tea are all fair game while I'm reading. Or, if I'm alone at home or at a restaurant, I'll read over a meal.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I mark my school reading. I used to engage in great enthusiastic dialogues with all my books, all over them in ink, but now for my pleasure reading I tend to use little post-it tabs and will occasionally make a note on one of them.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

Bookmark. Usually bookmarks take on certain magical meanings related to the last book they marked and will, therefore, seem appropriate or inappropriate to the book in which I'm thinking of using them. I don't buy bookmarks, but when I go to favorite bookstores or visit new bookstores, especially while travelling, I'll try to get a bookmark from the shop. Then if my reading experience from that shop was favorable, that bookmark will become a favorite. Silly of me, I know, but true.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?
I read both, but I read more fiction for pleasure than non-fiction.

Hard copy or audiobooks?
I read books - those funny objects with ink printed on pages made of paper and those pages bound somehow within paper or hard covers. Audio books aren't books they're another medium, which is fine when I want a radio-like experience, but the auditory and the visual modalities are different. They collect different information from my environment. They require different organs, they use different parts of the brain to process them and, finally, they create different sensory, intellectual, and emotional experiences. When I wish to read, I want a book that I consume with my eyes, in silence. Listening to fiction or drama or journalism is fine, it's just something else altogether, even if the source was a book.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
There are books where I cannot stand to not read to the end of the chapter, but it's a book-by-book need for me. It's not a regular neurosis. I can always find my place again in any book that really interests me.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
Depends on whether I'm home. If a dictionary is nearby I will probably look it up right away. Otherwise I will infer the meaning from context and will intend to look it up but it may not happen.

What are you currently reading?
I just finished Night Train to Lisbon. I'm in-progress with The Slaves of Solitude, Identity and Story, and The Fall of Berlin 1945 and Lorrie Moore's new book is waiting in the wings (I cannot wait to start that one!)

What is the last book you bought?
Just a few hours ago (shhhhh!) I bought a book called The First Interview - a book on clinical interviewing for my clinical externship and two books by Margaret Drabble, her early novel The Needle's Eye and her new memoir The Pattern in the Carpet.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
As the answer above likely indicated to you, I have several in-progress at once.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
Any time. Any place. On public transportation, in bed, waiting for friends in a restaurant, standing on the subway platform - wherever.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
Stand alone, I'm not opposed to a series, but it can make me a little neurotic about reading it in order or finishing it.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
Two - Hopeful Monsters by Nicholas Mosley and The Gold Bug Variations by Richard Powers. Over and over and over. And Crime and Punishment of Dostoevsky too.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
Loosely by genre and within that genre I might group a given author or theme, but basically by feel.


Danielle said...

I read Hopeful Monsters ages and ages ago, though now it's all faded away. I should pull my copy out for a reread. As for audio books--I listen to them sometimes, but I don't count them either as books I've 'read'--the experience is just totally different. I'm curious to hear what you think of Night Train to Lisbon--I wanted to read it, but then read so many reviews that were negative I've not gotten around to it.

Matt said...

You're a true reader--one who reads at anytime, anywhere. I always bring a book with me even I'm heading to the cinema. I read while I wait in lines.

I used to mark my book but I discover an even better system through post-its, which I can insert into the pages for quick thumb references to key passages when I write reviews.

Ted said...

D - I should read it again too. It's such a committment!

M - A true reader, it seems, of anything except Middlemarch. When are we going to get back on that wagon? I feel remiss.