Book munchers (otherwise known as readers) have acquired some peculiar habits. From what I have discovered talking with different people over Twitter and in person over the years, readers turn the act of reading into a personal ritual (having concluded reading Bibliotheca Fantastica, I can whole heartedly agree). A shocker, right? While not necessarily surprising, reader habits are fascinating to me, because you can always see how an individual’s personality reflects onto the most private and vulnerable of acts.*
I know a friend, who allows books to possess his interest and as a direct result writes down small details, which he can then discuss in depth (often asking me whether I read the same book cause I tend to forget just about everything). I know another who holds annual re-reading events where she returns to known routes and places in the books she loves since teenhood (what a weirdo!). I too have a weird habit and it concerns my attention deficiency in the sense I need new, shiny and pretty things in front of me at all time.**
This fragmentation has resulted in what I call ‘situational reading’ where I have a different book for every occasion. At a time, I read between four to five books simultaneously, usually each in a different book format to fit better the situation I am in. Let’s review what I have as a current line-up:
Obligational Reading: Books I read for review purposes. Most copies I own are electronic so I’ve to carve out a chunk out of my laptop time in order to read, but because I’m sure an amazing and productive person (am not), reading occurs near the submission deadline.*** Here I’ve just completed Bibliotheca Fantastica edited by Don Pizarro for my monthly review slot over at SF Signal and will move to Alternative Alamat edited by Paolo Chikiamco.
Lunch Break Reading: This is a physical book, a paperback usually, kept in my bag dragged around for those 30 minutes in the office I have lunch. However, I sometimes read when I’m in a line where I can sit down or am in public transport. Today’s pick is The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers – delightful comedy in the spirit of Discworld, but somehow more refined in its style and subject matter.
Sneak Reading: I have PDF or EPUB editions stashed on my phone, so I can steal a few lines in case I have to stand in a crowded place or stand in line to pay a bill or similar situations where a paperback would be highly impractical. For the past three months The Apex Book of World SF 2 has been my companion in these inconvenient situations and I thank the book for its patience with me.
Primary Reading: Highest in the hierarchy, the primary book receives the utmost attention in regards to reading time. The act of reading takes place inside the home. The last book I dedicated time to is Fearless Girls, Wise Women and Beloved Sisters edited by Kathleen Ragan. Not many books after this one to take the title, which is a darn shame.
Special Circumstance Reading: I can only read these books, if I sit on a table and prepare for the process. Why? The book is either humongous and has to be placed in a certain position that requires of me to remain still (nigh impossible in my case) or I need a thesaurus to grasp the text completely. From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell currently graces this category.
Additionally, I read magazines, articles and comic books (binge comic book reading, anyone?), but given my predisposition to watching TV show after TV show completing a book is a miracle more often than not.**** However, this is how I read and as unconventional as it is when placed against the most-recognized reader archetype (the one who reads all through the night and gets to the end in one sitting; usually is a glutton for books and reads five books per week), it fits how I interact with the world – in segments and according to the situation.
Looking back at your own reading, do you discover odd things about the habits you adorn the act itself or am I just this one weirdo?
* In my personal experience, reading in public has presented dangers unknown to the general populace. I consider it an elevated form of texting-and-walking.
** Eventually, I will test myself for squirrel DNA. I’m sure I’m the child of gene-splicing gone terribly mediocre.
*** It’s as natural as one of the Newtonian Laws.
**** I’m fighting these demons, alright?! Don’t judge me!