Discussion Topic - What Type of Book Reader Are You?
I read a fun article online in The Atlantic Wire recently about different kinds
of readers. Apparently, Mark O'Connell confessed on the New Yorker's
Page-Turner blog that he's a "promiscuous reader" who eagerly starts
books only to abandon and never finish them once another interesting book
catches his eye. That post inspired Jen Doll of The Atlantic Wire to brainstorm
some other reader types, only to add a second list when the flood of emails
poured in about types not included. I already do a series of posts called
"The Art of Reading" that touch on this idea that bibliophiles have
different ways of expressing their book devotion, so this online conversation caught
my attention. Below I'll include short summaries of the reader types, but click
here to check out the fun, full paragraph definitions in the original article.
Audiobook Listener: You rarely read
in the traditional sense, but you're always listening to a good story.
Bedtime Reader: You can only find
time to read before going to sleep and you often drift off while reading.
Book-Buster: You love your books to
destruction. You break spines and spill drinks; you bend and rip pages and drop
your book in the water; you leave novels outside in the dirt or on the floor
where someone will doubtless step on them. It's not abuse - it's love.
Bookophile: You love books. Not just
the stories. You love the feel of a physical book in your hand and the smell of
the page. You love the covers, especially first or special editions, and your
books are beloved treasures. Unlike the book-buster you would never ever hurt a
Book Snob: You only read award winning
books or those highly recommended by the most discerning of critics. You scoff
at the idea of reading a bestseller or otherwise trendy title.
Book Swagger: You have book
connections and you're not afraid to boast about them. You proudly hold your
advance reading copies so people can see the future publication date, though
it's hard to say whether you read them all or just like having the book before
Cat: Books aren't for reading.
They're for sitting on. Particularly if it looks like someone else wants to
read that book right now.
Chronological Reader: The
anti-promiscuous reader. You buy/borrow a book. You read it. You buy/borrow
another book. You read it. Methodical and reliable.
Compulsive Reader: You always have a
book with you. Whether you're walking down the street, waiting in line, working
out, or eating lunch, there's always time to read.
Conscientious Reader: Nonfiction
only. You should learn something from and find meaning in everything you read.
Critic: You're more likely to hate
than love, but when you love you adore and rave about metaphors, pacing,
themes, character development, etc.
Cross-Under: You're an adult who
reads YA and/or children's literature and don't understand the phrase "too
young for you."
Delayed Onset Reader: You're excited
to buy/borrow one/lots of books from a bookstore/library/friend and can't wait
to read them. Except you're so busy that somehow days/weeks/months tick by
without you reading a single page.
Devoted Reader: When you find an
author you like, you read everything they wrote and keep a lookout for
everything they will write in the future. Doesn't matter if the newest book
receives terrible reviews or thumbs down from people you know; you're loyal to
those writers you love.
Easily Influenced Reader: You trust
everyone's opinion, which means you'll read whatever is recommended to you by
whoever recommends it. Your mom liked a book? Read it. There's an exuberant
quote from your favorite author on the cover? Better buy that one, too. That
actress mentioned a new novel? Check it out.
Hate Reader: You love to hate books,
always finding plenty to criticize and little to praise. Perhaps you're really
that cynical. Perhaps it's all a show. Either way the supposed poor quality of
everything you read doesn't stop you from reading more and more.
"It's Complicated" Reader:
You refuse to be categorized. Each book represents a different aspect of your
soul. Maybe pieces of these other "types" fit you, but none are
exactly on target.
Multi-tasker: You and your books
have an open relationship. You might read a few pages of a book in the morning,
take a different one to work, devour a couple chapters of a third in the
evening, and read yourself to sleep with a fourth.
Promiscuous Reader: When you start a
book, you really do intend to finish it and you really do like it. Except a new
book claims your attention, causing you to abandon the first. Do you finish the
second? No, because there's another enticing book waiting to lure you away.
Re-reader: Why try something that
might disappoint you when you can read something that you already know you
love? Your books are like friends and your best friends are the ones with whom
you spend the most time.
Sharer: When you like a book, you
spread the word. You loan your copy, and, if you're really dedicated, you even
buy extra copies to hand out.
These "types" definitely aren't mutually exclusive. I picked out four
that fit me: Bookophile, Compulsive Reader, Cross-Under, and Multi-tasker. I'm
a definite Bookophile, because I love books as objects as much as I love the
words and stories inside them. I hang on to my favorites. Even if I never read
them again, I like gazing nostalgically at my bookshelf, the titles and covers
triggering reading memories. I'm much less a Compulsive Reader than I used to
be, but, boy, did that definition ever apply to me in the past. I did have a
book everywhere I went and would read even a single sentence whenever the
chance presented itself. When I did weight lifting, I would read a page or two
in between each set. In college, I read a leisure book on my walks to and from
classes. However, I stopped carrying books everywhere when my friends started
searching my purse prior to taking me anywhere. Apparently, they interpreted my
book dependency as a lack of faith in their social skills. Anyone reading this
blog knows I'm a Cross-Under Reader, since easily half of what I review is
young adult. Last, my identity as a Multi-tasker is another one that has
shifted over time. I used to be a hardcore Chronological Reader: pick one book,
read that book and only that book all the way to the end, pick a new book,
repeat. Then I gave reading multiple books at once a chance and was immediately
hooked. I'm not a Promiscuous Reader by this article's definition - I always
finish the books I start. However, I'm often reading more than ten books at a
Does one or multiple of the reader types above fit you? Can you brainstorm some
more neither of the original articles covered? Feel free to share!