Monday, September 24, 2012

What Type of Book Reader Are You?

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.

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 anyone else.

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 time!

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!

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