May 8th, 2005


I'm Some Kind of Reader.

gwendabondgirl (by way of deborahb) asks, "So. What kind of reader are you?"

I have one rule about fiction novels: if by fifty pages I don't care, you're gone. That's it. If I'm told that a book doesn't start to pick up until page two hundred, then that book isn't going to be read. It's that simple. If an author produced two hundred pages that gave you nothing, then you're reading the wrong book, or the author did a shit job. And if we're talking a short story, I give it a page (or one page down scroll). No more, sometimes less. I mean, if I open a piece of fiction and the first line repels me, I'm not going to bother following it, unless I find myself compelled by that repelling nature. It happens. But anyhow, the reason for these limits with fiction is because my time spent reading for pleasure is something I protect. I read all the time, from blogs, to news articles, to academic research, to books that come under the dubious title of Keeping-Aware-of-Your-Peers*, and a bunch of other reasons. When I have time to read for me, just me, that piece has got to be something I want like I do my girl, and it's got to be something I want to consume, that I lose yourself in for hours...

That said, I can and am consumed by multiple things, so I have to force myself to keep a bit of loyalty to a book so I don't lose interest. Slim novels work best, and I find that if I read large, sprawling epics, that I'll ditch out for a couple of days into something small, then return to it. I use short stories a lot like that. Of course, I'm particularly bad at it when I get anywhere near non fiction. I jump like you wouldn't believe in non fiction, from one book to another, to back again, to chapters near the end and chapters near the middle, without having read the ones at the start. (Depending, obviously, on the kind of non fiction book. But I love the ones you don't need to read sequentially.)

Lastly, I read everywhere I can, except on transport. Trains, buses, cars, planes, and even unicycles--about ten minutes into reading on one of these (less with others) I'll begin to get nauseous. It's sufferable only on trains, which I occasionally read on if I've no other choice (usually non fiction--for some reason it's not as bad). I have no idea if I can read on boats, mind you, since it's been years since I've been on one, and I've never been on any kind of boat with a book. But my favourite place to read is in the corner, lying on the burnt orange couch I've got, and just reading until I've got no more time till read. Just me and the book.

* These books are usually picked up because everyone around me is saying, "Holy fucking shit, what an amazing book!" This is why I own a copy of China Mieville's Predido Street Station, which i picked up with The Scar for ten bucks... I've never managed to get past the line "Veldt to scrub to fields to farms to these first tumbling houses that rise from the earth," however. It's not helped by the size. But, you know, one day.
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