Reading habits

Not sure where this meme started, but I got it from here via @infobunny. It’s not a “tagging” meme, thank goodness, but if you do fancy having a go then please feel free to join in…

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

I’m not sure that developing an association between reading and food would be a very good idea for me.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

I don’t like the idea of writing notes in the margin: feels a bit pretentious, and when you come across the notes later it always reminds me of that chap who woke up in the night having realised the secret of the universe, wrote it down, and the following morning found a note saying, “A smell of petroleum pervades throughout”.

However, with some authors I do use discreet markings (usually just “X”s) to mark the beginning and end of sections I want to be able to find later.

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

Bookmark. Well, I say bookmark. Usually it ends up being a train ticket or one of my business cards. Folding pages over is barbarous, unless it’s to help you turn the page in a music score.

The worst way to mark one’s place I’ve ever come across was my sister, who used to bend the book right back and lay the heavier half down on the lighter half to keep it open. I think she’s repented of this evil now.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?

Mostly non-fiction, to my wife’s despair.

Hard copy or audiobooks?

If it’s “audio” it’s not a “book”. (Exemptions from that decree are available for the sight-impaired.) Next question.

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?

Tend to read to the end of a chapter, or at least the end of a section. I am able to put a book down and then pick it up from the point I left it, but prefer not to.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

If I want to look something up (normally related material rather than unfamiliar words), I’ll usually Google it on my phone right away. I’m guessing that makes me a bit OCD, but then if I wasn’t I’d scarcely be filling out this questionnaire, would I?

What are you currently reading?

The books I’m most actively reading at the moment (see later question) are Modern China: A Very Short Introduction and The Subversion of Christianity. Have a couple of books to collect from the library which will probably supplant the latter: A Radical History of Britain and The World Turned Upside Down.

What is the last book you bought?

A trio of Very Short Introductions: Modern China, Ideology and Economics. Yeah, I know, I need to lighten up a bit…

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

I’m terrible for having multiple books on the go, and failing to finish half of them. There, I said it. I feel better now.

I don’t want to admit to how many books I supposedly have on the go according to my LivingSocial profile…

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

On the train to/from work, and in bed.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

Stand alone. Do want to check out David Peace’s Red Riding trilogy, though (loved The Damned Utd and GB84).

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

Richard Dawkins’ science-related books; Jacques Ellul; Adrian Mitchell; Luther’s Small Catechism.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

Most of our books are organised by author’s surname. Our “theology” section is in a state of total chaos, having (a) never been put into a specific order since we moved house last year, and (b) having been a popular target for our toddler over the past year or so.

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7 Responses to Reading habits

  1. Jeremy says:

    What is this prejudice against audiobooks? Probably because you read “mostly non-fiction”. Harrumph.

  2. Rick Ritchie says:

    Audiobooks are especially good for poetry. Try Dylan Thomas reading Dylan Thomas.

    Audiobooks are books. An audio book may not be a codex. But scrolls contained books before codices did.

    I posted my replies at Daylight.

  3. John H says:

    OK, maybe I was being more dogmatic than I needed to be there. 🙂

    My personal, non-dogmatic issues why audiobooks are not for me are:

    1. Most audiobooks I’ve seen are abridgements (the unabridged Harry Potter audiobooks read by Stephen Fry were seen as something exceptional; YMMV).

    2. I find audiobooks inefficient, since I can read faster than someone can read them outloud. (Yeah, I know, iPods have speed-up/slowdown options.)

    3. If I’m in the car, I’d rather listen to music or a podcast than an audiobook – I’m not sure I could concentrate fully on both the audiobook and the road.

    4. If I’m not in the car, I can’t listen to talkie stuff without something for my eyes to do. So concentration becomes an issue again.

    5. If the book was any good, I’d probably want the hard copy as well. I spend enough on books as it is!

    I could make an exception for poetry, but I’d almost see that as an audio performance rather than an “audiobook”. Oh, and I do have a DVD of Johnny Cash reading the New Testament, though my attempt to rip it onto my iPod has proved difficult to carry through, for reasons I won’t bore you with…

  4. Jeremy says:

    I’m blessed with an exceptionally good public library (it’s been rated as #2 in the nation for communities of the size it serves). I’ve only rarely come across an abridged audiobook. If abridgments were the only options available to me then I wouldn’t enjoy audiobooks either.

  5. Rick Ritchie says:

    To tell the truth, I use audiobooks for non-fiction moreso than fiction. With non-fiction, it is less of a problem to miss material the first time through, especially if you are likely to listen again. Probably the key thing that doesn’t come across in a reading if you suffer from gaps is suspense. But I’ll admit that I get less out of that factor than most people. And suspense is not often the chief virtue of non-fiction.

    Walter Lord’s “A Night to Remember” was great as an audiobook.

  6. The Scylding says:

    I second Rick on Dylan Thomas: Truely exceptional. And then – Simon Callow reading PG Wodehouse. It is an exceptional experience. Hilarious, but good.

  7. Pingback: My Opinions Are Important · Reading habits

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