Tag Archives: rereading

Portrait of the reader as an older woman

Okay, enough existential angst for the week. Let’s talk about something more interesting.

(And what’s really interesting, and more than a little weird, is that everywhere I go this week the number 42 keeps turning up. It also happens to be my age this year, and, as everyone should know, the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Why 42? What does it mean!? But that’s just a little aside.)

What kind of reader are you? Forget all about this writing business for a moment. It may well be that there are writers who are born fully formed, and who write their masterpieces never having read a complete book in their lives, but I kind of doubt it. I was a reader long before I was a writer.

As a reader, I dabble in a little of everything. There are categories I don’t choose to read in, but I’m also willing to give most anything a try. I’m drawn to character over plot, and to complicated characters more than simply appealing ones. Bittersweet endings interest me more than straight-up happily ever after, because I can buy the happy much more easily if it comes with the sad.

I read on paper when reading for pleasure. I do not own an ereader. If I lived somewhere where downloading a book didn’t require either the patience of a saint or a trip in the car, then I might be more likely to go with electronics, but I don’t. I’m also comforted by the shape and feel of physical books. I relate to them differently than I do to words on a screen. Part of that may also be a function of using a computer to write. A document on a screen feels like work rather than fun.

As the occupant of a very small house, I may need to rethink that idea at some point. In the meantime, I sleep with piles of books by my bed, and by the couch, and anywhere else I might relax.

I read more fiction than nonfiction. I read more adult fiction than children’s or YA. If I’m working on a novel, I avoid reading in the same genre because it muddies the waters for me. My eyes are tired much of the time, so my love of small paperbacks has diminished. If I like an author, I’ll try their stuff across any genre they choose to write in. I reread everything I love, and also some things I only like. I rarely read things when they’re first released, and I almost never look at reviews until after I’ve read something.

Oh, and I have a headlamp for reading at night.

Who are you as a reader?

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