Saturday, May 15, 2010

Reading Habits

For a time, I tried to resist this meme, but, really, what choice did I have? After all, who am I to argue with the collective wisdom of just about the whole blogosphere?

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack:

I lack the multitasking ability needed to eat and read. Besides, I'm too terrified that I'll get something on the book.

What is your favorite drink while reading?
While this seems like a very useful skill, it's one I'm having some trouble developing. I've tried reading and drinking seltzer with a huge amount of lemon in it (which is absolutely delicious, refreshing, and unlikely to cause your premature death), but I need to bring the reading to a full halt to summon the concentration needed to bring the glass to my lips without serious mishap occurring.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
I'm obsessive about the condition of my books, but I have no problem dog earing mass market paperbacks. It's just too convenient to stop. Hardcovers, though, get either bookmarks or me awkwardly trying to remember what page I was up to (and then finally finding my spot just before I have to stop reading). Trade paperbacks are a case by case basis.

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

The idea of applying my own ink to the same paper that was graced with the ink of someone like VanderMeer is a thought so blasphemous I'm tempted to dust my entire collection in order to banish it. That being said, I do take note of passages that I either really enjoy (for my Obese Quotation Hell word document) or want to use in a review. If it's a book I'd dog ear anyway, I'll just dog ear the pages. If it's a hardcover, I'll frequently either write page numbers on the book mark (I usually use whatever's at hand - my current book mark, for instance, is the old keycard from a hotel I stayed at two or so years ago that I found in my drawer), or, if that's not a good option, write all the page numbers on a separate sheet of paper.

Fiction, nonfiction, or both?
My pleasure reading is always fiction.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
Chapters at the least. I'm the kind of person who will read a short story of less than a hundred pages in a single sitting, no matter what. Stopping in the middle of a page just feels wrong, even if there're forty five more pages in the chapter, I should have been sleeping an hour ago, and I'm not all that into the book in the first place.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
There are people who do that? Really? I always thought it was a myth, like the bogeyman or something. I propose that anyone who's intentionally injured a book should have their reading privileges revoked for a period of time equivalent to the damage inflicted. Hell, I carefully stack the books I'm planning to give away the next day.

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

Nah, that would break the flow far too much. I'll generally try to remember it if it looks interesting, but all but the most fascinating sounding are forgotten by the time I get to a computer or dictionary. Ah well, I guess my perspicacity* must be helpful here, as you can generally tell from the context.

* This may or may not be a word that inspired me to actually go find out what it means earlier today

What are you currently reading?
Wrapping up Stephen King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. Up until page 150, it was unbelievably riveting. I then wondered where he could possibly take it. It seems he was wondering the same thing, because we've just been meandering around since then(, and I'm damn close to the end).

What is the last book you bought?
I have poor self control, and I rarely want just one book, so I usually buy books in bulk. For instance, the last time I bought books I bought:

Steph Swainston - The Year of Our War
Simon Ings - The City of the Iron Fish
Thomas Ligotti - Songs of a Dead Dreamer (Preorder)
Patrick Rothfuss - The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle (Preorder)
Neil Gaiman - American Gods (An audiobook present for mother's day...if only she'd realized what I meant when I asked if she could play mp3s. Well, nothing's funner than wasting money...)

This probably wouldn't be so bad if I just bought books every few months, but I purchased six or seven books in the beginning of April (though I'll have mercy and not list them here).

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

For novels, I always read one at a time. It's not that I can't concentrate on two so much as I can't see a good reason to. Short story collections can be different, though. I've got to read one for a class fairly soon, and I'll be mixing the stories with Algernon Blackwood's, just in case.

Do you have a favorite time/place to read?
Really, I'll read anywhere. I love to sit at home and read a hundred pages, but I'll also bring a book along and read it during three minute checkout lines. Hell, I've even managed to corrupt exercise; I now read books while I go on the most badass of all workout machines: the exercise bike.

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?

No preference, really. I almost never read two books by the same author in a row, though, so series frequently take me months to complete. I've been gnawing away at Malazan, for instance, for well over half a year by now.

When it comes to reviewing, I much prefer standalones. It feels odd to condense an entire series into a single review (and prevents you from really discussing later books for fear of spoiling the first), but I have a hard time conceiving of a trilogy of reviews that wouldn't involve putting the same words in a different order again and again.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
Not really, but that's because I haven't done very many general recommendation posts on here. On forums, though, I've been known to advocate VanderMeer's City of Saints and Madmen or Veniss Underground to a slightly unhealthy degree at times. When it comes to genre newcomers (or just people who don't hang out on message boards debating the relative qualities of relatively obscure releases), I recommend Martin for fantasy and Reynolds for science fiction day in and day out, by which I mean on the one or two occasions I've ever been asked.

How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.)
I've got a single book case (and another improntu shelf on top of my dresser), and, at a very, very conservative estimate, I've bought two a hundred fifty books in the past year and a half. The books that don't get shelf space join one of the five towering piles of Couch Books that have rendered my couch kinda useless for anything else. As for organization, I keep authors together, and my shelves DO have some kind of general idea, even if it's one only known to me. For instance, my third shelf has: Malazan (Erikson and Esslemont mingling), my two Jim Butcher books on top of Malazan, Wolfe to the right, then Rothfuss, Card, and Herbert, with Vance atop the last three. My dream, however, is something like this.

1 comment:

  1. I usually use Dog Ears when I'm reserving a particularly important section in a non-fiction book that I own, but I've always hated marking books as well.