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What Kind of Book Reader Are You?
September 4, 2012 8:57 AM   Subscribe

What kind of book reader are you? More types of book reader.
posted by rollick (63 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I apparantly contain a multitude of book readers.
posted by muddgirl at 9:01 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm definitely an "It's complicated" reader, since I scoop up a half dozen books from the library, and then end up finishing maybe half of them.

Unless it's a nice sunny day- then I end up as a cat.
posted by happyroach at 9:02 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


"It's complicated." Or, you know, more subtle than a caricature.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:03 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was just coming in to type in happyroach's comment, nearly verbatim. So I'm going to instead just point to it and say "that."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:04 AM on September 4, 2012


These days, one who is very impatient with poor, dull or pretentious writing. It seems like there's a terrible load of shit novels these days. The critics rave about something, I try it, nine times out of ten it's shit. Seems like I mostly re-read old stuff now.
posted by Decani at 9:08 AM on September 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


A very time poor and constantly distracted one, these days. Which means I'm nibbling away at stuff I'd previously race through very slowly and building up quite the backlog.

That said, I'm "reading" a shitload of short fiction on audio these days.
posted by Artw at 9:08 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your owner...fancies that you're actually reading the pages, but you're not. You're just lying on them. Humans are so weird.

Sometimes I'm a cat when I have required reading.

I didn't really see a category for: you like to read fun fiction books with good plots and characters that don't make you work too hard but also aren't so cheesy you feel like spreading them on a cracker. Because that seems to be the majority of readers that I know.

A very time poor and constantly distracted one, these days. Which means I'm nibbling away at stuff I'd previously race through very slowly and building up quite the backlog.

I missed my morning read when I switched from public transit to walking after I moved. Then I figured out that I could walk and read. (This is best done on not very crowded sidewalks).
posted by jb at 9:11 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Conscientious Reader. It's nonfiction or nothing for you, reader! It should have a purpose, too, and be meaningful. You should learn something.
I don't think "conscientious" is the right word, but definitely with the You! Should! Learn! Something! feeling.
posted by Jehan at 9:12 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


“Once you label me you negate me.”
― Søren Kierkegaard


Soren was "It's complicated" and a Taurus.
Go figure.
posted by incandissonance at 9:17 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think of myself as a "fractal reader". I never begin a book or finish one. I open a book randomly and begin to read. It may be for a few minutes or for several hours. After I set the book aside I might pick it up again tomorrow or it may be next year. In either case, I will again read from it randomly. This applies to fiction/nonfiction, short/long formats, across all genres and from any source...
posted by jim in austin at 9:18 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Conscientious Reader. It's nonfiction or nothing for you, reader! It should have a purpose, too, and be meaningful. You should learn something.

Because all fiction is purposeless, meaningless, and teaches nothing.
posted by scratch at 9:21 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


What's the category of book reader where you want to read books all the time but every time you try to read books people give you shit about it (especially your horrible spouse), so you take your lunch break in a bank vault so you can read but then a nuclear war happens and you're the only survivor, and then you find a library so you can read as many books as you want, but then in a shocking ironic twist you break your glasses and can't read books anymore at all?
posted by burnmp3s at 9:24 AM on September 4, 2012 [15 favorites]


The categories are not very impressive - almost everyone should fit at least two or three of these stereotypes - but I still find myself looking for mine, trying to recognize my people.

...I guess I'll just have to stick with identifying as a "Librarian", then! (They had "The Critic" but not "The Librarian? Boo!)
posted by harujion at 9:24 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm the worst kind of reader, the one distracted by MetaFilter to the point of not finishing very many books these days anymore.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:25 AM on September 4, 2012


I guess I would classify myself as a S.A.I.N.T. reader (named after the robot from Short Circuit) - I used to read to Get More Input, but the internet has largely replaced that.
posted by muddgirl at 9:28 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am a combination bookbuster, bookophile, rereader, and compulsive. I need more words in my brain, I need them all the time, I need familiar stories to stick around like favorite old albums, and I need them all in super-hard-wearing library binding.

The spines must be cracked. I'm all chiropractic up in my bookshelves.
posted by cmyk at 9:35 AM on September 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Multi-Tasker or bust. People watch television in segments, so why not do the same for books?
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:36 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


A multitasker I guess, since I generally read a bunch of books at once and feel no obligation to finish any. I also have no qualms about quitting a book if it's not working for me and I actually take great pleasure in it. As fun as it is to pick up a new book, it's also pretty fun for me to stop reading one that's irking me. I get a physical thrill from putting down a bad book.
posted by Danila at 9:37 AM on September 4, 2012


I'm an Academic Reader. At home I've got a stack of books to read for pleasure, but I never get to them because I'm constantly reading for work.
posted by oddman at 9:41 AM on September 4, 2012


Because all fiction is purposeless, meaningless, and teaches nothing.

Sadly, I have been told almost exactly this by more than one "Conscientious Reader" type.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:42 AM on September 4, 2012


The Chronological Reader. Slow and steady wins the race, dear reader. You are the tortoise to the promiscuous reader's distracted-at-any-turn hare.

This is the best description of what I am, in that I tend to finish one book before I start another, but doesn't get that just-one-more-chapter, I'm-coming-to-bed-honey-I-promise fits that fiction can induce. Nor does it describe the compulsion to read something, anything, even the back of a cereal box at every opportunity.

Text Junkie is how I've always thought of it. I have no intention of ever getting "clean".
posted by bonehead at 9:44 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm just a social reader! I swear I can quit any time I want!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:44 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm a Delayed Onset Reader #1/Bookophile/Multi-Tasker/All-the-Timer. Or maybe an It's Complicated.
posted by Zed at 9:44 AM on September 4, 2012


I seem to have books on every flat surface in my apartment. They are all over the place, I have no more room and they're eating me alive! And yes, I am a "conscientious reader". As someone else here said, why read anything if you're not going to learn something new or enrich your mind?
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:01 AM on September 4, 2012


They don't have "The Binger". If I start a book, it must. be. finished. The same day, preferably. If it's too long, I will allow myself a few hours of sleep to dream about the plot and then back to work -- the book, and only that book, must be read until completion immediately.
posted by smidgen at 10:04 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Reductive though it is, I'm always happy to talk about reading habits for any reason. Too few people read.

50 Shades of Grey is a runaway blockbuster bestseller so popular that everyone's sick of hearing about it. It accomplished this feat by selling a record-breaking 765,000 copies over 2 months time.

By comparison, 3 million people watched the season premiere of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians." That's 4 times as many people, over just one hour.

I used to be a shotgun-style reader. I would buy 10 books at the used book store, and over the next 6 months I would read maybe 2 of them. But having bought a Kindle has changed me into a chronological reader.

Being able to buy the one book that I want to read right that moment, AT that moment, is an ability that still blows my mind.
posted by ErikaB at 10:04 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anti-Reader, Sleepy Bedtime Reader, Conscientious Reader.

^I guess being multiple parts automatically puts me as "It's Complicated."

I do have several caveats. As an "anti-reader," I don't say blog posts are "TL;DR" (after all...I am probably a writer of several TL;DR blogposts) -- rather, I much rather prefer short-form writing, including blog posts, articles, essays, short stories, novellas, etc., But when you bind it as a book, uggggggh.

Also, I know these (at least, anti-reader and conscientious) are like, the "worst" ones, and honestly, I don't try to be like that...I try to read fiction (short form is better, as alluded to above), but I can't help but feel like I would've gotten so much more if I read something non-fiction instead. And I know that there's a ton of stuff you can learn from fiction but...I dunno...it's different kinds of knowledge.
posted by subversiveasset at 10:07 AM on September 4, 2012


Because all fiction is purposeless, meaningless, and teaches nothing.

Nonsense. Everything I know about surviving the coming apocalypse, I learned from fiction.

I highly recommend The Girl who Owned a City as a primer, followed by Jean Auel's books, since she included a description of just about every stone age technology you could ever need.
posted by jb at 10:08 AM on September 4, 2012


Because all fiction is purposeless, meaningless, and teaches nothing.

No, only the good stuff.
posted by emjaybee at 10:12 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


And I know that there's a ton of stuff you can learn from fiction but...I dunno...it's different kinds of knowledge.

History and culture are both well-learned through fiction, provided that it is modern-style realistic/slice-of-life fiction (as opposed to pre-modern forms like epic fiction or theatrical fiction -- which are both great and you can learn a lot about the culture, but harder to learn from without lots interpretation).

I've seen both contemporary novels (i.e. novels written during the period under study or shortly thereafter) and modern historical novels (novels written much later) used by historians as teaching tools. You have to be careful and have the students think about the flaws in using fiction, but they are also excellent for quickly immersing a student in a radically different time and/or place and culture.
posted by jb at 10:15 AM on September 4, 2012


a description of just about every stone age technology you could ever need

Sex was a vital stone age technology, after all.
posted by Zed at 10:16 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because all fiction is purposeless, meaningless, and teaches nothing.
Sadly, I have been told almost exactly this by more than one "Conscientious Reader" type.
When you tell somebody that you only read non-fiction, they look at you like you have two heads. It's as though you might as well not read at all. There's a much greater prejudice against readers who choose not to read fiction than the other way about. I shan't link to the comment, but a question I asked a few weeks ago where I mentioned that I don't read fiction got a reply that it was, I paraphrase, "incomprehensible". And that was from a librarian!
posted by Jehan at 10:20 AM on September 4, 2012


I think I'm a Boy Scout reader; Be prepared! One paperback on the table by the sofa in the living room. One on the counter in the kitchen. Kindle on the nightstand, MP3 player with audiobooks in the car, a well-loved used book in my purse. At least one is guaranteed to be a re-read. Some are good books, some are trashy, some are bestsellers, some are Oprah best-sellers.

READ ALL THE THINGS.
posted by specialagentwebb at 10:22 AM on September 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've consciously altered my reading habits from time-to-time. For example - realized I had too many unfinished books lying around, resolved to finish (or ditch) one at a time. Wanted to start reading more non-fiction after realizing I'd been reading a lot of fiction. Do not immediately polish off every book I bring home. Bookophile with a dash of snob. Most of us are probably "it's complicated" - a lot of those are not mutually exclusive and may apply at different times.
posted by AppleSeed at 10:25 AM on September 4, 2012


I'm a Re-Reader and one of the Hopelessly Devoted... when an author's world makes me want to be there, I'll read everything they ever wrote over and over. A couple of my picks:
Fantasy--Diana Wynne Jones
Sci Fi--Arthur C Clarke, Ted Chiang (thank you metafilter)
Non-fiction--Mary Roach

My only (small) regret is that I don't read new-to-me authors very often
posted by Baethan at 10:30 AM on September 4, 2012



I'm mostly a conscientious, it's complicated reader, though I don't like the description given for conscientious. It sound rather pretentious. It's not that I never read novels or think they're not worthwhile, I just read what I'm interested in and most of it falls into a non-fiction category. It's not like non-fiction can't be fluffy and light entertainment, like a fun novel can be. "The Idiot Girls' Action Adventure Club" (one book on my reader) is hardly going to provide me with a great learning experience. My life is sure better and meaningful now that I just finished a biography of Gordon Ramsey. lol
posted by Jalliah at 10:51 AM on September 4, 2012


It seems like there's a terrible load of shit novels these days. The critics rave about something, I try it, nine times out of ten it's shit.

... and Sturgeon's Law is once again verified.
posted by Killick at 10:53 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


There should be a Displaced Reader, for someone who focuses their reading on a previous era. I go through long phases like this, where I only read fiction published between 1930 and 1945 for example, or only Victorian pulp, etc. It's a kind of deep escapism, like Doctor Who.
posted by Malla at 11:11 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Only Doctor Who novelisations by Terrance Dixks, in order to recreate summer of 1982, possibly read in a field on a sunny day while eating crisps and drinking Ribena.
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on September 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


"When you tell somebody that you only read non-fiction, they look at you like you have two heads. It's as though you might as well not read at all."

I have a friend who never read at all -- used to say books were boring -- and at the age of 35 he discovered narrative non-fiction and now he's constantly reading Neil DeGrasse Tyson or books about baseball history or biographies of presidents or what have you.

He says, delightedly, "I didn't know books could be ABOUT things!"

I think it's very charming. Although I'm a little taken aback that he could go through that many years of education and never have been exposed to non-fiction.

His wife, who's a huge reader, says she a little bit misses when he didn't read, because now he's always interrupting her to tell her things he's just learned.

I actually know a lot of adults who don't read fiction as adults. They appreciate what fiction can do, but they aren't interested in this stage of their life interested in imaginary worlds when they have so much to learn about this one. They often tend to be big readers of pop science, biography, or history (maybe that's just the sorts of people I know).

As for types, I am methodical but tend to read several books at the same time. I may interrupt one with another but then I go right back and finish the first one. My husband is a bookophile/delayed reader and it makes me CRAZY. It's one thing to have books you've never gotten around to reading and they've been sitting there ten years. It's another thing to have MORE BOOKS THAN YOU CAN POSSIBLY FINISH IN YOUR LIFE and STILL BE ACQUIRING more and then tell your wife, "Ooooh, That Book, I really want to read That Book" and then she gets you That Book for Christmas and it sits on your end table for SIX YEARS while you just keep acquiring more books to not read and then complaining you have nothing to read BECAUSE IT WILL MAKE HER STABBY.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:58 AM on September 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


The All-the-Timer/Compulsive/Voracious/Anything Goes Reader

That would be me. I have to read, no matter what else I'm doing at the time. (The only exception I can think of is driving, and it's really hard to resist picking up the Kindle when I'm stuck in traffic or at a long light.) I use Dr. Bronner's soap just so that I have something to read while I'm in the shower.
posted by Daily Alice at 11:59 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's one thing to have books you've never gotten around to reading and they've been sitting there ten years. It's another thing to have MORE BOOKS THAN YOU CAN POSSIBLY FINISH IN YOUR LIFE and STILL BE ACQUIRING more and then tell your wife, "Ooooh, That Book, I really want to read That Book" and then she gets you That Book for Christmas and it sits on your end table for SIX YEARS while you just keep acquiring more books to not read and then complaining you have nothing to read BECAUSE IT WILL MAKE HER STABBY.

In some ways ebooks make that better, in other ways worse... The distance between needing something and shoving it in a pile to be ignored is shorter, but hey! The pile is virtual and takes up no space.
posted by Artw at 12:02 PM on September 4, 2012


I just wanted to pet the books, George.
posted by book 'em dano at 12:10 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


a description of just about every stone age technology you could ever need

Sex was a vital stone age technology, after all.
posted by Zed at 1:16 PM on September 4 [1 favorite +] [!]


That, too, but the books I read had 5-10 pages of flint-knapping to every one of sex. Not to mention the herbology, hunting, cooking and other technologies.
posted by jb at 12:18 PM on September 4, 2012


I'm a Deadline reader. I can only finish books that are due back at the library soon. Books I own, I never finish.
posted by MtDewd at 12:59 PM on September 4, 2012


incandissonance: "“Once you label me you negate me.”
― Søren Kierkegaard
"

I think that was Dick van Patten.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:04 PM on September 4, 2012


I tend to fall into the Delayed Onset Reader #1 category, with a good helping of Sleepy Bedtime Reader. I tend to read voraciously on holidays because suddenly I have a lot of free time. I read mostly only around bedtime during the rest of the year.
posted by asnider at 1:11 PM on September 4, 2012


I am definitely a Multi-Tasker, though I desperately want to be a Chronological Reader.
posted by zardoz at 1:53 PM on September 4, 2012


Hmm, cross under book swagger critic, aka book blogger. But really, I'm a specialist. I have probably read every YA sci-fi book you can think of (and those I haven't, I still have opinions about, somehow) but trying to get me to read anything else these days is nigh-on impossible. The TBR pile must be obeyed!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:51 PM on September 4, 2012


I'm a reader who should close this tab and go continue reading Earthsea already.
posted by ersatz at 4:26 PM on September 4, 2012


I'm a reader who is terrorized by her to-read pile. I used to be a strictly chronological reader when I was a kid: I acquired books with my allowance or borrowed them from the library, and read through the little pile of books until I finished them, at which point I sought out more. Even when I had more spending money in high school, I still more or less kept to this method, with maybe five books at most hanging around as books to-be-read at some point. Upon getting a job and an income independent from my parents, and having to budget time for my hundreds of pages of reading for college classes, I suddenly became one of those people who buy tons of books that just sit there in piles waiting to be read. Now I have digital and physical piles of books waiting to be read. I thought keeping an honest to god list of these books on Goodreads would keep me honest, but it just leads me to flee from the list in terror and two-time on it with whatever other book catches my fancy. I think there are books from as far back as 2007 on my to-read list. Too many books, not enough time.
posted by yasaman at 4:37 PM on September 4, 2012


At the moment I'm reading all the Discworld novels. What kind of reader does that make me: turnwise or widdershins?
posted by ocherdraco at 5:48 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am actually a Cat. I spend more time laying on the floor than is reasonable for an adult.
posted by stoneandstar at 6:36 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Compulsive, chronological, voracious--leave me without a book to the point where I start jonesing, and things will get ugly.

Although I have some books that are compulsive rereads in between. Discworld series being one of them.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:50 PM on September 4, 2012


A nice clean floor is a great place to read.
posted by jb at 8:09 PM on September 4, 2012


But I never learned to read! :(
posted by Pyrogenesis at 1:40 AM on September 5, 2012


I'm a compulsive, omnivourous reader: no audio books for me, it's all about the written word --- and thank goodness for my Kindle, because I already live with +/- 4000 books, and I've long imagined I'll die trapped underneath when some of those stacks topple over on me.

I only hope the book that falls on my face, falls open and right-side-up, so I can go out the way I've spent my life: reading.
posted by easily confused at 7:55 AM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Critic and multitasker. Recovering book owner - well, down to 3k books in print. Feels like nothing.
posted by doctornemo at 8:08 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Where is the Guilty ADHD reader?
posted by benbenson at 8:52 AM on September 5, 2012


The sleepy bedtime chronological reader.
posted by howling fantods at 10:18 AM on September 5, 2012


Just saw the second list. Make that the hopelessly devoted sleepy bedtime chronological reader.
posted by howling fantods at 10:20 AM on September 5, 2012


...serially promiscuous bedtime, car trip, breakfast table reader. I bend paperbacks. I ignore genre. About four years ago I loaded several thousand books into back of my truck--a few dozen cardboard boxes full--and took them to the Barnes & Noble in Portland, where I converted them into a little plastic card that lasted about six months before zeroing out.

I regret having sold a few of them. For example, that Gardner Dozois series, Year's Best Science Fiction....I had the first 23 years. Gone. Gone. I kept the PK Dick collection, though. They'll have to pry that out of my cold dead hands.

You gotta kiss a lot of frogs, so to speak, to get a good book. I'm willing to overlook a few excesses for a good tale.
posted by mule98J at 10:32 AM on September 5, 2012


I'm definitely an "It's complicated" reader

I would bet 90% of us describes ourselves thusly. I think they just threw that one in, so we all wouldn't say "hey, none of these are me!"

I kept the PK Dick collection, though. They'll have to pry that out of my cold dead hands.

By the way, here's a bunch of Philip K. Dick epubs/pdfs I just found: It's actually the first Google result for "Radio Free Albemuth" epub ... the Internet is winning!
posted by mrgrimm at 12:01 PM on September 5, 2012


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