We talk about books all the time (as we should), but hardly ever about the act of reading and the different ways we do it.
The first time C came over to my place, he did first what most readers and writers do first: He checked out my books. (The readers and writers who don't do this either aren't in possession of the guts or are afraid, believe me. Be insulted if a potential suitor or friend neglects your shelves.) After awhile, I caught him peeking in a box in the closet, then under the bed. "What are you looking for?" I finally asked. "It's just ... " He paused. "Where are your bad books?" I had to laugh, I didn't have any. I'm the kind of reader who doesn't read bad books.
Now, I realize we could dispute what a bad book is, but I'm going to leave that for another day and pretend we all agree. (For instance, I'm currently reading Holly Black's new book Valiant, which is marketed as young adult AND has faeries in it. Some of you probably think you know what kind of book this is from those details or the fact that there's an ae in the spelling of fairies. You don't. It's dark, new, honest.)
I'm fascinated by how my reading habits have changed over the yars and how they've stayed constant. So, here's the kind of reader I am.
I'm the kind of reader who reads at lunch and before bed. When I have to stop reading even though I don't want to, I keep telling myself the story in the interim, until I can pick up the book again and find out what really happened. I sometimes feel guilty when I'm reading because I'm not writing, even though I know most writers read way more than they write. I have been known to judge a book by the first sentence (bad days) or paragraph (more generous but still bad days). And I'm always a hard judge of the last sentence. I hate the kind of book you can forget having read. I no longer read books I don't want to. I don't feel guilty about not reading them either. I don't even feel guilty anymore for not finishing a book that just isn't cutting it. But I always finish a book I'm into before I start the next one, as a matter of professional courtesy. Every book seems like an unbelievably complex and rich possibility before I crack the spine. Every book has the potential to be The One (which, in bookland, really doesn't exist).
Most of all, I'm the kind of reader who is still and always utterly disappointed when I'm not completely, immediately engrossed by a book.
I could go on, but I won't.
So. What kind of reader are you?