Friday, February 27, 2009


Since I joined several reading challenges for this year, I am a lot more aware of what other people are reading and it has made me curious about why people read and why they read what they read.

I read because I can't not read. I read whatever is in my line of vision: boxes, pamphlets, signs, magazines, newspapers, bumper stickers, Twitter feeds, etc. When I get a chance I read books, and compared to most people I read a lot of books.

The thing that I don't understand is the people who read tons of books, two, three, four times as many as I read, but they read romances. They read nothing other than what I call junk books. Really, I have nothing against junk books. Sometimes that's all my brain can take, but I try not to over do it. There are so many excellent books to read that it seems a shame to waste the time on the print equivalent of potato chips.

So, if you are a reader, what do you read? How do you decide what to read?

I have to be in the right mood for a particular book. Right now I'm in the middle of a major non-fiction streak, but I can feel it waning and I'm in the middle of a couple of books that may be set aside for a while so I can scratch the next mental itch. This makes reading library books difficult. What I'm in the mood for on Monday, may look totally uninteresting by Friday. Maybe this is part of my ADD? Does anyone else do this?


Emily said...

I have a huge stack of library books right now. My sister commented, and I found this to be true, that I only want to read a book in one sitting. When that doesn't happen with non-fiction, I find it hard to go back and get into that frame of mind again. I can't read fiction for that reason, because the story makes me finish it, and I go completely AWOL from the rest of my life.

Jane said...

LOL! Yes.

The Parson's Wife said...

Hmmm, I just don't get that "mental itch". I read for enjoyment, a way to get away from everyday. Not so much romance but like "Christian Fluff" Philip Gulley Books, and the Sisterchick books, Mitford was a bit slow, but I mad it through. I am reading Twilight books now... not really liking them, but trying to relate to the fad. (They are easy to speed read.) I really like Lisa Samson's writing as well. You challenge me to think outside of my box, and for that I am thankful. Danielle seems to have that "mental itch" you talk of and really tries to get me into classics. Funny how that didn't come from me... the reading.

Nancy said...

I like "character-driven" novels (which usually end up being mystery) and books that make me think (as opposed to being forced to think); also, books with good vocabulary, so I don't feel "talked down to." I listen to books constantly in my car. As for mental scratching, I've been doing that all my life, which is why my students keep asking me how come I know "everything." Ha-ha!

Kim said...

I predominately read junk books, they are an escape. Some people use shopping, TV, or DVDs; I use books. I started out reading "hysterical historicals", historical romances that don't take themselves seriously. I moved on to paranormal romances and mysteries, and have even ventured into straight mysteries.

I do read non-fiction books once in awhile but most of the time they are too depressing.

Whenever I find myself getting down I can pick up a fun book and I feel a bit better.

Debbie Theiss said...

Classical good writers. I do have a slight tendency toward theology. I am trying to get back to reading the classics. Lynea spurs me on! I usually have a stack in the den, and one in the bedroom. IF I had the time, I would sit down and read a whole book in one sitting. I did that as a teenager, and covet the day when I can do that again. Hopefully, I won't be too old, and fall asleep while trying!! :-)

GreenJello said...

I prefer non-fiction, but will read a good fiction book upon recommendation.

I just don't have time to read. :(

Maybe if I got a Kindle, that would change...

Becky said...

I'm afraid I'm rather like an recovering alcoholic, when it comes to semi-high quality fiction (Anne Perry and Martha Grimes mysteries, authors like Sue Monk Kidd--well, at least "Bees"--stuff like that: if I let myself check these out it's like falling OFF the wagon. I go on a bender and disappear entirely until the last drops are drained, no matter how long it takes.

Then, I come to, blinking my eyes, suddenly aware of my surroundings, to see a circle of sorrowful faces and reproachful eyes.."Why are you ignoring us?!!"

Non-fiction (culinary history/food politics, travel essays, anything about gardening, especially) doesn't suck me down the Black Hole as thoroughly, so I tend to read more of that than I used to read.

And most classics are..uhm..pithy, so it takes more effort to read and comprehend them, and thus I'm less likely to drink myself insensible quite so easily, either. ;-)