How do you read books?

Posted on February 3, 2010. Filed under: Books, reading, Style | Tags: , , , , |

Instead of talking about Twilight and all the ways ‘Twihards’ are making me angry, I thought I’d try a new tack. So today let’s talk books. Specifically let’s talk how we read.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Most people pick books up, start at the beginning and read through to the end.

I don’t.

Let’s just say that I’m an end-reader. It’s not on purpose, either. As a matter of course, I know some people will pick books out in the bookstores or libraries, read the back cover, and then flip through to the end to see what the ending is. My great-granny was one of those, and I blame her for my peculiarities.

See, my problem isn’t that I want to know the ending before I read the rest of the book. It’s just that I have relatively little self-discipline when it comes to books. I’m afraid I’m way past the days when I could stay up all night reading without feeling ashamed of the lapse the next morning, but at the same time, I get so excited about reading that I just have to know what comes next!

So what do I do? Many times I’ll tell myself I’m stopping at the end of this one chapter and headed to bed or off to work or whatever task awaits me. When I get to the end of said chapter, I find myself torn, unable to resist the pull to see what’s coming up next. I flip just a few pages, ignoring the beginnings of the next chapter, and look ahead to the next scenes.

The next thing I know two hours have passed and I now know how the book ends because I’ve managed to read all the way (sparingly–meaning without reading every word) to the end.

Some people (my mother included) find this practice abhorrent. But, ironically, it doesn’t leave me wanting to stop reading. In fact, it makes it a little bit easier to go back and really read the book. I pick up on little details I normally wouldn’t have and find myself just as enthralled as if I never read the ending in the first place.

And apparently this little quirk of mine is no respecter of genres because I do it to all books. (This is why, unfortunately, I know the endings to a number of books on my current to-read list, actually. Shh! Don’t tell anyone!)

Is anyone else plagued in this way? I can’t imagine I’m the only one out there who does this. I’d honestly like to quit, but it’s become almost a habit. I can read a good book for a couple of days and not flip ahead, but eventually it becomes too much to bear, and my hands start moving before I really realize what I’m doing.

So with that said, does anyone have any tips and tricks on quitting? I’d love to hear them! And while we’re at it, how do you read books? Any quirks like mine out there? Feel free to comment and let me know!



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5 Responses to “How do you read books?”

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This is how I read MOST books. There are a few where I start getting concerned that they may kill off a child or something. So those books I’ll skip to the end and if they do kill off someone I love I admit I don’t finish the book. If they don’t I go back and read it lol. I also have a tendency to just scan a page if it’s particularly boring

I read books front to back. I don’t go to the end, because I don’t want to spoil the ending. Sorry.

That said, I have stayed up late or even all night a couple times reading because I couldn’t put a book down. I can’t do that now, of course, but before I had my son I did it fairly frequently.

As far as *how* I read, whether for plot or prose, it honestly depends on the book. ‘Moby Dick’ is so beautifully written, I savor every word. But Heinlein, while he writes extremely well (depending on the decade-lol) his plots are what drives me. I don’t linger over every word like I would with Hemingway or Melville. And some are just fun, and I reread them so many times because they are so well written that my attention is equally divided between the prose itself and the plot (like ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’).

You’re doing great for NaBloPoMo btw!

I am starting a new book called The Naked Christian by Craig Borlase. I am going to be blogging all about it. Come check out what I have written so far @ .

It is called self-discipline. It really does ruin the book for me if I know how it ends. I guess I am a suspense junkie. I love the suspense so much that I sometimes am actually quite sad when I get to the end of a particularly good book.

Guess that’s why I’m blogging this month, Mom. LOL. I’m learning some serious self-discipline! Go me!

And I do understand the suspense junkie stuff. For me it’s just a bit different. Oh well… too each his own.

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