Saturday, May 14, 2005

When you have books, you don't need friends.

Gwenda's post at the LBC about reading habits got me wondering about the correlation between the type of reader you are and the type of socializer you are.

For example, Gwenda, who doesn't read books she doesn't want to and always finishes one book before starting another one, might be a fiercely loyal friend who doesn't brook any nonsense from people she doesn't like. Another commenter, who "lets the brilliant nonfiction he asked for for Christmas pile up on the coffee table while he dawdles over old favorites," might enjoy meeting new people but not forging new friendships. Somebody who always donates her books to the library after buying and reading them is probably the kind of pragmatic, unselfish person that I always wish I were.

What kind of reader am I? I rarely pick up books on impulse anymore; they always have to be touted and recommended by a reputable source before I decide to read them. However, once I decide to read something, I always finish it, unless it completely fails at what it tries to do (e.g. humor books that aren't funny). I always read at least three or four or five books at once - I'm pretty good at keeping plotlines in my head, and it's fun to be able to make connections not only within the novel but with other novels. Also, I'd get bored with only one book.

I'd rather read a book twice than read it once slowly. I'm really antsy near the beginnings and ends of books; I always miss lots of things in those spots. The books that grab my attention from the start (a.k.a. "frontloaders") rarely live up to their promise. Perhaps that's why I don't pay much attention to openings - I'm more eager to see how it'll all pan out.

I love the feeling you get when you finish a good book. It's like a sense of victory at having finished it + a sense of defeat at not having even begun to understand all of it + a renewed sense of wonderment, just in general. Often, it's really difficult for me to know what I think of a book until it's over and it either gives me the feeling or it doesn't.