Do you feel compelled to finish a book you’ve started, no matter how you feel about it? Or maybe you read a chapter or two and put it aside in search of the perfect read. You might be more of a window shopper, grabbing titles that look or sound good, but never finding the time to read all your treasured finds. I understand. I have a confession to make. Sometimes I engage in three-ways, four-ways, or even orgies of reading, in which there are so many books that I’ve started, frankly, I might not even be keeping track. Please don’t judge me (you know what they say about people who live in glass houses). Remember, for as many books there are in existence, there is also any number of different reading personalities a book lover might demonstrate. What kind are you?
1. The Ridiculing Reader. When you read a review, you find yourself scratching your head trying to figure out if you read the same book as the other reviewers. Five stars? Seriously? You shout to anyone listening about how the author can’t put two sentences together properly, or that the book is dragging hopelessly in the middle, and what kind of plot twist is that? These characters are so poorly drawn it’s comical! You call that a conclusion? If you are a ridiculing reader you will finish each read down to its very last word, and you may even close the covers and toss the volume across the room, but you will do it with a great, secret frisson of satisfaction because it feels so good. You may be an aspiring, disgruntled novelist yourself. Suggested ridiculing reads: Twilight; Fifty Shades of Grey; Divergent; any much-celebrated novelist’s latest offering that’s bound to be arguably less than all the hype.
2. The Pathological Reader. The joy is in the journey. You prefer to savor every moment with a good book. Once you find an author you can connect with, you will read each and every title until you’ve exhausted their collection (preferable read in the same order they were written, of course). You might discard a book, but only if there is very good cause, and it will bring you a sense of deep unease, so you’ll give the author a mulligan and try the next title. . Suggested pathological reads: Crichton, Cornwell, Sparks, Christie, King.
3. The Wandering Eye. If someone asks you what you’re currently reading, would they get a list of titles rather than just one? If so, you might actually be a promiscuous reader. It’s not that you don’t love your books. In truth, you love them all equally. You might have one book on your Kindle that you read occasionally. There might be a hardcover book sitting on the table beside your bed. You may have a third or fourth paperback in your purse or backpack waiting to be finished. Do you confuse characters or plots? Perhaps. The point is, you’re not ready for a book commitment just yet, and you’re doing a brilliant job dating them all in the meantime. Suggested wandering eye reads: Short story and essay collections, novellas, blogs.
4. The Book-Buster. Do you have so many books that it’s been suggested that rent a storage unit to contain them all? Does the idea of parting with a beloved book cause you hyperventilate? Are there books in every nook and cranny of your home? You are a destroyer of books, but you love them so. You just want to hug the books, squeeze them tighter and tighter, you adore them so much that you really don’t know you’re hurting them. You take your books in the bath or out into the sun and their pages bleach away to nothing, but you keep them anyway, because they are books and you love books. Suggested book-buster reads: Whatever you like, but buy a Kindle.
5. The Bibliophile. Books aren’t just mean for reading, they’re meant for appreciating, especially the old ones. Have you ever removed a book jacket because you prefer to look at the binding? Your books are not only chosen for their literary enjoyment, but also for their aesthetic value. You like books rescued from the street as much as signed first editions. You just like books. To you, they are an object of beauty, and you would never, ever hurt them in any way. Suggested bibliophile reads: Anything you can get your hands on. God, that’s gorgeous, isn’t it?
6. The Cross-Under. There was a time when adults shopping in the Young Adult section of the book store would be greeting with looks of concern, but those days are long gone. There is a place for you in society, finally. For you, there is an intensity of first time experiences — there’s something about the heightened emotions and this-moment-defines-who-I-am consequences that just feels satisfying. Suggested cross-under reads: Collins, Rowling, Alexie, Chbosky, Lowry.
7. The Nocturnal Reader. Do you own a book light so you can read with the lights out? Is late at night the only time you have for reading? Have you ever fallen asleep with a book in your hand? If you are a true nocturnal reader, you have stayed up all night more than once because you couldn’t put down a good book. But it was worth it, it’s always worth it. There is no one to witness your agony when you cry, except for the characters with whom you are becoming quite close. Suggested nocturnal reads: Whatever you like, just sit in a chair—unless you like falling asleep with a book on your face.
8. The Book Snob. You are hard to impress. You only read books that are well reviewed by critics that you have determined to be of the highest caliber. You would never stoop to read something on a best-seller list, or something sold in a discount department store. Paperbacks offend you; you only touch hardcover—preferably, award-winning in some form or fashion. Suggested book snob reads: Pulitzer nominees, even if no Pulitzer was awarded.
9. The Evaluator. Do you find deep meaning and metaphors for life in the pages of your favorite reads? Do you find yourself discussing plot points in your everyday conversations? You most likely adore a spectacular conclusion. You also take great pride in finding a unique read and waste no time in selling its value to anyone who will listen. But especially, you love something that you can sink your teeth into and discuss, but only with those of a similar intellectual bent. You love book clubs and might even have been the one to start one in your neighborhood. Suggested evaluator reads: Janet Malcolm’s The Journalist and the Murderer; anything by Haruki Murakami.
10. The Bandwagon Reader. Do you ask scores of people to make a book suggestion before buying a book? You listen to everyone, from your best friend to the person standing in line at the supermarket. And you believe them all. You camp out at the shelves of “Recommended Reads” in your favorite book store. Suggested bandwagon reads: Cheryl Strayed’s Wild; Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue; Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman; Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Just because a lot of people recommend them doesn’t mean they’re not great!
I’m sure I missed more than a few archetypes. Have you identified yourself yet?