How do you read?
What format do you most prefer? Do you have a secondary format?
These days, most avid readers have found a use for e-books -- travel being the number one reason -- but generally prefer print. But some people read only e-books, and some only print.
Many people listen to audiobooks in their car or during their commutes, often listening to one book and reading another. Some people are audio only, especially now that most audiobooks are available digitally.
One book at a time, two books, multiple?
Every day, or how many days per week? What time of day?
Where? Bed, couch, outside in good weather?
How long do you give a book that you don't care for -- how many pages or chapters? (Please don't say you force yourself to read books you don't like! Life's too short and there are too many better books for you!)
Do you ever go back to a book you didn't like... and does your opinion ever change?
* * * *
This is on my mind because my reading habits have suddenly changed. I've been a voracious reader my whole life, and in my late 50s, I am suddenly reading differently.
After a lifetime of reading one book at a time, I now find myself cycling back and forth between one nonfiction and one fiction, or sometimes two nonfiction and one fiction. I don't know why, but suddenly having more books on the go is helping me read more.
I've been walking on the treadmill a lot, and have started to read lighter fiction (which for me means a crime or detective novel) while walking to nowhere. Ticking two boxes at the same time, how great is that! This week I'm going to try reading nonfiction on the treadmill. I'm skeptical but I might as well try it.
Another change: series. I never read series. If a series sounds interesting, I would often read the first book to get a taste, and stop there. There are just too many books I want to read to get stuck in a series. Plus, I find the writing quality of most genre books disappointing at best, and I never bothered to search for higher-quality series among them.
Over the last few years, I've been reading the Wallander series by Henning Mankell. I loved the TV adaptations, so I tried the books and was very pleasantly surprised. I read them in between heavy nonfiction tomes, over the course of several years. (I do the same with YA.)
Now, on advice from a friend, I've discovered the Martin Beck series by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, a married-couple writing team with an abundance of umlauts. This is said to be the original Nordic Noir; I'm really enjoying them. Allan reads the Parker series by the great Donald Westlake, writing as Richard Stark. These books are crime potato chips -- fast, delicious and completely addictive -- and I plan to go for those, too. I'll probably read them in random order, in between other books. The recent death of John Le Carré made me think of reading the George Smiley series. I read a few as a teenager, and think I would really enjoy them now, so I threw them on The List.
This is very strange to me! How can I suddenly be reading series?!
Like most avid readers, I mostly read print, but sometimes read e-books. They're great for travel, or for a portable version of a giant tome that I can't carry around, or when lighting is poor. I read e-books on my phone.
However, unlike most people I know, I cannot listen to audiobooks (or podcasts). I simply cannot concentrate. I either end up thinking of something else, or if I'm in a car, watching the scenery, and end up missing big chunks of the story. On our drive from Ontario to BC, we had a few audiobooks and radio interviews lined up. If Allan was driving, they just put me to sleep.
As for when and how often, for many decades I read in bed before sleep, but fibromyalgia made me give that up. I also read on the subway... but moving to the suburbs made me give that up! After these changes, I was always dissatisfied that I wasn't reading enough.
Now in my intentionally less-busy lifestyle, I've made reading part of my personal habits checklist (my stripped-down version of a bullet journal). I try to read for an hour or so after dinner, and always on the weekend. I usually read four or five times per week, but adding treadmill time has increased this. I also try to read on my lunch or dinner breaks, but usually end up playing games on my phone.
I usually read sitting at a table, with the book flat in front of me. In nice weather, I read on the deck or previously, in the backyard. (This is the best part of living in a house rather than an apartment.) If I'm reading an e-book at home, I prefer the couch, in the dark.