August 23, 2007

Confessions of a Bibliophile

I love books. This should come as no surprise to any of you. Books are made of paper, glue and ink but they're so much more than the sum of their parts. Each book is mysterious like that. Books, I am convinced, are a dimension in and of themselves. You can open a book - made of that paper, glue and ink - and find yourself lost in an entirely new world, and entirely different time.

While I acknowledge that I am, perhaps, not quite the norm, I was surprised to see the results of a recent poll.

According to the study, somewhere around 25 percent of us haven't cracked a book in the last year. Women average around nine books per year, men around five. Older folks read a little bit more and Democrats also slightly outpace Republicans. Yet despite the general apathy, book sales were up this past year...by a whopping one percent.

Like I said, I'm a lot more hardcore than a lot of other folks. We're all different and some people just don't like reading. I'm cool with that. But not reading at all? I just don't get that.

Over the past year, I've parted covers on 75 different books. And if I didn't have books to read, I'd read magazines, newspapers, candy wrappers and cereal boxes. It's a compulsion but one that's taught me about the war in Iraq, allowed me to solve crimes, taken me to far off lands and places, and informed me just how much manganese I should be eating.

Do you read? If so, what? And what are your favorites?


Posted by Chris at August 23, 2007 7:04 AM
Comments

I was shocked to see the results of that study too, although I shouldn't have because I don't think my husband would read a book unless he was forced to. He just doesn't enjoy it. He reads magazines, newspapers and work related materials, but not books.

I thought I was the only person who read the back of cereal boxes! lol!

When I was little and I had no new books to read I would read my dads Popular Mechanics and my moms Readers Digest. I can't imagine life without reading. I would rather read than just about anything else. A bookstore is my idea of a heavenly afterlife.

Posted by: Lisa at August 23, 2007 7:38 AM

My wife and I are both avid readers and I'm sure that it will transfer to our kids as well, just by contact with us.

Although I lean towards the fiction genres (primarily science fiction), I also enjoy well-written biographies and historical accounts. I think reading outside one genre is a must; I never realized how many allusions to the classics I face in every day life until I took it upon myself to read one of the classics for every 3-4 "fun" novels.

Posted by: Ross at August 23, 2007 7:59 AM

i've always been a reader. i read probably a book or more a week (depending on the genre, my favorite being historical fiction). back in college i would read scifi/fantasy books to the point where i would have to take a break so the author could finish writing the next one in a series. i love re-reading books and rediscovering places and people. my husband has never been much of a reader but since the beginning of the year he's read tons of chapter books to our son - swiss family robinson, the hobbit, lotr, etc. i never say no to buying my son a book, he'll get denied for toys and nick-nacks but there's always money for a book.

Posted by: monique at August 23, 2007 8:16 AM

I'm a reader. I have been since I was about 4. I read a novel a week, sometimes 2. Mostly bestsellers and suspence fiction. I don't understand non-readers either. (my son among them, go figure) I also have a little magazine addiction. To the tune of a dozen every month. I figure it's cheaper than smoking!

A fun thing for you: www.librarything.com. You can catalog everything you read, even putting a side-bar on your blog. It's on my blog if you want to give it a gander. :)

Posted by: Christy at August 23, 2007 8:39 AM

Let's see, I read an average of 1.5 to 2 books a week, 3 if I've picked easy ones. That's a heck of a lot more than 9 a year!

I'll read anything and everything. Recommend it to me, and I'll have it next trip to the store or library. Romance, chick lit, horror, science fiction, the classics, murder and detective mysteries, modern novels, beach reads, non-fiction, true crime, anything. I'm currently working my way through all of the novels Chris Bojhalian has written, and I'm enjoying all of them.

Posted by: Alissa at August 23, 2007 8:47 AM

lets just say we were a household without a tv until i was 12... my brother and i belonged to 2 bookclubs and we read everything we could get our hands on...been an avid reader ever since! i was very upset when my mom sold our "companion library" books (2 books in 1 like black beauty/call of the wild)... one of my absolute favorites as a kid was Mrs Coverlets Magicians (which i find interesting is STILL out there some 40 years later!) and i have read The mists of Avalon and the Lord of the rings twice each.... i like me a good book... doesn't matter the genre... someone suggests it... i read it!

Posted by: the unicorn at August 23, 2007 8:49 AM

It also caused you to spend Mother's Day breakfast sitting reading the paper while Mia and I talked amongst ourselves. So, maybe not always a beneficial obsession.

Posted by: Mrs. Cactus at August 23, 2007 8:52 AM

Oh yeah, I read, and have from a very young age. I probably read 1-2 books a month on average, however there have been months when I've read 4-5. I'll read pretty much anything unless it's written exceptionally poorly. I've been getting into more non-fiction, but I still like my detective mysteries, romance, cereal boxes and catalogs.

Here is a list of what I've read this year so far (that I can remember)...Reading List

Posted by: Amy at August 23, 2007 8:52 AM

Haha! Cereal boxes... I read them even when I'm not the one eating the cereal... As for books, I cycle between non-fiction, technical stuff-I-want-to-learn, and slightly off the beaten path fiction. One of the most interesting lately was Snowflower and the Secret Fan (footbinding eeew), and the latest was the new Harry Potter (yes I admit it, what of it??)...

Posted by: KT at August 23, 2007 8:57 AM

Are you on goodreads.com? Let me know what email address you're using if you are. I love it.

Posted by: Leah at August 23, 2007 8:58 AM

Harder to read now with kiddos. But, I'm trying. Currently TRYING to get through The Man Who Ate Everything...But it's been many, many years since college chemistry and I just wanted to read a FOOD book for chrissakes...sigh.

Once a year I always read: Oh the Places You'll Go, The Giving Tree, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands and All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

Posted by: Pammer at August 23, 2007 9:01 AM

I use to love to read but... Now I find myself either, without time, or too lazy. That, and I find myself having trouble getting into books.

I love Harry Potter. I love the Buffy the Vampire Slayer books. And, although I'm probably too old for them, I still love the teenager style books. That's where I shop if I'm going to buy something. I don't do sci-fi books, and I find myself having trouble getting into the "adult" books. So that's probably my other problem, I'm at an awkward stage, where I can't find books.

Posted by: Secha at August 23, 2007 9:01 AM

Blogs! Like you and The Fish's!!! LOL

Posted by: Maribeth at August 23, 2007 9:01 AM

I've been a reader since I was 5. If the folks were too busy to read me a bedtime story, I figured I needed to learn to read it myself. I usually lean toward scifi/fantasy, but a little while ago I decided to go back and re-read the books we were assigned in high school. I wanted to enjoy them for what they were, and not over analyze for a class. These days, I intermix a classic between every 2 "fun" books. I'm currenly enjoying Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls". And yes, I have been known to read mattress tags if there was nothing else available before bedtime.

Posted by: J at August 23, 2007 9:10 AM

Yep, reader--and 5 classes away from a MA in K-6 literacy. I have taken somewhat of a hiatus and slowed down in recent years as I have been a voracious reader since catching the "reading bug" when I was 9 (used to save up allowance and babysitting money to buy books!) and reading tons of classics throughout high school and my undergrad (English major). I prefer mostly fiction, but also read magazines, newspapers, and blogs.

Posted by: Liz at August 23, 2007 9:10 AM

We are big readers in our family. At our weekly Saturday library day, we usually get 10 books a piece. I've been reading like this since I was a kid. I "HAVE" to read. I'm reading cereal boxes too! And shampoo bottles and magazines etc... It's a compulsion and a love! I've even been known to read in the shower, much to my husbands chagrin! My husband has always been a reader but he has read much more this year due to commuting to work on mass transit. Our daughter is hopefully picking it up!

Posted by: tulip at August 23, 2007 9:18 AM

Avid reader here, too. I think that's how I got such bad eyesight was sneakily reading late at night by the light of either a.) the streetlight on the corner shining in the window or b.) the light of the electric blanket control. I read anywhere from one a day to one a week and rarely does a book take me longer. I had to make a new years resolution a few years back to quit buying them and to visit my local library more... but I still buy a few (shhhh). I like mostly mystery and suspense and fiction that keeps me thinking, but have been known to read everything and anything when I am in a pinch. I am famous for always having a book with me - even just to run an errand, because you just never know when you are going to have a long train to wait for!

Strangly enough, Hubs has only read maybe 5 books his whole life. He reads the newspaper and some magazines, but books? nope. Yet? We manage to carry on civil conversations.

Although I read to my children all the time, and we always had books around for them to read (thank you Scholastic Reading Club!) they didn't all become avid readers. A couple of them did, so I figure I got half the 'crop'... :)

Posted by: sue at August 23, 2007 9:32 AM

I know people who never crack a book, or read maybe one a year. I don't understand it either! In fact, this year is the first year I've seen my own husband read more than one book.

I blame part of my obsession with my inability to wait patiently. If I'm sitting somewhere waiting for something, it drives me crazy to not have something to occupy me! I'm up to 91 books this year (which you probably know, title-stealer! ;) ) and I just seem to read more every year. I expect that will slow down once I have kids, but I also expect that I will master the art of holding my child with one hand and a book with the other.

I mostly read fiction with no redeeming value whatsoever, but I'll try anything that sounds interesting.

I'm miyurose on Shelfari, jshetrone@gmail.com on GoodReads!

Posted by: jaime at August 23, 2007 9:36 AM

I've read at least nine books this MONTH!
I just finished "Body" by Harry Crews and now I am reading "Jailbird" by Vonnegut and "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Pirsig. I'm a total bookworm.

Posted by: betty at August 23, 2007 9:47 AM

I love to read, always have. Sometimes I read junk and sometimes stuff that makes me think, depends on my mood. I grew up in a small Iowa town and used to walk to our library. I would check out a huge stack of books and walk home reading one along the way. If you really want weird, how about this - Not only do I love books, I love the way they smell. The smell of a bookstore or library is very soothing to me.

Posted by: Shelly at August 23, 2007 9:48 AM

The summer I was 8 or 9 the library in my town closed for 2 weeks for maintenance and new carpeting, etc. I checked out so many books to hold me over that the librarian gave me a paper shopping bag to carry them in - and it was full!

I kept up a pretty good reading pace throughout high school & college, and even at my first couple of jobs after I graduated - one where I spent two hours on the train (great reading time!) each day and the other when I had a 5-minute commute and therefore plenty of time to read in the morning before work or in the evening. I've slowed down a lot on my reading in recent years (I've been reading more than 12/year though!), due in part, no doubt to the 90-minute commute I've been driving - both ways - for the past few years. I was so disturbed by this that I decided to read a book a week this year. 52 in 52. That was my New Year's resolution, and at this point I'm ahead of the game. It's been great. I got back into the habit of having a book with me pretty much every place I go, and it's amazing how much faster the line at the grocery store goes when I've got something good to read besides those cheesy magazines at the register!

I second the goodreads.com recommendation - great site!

Posted by: erin at August 23, 2007 9:55 AM

I saw that report and was really surprised! Books are such a huge part of my life. I barely make it through a day without cracking open a book, much less a year. I read everything. More fiction than non-fiction, but plenty of non-fiction too.

Posted by: bad penguin at August 23, 2007 9:56 AM

I have always loved to read, but I haven't had as much time as I'd like to read books for me these days.

I do get to read quite a bit of Dig Dig Digging, and Let's Follow the Fire Truck.

My first job was at the public library, shelving non-fiction. I used to get so distracted reading the books as I was putting them away, that I really wasn't that productive.

We are definitely a reading household. My husband reads every night before bed, but he can get by on less sleep than I need. I tend to get really into books, so it's dangerous for me to read before bed, because I can't stop after a chapter or two.

I like sci fi and fantasy, and spy thrillers.

Posted by: SK at August 23, 2007 9:58 AM

I don't read nearly as much as I'd like to. As a kid, I read everything I could get my hands on. I'd stay up late at night reading under the covers with a flashlight, I'd even read in a dark car ride home at night under the passing street lights. Then high school hit and reading wasn't fun anymore... it was all about finding the symbolism and why did the author choose this word instead of that one and if you didn't give the answer the teacher was looking for, you were wrong.

I'd like to pick up reading regularly again, but I'm sort of reading-phobic. I haven't been a real reader in so long, I have no idea what kind of books or authors I like and I'm afraid of picking up something I hate that will turn me off of it again. Harry Potter's been about the only thing I've read consistently in the past five years, and even that is totally not the type of book I'd normally like. (Still have book 7 waiting for me once I get through reading book 6 again.)

Posted by: Stephanie at August 23, 2007 9:58 AM

Both my parents read, and, probably by seeing that, so do my sister and I. My girls love to be read to, and the oldest is reading on her own. My ex reads as well, but not his family. I found it totally incomprehensible to go into my sister-in-law's place, and there wasn't a book in the house. Creepy. How are you supposed to find out what kind of people people are if you can't scan the contents of their bookcase?

I use the library, because I couldn't support my habit if I had to buy books. Even if they were used. I read somewhere a study that came out a year or two ago on reading where it said that a certain percentage of the American public (I can't remember the number) considered reading to be elitist. Ordinary folks watch TV. WTF? I can't imagine anything less elitist than reading -- anyone can do it, and with libraries, anyone can do it for free.

Right now I'm submerged in Gregory Maguire's "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West", a wonderful satirical book that looks at OZ from a different angle, a quite political one, and sees Nazi Germany, among other things.

Posted by: alison at August 23, 2007 10:03 AM

I do read. Online, I read news articles, blog entries, and a lot of documentation for my job.

At home I have far less time, but I still read Wired and Running World magazines, and I read mystery/crime novels. I'm particular to James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell, although there are others. I only read a few books a year, although this year I'm on track for 5 or 6. I watch very little TV, even in the Fall. My time is spent with kids, and when I'm not doing that it's music, computers, home projects/chores, and then reading.

I'm looking forward to days with more free time (retirement?). If my vacations are any indication of what I'd do with a lot of free time, I expect to read as many books as you do each year.

Posted by: Brad at August 23, 2007 10:03 AM

I've knocked out around 10 or 11 books this year. Normally, I'm into history and some biography, military and otherwise, but there are fiction authors for whom I'll happily drop everything (except the pants...I draw the line there). A friend sent me the first three books in the Harry Potter series in June and I became one of 'those people' this summer, consuming all 30,000 pages in 2.5 months. I'm waiting on the last one to come out in paperback.

The reason I don't read more books is because I subscribe to The New Yorker and The Atlantic, both great magazines with exceptional writing.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at August 23, 2007 10:08 AM

I get why some people don't read. My husband is one of them. By the time he works his 70 hour week, helps the kids with their various wants from him, takes time to get a workout so he doesn't keel over from lack of exercise at 50, and have some hang time with me, the wife, there is no time for reading. Honestly the only time he has to read is on the plane on business trips. With that time he reads his favorite magazines which he is months behind.

And me, I try to keep reading but I'm finding it hard to finish a book in less than a couple of months. It may have to do with the fact that I'm usually asleep after 2 pages.;)

I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes this dimension takes over, and you haven't time for the other.

Posted by: Kellyology at August 23, 2007 10:11 AM

I can't imagine a day without reading. The horror! I'm a solid fiction fan and for the past few years it has been suspense types of books. Big fan of Jeffrey Deaver. Currently reading Four Past Midnight by Stephen King.

Posted by: Traci at August 23, 2007 10:28 AM

I read every day. In fact, I can't go to sleep until I've read at least a little bit. Even if I am ready to pass out from exhaustion I'll get in at least a couple of pages. It's my first choice activity when I have two minutes to spare.

I read anything and everything. But I only buy books from authors that I love with an absolute passion (Neil Gaiman? I'm lookin' at you). If I know I'm not going to read it over and over again, I hit the library. I'm a library fanatic. Aside from the FREE! factor, I love being able to wander around and grab anything that looks even mildly interesting. Currently in my by-the-bed stack: two books on architecture, a biography of Truman Capote, Harry Potter 3 and 4, a local history book, and a Barbara Pym novel. On Saturday I bring 'em all back and get another round.

Posted by: Alias Mother at August 23, 2007 10:50 AM

i'm a huge reader!! my goal this year is 30 books (and i'm well on my way to reading more than 30) - and i figure with three kids and three jobs that's pretty good!

Posted by: ali at August 23, 2007 11:21 AM

I have way, way, way too many books for the nomad life that I lead.

And it's so much harder to part with them than other things whenever I move. Very, very bad.

And magazines/newspapers? Don't even ask about those..

Those poll results are kind of scary/sad, but not that surprising to me. Whenever I travel, I'm always amazed at the number of people who fail to bring any reading material (or anything to keep their brains occupied on flights as long as 6 hours). I think that there was a Seinfeld episode about this actually, and it the reason Elaine broke up with Putty: "you're just going to sit there and stare at the seat back?!" yes, I can relate! :p

Posted by: sunchaser at August 23, 2007 11:38 AM

I currently have 12 books on my nightstand, all clamoring for my attention. They're flapping their covers and yelling things like "Hi! We're overdue!" and "Your friends will disown you if you never return their books!"

Posted by: Moose at August 23, 2007 11:39 AM

I love to read, but I've found that my reading has really decreased in the past couple years. I used to go to the library before my vacation and check out 7-8 books, and finish them all partway through the week. This year, I took 6 books with me to the beach and only finished one! OK, it was the Harry Potter book, so that should count for two because of the size, but still! I blame my knitting- I used to read on the airplane, waiting at the doctor's office, on my lunch hour...now any free time I have it knitting is spent catching up making stuff for all the new babies everyone is having.

Posted by: MamaKaren at August 23, 2007 11:41 AM

I can understand this study, because I know so many people who just don't enjoy reading. My husband listens to books on tape because he enjoys the story, but doesn't enjoy the reading part!

For me, I'm a bit of an anomaly. I've always been able to read very fast, and enjoy every word while doing it. This means I can read several books a day... not that I DO, just that I CAN. Even though my reading has slowed a bit since becoming a mother, I still read hundreds of books a year.

The hard part about reading so much is that I run out of new material constantly,... so I read almost everything I can get my hands on. I love fiction, non-fiction, science fiction and fantasy, old classics,... anything that can catch and keep my attention.

Posted by: Heather at August 23, 2007 11:49 AM

I've been the same way as you about reading my whole life. If I don't have something in front of my face to read at all times, I go a little squirrely (except in the car...I get sick reading in a vehicle when I'm the passenger and I've been asked not to read when I'm the driver. By that nice policeman with the really big sidearm). I have a hard time parting with the story at the end of a book. I actually miss the characters and their surroundings. Some of them I would be content to follow their entire lives.

The best author I've discovered this year is Khaled Housseini who wrote The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. I think I was a little late to the game in the Kite Runner, as people have been recommending him for a long time, but I'm sure glad I found his writing. I discovered things about Afghanistan that I never could have learned from a newspaper or the internet.

Posted by: Procrastamom at August 23, 2007 11:55 AM

Ach! I'm one of those whose reading is in decline. This is mostly because I have developed an addiction to NY Times Sunday Crossword puzzles. I do three or four each evening.

When I crack open a book, any book, I usually read it from start to finish without stopping. I read Into the Forest in one fell swoop, while standing up near my sofa, for instance. Weird.

Must. Get. Library. Card.

Posted by: bhd at August 23, 2007 12:13 PM

Wow....9 books a year?!? I average about 8 books a month...before the twins it was more, but time is much more limited now.

A couple of my all time favorites...
Smillas Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg
The Iron Dragons Daughter by Michael Swanwick

If you've never read Will Christopher Baer I highly recommend all three books...Hell's Half Acre, Penny Dreadful, and Kiss me, Judas.

I recently read Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects and thought is was REALLY well written.

Posted by: lesley at August 23, 2007 12:33 PM

Let me start by saying that I am on a first name basis with the fine people at half-price books. I spend more time there than they are probably comfortable with.

I like to learn when I read, so anything that will fill this void in my brain with knowledge I am into. Right now I am reading a book on the reformation. Also love scifi and fantasy. I make it a point to read the hitchhikers guide every once in awhile. Piers Anthony is another fave. I could go on but this is your post so I will stop now...

No I won't, I also have a problem with getting rid of old books. I have technical manuals that go back to windows 98. I still have my book by Jakob Nielson, even though I followed none of his advice!

Posted by: Jeff A at August 23, 2007 12:59 PM

My favs are:

The Count of Monte Cristo (unabridged)
Ender's Game
Dracula
and many more.

What have I read this year? Salem's Lot, A book on Fennyman, and probably some other stuff. Having a kid kinda put the kibosh on reading.

Posted by: Sir Henry at August 23, 2007 1:04 PM

I'm very thankful for my love of reading. I remember I had all the Dr. Seuss down pat before I started Kindergarten, and it's gone uphill from there.

I'm not much of a fan of the newspaper (although I will take it over a cereal box or shampoo bottle) (not that I wouldn't stoop so low!); fiction has always been my favorite, although I will read just about anything suggested.

I regularly scan my favorite blogs to see who is reading what. Love, love, love the library, not only is the free stuff great, our libraries here in Las Vegas also have a "gently used" section where paperbacks are 25 cents each. So if I must have an obsession about buying/having enough books to read, at least it's a fairly cheap one!

Posted by: ie at August 23, 2007 1:34 PM

There are books in every corner of our home: lining the walls, in closets, on shelves... pretty much if you can find a flat surface, there's something to read stacked on it. I once heard that the average home has less than 10 books in it. I can only imagine there's a whole lot of homes with NO books to even us out. But I can't understand it in the least.

Granted, I don't get to read nearly as much as I did prekid and blogs take a lot of that reading time from me, but seriously? How do people NOT read all day long?

Posted by: Elaine at August 23, 2007 1:38 PM

I'm an avid reader, but for a few years (3-5) I didn't read a book, maybe a magazine. I belong to zooba.com, all books are 9.95 and they're hardbacks. They don't have all the titles, but there's a good selection.

I like crime novels and sappy romances, but I've read other types and like them just as well.

Posted by: been there, done that at August 23, 2007 1:59 PM

I have to read every day. It's like breathing. While I don't read as fast as you, I set a goal for 25 books this year and I'm ahead of my own pace which makes me happy. I take a book with me EVERYWHERE as I cannot stand to be waiting (at the doctor's office, getting an oil changed, an unexpected delay by a friend or traffic) and not have something to do (ie: reading).

My husband is not like me. It will take him at least one year to read one book. That blows my mind. I don't get it!

Posted by: carrster at August 23, 2007 2:41 PM

Huge reader despite the fact that my mom and dad haven't cracked a book in 35+ years. Luckily I had grandparents who read to me and told me stories. I would sneak up to Grandma's house and hide out in her library for hours and hours. I used to get in so much trouble for it too. I could not live without books....they are my therapy.

Posted by: Leilani at August 23, 2007 2:58 PM

Oh, these researchers can come up with statistics to prove anything, 14% of people know that…

Do audio books count? I travel a lot and physical books are bulky, sometimes heavy and inconvenient, especially if you’re not in the mood for a certain book. I have a lot of real book and audio. They look pretty on my shelves. I use them as decorations.

Besides, as Homer would say… the answer to life’s problems aren’t in a book, they’re on TV

Posted by: Johnny "Street Smart" Smoke at August 23, 2007 3:00 PM

I read anything and everything I can. Books, magazines, a kajillion kids books, pamphlets, brochures at the doctor's office (who knows when a tidbit of info about conjuctivitis might come in handy), blogs, billboards, etc...

If I am not reading, I am writing, or quite possibly wrangling the children into their carseats to go run errands. However, we read signs on the way to the grocery store, we read boxes at the store, we read the list out loud, and so on to help her early reading skills (she just turned 5).

My hubby on the other hand, reads work related things, all kinds of computer handbook type things, software release information, and the magazines left in seatback pockets on airplanes. That is about it. I have tried a million times to get him interested in reading, but he just doesn't enjoy it. His mother was a freakin librarian and the man still doesn't read.

He does read books to the kids though.....so I don't complain.

My favorite? A book that truly makes me feel like I am somewhere else. I am a huge John Irving fan, and I just finished reading A Prayer for Owen Meany and A Son of the Circus over the past few months. I found both books to be perfect for transporting myself to other places and times. Another book I highly recommend that I recently finished is True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey. It was a very short and easy read that dealt with a time and place I had never read about before - Australia in 1880.

Posted by: Jen at August 23, 2007 3:09 PM

I haven't read but one book, other than textbooks, in at least 5 years. That one book was The Cider House Rules, and I had read it before. I was a big reader growing up (you know, the kid that creamed everyone in the library summer reading contests) and was known to stay up all night in order to finish a book. Reading until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning was not uncommon even after I married. Grad school seems to have zapped that right out of me. I've also managed to raise three kids, of which only one is a reader. Their father probably never read a book for pleasure in his entire life. Just goes to show that the good example doesn't always win!

Posted by: Jaycie at August 23, 2007 3:12 PM

I read 1-2 books a month. Mostly fiction... mostly books aimed at women. I just finished The Memory Keeper's Daughter and have started Bait and Switch which I'm having a bit of a hard time thanks to my role in the corporate world.

Posted by: sarah at August 23, 2007 3:20 PM

Tried to write this earlier but was denied.

I am and always have been an avid reader with son and a full time job reading has come 2ndary and I go through stages of reading a bunch then mostly magazines and blogs but I am always reading (the newspaper, junk mail... what ever I can get my hands on...)

I too developed this love early on (when I ever I learned to read...) I always had a stack of books and I am always surprised when I ask my husband did you read this book when you were a kid and he says no (Hello The Narnia Chronicles - I mean didn't everyone read those??!?) I was a shy kid with family issues so I hid and escaped into books.

I hope my son finds reading as wonderful as I did as a kid and cannot wait to share some of my favorites (thus having the chance to read/relive them again!) I also hope to one day find the time to read avidly again. I have an Amazon eighty miles long with books I like. They need a netflix for books! Ohh that would be groovy!

Posted by: Christina at August 23, 2007 3:29 PM

I DEVOUR books.

Are you on Goodreads yet? Check it out:

http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/277945

Posted by: Tink at August 23, 2007 3:55 PM

I grew up without TV, so reading is so natural to me. When I'm not reading for school, I optionally buy textbooks, I read lots of cultural commentary, and yes, god forbid, fiction too! (But none of that Harlequin/Danielle Steele stuff.)

Oh - and I read the NY Times religiously every day online, and sometimes that Rude Cactus dude too.

Posted by: Heather at August 23, 2007 4:23 PM

I was really surprised to read about that survey. All I could think was "How can this be?"

Each time I'm in Borders or Barnes and Noble or Olssons or Books-a-Million or Kramers there's always a long line of other people buying two, three, four books at a time. Who are these people who do not read at all for one year? How is that even possible?

Some of my favorite books this year -- Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond; the Captain Alatriste series by Arturo Perez-Reverte; Cosmicomics -Invisible Cities - The Castle of Crossed Destinies - Six Memos for the Next Millennium by Italo Calvino; Zorro by Isabel Allende; Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult; Little Star of Bela Lua by Luana Monteiro; and Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

BTW -- have you visited GoodReads.com? Sounds like a site that's right up your alley. :)

Posted by: Mala at August 23, 2007 4:24 PM

I must admit I am more of a moviephile than a bibliophile. NOT THAT I DON'T LOVE BOOKS! Don't go thinking I don't love to read or don't love books. Just *something's* gotta give. But I am taking note of all the suggestions, thanks.

But P.S. I am a typical girl and my fave still is all things Jane Austen.

Posted by: aimee/greeblemonkey at August 23, 2007 4:29 PM

Scary study! Yikes. I *love* to read - I couldn't tell you how many books I've read this year, but on average 4 a week, so over 200? Some of them are, uh, less than challenging...but I can't imagine not reading. I don't watch much TV though, which probably makes a lot of difference.

Posted by: Heather at August 23, 2007 5:11 PM

I read every day,mostly when i go to bed.My husband doesnt read at all.Im cheesy so like thrillers im not crazy about non fiction.Just read "my sisters keeper" by Jodie Picoult which I really loved even though it was not my usual type of reading material.

Posted by: vanessa at August 23, 2007 6:50 PM

I read every day,mostly when i go to bed.My husband doesnt read at all.Im cheesy so like thrillers im not crazy about non fiction.Just read "my sisters keeper" by Jodie Picoult which I really loved even though it was not my usual type of reading material.

Posted by: vanessa at August 23, 2007 6:50 PM

This study really surprised me because almost everyone I know reads a lot. I average two books a week, but there are times when it's a book a day. I lean toward non-fiction, true crime, biographies, socialogical stuff. I read some fiction but find a lot of it is pure dreck.

As a funny aside, I'm pretty sure the Unicorn is my sis who found you through my blob. Heh, it's a small world.

Posted by: Lisa at August 23, 2007 9:28 PM

I prefer to read thrillers/suspense, and short stories by Stephen King... but ONLY his short stories (his novels bore the crap out of me). I also like "chick lit" or "beach reads." Every once in a while, I'll pick up a memoir, too. I wish I had more time to devote to reading!

Posted by: ironic1 at August 23, 2007 10:05 PM

I read a LOT. That's to balance out my partner, who is severely dyslexic and would rather gouge his eyes out.
In the summer I try to read "first" novels - as many first-time novels as I can. Or someone Ive never read.
I read some good and some bad books this summer but the only ones that have stood out for me so far are Lisa Moore's Alligator and Kage Baker's "The Company" series.

Posted by: That Girl at August 23, 2007 10:39 PM

I used to read more books in college then I do now. Currently, all I have time for are work-related magazines (the Economist, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, etc...) I try to keep up with reading books, but it has been slow going. Currently, I'm making my way through the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, the Looming Tower; Al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright and Kurt Vonnegut's last novel a man without a country.

Posted by: Liz at August 23, 2007 11:56 PM

Yes I do read...often. I read news online daily...a newspaper daily...magazines whenever I can get my hands on one....which is usually daily.... Blogs..I read a lot of Blogs, lol. And books I love books. I tend to favor suspense thrillers and chick flick type books... But I read all different kinds of literature. Some of my favorite authors are: James Patterson, Christopher Pike, Stephen King, Dean Knootz, JK Rowling, Liz Ireland, Beth Kendrick and Rocki St. Claire...as well as soooooo very many more, lol. I probably consume..on a slow year.. at least 20 books in a year. On a good year maybe as many as 50. That's in addition too everything else I read, lol.

Posted by: Tammy at August 24, 2007 8:47 AM

Last night I finished Good Omens: The Nice And Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Totally hysterical. The end of the world is approaching but Aziraphale (the angel from the Garden of Eden) and Crowley (a demon who also happened to be the serpent that tempted Eve) don't really want it to happen. They like their lives on earth. They also happen to be friends, in their own way. So they decide to keep an eye on the antichrist. All manner of mistakes occur, culminating in a big, comical climax enjoining nuclear weapons, the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse, four kids on bikes, an ineffective witch hunter, a prostitute and psychic, a descendent of Agnes Nutter (a witch that predicted all this would occur), and a demonly dog named Dog.

I highly recommend you read this book. Totally fun :-)

Posted by: GreenCanary at August 24, 2007 11:00 AM

I live on the top of a maintain at the end of a dirt road, about an hour from a bookstore. But once every two weeks, my lifesavercomes thru - a converted RV owned by the county library called the Bookmobile. This sainted object chugs thru the mountain towns bringing precious cargos of actual BOOKS! I can actually dial up the internet at a blazing 28.8K baud (dsl, I dare to dream of you late at night) and order books from the various libraries, which the Bookmobile then brings me. I try to limit myself to 20 books at a time, but since I also have a 4 year old daughter who's a voracious reader, the actual limit seems to be weight: we take what we can carry to the car. Two of my favorite books are out of print, but worth a search: David Palmer's "Emergence" and "Threshold." The Heronswood Nursery Catolog is fabulous for plant geeks and a jolly great read, it's my emergency reading fodder since you can't read much without overloading. Great authors: Dave Barry and his wicked humor, Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and Carl Hiassen. I also have three giant shelves of crafting books and cookbooks! Nothing like a book on tassels or Faberge or 17th century fashion or Viennese pastry to make a winter day better. BTW - for vegetarian cookbooks, buy everything from Deborah Madison. I'm a omniomniomnivore and I still love her veggie recipes, they're brilliant.

Posted by: Lillian at August 24, 2007 12:44 PM

My SO doesn't read books. He has one crime author that he reads, but that's it. However, he reads webpages, newspapers, etc. like a fiend. When we first started dating, he bought us twin copies of a book about ADD--as he's been diagnosed with it and thought it might make it easier for me to understand him--and then (haha) didn't read it.

I'm pretty much the opposite--I'll read just about anything. I pick up a lot of nonfiction (I think half of my shelf is nonfiction), but love literature (modern and classical, although I have to admit that I prefer the classical because you get a higher percentage of "good" that way). Am currently reading Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything". Just finished reading "Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons" by Lorna Landvik which was (surprisingly!) really good and you should pick it up sometime :)

And to answer your last question--don't have a favorite. MUCH too difficult.

Posted by: Angela at August 24, 2007 3:32 PM

My parents taught me to love reading. And I'll forever be grateful.

I read while blow drying my hair and brushing my teeth. It's my favorite time in the morning before my kid wakes up and demands waffles.

As odd as it sounds, I like cowboy books. "Lonesome Dove" is an all time favorite. I also love Maeve Binchy right now. I'm fascinated with 1960's Irish culture. And don't even get me started on Nick Hornby. If you haven't read "About a Boy" and "High Fidelity", you should. Especially because he's a fellow music lover.

Posted by: Isabel at August 24, 2007 6:26 PM

my goodness - I couldn't even imagine life without reading... I even read the encyclopedia when I was a kid! Fiction, non-fiction, magazines (People is a guilty pleasure), cereal boxes...about the only genre I don't get into is sci-fi. LOVE to read - it hurts me to get rid of books, but I had to stop moving around 4 years worth of law books.

Posted by: Sue at August 26, 2007 5:32 PM

Seven to nine books a year? Seriously? That's insane. I'm a book freak. I'll read just about anything. Fiction, non-fiction, historical facts, magazines, shampoo bottles. I read daily, I just can't imagine not. On top of that, there's the 80 blogs I have in my Google Feeder.

But then there's my brother. He's probably read three books from cover to cover in his entire lifetime. I guess to each his own.

Posted by: Phoenix at August 26, 2007 6:31 PM

I'm always glad to hear I am not the only one with a bit of a letter addiction. Even as a kid, the moment you put anything readable near me, be it a book, a magazine, th teletext on the tv, you've lost me from then on. Try to involve me in a conversation? Forget it. When I am reading, I am deaf. I've tried to be more social at those times, but honestly? It is just stronger than me.

I am up to 50 books so far this year, just finished the last one on the train.

Favourites include easy non-fiction such as Malcolm Gladwell and as an economist I can recommend "The Undercover Economist" by Tim Harford. He explains some of the main economic theories in a very funny and daily-life kind of way using examples about Starbucks, supermarkets and London rental prices.

Also adore Connie Palmen ("The Friendship" and "The Laws") should be translated into English. Just as "The discovery of heaven" by Harry Mulisch which has one of the most hilarious prologues ever.

Am slowly getting into Philip Roth. (Adored "The plot against America" and am now slowly going through "The Human Stain".

As for nice thrillers, Val McDermid (especially the Tony Hill books) and Elizabeth George can't be beaten.

One of my favourite books I discovered on your blog though: If nobody speaks of remarkable things by Jon McGregor. (NB He published a new novel last year)

As you can see, start about books and you get me going. :-) Better get back to work now.

Ah wait, one last questions. The more I read, the harder I find it to be impressed by a book. Do you also have that?

Posted by: mikkie at August 27, 2007 5:30 AM


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