2005-05-23

everybody's doing it

McCarty's Musings has started something. Everybody, well, a couple of people have posted the answer to the 'what kind of reader are you?' question on their own blogs. Bad Christian's post is truly confessional and thought provoking (when is he not?).

So in spite of my desire to be non-conformist, I'm joining this bandwagon. Here's what kind of reader I am.

I read slowly. It often takes me a month to finish a novel, especially some 500+ page monster like The Confusion by Neal Stephenson. Lately I've started a book or two and failed to finish. My time is too precious to waste on a book that proves uninsteresting or says nothing.

I read used books. I can't remember the last book I paid full price for. The other night my wife and I took the kids to Barnes and Noble and I actually bought a book there, from the discount table. My wife, seeing the book in my hand as we left, said, "You paid full price for a book!" as if this might cause Jesus to return at any second.

I read whenever and whatever I can: books, magazines, blogs, cereal boxes... While traveling, I will go into a restaurant like BW3, where everyone else is in a group and where twenty five TV screens are screaming some sporting event, with a book. Waitresses and waiters will sometimes stand by my table waiting for me to finish a paragraph and look up, as they might do if I were praying. I sometimes read in supermarket checkout lines and traffic jams.

I read three to five books at a time. Except for right now, when I am reading two that are long enough to be five.

I read maps before I travel so I will know the exact locations of used book stores near my destination. I then plan my schedule around visits to those stores. For example, prior to the only visit I have yet made to Texas (to hang out with some people from this church in the Dallas-Fort Worth area), I researched the location of and route to Larry McMurtry's bookstore in Archer City. I scheduled the whole trip around a visit. When I entered the back room of building one (there are five!) of Booked Up, there was the man himself, stacking books. He said, "Hi." I responded, "Hi." My favorite brush with fame.

I read, as Bad Christian has reminded me, because it is a gift. I pray regularly that I will always be able to exercise this gift.

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5 comments:

zalm said...

I haven't read the latest trilogy, but I did slog through Cryptonomicon. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but you're right. Stephenson takes forever.

Jim said...

You know, he used to right nice 400 page books. I don't know what's gotten into him.

Purportedly he wrote the current trilogy entirely with quill and ink. Though none of the reviewers have mentioned that, so maybe he came to his senses half way through.

zalm said...

Quill? Wow. His editor must have loved that. Although with a series that hefty, I'm almost tempted to ask, what editor?

zalm said...

Hmmm... An interview in Salon suggests that you're half right:

I was amazed to discover that you wrote these three 1,000-page books by hand, but some writers do say that writing by hand puts them in better touch with that kind of intuition.

I do it all on paper. I started that with the "Baroque Cycle." "Cryptonomicon" is the last book I wrote typing it into a computer. I use a fountain pen. The entire thing is in longhand.

Considering the period you're writing about, maybe you should have tried writing it with a quill.

I thought about it. But that seemed a little over the top.

Jim said...

hey, nice bit of research!

But since when did NS hesitate to go over the top?