I divide all readers into two classes: Those who read to remember and those who read to forget. –William Phelps
Every single person is born with their own sense of style, be it in fashion, music, writing or art. That’s why it is no surprise that even readers have their own style of reading! People who don’t read often, would be wondering, how can reading have a style? The idea of reading to people who are not readers would be everything in this quote, “Reading is staring at marked slices of tree for hours on end, hallucinating vividly.” I guess if you want to get technical about it, that’s one way of seeing it.
What does it mean to have a reading style that distinguishes you from other readers although you may have similar taste in books? It means the habits you have cultivated while reading: are you a fast reader or a slow reader? Are you a physical book loyalist or are you more into convenience with eBooks? There are endless traits that makes each reader unique yet still tied together by the love for books. I’m not saying one habit or one style is better than the other but there is some sense of excitement in finding someone who smells books just like you do. (Trust me, it’s not as weird as it sounds, books do smell good.) I will now share with you the type of readers I’ve come across so far, you may or may not fall into more than one category.
In their weaker moments, they’ll insist on the existence of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and that their letter to Hogwarts got mixed up and never arrived. They’ll ask, “is that weird?”, before laughing like it was all a joke. (It wasn’t.)
Also, known as, ‘a book abandoner’, these are the people who will start a book, get in about halfway through, and then, even if they really enjoy the book, put it down only to pick up another book. It can sometimes be said that they’re enjoying reading too much that it’s hard to say no. One moment they would be reading a novel and thoroughly be enjoying it, then they walk into a bookshop and they see something they’ve been anticipating, and it’ll be bought there and then. The new book will be read straightaway and that will be the end of the original affair. I guess that’s just the way of being a serial book cheater who chases after anything in a dust jacket.
There are many whose preference are physical books over eBooks or audio books but these are the people who live and die by physical, bounded books. To them, physical books not only allows them to absorb the words and meaning, but feel the crisp pages as they turn a page or sniff it in between breaks just to feel like they’re a part of that world. They may be old-fashioned but for them, just being able to feel and hold paper makes reading a real book that much better.
The Ardent eReader
Like, seriously? What year is it? They’re tired of physical book readers who easily avoids technology. They couldn’t care less about the smell of paper or the way it looks sitting on their shelves. Why bother leaving the house, going through the hassle of making a trip to bookstores then waiting in line for a book that may not even be in stock, when you can literally press a ‘buy’ or ‘download’ button?
Hours and hours of free time would be their definition of heaven because that’s their way of reading, book after book, like at a buffet or running endless marathons throughout the week. They feel accomplished after finishing a book or two in one sitting and are absolutely baffled by people who stop after a chapter, let alone those who read multiple books at once.
The Book Markers
These are the people who leaves behind a mark. Literally. Who needs a bookmark when you can just dog-ear the page? (Dog-ear: folding the edge of the page to mark it.) Why bother giving books the white glove treatment when these marks shows that they’re loved when the books are sporting cracked spines and dog-eared pages. To them, seeing these marks makes them happy because that shows how the book was really perused.
There are those readers who can’t stand the idea of series, where the possibility of the book going on and on and to never end, and if the author passed away before finishing it? Biggest nightmare. Standalones ensures that that would never happen and they would get the satisfaction of dwelling into multiple stories than just one lengthy story.
These are the ones who treat their shelves as if they’re housing the Oscar award statuette. Rearranging their shelves during their free time is their definition of fun. The books are arranged and handled with meticulous care: some arranges per height, colour, author in alphabetical order or by the latest release.
Reading something that is well written is like magic, that’s why it baffles me that the society has this perception towards reading as the most mundane and nerdish thing, without wondering about the extra-ordinariness of it all. Despite the declination of reading in youths, I am a firm believer that books will never die. And whichever reader you happen to be, just know that you play a huge role in keeping books alive.