Monday, March 2, 2009

Reading Styles

When I pick up a book, I usually finish it before beginning another. I like to have one story bouncy around in my head over which I muse while doing laundry and weeding the garden. I am a parable person, I suppose, because I love to glean life-lessons from stories. My favorite books are those which make me think, make me question my opinions (or, more often, make me refine and defend my opinions or positions), or inspire a personal desire for improvement. Just from some recent reads, for instance:
  • Booker T. Washington taught me to be slow to judge my perceived enemy, to persevere in the face of great, seemingly insurmountable opposition, and to brush my teeth.
  • The Gilbreths were proud of the large family, never embarrassed. I love the way they always encouraged learning and found fun and creative ways to educate themselves.
  • Caddie's father taught me the difference between a lofty, silly lady and a stable, grounded, capable woman. He explained how influential a mother is in a community, nation, and . . .
  • I had no idea how trench warfare looked and am once more filled with gratitude for the soldier's sacrifice. I also wonder how many people fight for their country (even receiving medals) and are then are betrayed by them (German Jews, American Blacks).
  • We have fallen a long way from the visionaries in 1774 Boston. They wouldn't pay a very small tax on tea, now we are paying more and more and more taxes for, often, ineffective, inefficient programs. And we just whine in our living rooms. We aren't doing anything about it.
  • The Call of the Wild should have never made it to publishing. It was an irritating book with a stupid ending.
  • I would like to see The Lake District someday.

And so on. I loathe self-help books. They rub me the wrong way and seem so contrived. A story format, for me, is easier to absorb. Also, self-help writers cannot hold a candle to classic authors or, more absolutely, scripture. My sassy way of taking notes on an assigned self-help book was to write scriptural references in the margins where the Lord says a similar thing only better.

My husband, on the other hand, is a skimmer. Although he has a list of books he has finished, generally, he reads short passages, single chapters or a section he remembers enjoying during his last skim. He leaves a path a books through our house. His mother claims that he has always done this. On his bed stand, right now, sit Greatest Speeches of 1980, a couple of Childcraft Encyclopedias, a biography about Spencer W Kimball, Divine Center, a manual for a class he taught a dozen years ago, Strange Stories and Amazing Facts, and his notes from Microeconomics--a course taken in 2007. It used to drive me crazy, but now it has become endearing. I love that man.

My daughter likes to choose a series and exhaust it. My sister reads everything she touches (101 books in 2008!!). My friend only listens to books on tape--she feels like she is not wasting time, that way, and can still get her house clean. My baby ingests the words, literally.

How do you read?


  1. im horrible. Right now I am reading 3or 4 books. I should read one at a time because I sometimes get the books confused with the others. However, I've been to the Lakes District...It's BEAUTIFUL! I lived in England for about 6 months and that was one of my favorite places.

  2. I love to read but don't always find time to do it. I always have about 10 books on the nightstand.

  3. I read strictly books for pleasure and that really capture my attention when I work out on cardio machines. So that is when I re-read favorites especially fantasy/Science Fiction.
    I read reference books for the New Testament, and the New Testament, since that is what I am teaching right now.
    I read whatever our book club is reading.
    And I read what I want... which may be great young adult or juvenile literature so I can talk to my husband (the 5th grade teacher) or my grandchildren... or new SF /Fantasy.
    The problem is... I can be reading all of this at the same time.
    I don't care tho... it works for me and I do NOT feel guilty about reading. I am so glad that I can.

  4. How about stealthily . . . I came across your blog today and here I am--hours later, only back to March 2. Can you tell I have kids? I totally hear you on SO many fronts! I, too, have many children and get the pity treatment; amen to the govt bailouts; love gardening; draw the blog-blank after composing great things in my head all day--the list goes on. Love reading your blog. Hope you don't mind a stalker! Just to be fair, and so you know I'm too strange, you can find me at