Before we become writers, we are readers. Without readers, there would be little point in writing. As a reader over many decades, I’ve noticed I don’t always read the same way. Recent reading experiences made me think of different reading styles, and I came up with these nine.
The reader can’t wait to see what happens next and how the story ends. This is the “can’t put it down” type of reading experience. The book is devoured in one or two sessions, which may extend far into the night. The reader may be skimming the paragraphs and missing small details, but fast-paced books are intended to be read quickly.
The reader is fully engaged with the book, its characters, plot, and language. Every word is relished and savoured. The reader is not in a hurry to get to the end of the book, but always eager to pick it up again after stopping. The reader is sorry when the book ends and will likely read it again at some point.
Re-reading the beginning or other parts of a book for clues as to what the story is about, or even having to abandon and re-start the book several times. The reader may wonder why the book has so many rave reviews.
Skipping and skimming paragraphs while looking for something interesting. May precede a decision to DNF.
Reading for a class assignment, book club, beta-read, or obligatory review. DNF is not an option.
Reading attentively while looking for symbols, hidden meanings, and connections to the author’s life, with the intention of writing a critique or academic paper.
Looking for reasons to stop reading and decide the story does not meet the reader’s criteria.
Reading to find errors and problems for the purpose of writing a negative review.
Re-reading an old favourite one more time.
Writers, of course, want to create books that will elicit Excited or Delighted reading, rather than the Bored or Puzzled varieties. If one’s book is being read Analytically, success (possibly posthumous) is implied. Most writers end up doing some form of Dutiful reading, but hopefully do not descend to the Malicious type. Judgmental reading is done by acquisitions editors and agents. Finally, everyone has books that can be relied upon to produce Comfort and the delight of the familiar.
Fellow writers (and readers), have you experienced any of these types of reading? Can you think of others?
Images from Pixabay