Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Meme: Reading Habits

It’s been a while since I tackled a meme. I spotted this one at James Reasoner’s Rough Edges and at The Rap Sheet.

Do you snack while you read? If so, what is your favorite reading snack?

No. Of course, I do make exceptions. See below.*

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

I have been known to erase marks in library books, so this one’s also a no.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?

I haven’t made dog-ears in dog’s years. (I cop to doing so as a kid, but I didn’t know any better then.) I’m a bookmark man. I have a stack of them, but keep abusing the same two.

Laying the book flat open?

Sure, if the book’s big enough. And if it’s into that.

Fiction, nonfiction, or both?

I’d guess a 70/30 ratio of fiction to non-fiction. The former is mostly crime fiction or thrillers, the latter a mix of research reading and whatever piques my interest.

Hard copy or audiobooks?

I have listened to exactly one (1) audiobook. My commute’s not long enough. A more interesting question would be: hard copy or e-books? I still don’t own a Kindle, but I’m thinking about it.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?

I can stop anywhere, but typically I’ll read to the end of a chapter. I color inside the lines as well. What can I say? I went to Catholic school.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

If it doesn’t make sense in context, yes.

What are you currently reading?

Coming down the homestretch on Blood’s A Rover by James Ellroy. The last non-fiction book I read, after years of prompting by my brother – hi, Sean! – was Michael Lewis’ Moneyball.

What is the last book you bought?

During my recent New York trip I picked up Tower by Reed Farrel Coleman and Ken Bruen, signed by Reed at the Mysterious Bookshop launch party. I also scored a haul at the Strand including Build My Gallows High by Geoffrey Homes, later filmed as Out of the Past, and Leo C. Rosten’s Hollywood, a study of the movie business in the 1930s published in 1941.

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?

Again, I can but I don’t. I’ll read a non-fiction research book at the same time as a novel, but I prefer not to.

Do you have a favorite time/place to read?

Every night, I lie on my living room sofa and read for at least half an hour. Reading in a coffee shop, which I did for a while this afternoon, is one of life’s great luxuries. Other settings can be quite nice, too. See below.*

Do you prefer series books or stand-alones?


Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?

Lawrence Block. Donald E. Westlake. Richard Price. All these years on the West Coast, and I’m still a New York boy at heart. Speaking of the West Coast, another name I talk up frequently is Jess Walter, whose The Financial Lives of the Poets will be stepping up to the plate shortly.

How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.)

There’s a very vague system. I can’t really describe it. I barely understand it.

* My job requires me to meet in the evenings twice a week. Last week I decided to eat dinner beforehand, so I grabbed a Hard Case Crime book and stopped at a pub near the office. There I sat, reading a pulp novel, drinking a Harp, eating the food of my ancestors (a sausage roll), and occasionally checking in on Monday Night Football. In the midst of it, I realized how deliriously happy I was. Seldom, I thought, have I felt more like myself.