Hope everyone is doing well. Since things have so far remained quiet in Hong Kong and Kashmir (see last week’s blogpost), I thought I’d just answer a question I get quite a bit.
Fairly regularly, I have some reader email and ask about my reading habits. Most assume I’m a voracious reader (and finisher) of hundreds of books, but actually, it’s quite the opposite.
I try to be a voracious reader. But frankly, I am a notoriously picky reader.
I don’t finish about eighty percent of the books I start, and I’ve literally gone to the library or bookstore to pick out a book and returned home two hours later without one.
But I do love to read. Don’t get me wrong. I just mostly re-read my favorites. I kid you not, I’ve re-read some of my favorite books more than five or six times. (I think I’ve read one or two of them probably ten times, but I don’t expect you to believe that.)
And I don’t just read them. That’s not really a fair statement. I sort of chew on them. I move through them pretty slow when I’m re-reading (truthfully, I’m a slow reader even on the first run-through). But when I’m re-readine one of my favorite books, what I’m really trying to do is see (and study) what the author is doing.
I like to dissect what they’ve done — if I can — on each page, and even each paragraph. And I’ve personally found that I get far more out of books (from a learning perspective) when I’m re-reading one, than from reading a new one. For me, I find it’s nearly impossible to learn something when you don’t know what twist or turn is coming up.
So, if you broke into my house and examined the books on my bookshelves, you’d find things underlined, notes written in the margins, etc.
Like I said, I’m all about trying to discern what the author was doing. And with most books, I don’t even finish them; much less re-read them.
Most of the time, I start them and the author goes left when I think he/she should’ve gone right. Or the book gets me thinking about one of my stories, and next thing you know, I’m sitting down writing.
In many respects, I’m more of a writer than a reader. If you turn a movie on, or even start a conversation with me, often you’ll see my eyes drift about halfway through it because you can just about guarantee that my mind has drifted off to some kind of story idea. And by then, I’m almost dying to get my hands on a pen and pad (or fire up the laptop).
Anyway, what’s your reading habits? How do you read? (Paper? Kindle? Audio?) Where do you read? (Don’t tell me if the bathroom is one of the locations! lol) And roughly how many books do you read per year or month?
Also, are you a one book person? Or (like me), do you find yourself often reading a couple or three books at one time? Sort of nibbling on them until they get boring or piss you off?
Love to hear your all’s feedback/habits.
Stan R. Mitchell
P.S. Oh, and I’m on the final scene my latest work — a story of two Marine NCOs in Afghanistan. I think the book is going to be pretty good. More to come.
Stan R. Mitchell is a writer and author, as well as a prior Marine infantryman. Mitchell served in Alpha Co., 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, and was lucky enough — or unlucky enough — to snag a Combat Action Ribbon. (The details of his military career.) Looking for something free to read? Here’s a piece of fiction that he wrote for you to sample. Hopefully, it’s both powerful and inspiring: The dreamer’s lament. And click the link at left to check out his books.