Let’s talk reading habits…

Hey guys,

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.

Semper Fidelis,

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.

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New front page graphic 2Stan 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.

14 thoughts on “Let’s talk reading habits…

  1. Mike P 08/23/2019 / 8:40 pm

    I consider myself to be a voracious reader, often having a couple of different things going at once. I read a lot while waiting for my folks at the VA, I read sitting in my recliner, the garage or wherever. Right now, I’m reading Bullets and Bolos, Fifteen Years in the Philippine Islands by John R. White, the 1967 volume of U.S. Marines in Vietnam, by the Marine Corps historical division, new chapters of Thirty Days Has September by James Strauss whenever they show up online and just burned through Indian Country and People’s Republic by Kurt Schlichter, whom I just recently discovered. As far as former Marines that write, Peter Nealen, Chris Hernandez and you keep my appetite for rock solid action whetted. And I’ve got Stephen Hunter’s new one waiting in the wings. Retirement has definitely freed up time for me to read Devil, and I’m taking advantage of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stan R. Mitchell 08/24/2019 / 8:06 am

      Hey Mike!

      You’ve given me some great stuff to add to my reading list!! Definitely a huge advantage to be retired and have more time to read.

      What are you doing with the VA?

      Semper Fi,
      Stan

      Like

      • Mike P 08/25/2019 / 7:18 am

        I’ve been driving the DAV van up there once a week, taking folks to their appointments. A lot of them don’t have any other transportation, and the VA is their only health care option. I consider myself very fortunate to have the same insurance as a retiree that I did when I was working, at least until I turn 65 in 7 years. And most everyone I transport tells me that the quality of care that they receive is very good.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Mike P 08/25/2019 / 3:32 pm

            I appreciate that Brother, but just an old Jarhead that saw a need and am lucky and blessed enough to be able to help. Vets looking out for vets Bro, that’s what it’s about. Semper Fi.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. T. W. Dittmer 08/24/2019 / 10:24 am

    I’ve been reading some of Joh Sandford’s “Virgil Flowers” series lately. The character just about always makes me smile.

    Looking forward to your new one, Stan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stan R. Mitchell 08/24/2019 / 10:38 am

      Yeah, John Sandford is a great author! And thanks for the kind words about my next one. I’m hoping it’s as good as I think it is! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mike B 08/24/2019 / 10:07 pm

    I almost never reread a book – especially fiction. But… I dig the fact that you do and why you do. It makes your work better and I appreciate that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stan R. Mitchell 08/24/2019 / 10:49 pm

      Thanks, Mike. Really appreciate those words. On the off-chance you see my reply, who are some of your favorite authors?

      Like

      • Mike B 08/30/2019 / 11:20 pm

        I got hooked on reading with books by Vince Flynn, but over the last few years I’ve drifted away from macho / spy / war / fighting toward good stories – inner conflict, fear (not horror book fear), and struggle. I usually like David Baldacci books. One Summer by Baldacci stands out.

        I also enjoy books by Mitch Albom and Eli Goldratt.

        I think I’ve only read one book by Mary Lawson, but Crow Lake always comes to mind as a well written story.
        I didn’t think I would like it very much because I thought of it as a book for women. Women’s book or not, I was wrong about not liking it.

        I think this is not so common, but I like books that don’t end they way they are “supposed to”. They make me feel anger or sadness or some other strong emotion. John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars and John Grisham’s The Appeal are two examples.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Stan R. Mitchell 08/31/2019 / 11:43 am

          Thanks so much for circling back around and sharing that, Mike! There was only one Vince Flynn and I’ve read every single one of his books multiple times. I’m not sure there’s many that can hang with him.

          Baldacci is Baldacci, so enough said there. And I like the deeper stuff you’ve been getting into. I personally can only handle so many macho books. We’re basically in the same boat on that one. Especially when the main character is like the perfect superman who’s perfect at everything.

          And if you want to read a book that doesn’t end the way it’s supposed to, make sure you check out my book “Afghan Storm.” That one pissed some people off. (Well, a ton of people really.)

          Also, for a deeper, more complex view of war and internal stuff, check out my book “Soldier On.” I’m pretty proud of that one.

          Thanks for the support, and for like I said, circling back around.

          Yours,
          Stan

          Like

  4. David Tindell 08/25/2019 / 9:36 pm

    Just picked up a three-volume biography of Andrew Jackson, so my non-fiction reading is taken care of for awhile. As for fiction, just finished Stephen Hunter’s latest Bob Lee Swagger novel. First-rate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stan R. Mitchell 08/27/2019 / 7:38 pm

      Nice, David!! You definitely can’t go wrong with some Bob Lee Swagger…

      Like

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