24 May 2013

Booking through Thursday (a day late): Reading habits

Today's question on Booking Through Thursday is about changing reading habits:

Have your reading habits changed since you were a child? (I mean, I’m assuming you have less time to read now, but …) Did you devour and absorb books when you were 10 and only just lightly read them now? Did you re-read frequently as a child but now only read new books? How about types of books? Do you find yourself still attracted to the kinds of books you read when you were a kid?

My reading habits haven't really changed that much, except I am possibly more choosy about the books I read, and I read more. As a kid, I would devour any and all books that came my way, regardless of the quality. Quantity was the main thing. These days I think more about what I am reading and not just any book will do, but since I also read faster, I go through more books.

Back then, I would become so absolutely absorbed in what I was reading that I would forget about hunger, pain and discomfort and not be aware at all of what was going on around me. Proof in point: I got to spend a month with my grandmother one summer when I was around twelve, and she took me to a specialist to have my hearing tested because if I was reading, I didn't just not answer her when called, but actually didn't hear her. This is no longer the case, except when I am reading, the low but persistent traffic noise I live with 24/7 fades away into nothing and if the book is very absorbing, I may experience the weather, sounds, smells and colours inside the book rather than what is around be. However, it now takes a very special book to create this kind of experience for me, whereas before, I completely walked into any story I was reading.

I didn't learn to read my first year in elementary school - not because I couldn't grasp it, but because it was boring. My mother taught me to read in less than a month during the following summer by using a different method and by interesting me in books with real stories in them. As it happens, those were detective stories and adventure tales (mostly Enid Blyton and Dr. Dolittle) and folk tales, three genres that have followed me through life as firm favourites.To these I added travelogues when I was a teenager, and popular science books and romances as an adult, and my interest in folk tales and mythology evolved into an interest in fantasy.

These days, I reread less than I used to, but every now and then I pick up an old favourite and settle down to read it with a fond smile on my face. How about you?

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