I am a podcast junkie. Whenever I’m in the car, cleaning my house, or doing anything else that allows for multi-tasking, I’m listening to one. One of my very favorite podcasts is Sorta Awesome. The hosts cover a variety of topics, both light and deep, with some recurring themes. One of those themes is reading, a favorite hobby of mine. I recently listened to the Best in Books and Reading in 2016 episode, and one of the things the hosts discussed was their reading style – what started their love of reading, what kinds of books are they drawn to, and how they like to read. This got me thinking about my answers to the same questions…
My Reading History
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved reading. I clearly remember devouring all of the books by Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, and other authors I loved during my childhood. I love reading during car rides, and did so on weekend trips to visit my grandparents, as well as family vacations. About a decade ago, I had a job that required a horrible, two-hour commute each way, and I got a lot of reading done on my train rides home from work. (I passed out most mornings before the train even left the station.)
As a child, I used to re-read my favorite books multiple times. (I can’t tell you how many times I read Beverly Cleary’s The Luckiest Girl, or Judy Blume’s, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret!!) But these days I never re-read. There are too many other books I want to read, to spend time reading the ones I’ve already read.
My Taste in Books
Until about 15 years ago, I only read fiction for pleasure. Reading nonfiction was reserved for school, and later, it just didn’t seem like fun. These days, I really enjoy learning from the books I read, so between half and two-thirds of the books I read are nonfiction.
Like Laura, one of the Sorta Awesome podcast hosts, I prefer to read darker books. This has been a thread throughout my life. For example, one of the books I remember being most impacted by as a child was Where the Red Fern Grows. That was the first book that made me cry, and just thinking about it now, still brings tears to my eyes!
More recently, as soon as I heard about the book, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, by Sue Klebold, I had to read it, and once I started it, I could not put it down. I don’t know what it says about me, but I love a book that makes me cry and makes me think.
Within nonfiction, my favorite genres include history and biography/memoir. And in fiction, I especially love historical fiction.
How I Read Books
As a creature of comfort, I’m not a fan of the new. I’m always late to the party, no matter what the “new” thing is – smart phones, skinny jeans, even podcasts. I’m definitely a late adopter. So it should come as no surprise that I like reading books in physical, paper form. I have never read anything on a Kindle or other e-reader, and I don’t intend to start. (Part of this also stems from my dislike for reading on screens, in general.)
As for audio books, I haven’t tried them because I’m concerned I’ll get distracted and miss parts of the text. However, since my current commute is close to an hour each way and I’ll be working more days this winter, I decided to give Audible a try. I just signed up for their 30-day free trial, and my first book will be Lilac Girls. One of the Sorta Awesome hosts mentioned that the people who listened to this particular book seemed to enjoy it more than the people who read it, so I decided to give it a try.
While it’s impossible for me to remember all of the books I’ve read – let alone chose a few favorites – here are some that stick out in my mind as having been especially enjoyable reads:
- Personal History, by Katherine Graham
- The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
- 1185 Park Avenue, by Anne Roiphe
- Spontaneous Happiness, by Andrew Weil
- Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey, by The Countess of Carnarvon
- How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Over-Parenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, by Julie Lythcott-Haims
What’s your reading style? What are some of your all-time favorite reads?
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