Friday, June 1, 2012

How do you read?

Why do you read?  I'm not trying to get deep and philosophical.  That's not really my style.  We all read for different reasons.  I think on some level we all read as an escape, to learn, or to empathize.  Perhaps the better question is how do you read?

My friend Kendra, who now spends much of her time reading on a beach in Florida (lucky), and I have been in an ongoing discussion about reading, which isn't odd, seeing as how we're both librarians.  It was revealed during a book club meeting several months ago that we each read the same books a bit differently.  

I can't remember the book that sparked the discussion, but what resulted was very interesting.  When Kendra reads, she becomes the main character, taking on the personality, and living vicariously through the female protagonists.  She was Hermione throughout the Harry Potter series and Clair in Sarah Addison Allen's Garden Spells.  She plays the part as she travels through the book.

When I read, it's as if I'm watching a movie.  I don't identify myself as a character, but watch from afar as the characters weave themselves into the plot.  My imagination can go wild, creating an exact look for characters and settings until I see it playing out in my head. I don't really want to be the character.  I don't want to personally go through the trials and tribulations.  I want to watch someone else experience and hopefully survive the good and the bad.  I have my own stuff to deal with on a daily basis.  I read to get away, not to live another life with more stuff going on around me.

Does that make sense, or does that just sound weird and lazy?  Oh well. 

And I think I might as well make another confession while I'm talking about how I read.  Sometimes, I read the end of the book first.  I can't help it.  I'm pretty sure it goes along with the whole "reading to escape" philosophy.  If something bad is going to happen or not turn out the way I want it to, I'd rather not be surprised.  It doesn't ruin anything for me.  I still have to find out how the characters got to where they were going in the end, but it takes away some of my stress.  I get very invested when reading.  I read the last two pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows first to see if Ron Weasley was still alive.  The prognosis was good, so I was able to enjoy the book.  I still would have read it had he not been there, but at least I wouldn't have been hoping for something that was never going to happen.

In the end, I guess how we read says a lot about who we are. Hello.  My name is Emily, and  I'm a control freak who needs a happy ending.

I would love to hear how you read?  Are you a character or a watcher?  Do you, too, perhaps read the end of the book first?  Or do you prefer the surprise?  Would you have been crushed had Ron Weasley not made it to the end of the series? (I barely made it through the loss of Fred.  I would not have survived losing Ron.)

HAPPY READING (however you read!)

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