There is nothing I like better than a survey. I mean it. When I was younger, we would get these big consumer packet surveys mailed to our house once or twice a year and I couldn’t wait for my dad to get home so we could fill it out together. Answering really cool and interesting questions about things like what brand of paper towels we preferred and how often the family went grocery shopping. I’m not kidding, I lived for those.
So, when Publishers Weekly posted their Great Big Reading Poll yesterday, you can bet that contributing my answers was the highlight of my day. (Okay, now that might be a bit of an exaggeration). In any case, surveys are super fun and no matter the subject, the results are always interesting on some level. When you combine surveys with things about books, though, then, well, you’ve got me hooked.
While the questions PW poses aren’t revolutionary, they are indicative of the types of things that set readers apart from one another. One thing about surveys that’s a bit frustrating (and the reason I always hated multiple choice tests in school) is that you don’t get the chance to explain yourself. So, below are some of the questions I wished I could have explained to PW when I was answering!
Do you write in your books?
Generally, I do NOT—though I always wished I was the person who did. There’s something romantic about the image of the intellectual, dreamy reader who is so inspired by their books that they can’t help but get physically involved. There are a few books I have with half-hearted underlines, hearts, stars and exclamation points, but they are far and few between. The only book I have that is thoroughly marked up (and helpfully so) is my copy of Ulysses—it’s the notations that let me read and re-read it to my heart’s content without any confusion.
How do you save your place?
I was a dog-eared girl growing up, occasionally a face-down-on-the-table kind of lady, but now it’s strictly bookmarks. I have no idea what prompted the change in ideology, but now, though I harbor no ill-will or disdain towards anyone who is a page-folding, spine-breaking reader, I can’t bring myself to do it.
My bookshelf is…
Hah! I would say arranged by a method only known to me (and my roommate), but that only happens when we get in a crazy “let’s organize all these darn books!” mode and then, active readers that we are, constant taking out and putting back of books kind of messes up every single system we’ve ever come up with.
How many books do you read at once?
Counting only books read for pleasure, I’m definitely a one book and only one book kind of reader. I’ve tried reading more and sometimes it works, but I just start to feel bad for whatever book I’m not reading at the moment. Like I’ve hurt its feelings. Okay, let’s stop talking about this now.
Do you read used books?
A no-brainer. This isn’t to say that I don’t love a good brand new book all crisp and just mine, but guys, books go out of print all the time. Sometimes the only option is a used book, sometimes they’re just cheaper, and used bookstores are treasure troves of exciting things you never would have looked for on your own. There’s nothing better than buying a good book with a personal inscription in it, either, in my opinion.
I’d love to know what questions you liked best as well as those that could have really done with an “explain here” box below them. Tell me in the comments!