Welcome to a new intermittent series of posts on the topic of Readerly Quirks.
What do I mean by ‘readerly quirk’? Well, anything about someone’s approach to reading – book choices, reading practices, bookish preferences – that is quirky and affects their overall life as a reader.
Everyone has them, from only reading certain books in a particular chair to avoiding anything with talking animals on the negative side of things or, on the positive side of things, buying anything related to Jane Austen or being a sucker for a tale set on a small, remote island. Some readers will buy or accept any edition of a book they want, others insist on new, matching copies only for their shelves. Some of us even have definite quirks about exactly when and how we buy books.
And I think these quirks are what set us apart as readers and fuel some of the best bookish conversations, but up until now I haven’t really talked about my own quirks except for small mentions here and then in a review or two. Someone stumbling on my blog might be able to guess I love non-fiction about libraries and books-about-books because they are a definite trend in the titles I’ve reviewed here or they might know I like specific authors because I’ve said so in posts in the past even if they’re under-represented in actual reviews. But I doubt they’d guess that I have a shelf of books about lighthouses, have certain books I love to read aloud with partners for the sheer pleasure of sharing the magic of their stories, their language, with them for the first time or have very specific reasons why I don’t read crime fiction much any more. Because those niche, personal things tend to stay off my blog. I mostly assume that you won’t be interested in the super-niche stuff and I worry that writing a personal piece about ‘Why I Don’t Read (Almost Any) Crime Fiction’ will offend those of you who do enjoy a good police procedural or serial killer caper.
But what I want to do with my Readerly Quirks series of posts is share a few of the things that shape my reading, some are positive, some are negative and some are
probably rather foolish. But they make me the specific reader I am and I think it would be interesting to write about them here. I suspect actually sitting down to write about these tastes and quirks will make me re-think a few ideas I have about books and perhaps I will even find fellow readers who share specific quirks of mine – after all, how will I know unless I ask you? :)
Anyhow, I’m going to share my first ‘quirk’ later in the week. I hope you’ll find these musings about how quirks come about, which factors affect our own preferences and how tastes change over time interesting even if you don’t share my particular quirks. I also rather like the idea having the series here on my blog as a sort of ongoing, adaptable manifesto of exactly what kind of reader I am, for better or worse…
(Edited to add: If you’d like to borrow the idea/join in the discussion on your own blog then please just add a link in your post back to my round up page!)