May 23, 2008

Friday Fun: who what where when why how?

Read books, that is. An interesting meme-ish post over at The Hidden Side of a Leaf on Reading: who what where when why how? In other words,

While I was writing my Sunday Salon post last weekend, I started to think about how I have my reading material categorized according to when and where I read it. And I started to wonder if other people do the same thing. So, if you do, and want to write about this, consider it a meme you’re tagged for.

Yes, I categorize my reading material by where I read it.

On the Bus. I have a long commute to work everyday, at least 1hr each way, sometimes significantly more. Fortunately, it's all on buses or subways so I get to do a lot of reading. This category is almost always collections of short fiction or short essays. Sometimes I'll read a print out of a journal or magazine article or a zine like C&I. Right now I'm reading The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: 17 edited by Stephen Jones. I go through about 12-15 of these per year.

Bedside. Almost always a novel. The theory is that this is my most regular, dedicated, uninterrupted, concentrated time of the day, those last 30 minutes before going to sleep. Right now it's Pyramids by Terry Pratchett. Another 12-15 per year.

Sitting around the house. When I don't feel like watching TV or surfing in the evening or it's a rainy weekend day I'll dig into a meaty non-fiction book. Sometimes I'll have more than one going at a time, depending on my level of interest and what pops up in my reading schedule. This is where I get in all the scitech books I review during the year. I'll also tend to put a book aside for a few months before coming back to it and finishing it. Right now there are two in this category: The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google by Nicholas Carr and The Dime Detectives by Ron Goulart. Another 12 or so per year.

Vacation. When we go to the cottage in the summer, I like to mix it up a bit and take a bunch of novels and one or two non-fiction. Of the novels, I'll take one SF, one horror, one mystery, one thriller for a bit of variety. I'll get through 6 or 8 books on a 4 week vacation. I also tend to obsessively plan what I'm going to take, starting to put books aside months in advance. I already have a bunch set aside for this summer. Oddly, it seems that the fiction might be mostly horror this time around.

Travel. For plane/train trips and conference travel in general, I'll always take a couple of trashy novels that I'm sure I'm going to like. The worst thing in the world is getting stuck on a plane (or in a hotel room) with a book you don't like. Sometimes I'll also take one of the Year's Best Science Writing-type books but those can be a bit much reading all the stories one after another. I also like picking up a surprise book now and then at a train station discount stall or airport bookstore. Another fun habit I've gotten into recently is to pick up the New York Times in the airport and read it while I'm waiting for my flight. I tend to get to airports insanely early, so it's a good habit to have.

Breakfast/Lunch. Print newspaper, pretty well all the time. Globe and Mail at home, Toronto Star at work.

What's missing? Magazines. For some reason, my former magazine addiction has cooled down considerably. I used to read 4-6 mags per month now I'm down to 1 or 2. They'll tend to temporarily supplant a book or newspaper in one of the other categories.

That was fun. Consider yourself tagged. You're a librarian, you know you have eccentric reading habits. Go ahead.


coturnix said...

I also classify by place. Currently there are only two categories: airplanes and poolside. Luckily, I am traveling more these days and the summer is here as well...

John Dupuis said...

Ah, but do you read different kinds of things on planes and by the pool?

coturnix said...

Yes - I know I'll fall asleep on the plane so I pick up lighter fare, most likely SF.

At the pool, it's a daily thing so I can stretch a serious book over several days and really focus on reading it thoroughly.

Anonymous said...

i read on planes to make sure people don't engage me in boring conversations; usually, it works...

coturnix said...

This is why I read most books in summer and very few in winter - no pool and no travel.