The New Yorker's Page-Turner blog includes a book-reader coinage that got us thinking about our own reading styles. There, Mark O'Connell confesses his dirty little reading secret: He doesn't finish books; he's a "promiscuous reader," a book abandoner. He writes, "I’ll start a book, get about halfway through it, and then, even if I’m enjoying it, put it down in favor of something else." But it's not the books, it's him. "I like reading too much. I can’t say no," he writes. "I’ll be reading a novel and thoroughly enjoying it. Then I’ll be in a bookshop and I’ll see something I’ve been anticipating, and I’ll buy it. I’ll start reading the new book on the bus home that evening, and that will be the end of the original affair. I’m certainly invested in the relationship with the book that I’m currently reading, but I can’t help myself from pursuing whatever new interest happens to turn my head. Perhaps that’s just a tortuous way of admitting to being a pathetic serial book-adulterer who’ll chase after anything in a dust jacket." He justifies his behavior in the end, as you'd expect of a "book cheater," by saying that maybe occasionally this is a good thing. When he finally meets the book whose fickleness meets his own, well, perhaps he's met his match.
We understand. We, too, have occasionally set one good book down and picked up another, and forgotten the first nearly entirely, even though we'd been quite smitten with it before. Sometimes we engage in threeways, fourways, or even orgies of reading, in which there are so many books involved, well, we might not even be keeping track. It's horrible, isn't it? But, for as many books as exist, there are also any number of different reading types a book lover (or even a book hater) might demonstrate. What kind are you?