On Wednesday, inspired by Mark O'Connell's confession on the New Yorker's Page-Turner blog that he's a "promiscuous reader," we diagnosed a number of other types of readers, ranging from the pure book-loving Bookophile to Delayed Onset Readers to reading Multi-taskers. Our list turns out to have been in no way conclusive, not that we thought it was—there are as many types of readers as there are pages in books, it appears! Enough of you have gotten in touch to admit your own book-reading characteristics that we feel the original Diagnostics Guide deserves an addendum. Herewith, many more types of book readers. Let us know if we left you out.
The Book Snob. You are hard to impress, Little Miss or Mister. You only read books that are well reviewed by critics that you have determined to be of the highest caliber. You would never stoop to read something on a best-seller list, or something sold in a discount department store, or something NOT GOOD. Paperbacks offend you; you only touch hardcover—preferably, award-winning in some form or fashion. Suggested book snob reads: Pulitzer nominees, even if no Pulitzer was awarded.
The Hopelessly Devoted. You stick to the authors you like, and you read them, pretty much exclusively, whatever they write, good or bad, regardless of reviews or the opinions of your friends or family. Everyone knows what to get you for your birthday or holidays. You are a true fan, and have been known to stand in line for a book signing from your BWF (Best Writer Forever). Suggested devoted reads: This really depends on you. For me, it's Betty Smith.
The Audiobook Listener. So, ya like audiobooks? That's cool. There's a place for you, person whose ears are essentially eyes. Not that we understand, exactly, but, hey, different strokes for different folks. Probably, you own a car, or run miles like that Olympian in the commercials. Suggested listens: Anything the rest of us would look at.
The Conscientious Reader. It's nonfiction or nothing for you, reader! It should have a purpose, too, and be meaningful. You should learn something. There should be ideals! If it's just fun, you can read it on the Internet, in your humble opinion. You like reporting, true tales, and journalism. If it is fiction, make it by Chinua Achebe. Also, you like libraries. Suggested conscientious reads: Books by presidents; stuff about OccupyWall Street; Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand.
The Critic. Yes, it is easier for you to hate than to love, but when you love, you love deeply and in the most eloquent of fashions. It's not a book if you don't discourse about it, and so, discourse you shall! No one can stop you. You allude to metaphors and figurative language and concepts and conceits and plot points in daily conversations. You adore a spectacular conclusion as much as you do a foreword and an afterword. But especially, you love something that you can sink your teeth into and discuss. But only with those of a similar intellectual bent. You find book clubs too "mainstream." Suggested critic reads: Janet Malcolm's The Journalist and the Murderer; anything by Haruki Murakami.
The Book Swagger. You're the one wandering around book conventions with that acquisitive gleam in your eye and a pile of ARCs in your tote bag. If it's free, you'll take it, and even if it's not, you'll try to get it for free. Whether you read all this swag or not is really of little consequence. It's not that you don't love books, you do. But you also really, really love getting to see them before anybody else. And for free! Suggested book swag reads: Get thee to BEA.
The Easily Influenced Reader. If someone says it, they must be right! You listen to everyone, from your mom to Oprah to the members of your book club to Michiko Kakutani, and you believe them all! There are so many books for you to read, you better get started. Don't worry, you already know how to feel about the books you will read—and if you don't, you can Google. You have hands. You enjoy reading in group settings. Suggested easily influenced reads: Cheryl Strayed's Wild; Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue; Caitlin Moran's How to Be a Woman; Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Just because a lot of people recommend them doesn't mean they're not great!
The All-the-Timer/Compulsive/Voracious/Anything Goes Reader. Wherever you go, whatever you do, there's a book with you. It doesn't matter what it is, really, so long as there are pages with words on them, or an e-reader with words on it. We can't really suggested anything here because you took it with you to the grocery store or subway or library or laundromat or coffee shop, and you're standing in line or sitting down and reading it right now.
The Sharer. You read something you like and you simply will not stop talking about it; you tell everyone you know, and you will not give up until they read it too. And then you want to talk about it. If you are one of these, sometimes you loan people books, too, and that is a good quality. We like you, book sharer. We really, really do. You're a giver, not a taker. Suggested sharables: Anything you read and liked, obviously, but also stuff you don't like, because you might as well pass it along to someone who might enjoy it more than you did.
The Re-Reader. You know what you like, and instead of branching out and possibly finding something new that you don't like, you focus on what you do. You read the same books over and over again, returning to them as if they're old friends, which, pretty much, they are. Your book-reading motto is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Suggested re-readables: You probably already know, but try these.
The "It's Complicated" Reader. You are a combination of many of these things and yet completely different, too. Each book means a new type of reader exists in your soul; you refuse to be defined or categorized. You are a freeform, wild, woolly entity. You do whatever you want. You're probably a pisces. You're definitely a reader. Suggested "it's complicated" reads: We dare not to go there.
The Cat. You creep around the house all day and sneak peeks at all those large, paper things that your owner leaves lying about. Sometimes, if you're lucky, your owner has left one open, and you lie on top of it and let its smooth pages touch your whiskers. It is oddly comfortable, and deeply satisfying, particularly if it's in a spot in the sun, where you enjoy whiling away a whimsical afternoon. Your owner, who is an "It's Complicated" Bookophile type, fancies that you're actually reading the pages, but you're not. You're just lying on them. Humans are so weird. Suggested cat reads: This one looks nice and flat.
Insets via Flickr/Anna Koval; Flickr/Emily Carlin; Flickr/AnimalVegetable.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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