POLL: Why do you read? Vote for the gross generalisation which best represents your approach to reading

by |November 17, 2011

The Candidates:

The Make Me Think Party

I read because I am interested in humanity. I read because I want to understand why we behave the way we do. I read because the greatest minds have recorded their thoughts in their writings. I read, then, because I have not given up on life. I read to be inspired. I read to experience the beauty, the horror, the stupidity and genius of human endeavour. I read so that I may not repeat unnecessary mistakes. I read to learn how to communicate. I read hungrily and have learnt to read judiciously, for I have but one short life. I read and utilise what I learn and am happy.

The Entertain Me Party

I read to be entertained. I read to lose myself, to escape, to forget for the moment that I am me and the life I am leading in no way resembles the dreams which I’ve abandoned. I read, then, for I have failed. I read light, plot-ridden novels with happy endings, true love and crystal clear values. I read of redemption, of vengeance and for a moment I feel as though I might stand up straight and tall. I read beside my husband, my wife or my cat. I read late at night when sleep eludes me. I read because it makes me forget when nothing else can.

The Occasional Reader Party

I only read occasionally. I rarely choose what I read. I sometimes read novels but they frustrate me because they’re not true. I read quickly. I joined a book club once but found it dull. I read when I have nothing better to do. I read true stories, mainly. Books about people doing things. I read them and enjoy them while I read them but don’t ask me about the books I read because I can never remember their names or who wrote them. Then again, when I love a book, I love a book. The Da Vinci Code is a book I have read more than once. I love that it is based on fact. I gave copies to everyone I know. There should be more books like that.

The Utilitarian Reader Party

I don’t read, I glean. I look for bits that interest me. Trouble is, everything is interesting to me, so I buy a lot of books. I guess I’m more of a book collector than a reader. I have a library of great books. You should see it. I haven’t read them. I dip into them. I make notes. I am too busy to allocate hours and hours to any one book. A book is only valuable if it can offer me something I can use. There is no need to read the whole thing. I dive into the pages and capture the good bits. Sage advice. Helpful hints. I have a thing for business books at the moment. Books that empower, that improve me. I love the touch and feel of books. A book doesn’t need to be read, you know. I am changed by the presence of books.

NB: This is the definitive guide to reading habits. These four types are the only four types in the universe. If you are offended by what is written you have not taken it seriously enough. All I have ever said is true.

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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  • Sue

    November 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I am definitely the entertainer party. I need to be taken away from my day-to-day, into a world far from mine. I have a chronic illness which limits me, so be arried far away in a book is a godsend

  • November 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Where’s the box that says “I read because I have to!” That’s the box I’d tick.

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