What Kind of Reader Are You? Posted by Maureen Lang

Over the years I’ve belonged to or visited a number of book clubs, which taught me there are many different reader styles. After posing this topic to my voracious-reader daughter, I decided to define the ones we’ve either been or encountered and list them here in no particular order. See if you can identify with any . . . or some . . .

The Peeker: This reader isn’t hesitant about reading the ending well before actually getting there. Some start out reading the end, others peek ahead once they’re sufficiently worried or confused about where the story is taking them.

The Dedicated Reader will finish every book they start, even if they’re not particularly enjoying it. They want to see how the reader wraps up the story, even if they complain about how it’s done.

The Wall-Banger has such well-defined standards that when it isn’t met they not only don’t finish the book, they toss it across the room in disgust.

The Skimmer would like to finish every book, but isn’t sufficiently engaged to want to spend the time it will take for a thorough read. They skip narrative, try to read most of the dialogue, and pick up just enough to see where the plot and characters go.

The Picky Reader never spends time finishing a book she’s either not enjoying or learning from.

The Juggler reads more than one book at the same time.

The Voracious Reader: Reads so many books in such close succession that when they shop for new ones they often end up purchasing ones they already own. It isn’t until they’re a quarter of the way into the novel that they realize they’ve not only already read it, but it’s sitting on their very full bookshelf.

The Hasty Review Reader is in a contest with others to see how many reviews they can get up online, for perks and prestige.

The Cliff Note and Reader’s Digest Reader: student’s favorite, but also known to attract those with more curiosity than time.

The Snail Pace Reader savors each and every word, re-reads paragraphs just for the enjoyment of particularly lyrical or imaginative prose.

Bathroom Reader: No matter how good the book is, this is the only spot for reading.

Exercise and audio reader: these readers have been known to extend their exercise time just to find a place in the book where they can put it down or push pause.

Travel and Vacation Reader: Beach readers, airport/airplane readers. This also includes those who don’t get carsick and can read while a passenger in the car.

The Giving Reader: only reads a book once, then passes it on. See next reader style for the opposite style.

Re-Readers: They can read a book twenty times but still enjoy reading it again. Series books are sometimes re-read to refresh this reader’s memory. Or they’re just in the mood for “that kind of book”.

Series Readers are those who primarily read series books; this sometimes means the whole series must be published before purchasing and reading the first. Or they fall into the re-reader category and re-read the earlier books each time a new book is added to the series, so the books that went before are fresh in their mind.

Movie/Book Reader. This reader must read the book before seeing an upcoming movie, or else has already seen the movie but enjoyed it so much they now want to read the book for another, deeper perspective or to relive the movie.

Genre Readers are those readers who never venture outside their favorite genre. Loyal romance readers, sci-fi, mystery, etc.

The Matter-of-Fact Reader only reads non-fiction, biographies, autobiographies, or textbooks. If it didn’t actually happen, they’re not reading it. They have no desire to explore whether or not truth is stranger than fiction, because they only want the truth.

Chances are if you’ve been reading for very long you’ve practiced more than one of the reader styles listed above. I know I have! What about you?


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About Maureen Lang

Author of a dozen novels, Maureen Lang has won the Selah Award, a Holt Medallion, FHL's Reader's Choice Award, and been a finalist in such contests as the Christy, the Rita, the Carol, Book Buyer's Best, and others. Before publication she was the recipient of a Golden Heart and a Genesis (then called the Noble Theme). She resides with her husband and kids in the Chicago area. Titles by Maureen Lang All In Good Time Bees In The Butterfly Garden Springtime Of The Spirit Whisper On The Wind Look To The East My Sister Dilly On Sparrow Hill The Oak Leaves Remember Me Pieces Of Silver
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32 Responses to What Kind of Reader Are You? Posted by Maureen Lang

  1. I skip to the end. Don’t throw rotten tomatoes! Sometimes I can’t help myself. If it’s a good book I’ll continue to read to see how the end comes about, but especially if there isn’t a satisfying end, I won’t continue. I need happy endings.

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    • Maureen Lang says:

      You’re just like my daughter! She’s the one I was thinking of when that reader style came to mind. No rotten tomatoes from me, since I couldn’t throw any at her I couldn’t throw them at anyone else. You’re safe! 🙂

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  2. Oh my gosh Maureen this was a hilarious post!!! I admit I’m more than one of those types of readers. I’m going to link to this on my blog and Goodreads–I think a lot of people will get a kick out of this post!

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  3. Hmmm….I think I’m a juggler, especially when I’m busy. I’m a re-reader with a very select few books. Sometimes I’m the giver–will give away after one reading. It all depends! What a fun post, Maureen~ 🙂

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    • Maureen Lang says:

      Thanks, Lynette! I tend to be a giver more than a keeper, mainly because I just don’t have room for all the books I’ve either read or want to read. I think most writers have to be that way or we’d get lost in our own libraries, never to be found again…

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  4. ausjenny says:

    Oh Hannah if they throw rotten tomatoes Im ducking with you. Although its not all books I sneak a peek at and its harder with a kindle. I haven’t hit wall banger yet. and Im no longer dedicated. if it doesn’t grip me in the first couple of chapters thats it.
    I have juggled books before but normally have different genres, I am half way to voracious in that I do read alot and go onto the next book but the ones I tend to rebuy are not these ones. I dont get to the big smoke often so when I use to go I would buy up big then go back a few months later buy more only to find I bought a book I had. I actually bought one most of one series 3 times!
    I am the giving reader. Some I keep but I lend them out or donate to the library.
    One I haven’t done and cant see myself doing is the bathroom reader. reading in the bath and me dont mix unless its the baby books made for water!

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    • Maureen Lang says:

      I wish you could meet my daughter! You have so much in common with her – well, except even though she loans books to me and to her father all the time, she always wants them back. She loves keeping her books but has so many I’m never surprised when she says she accidentally re-bought one. Who could keep a thousand books straight? And I’m not sure that’s an exaggeration…

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      • ausjenny says:

        I beleive the 1,000! I swear I have 500 unread. I went through my bookshelf again thing week to try and fit the ones I got in Adelaide and from winning etc and have about another 50 or so to cover and give to the church Library. I cant get rid of autographed or some series but I did surrender a Lori Wick series. I actually found a few of the barbour novels with 3 or 4 in one book had books I also had as single titles.

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  5. Yes, I’m all of the above one time or the other. I started out as a matter-of-fact reader and then when a lady in prison (I did prison ministry) asked me for a christian fiction series, I of course had to read them before sending them. I fell in love with such and sent her every book by the author. I had been strictly a christian book or text book reader until I was taken to the second Twilight movie by my 3 girls. I totally hated the movie but knowing they’d read the books and LOVED the movie- I set out on a quest. I read all the books my kids read- they get best sellers. Some I dislike when finished, some I love. I snail pace in exquisitely written books… and so on. I shamelessly do hasty review with my kids books…

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    • Maureen Lang says:

      Sounds like you’re a voracious reader first – that about covers it! My daughter introduced me to many secular but spectacular books through the years – now that she’s out of the house I only see a slice of what she’s reading these days, but it’s great to be able to discuss a book together with our kids! I haven’t read the Twilight books, although my daughter did – she gave them a mixed review but I guess the romantic angle hooked her. They certainly had something going for them to catch so many readers!
      What a blessing you’ve been to those in prison. I think reading must take on a whole new importance there, to get carried away for a while in a good book. What a blessing to be able to insure the best books get there!

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  6. I’m a combination dedicated and skimmer reader. It’s rare when I don’t complete a book, and I usually read every word, but if the story isn’t engaging, I’ll start skimming. It has to be pretty bad for me to give it up altogether.

    Then when I’m done with the book, I’ll pass it on. My bookshelves won’t hold any more.

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    • Maureen Lang says:

      You’re like my sister! She nearly always completes a book, and when she’s finished she gives it away. Chances are she borrowed it to begin with, because she just doesn’t keep much in her house. She’s the epitome of anti-clutter, and evidently a stack of books is clutter to her, even though she’s almost always reading something.
      Thanks for stopping in, Brenda!

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  7. I used to be dedicated, but now i’m picky. Life’s too short to spend time on what you’re not enjoying. Reading is for pleasure!

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  8. Wilma Frana says:

    I have several authors I look for first, but am always on the lookout for new authors too.

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    • Maureen Lang says:

      Oooh, thanks for the reminder, Wilma! There should absolutely be another reader style, and that’s the LOYAL READER – the one who is the first to buy the new books from their favorite authors and is satisfied with the stable of current favorites – even if they’re willing to add to that stable, the loyalty aspect is key!

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  9. PatriciaW says:

    I’m too many of these types to name. Can I add one to the list? The Stoplight Reader. Will read at traffic lights, in traffic jams…pretty much anywhere the car comes to a complete stop. Has to remember to put book down, though, before stepping on gas. That’s me too.

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  10. PatriciaW says:

    I’m too many of these types to name. Can I add one to the list? The Stoplight Reader. Will read at traffic lights, in traffic jams…pretty much anywhere the car comes to a complete stop (except Stop Signs — not enough time). Has to remember to put book down, though, before stepping on gas.

    That’s me too.

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    • Maureen Lang says:

      You’re braver than I am, Patricia! Mainly because I have a terrible fear of being beeped-at. But if I knew I was at a 2 or 3 minute stoplight and my book was at my fingertips, you could put me in this category right along with you. 🙂

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  11. dianerivers says:

    Can someone please explain to my husband why I want to keep my books after I’ve read them? He’s a minimalist in every sense and doesn’t understand that my books are a part of me.

    I like having them around in case I want to re-read them, or loan them to someone. I want them forever if they were signed by the author (like Maureen Lang) or inscribed on the flyleaf by a much-loved giver. Maybe I want them around for their smell. Does it matter? If there are books I really didn’t like (which doesn’t happen often), I pack ’em up and donate them. I can NOT throw a book in the garbage.

    Wonderful post, Maureen!

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    • Maureen Lang says:

      Your husband and my future son-in-law should get together, Diane. They might be able to commiserate, but I doubt they’d come up with a solution. My daughter’s fiance cannot understand her need to keep all of her books, either. Even with an e-reader, she prefers the kind of book she can smell, touch, turn pages, see the cover, etc. I think she associates such fond memories with each book she’s enjoyed that it would be like giving away part of her own history…

      And throw away a book? Oh, my – that just seems sacrilegious somehow.

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  12. Anne Payne says:

    I’m about half of the above although I’ve never thrown one across the room but maybe I have heavily tossed one or two to the floor 🙂 My daughter and one of my sons will jump right on to reading the end. Drives me crazy! I keep books. A LOT of books. I have started giving away some, though. When my husband & children started complaining about the stacks everywhere I thought it might be time to begin weeding through them. A few go to friends, others to the church library, some I giveaway on my blog. The ones that are signed by authors I keep.

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    • Maureen Lang says:

      Just think of all the wonderful hours of reading you’re spreading around!

      I’m laughing at the description of heavily tossing one or two books to the floor. That’s no doubt a better way to do it – no dents in the wall that way! And I’m with you about not understanding why some readers jump to the end – either why they do it or why it bothers me!

      Thanks for stopping by, Anne.

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  13. This is so true! Peekers annoy me – they don’t enjoy the suspense of it all! And my roommate is a peeker, so it makes for difficult conversations about books, even as English majors, because she’ll want to tell me the end before I get there! I think I’m a mix between a snail reader and a picky reader. I read slowly so I can try to find wise principles from books to apply my life. That makes for a reeeally slow read! Consequently, books other than textbooks often get shoved onto my shelf and end up collecting dust until all my papers are done.

    In Christ,
    Caroline

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    • Maureen Lang says:

      Somehow an English major who is a peeker surprises me! I don’t know why. 🙂

      I’m most often in the same categories with you, Caroline, snail and picky. I don’t get through as many books as I’d like, but I try to follow a steady-as-you-go schedule anyway.

      All the best to you with your workload!

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  14. Holly says:

    This is SOOO true… I fall into 3 categories:
    The Voracious Reader
    The Giving Reader
    The Exercise Reader!!
    Thanks for this great post!

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  15. Typically I never research post on sites, however I would like to state that this write-up really forced me to try and do this! Your own way of writing continues to be amazed me personally. Many thanks, quite amazing write-up.

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    • Maureen Lang says:

      Thanks for visiting! Putting this post together was a lot of fun, especially collaborating with my daughter for more categories. Glad you enjoyed it!

      Like

  16. Sherree says:

    I love this post. I am trying to turn my blog into more about books. Would you mind if I repost this on my blog?

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    • Maureen Lang says:

      I’m all for sharing, especially when credit is given. I know all of us here at Christians Read would appreciate the mention of where the post came from. 🙂 Thanks for asking!

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