By any definition, I’m a voracious reader. Why? Well, simply put there’s never enough time for all the books I want to read. So how do you know if you fall into this category?
You know you’re a voracious reader if….
- You’re reading most of the time. Be it on the web, on mobile apps (wattpad for eg), old books, new books… Something or another usually occupies your field of vision
- The other times (except a tiny percentage). You’re looking for brand spanking new shiny books to read or just stocking up on another 10 to last you through the week. (Reason 126 why I dislike my Kindle).
- You don’t judge a book by its cover. Paperback, hardback, printouts, handwritten (yes, I’ve done this once when a friend wouldn’t lend it to me). I never care how it’s packaged as long as I get to read it and it’s good. I won’t deny the obvious aesthetic advantage of a beautifully printed shiny or matte, large-font hardback edition. But this is not a deal-breaker.
- You remember places where you’ve never physically been. This happens a lot. Too often in fact. And it’s especially disconcerting when I’ve never left Jamaica. My non-passport-holding-self proves that. But, the other day I was trying to recall when I last went to a depressing depiction of an otherworldly castle backdropped by green plains bordered with unusual purple and grey flowers bounded by a swift river with blue capped hills in the distance. Then I remembered that never happened. Because, although I don’t travel outside my country, I do know what each of our 14 parishes has, and that must be parish #15 because it’s not in the existing 14.
- You always finish a book. No matter how horrible it is. You do it. Period. Then you cuss. And rant. And rave telling the world (your world) how horrible it was. Then you warn all your friends against it. But because you’ve piqued the curiosity instead, they read it. Then you’re left again to bemoan how horrible it was. But this time with company.
- You’re usually reading more than one book at a time. On wattpad, I think I’m reading five or six books right now. And if you think that’s a lot, just remember I said on wattpad, I didn’t mention Kindle.
- Some books are like best friends/ favourite siblings. While I may have no absolute favourite book, I do have a favourite type for certain days, occasions, moods and weather, etc. For example on a rainy day, I like to curl up with Sherlock Holmes, Hunger Games or even a Harry Potter and a cup of coffee. On a hot, sleepy afternoon I usually read any easy breezy romantic comedy I can find. Romantic suspense and mysteries are for when I’m feeling particularly smart. To help along a melancholic period, I turn to the most depressing books I find.
- You remember every book you’ve read. Not word for word or cover to cover (with exceptions). But given the title, I can recall about 90% of the too many books that I’ve read
- When bored, you re-read books in your mind. This happens a lot. Sometimes, lines from a book that I may have read years ago come back to me with a whole new meaning and context. Jokes that I got at one level, come back to me on others.
- You are usually selective, but sometimes you read anything you get your hands upon. I recall that one time I left a book at home (I know, how dare me, right?) and I wound up reading a horror. Now, if you know me, you know that was just desperation because I NEVER read horrors. NEVER!
- Having a good book improves your day. When I have a good book in reserve, I am usually extra-motivated while writing, at work, knowing that I have the book to go back to.
- If you like a book one, you finish the series. You’ll probably sympathise with me here. Why? Well, a good book one is like a gateway drug that introduces the series addiction that will take over your life until you are done with it or until it’s done with you. Case in point, I recently went through the ringer with a 12 book alien-deep space series all because books 1-7 wouldn’t uncurl their hooks from me. After getting that far, I decided to just finish the series because I was already 7 books in. Some took days to finish.
- If you’ve not been reading for more than a few days you get cranky. It happens. All the time. I’m not proud.
- You carry at least one book with you. All the time. I’m never more than 20 m from the book I’m reading at that time
- You hoard books because you like to kid yourself. Your appetite for books always greatly exceeds your speed in consuming them. This is evidenced by an overflowing bookshelf or your exponentially growing ‘to-read’ list on Goodreads, wattpad, Kindle and your real bookshelves at home.
- You develop a taste for things/activities that are great complements to reading. Such as caffe americano, brooding over a falling leaf, travelling on trains or the nonexistent snow this year. I live in Jamaica in a hot, tropical climate.
- Many people think you’re lazy. To tell someone you’re a hardcore reader almost always end in the response: “I don’t know how you find the time.” I break into a sly smile. Then wink like I have the secret to unlocking the constraints of space-and-time. Because I know what they’re really thinking. That I simply must not have the same responsibilities of a normal person. Or that I must be a hermit with the daily demands of a Tibetan monk. Let’s ignore that I have a daughter, a husband, a job, a budding writing career and other numerous responsibilities. Which that leads me into my last point:
- We wonder whether we’re ignoring real life. Other people definitely think so. My sisters for one. Even I question myself at times. Am I living in my head and not in the real world? Are my real friends the characters on the page, and not the people in my life? This, for me, is a double whammy since I both read and write.
So, what do you think? Is a voracious reader just wasting their time reading their life away? Because, most days, I’m having the time of my life. Because I’m a reader dammit and reading is what I do.
And writing. I also write.