Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The W's of Reading: Are You a WEIRD Reader?

A friend of mine recently told me I read a "weird" selection of books.  Being the over thinker that I am, I've completely over analyzed that comment and been thinking about it ever since.  What makes my reading choices so weird?  Is it because I'm a "grown up" and because I teach English?  Is there some reading list that I'm expected to draw from?  Having said that, I realize that I too stereotype books in considering who I think would read them.  Honestly, I think we all do.  Does that make some of us weird if we just like a bit of everything?  Should you be able to peg someone by their career, interests, or even field of study in school?

One of my literature professors in college was this ex-football player who happened to be teaching Young Adult literature.  He one time shared with us how during his travels around the country, that when people saw him reading YA (especially what was considered "girly" YA), he would get funny looks.  I also had this experience recently when a colleague caught me reading a book and asked the title.  When I said the Fever series, he gave me an odd look. I'm sure he just hadn't heard of it before and was trying to place it, but I thought it was funny.  As a teacher, here are the books that most folks think I must like to read:

    * Shakespeare
    * Classics
    * Prize winners
    * Poetry

While I love each of these types of writing, I'm also quirky and will read just about anything.  I also know that most of my friends in graduate school were reading casually all the time, and things that people wouldn't think we'd spend our free time reading.  I remember a couple of girls chatting about the Gossip Girls series one day before class, and many of us picked up the latest Dan Brown novel when it came out.  I'm not sure that makes us weird, but more that we have a wide taste and appreciation in literature!

I've called it book "snobbery" in previous posts, but I think I might take the honored badge of a weird reader any day.  Here are some of the ways that even I would label myself as "weird" when it comes to reading:
  • I'll pick a book up at the library, just because it has a girly, pretty cover.  (Yes, I'm owning it.)
  • If I like an author, I'll read every book they've ever written, even if there's a bad one in the bunch (which there usually is).
  • I might be an adult, but I still like a good teen or children's read, and not because I might recommend it to a student!
  • I like chick lit, nonfiction, and Nobel Prize winners, all in the same rotation of books I'm currently reading.
  • I hardly ever read a crime or mystery novel, and usually only if someone has begged me to read it.  That's just me.  (I think I just must not have enough patience for the story to unfold!)
  • Sometimes a good romance just fits the bill.  I might be skeptical and snarky about love in real life, but a good love story can be the perfect get away from the real world!
  • Although I love ethnic literature, I'm a complete Anglophile and find myself reading all types of Regency and Victorian novels.
This is just a small list of things that I have noticed might get me labeled in that weird reader category.  The heart wants what the heart wants, and if it's a wide, strange variety, then maybe that really is weird.

What say you?  Are you a weird reader as well?  Has anyone ever said you have weird or eclectic tastes in reading material?


  1. I'm the same way about reading EVERY SINGLE THING by an author. Even if I've heard one book is dumb, I have to read them all or I have this stressed out, unfinished feeling.

  2. I don't know... to me the things I read are obviously the things that I would read. If that makes sense. :) No one's ever commented that my reading is weird.

    I think it's weird when people assume I'm smart because I like to read. I read for entertainment, not to fill my head with knowledge!

  3. I live in a rural area where I don't have much in common with most people, and they all think I'm weird because I read at all, let alone how much I read. My husband thinks I'm weird because I read fiction, although not all the time. I've always felt like I'm not like anyone else, but then found lots of people just like me - they're book bloggers!

  4. I am definitely a weird reader by your definition! I will try almost anything once (although I pretty much refuse to read mysteries), and I enjoy the eclectic nature of my reading!

  5. I'm dying to know... who in grad school was reading Gossip Girl?

  6. I am neither a mystery or crime novel fan; HOWEVER, four years ago, as a Librarian in a public library, I decided that I'd best read at least one of author Daniel Silvas's annual BESTSELLER novels starring Israeli spy/art restorer Gabriel Allon.....I was HOOKED! The latest is being released on July 19th....."Portrait of a Spy." Try won't want to let Gabriel free and you will wish to read this title's predecessors.

    I also fell in love with Bernard Cornwell's Anglo Saxon Stories series among his many other series--including the Sharpe Books personified by Sean Bean in the BBC TV series and in several recent films. Cornwell's January 2012 (USA)/September 2011 (UK) release of "Death of Kings" will be the latest in the Anglo Saxon Stories.

    Another series which kidnapped me from the historical romance novels I favor is William Dietrich's Ethan Gage Adventures series of which currently there are four. His latest offering--"Blood of the Reich"--takes a different inspiration and will be released on June 28th.

    These come highly recommended by professional reviewers and Librarians.

    Hope YOU try some!.....Carla

  7. I know that I have eclectic taste and I love it! I think I'd just be bored with reading if I limited myself to one genre or one kind of book!

  8. I would say that I certainly have eclectic taste in books. I also admit to buying certain books based on a gorgeous cover (shallow).

  9. I've been called an eclectic reader before and just plain wierd, but never wierd reader. *L*

    Interesting that others think we're wierd just because we like to read a variety of genres! Thank goodness for our fellow book bloggers that share our "wierdness"!

  10. Such great comments! I have to say that it seems like most of us are kind of "weird" when it comes to our reading habits. Thanks for making me feel a bit more normal in my abnormal reading choices! :)

    Thanks too for some of the suggestions. It was a crazy week, so to come in and find such great suggestions was really nice.

  11. OH my, have you looked at my TBR piles or something? I feel like you peeked into the inner me!! Yes, my name is InsideABook and I am a weird reader!! It sounds like an AA meeting or something, but it rings true.

    I certainly can't categorize the kinds of books I read when people ask. I am all over the board and, now, quite proud of it. I LOVE children's lit and YA lit, I love a rousing memoir, I love a quiet, retrospective and reflective book, I love a good mystery but not a Stephen King. Throw in the occasional nonfiction and classic and I'm a happy girl. So, can I categorize that? I just tell people to give me the library and I'll be fine. (Secretly it appeals to me to be so 'weird' but I like to call it 'eclectic' and I can wear that on a badge!)

    I agree with what Barbara (above) said, I found others like me - they're called book bloggers and I wish they all lived next door!!!

  12. Inside A Book--LOL. You're right, in that we book bloggers must be a built in support group, all online! From the outside, people that aren't part of this crazy world think we're a big off our rockers, right? :) Yes, I think we should just be called eclectic!