Reading Rites

People read books uniquely. I mean the sequence in which we read varies, not the format, which can be Oral-Ebook-Audio-Print. Now that I’ve noticed, I’m pesty about asking others HOW they read.

Here are preliminary findings.

Some 1st read congratulatory blurbs on the back covers. If the author is really famous or has a lot of friends, praises may go on and on for several pages inside, too. I read them last, before I place a book in the “done” pile. I feel more independent this way.

Some don’t have “done” piles. They don’t perceive a book as finished or over or done. I wish I didn’t have a “done” pile but do. I think it’s because I am American.

Some read the contents page before they begin. In the past, I read the content pages but stopped. They rarely makes sense to me at the beginning. It sort of robs me of confidence.

Some read “About the Author” right up front, first thing. I read it last, saving it like a little surprise.

Some read “acknowledgments” and some don’t read them at all. This is one of my favorite parts. The WAY the author acknowledges help is interesting. I once read a first novel by an author from northeastern Africa and it comprised 5 full pages of names. He was an extremely grateful person.

Some read the publishing date and some are indifferent. After the Title, that date is the FIRST thing I read. Don’t know why.

Some keep track of what page they are on. I check what page is the end, say page 400 because books sometime end well in advance of the last page. At the end of Mark Twain’s biography, for instance, there is a full INCH of paper filled with notes and attribution. It saddened me because I was looking forward to more story.

No conclusions are forthcoming yet, no patterns, no insights. How do you read?



About Mrs. Fitz

Hello! I'm Michele Fitzpatrick, a Chicago writer. Like our town, a work in progress. As a journalist, teacher and writing coach I think all of us live our stories and sharing them creates moments that remind us we're connected. And that is enough.
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