Question Time: What Do You Like to Read?

Question Time is a series in which we open up the floor to you, commenters. We invite you to share as you feel comfortable.

Bookwise, I mean.

By which, I mean, what kind of books do you like to read? Do you read different books at different times, depending on your mood and what else is going on? Are there specific genres you are drawn to? Do you  need to read one book at a time, or can you read multiple books at once? For people who have the choice, do you prefer to read books, or listen to them? Do you sometimes use books as assistive devices, and, if so, how?

About s.e. smith

s.e. smith is a recalcitrant, grumpy person with disabilities who enjoys riling people up, talking about language, tearing apart poor science reporting, and chasing cats around the house with squeaky mice in hand. Ou personal website can be found at this ain't livin'.

31 thoughts on “Question Time: What Do You Like to Read?

  1. I’m sure I do read different books depending on my mood, but other than when I’m in a particularly bad way I don’t notice a real pattern. I read a lot, on the train and before bed. I read all over the place; science fiction, fantasy and what for want of a better term could be called ‘literary fiction’ in particular.

    I mostly read paper and sometimes ebooks; I technically have the choice of reading or listening, but in practice I find audio books extremely hard to focus on, though I do listen to audios of poetry.

    I hadn’t thought of books as assistive devices, but I have used them to help calm my mood, as comfort – particularly I read or recite poetry if my anxiety’s moving out of control, the repetitive rhythm seems to help. As a child, and having been taught to read from when I was very small, I used it as a way of achievement when there were so many things I couldn’t do – though the flip side of that was that my learning difficulties were largely unrecognised, and the assumption was that if I had a reading age many years higher than my own then when I struggled with anything it was laziness.

    As a teenager, I often looked for representations of myself in fiction, even when I wasn’t overtly aware of doing it. I read The Chrysalids (I think this is called something else in the US – it’s the post nuclear disaster John Wyndham one, anyway) over and over again, though it probably spoke more to me as a queer teen in a very homophobic environment (and then I ended up in NZ… hmmm). I always identified with Helen in Jane Eyre… and only recently realised that probably the main reason why is that she was modeled on a probably dyspraxic family member.
    .-= anthea´s last blog ..When accessibility doesn’t help =-.

  2. I’ve only read more than one book when I have to read one for school.

    I am a major book lover, and read all the time.

    Genres? Anything I like, though I haven’t read Westerns or Romances (that are just Romances), if I enjoy it, I enjoy it.

    Books helped me a lot when I was in the psych ward – gave me something to do, to get away from it all. Books were the key to keeping everything together before I got a laptop and was forced to just lay down for pain reasons.

  3. i usually have two or three nonfiction books going (currently: Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie T. Chang and yes i’m still working on Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by bell hooks, oh and also The Hip Hop Wars by Tricia Rose) that i read off and on and can sit for a while, as well as one fiction book that i’m reading at lunch and before bed, etc. (just finished (and cannot recommend) The Magicians by Lev Grossman).

    it is rare that you’ll catch me without a book or at least an absorbing magazine in my bag, just in case. i’m notorious for going into fits about which books to bring while traveling and would bring an extra suitcase with me if i could. once i got stuck on a flight from rome to NYC with only an international herald tribune to read and it was my worst nightmare come true.

    for anyone truly interested in my reading, i’m on goodreads.

  4. I have a huge pile of Reading Now books. Typical would be two to four non-fiction books (maybe one about language, one about feminism and/or disability rights, one medical history, one randomish) various fiction novels, which tend to lean to the F/SF side of things, and a book or two of short stories. I’ve found since I got sick I’m reading a lot more YA, partly because I have plenty of friends into it who produce terrific recommendations, and partly because I find them to usually be slightly shorter books and the tend towards simpler narratives, which my brain can handle through fog.

    I also always have an audiobook on the go – these tend to be YA or otherwise reasonably simple/linear fiction, as I can’t handle complicated stories with my ears. I’ve had to work pretty hard to develop my auditory processing, which is naturally not great, enough to listen to audiobooks. I’m plugged into the audiobook while scooting around (distracts from pain), or while watching my kid at the playground (paper books take the eyes away!), or while waiting at the doc’s (sitting neck-bent to read can be too painful), or while resting my eyes.

    Having the earbuds plugged in in public, at the times I don’t feel like chattering with people, really seems to work. It’s my little optional social force field.

    My Right Now piile: From Dead to Worse (Charlaine Harries/Sookie Stackhouse mystery), The Curse of Chalion (Lois McMaster Bujold), Percival’s Medical Ethics, The Piano Tuner (Daniel Mason), New Ceres Nights (anthology from Twelfth Planet Press), a couple of SF zines, Sisterhood Interrupted (Deborah Siegel), Stories of English and The Fight for English (both David Crystal). Pace varies wildly – some I’ll read in under a week or sometimes under a day; others I’ve been dipping into for more than a year. Oh, and a pile of professional journals that I’ll get to when I get to. And a backlog of National Geographic.

    I’ve already unconciously started developing this multi-book habit with the Lad! I’m currently reading aloud to him from two novels and two short story books (as well as intercurrent picture books and library books); and he has several other novels on the go with his Dad.

  5. My critical focus has been on YA/Independent Reader Lit. Lately, I’m been steadily working through the “I’m Here, I’m Queer, Now what do I read?” booklisting, although I am thinking of trying to locate one for Disability as well. I also stalk the new nonfiction at the library.

    My favorite fiction genres outside of that are pretty much sci-fi, fantasy, alternate history. I read multiple books at a time, usually having at least one at work, one for bathtub reading, and one in my bag. Right now I’m zooming through the Pern novels for like the fiftieth time, and I have a few YA novels out from the library. I tend to re-read books a lot, particularly when I’m stressed. My bookshelves overfloweth.

  6. I usually read a great deal, and tend to have more than one book going at a time, but for about a month before my recent diagnosis of depression I hadn’t picked up a hard-copy book at all (though I did read a few online pieces of book-length fiction). Now I’m reading bound books again, and reading the first one after the break felt strangely familiar–as I might have expected of returning to a long-term habit, come to think of it.

    I read mostly science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries, but not all of any of the above, of course. And I usually enjoy YA books in those same genres–Diana Wynne Jones, Tamora Pierce, and Daniel Pinkwater are my favorite authors in the YA section.

    laureldhel, how are you liking Chalion? It’s one of my favorites of hers, and that’s saying something. (Though I like the next one, Paladin of Souls, even better.)

    I’ve often wondered if at some level my reading so much was helping me cope with something, but I don’t know myself well enough to know that yet. (Finding out that I had depression was a huge surprise, in fact.)

  7. I love reading/listening to contemporary poetry.

    One of my all-time favorite books is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; I love the style and the way that it portrays the people in the hospital as real people. Actually used that book as the subject of my college admissions essay. And The Grapes of Wrath was amazing. I enjoy Steinbeck novels a lot.

    Right now I’m reading a book on the history of LSD, which is particularly interesting because it encompassed and touched most of the social and political history of the US during the 1960s. That and a new issue of The New Yorker came today, so that should keep me entertained for a while!

  8. millefolia: I’m not deep into Chalion enough to say, but I’m looking forward to it. Sookie is winning the top o’ the pile stakes right now (mostly because I can’t renew it with the library!)

  9. I’ll sometimes use books as distraction methods when out in public if I’m alone, to keep myself from focusing on the people around me and thus spiraling into paranoia. I haven’t been reading a whole lot lately though. Most of my books are still packed up from moving earlier this year. I’m a big fan of the various Forgotten Realms novels and they’re all packed. Otherwise I’d be reading those more often – they’re great stress relief for me since they take me away from reality.

  10. When my depression gets bad, it’s hard to start a new book or a “hard looking” book. (But new ones that are part of a series, yes please!)

    abby jean – I am all about what books to take while traveling. My grandmother embarrassed me when we went to St. Louis by showing my “too many” books to the hotel clerk.

    For my winter break for this year and last year, I brought home one of my under the bed bins, so I wouldn’t have to pick books! I’ve got about six bookshelves in my room, overflowing. One I took from the back porch, one from a yard sale, and one from my sister’s room. (She used it for shoes!)

    And I still worry about what I will read next. It can be especially bad during school or when a doctor’s appointment is coming up – one is needed, but I’ve got nothing to read!

    In high school, I could pick out my clothes in a second. But the book(s) for the day? Decisions, decisions.

    This week, I had a book emergency. I finished White Tiger (great book!) while I was eating lunch and was away from the dorm and had no other books on me. (I am amazed I survived. /drama queen) Later, I decided to reread a book on uniforms. And I was early to an appointment. And… the book wasn’t doing it for me and they had no good magazines and I had to wait! It was like a horror movie!

    Naturally, after the appointment, I got myself posthaste to the nearest bookstore and found a book to read. And 5 or 6 others.

    I’ve got this awesome funny book called Bibliomania and I read a cool one this fall called The Man Who Loved Books Too Much. I picked it and 17 others up from the library before a class and had to figure out how to carry them. My mom was quite amused.

  11. Right now I’m in the middle of re-reading Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos series, but after that (or maybe in the middle of that, who knows) I’m thinking of re-reading* A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer. It’s sort of an alternate history/western/romance, and it’s very sweet while at the same time being a rollicking adventure story. 🙂 I’ve never read anything else of hers–I’m kind of afraid to because it would be so hard for it to be as good as I’ll expect it to.

    * I do a LOT of re-reading, especially when I’m reading for comfort. Comfort go-tos include Dorothy Sayers, Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell books, and Lois McMaster Bujold’s Chalion and Vorkosigan series (minus the third Chalion book, which just doesn’t stand up to the other two IMHO). Jo Walton’s The King’s Peace, The King’s Name, and The Prize in the Game are rapidly attaining comfort-reading status too.

  12. There was a long time when I almost stopped reading books after graduating from college; I’ve recently started reading more again. I usually have several books going at once; my Kindle makes that much easier than it used to be. Right now I’m working my way through the complete fiction of H.P. Lovecraft (maybe when I finish, I’ll find a collection of his letters), some short stories by Arthur Machen, and Settling Accounts: Return Engagement by Harry Turtledove. It’s an alternate history of World War II in which the American South has won the Civil War. I don’t read much “hardcore” science fiction, but it was free :).

    I’ve also started reading Jane Austen, since I’ve never read anything of hers before (for shame!). I read Pride and Prejudice, and just started on Sense and Sensibility.

    I’m a Stephen King fan, and hope to read Under the Dome soon.

  13. I am hyperlexic, which means that I have always been able to read far more than I can actually comprehend the words. It started out with zero comprehension, and now on my best days I have 80% comprehension of the same words that I could write. (But those are my best days.) This has a good side, in that I can read the same book over and over and still be surprised.

    I do actually eventually understand the book, but it takes place in a strange manner: The comprehension all goes into the back of my brain where I have no conscious access to it, and spills out in my writing later without my deliberately getting it out of there. And I have no control whatsoever of this process.

    The cool bit about all of this is that I can read the same book twenty times and it’s still as good and even as surprising as the first time. The sucky bit is that I can read for pages and have no clue what the hell I’m reading.

    Hyperlexia also makes me go on compulsive reading binges where if there is nothing else to read I will literally read the labels on shampoo or food or something. I will do this even if my brain is totally overloaded by words. (I don’t think in words and find reading and writing pretty overloading past a point.) Compulsions don’t give a crap if it makes my brain hurt.

    I really like children’s fiction because it fits my comprehension level better. My favorite authors are Madeleine L’Engle, Michael Ende, George MacDonald, Diane Duane, and anyone else who hides incredible levels of wisdom in plain sight by calling it a children’s book. Momo is a serious favorite, as are the (2-and-a-half-book) Feline Wizard series by Diane Duane (which have hands-down the most realistic characterization of cats that I have ever, ever read). Oddly a lot of the best stuff is out of print, and I can’t figure out why.

    At any given time I seem to be granted a narrow topic that I will have higher reading comprehension for than any other topic at the time. This corresponds to what in the autistic community get called “special interests”. A list of a lot of mine in chronological order:

    Cats (lifelong, weaves in and out of the other ones); astronomy; chaos theory, surreal/strange/altered reality stuff (hard to explain, at the time I was going through major changes in my life and in my brain functioning, which was very hard to deal with, and everything seemed surreal anyway, so I tried to embrace the weirdness instead of running from it since it seemed the only thing left to do — some topics included were surrealism, alternate realities, drugs and sixties counterculture, late Beatles stuff, Pink Floyd, fairy tales (ancient and modern), etc.); books by autistic people (was going through a very lonely period in my life and they provided stuff written by people who at least had something in common with me, unlike nearly all other books); and comparative oppression (that’s what my friend calls it anyway).

    Currently my main topics are what my friend calls “comparative oppression,” and (as always) cats.

    I am rereading the Feline Wizard series over and over again, still. I have read a couple books on cats but the only ones that seem to even come close to understanding cats are Cat Vs. Cat and Hiss and Tell by Pam Johnson-Bennett, even though they contain a lot of behaviorist language that irritates me. My friend and I are reading a lot of the same books, constantly talking about cats, blogging about cats, etc. So cats are pretty big as a topic right now.

    I find it easier to read if I have colored glasses, but I mostly use those for things other than reading.

    I can get incredibly weak sometimes, definitely too weak to turn pages. So my family bought me a Kindle. And I have an iPod Touch with Kindle software. Both of those mean that I can lie on my side and read with my arm and the “book” propped up in a way where all I have to do to turn pages is just barely flick my thumb. That has proved a godsend as far as preventing boredom gets. I also get weak enough that I can’t control my eye muscles very well, and have learned to read even when I’ve got double vision from that (or when things are going in and out of focus or jumping around with some of my eye movements).

    So to me a Kindle and an iPod are absolutely necessary if I am going to read much. I can read paper books sometimes but not nearly as often as I can read ebooks. I used to read audiobooks for when I couldn’t read visually, but often it was hard to focus on them and the words would go over my head entirely (my auditory comprehension tends to suck even more than my reading comprehension, except on occasions when my reading comprehension gets verY bad).
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Dealing with Cats, Part 1: What is respect? =-.

  14. Tera – I love Stephen King’s books as well, but I haven’t liked his recent ones (Lisey’s Story and The Cell didn’t do anything for me – or at least the first few pages didn’t! Misery is my favorite and my first) but I am curious about this one! (Especially after rewatching the Simpsons movie a couple weeks ago!)

    I’m not big on audio books or ebooks. I’m getting better at reading long things online (for classes), but books on tape have never been for me. I had to listen to a podcast version of a lecture and it almost put me to sleep. Either get it in writing or let me be there in person.

  15. I do have favourite genres, but basically I just like to read, though maybe that should say ‘need’. I always run out of books, I do not own a book that I haven’t read. When I run out of my own books, I used to be able to start reading my brothers’ books, then my mom’s books, then various magazines from all over the house, then when those ran out I’d read the labels on food containers, cleaning agents, etc. I now live with my partner, who does read but not avidly, and who only reads books I already own, so nothing of his I could read. I’ve sort of replaced that by reading loads of blogs ;). Unfortunately, going to the library in this town in which I’ve not lived very long (anything under 15 years or so is not long enough), is very difficult. In my previous town I’d always reach the monthly limit :S. Also it wasn’t very big and they didn’t add new books all that often.

    I’ve never been able to bring enough books on holiday. Even if I filled boxes with them I’d probably run out about halfway through.

    My favourite genre used to be horror, and I read my favourite genres pretty much until I run out of books in that genre,then I switch to everything else we have in the house. So since other people bought me books too, I’ve read a lot of other children’s material too. I stopped reading horror (and watching it too, mostly; though not to confuse gore or suspense with horror) for my own good, it was really bad for my anxiety. Then I switched to Fantasy/Sci-Fi. I also read books about autism, though I’ve grown very selective about those. Oh, and cookbooks and some books about language or some aspect of it.
    There are so many authors I really really like that I won’t list them here.

    I read one book at a time, and I need to really read them, not listen to them.
    I always fear going to see films based on things I’ve read. It’s usually disappointing. The other way around (seeing a film and then reading the book it was based on) is fine.
    I buy a lot of books. Despite my difficulties with managedment of anything number-related, I can keep from going over my budget. Maybe because books are things I’ve always bought, and the amounts per month are sort of memorised. I don’t have that with buying other things.
    Sometimes I buy a book not because I think the writing will be very good, but because it looks too beautiful to resist. I recently did that with a book based on the original Peter Pan story.

    Reading from a screen is hard, even though I’ve turned down brightness and such very much, and I stay away from very long blog posts or anything without line breaks that’s longer than… well I don’t count sentences, I look at it more like in cm, say anything longer than 5 cm. I also try to not write anything longer than 5 cm without line breaks, which is sometimes problematic because the box you write in may not be the same size and shape as how it looks when it’s ‘published’.

  16. I read A LOT.

    I set a goal to read at least 100 books per year. I have surpassed that goal the last year three years (not by much but still 100+). I always have at least 3 books on the go at once. Usually one fiction and two non fiction. I like to read memoirs, particularly by women. I read a lot of literature pertaining to my profession (counselling), mainly women’s issue but lately I have been reading a bit about sex offenders and the Internet. I read a lot of Fat Acceptance themed literature also as this is my personal passion (and post grad study area). Fiction I tend to lean towards female writers (not really by intent, it just happens) and I like stories that are personal and contemporary or modern history(say from the 1950s onwards). I also read a fair bit of pagan/witchcraft/magic/goddess oriented non fiction.

    My main aid to reading is my glasses! I also have a little book beanbag that has a shelf on it which holds the book and has a ledge so the pages don’t flip over until I want them too. It is handy for big heavy books or when I am studying. I prefer to read in bed. I am not a sit in a chair and read kind of gal for some reason. But I will read just about anywhere if I can.

  17. Oh and since I joined a few years back, my TBR pile (to be read) has grown exponentially! I have about 300 books in that pile now…

  18. I love to read, so much!

    Seriously, it is one of the things that keeps me from going round the bend.

    Normally I read non-fiction, usually something to do with classics (since that is my study area) but also feminism/disability/sexuality/other theory.

    I’m like one of the first commmentors…Anthea, I think? I have a very high reading age, so I’ve been reading lots of books for a long time. I had to get a special limit put on my library card so I could take more books out!

    When I read fiction….my fiction habits are almost as widespread as my non-fiction habits! I read plays, literary fiction, young adult fiction (sometimes I like to not engage my brain when I’m reading) humour, poetry.

    Yes, I would say I use books as an assistive device. When I’m in a very busy, enclosed space, a book and an iPod give me my own special barrier.

  19. I don’t like fiction at all, but I read many kinds of nonfiction and also enjoy autobiography. I usually have about three or four audio books available to read at a time, but whether I read one book at a time or multiple books, depends on my mood and whether a book totally engages me. I would’ve had more books available if I could, but the library for the blind for some stupid reason keeps sending books to my home rather than the institution, so I have to find a moment (every several weeks) to go there to pick them up. I’ve tried changing my address several times but somehow they won’t get it, argh. I also don’t like that I can’t access sites like because I am not a U.S. resident or citizen…we have the same copyright exemptions as the U.S., and the UK library for the blind does send (paper braille) books to people from other countries (they won’t send me any more since a few volumes got lost in the mail back from my home to the library about four years ago).
    I don’t see why can’t do the same, especially with written proof of disability so that the U.S. laws won’t be violated (the UK NLB didn’t even require that).

    As for preference fo reading method, it depends on the goal of the reading. I prefer audio books for leisure and digitalized books (thrugh my computer wiht braille display) for study.

  20. Since I am still a student, reading for class and reading for fun are both big parts of my life. When I am reading something difficult for my English class, say Pride and Prejudice (which I have a pure hatred for), reading for leisure takes it on the chin that couple weeks. But if we are reading something that makes our teacher teach at an unbearably slow pace, like Macbeth, I have some room for extra reading.

    I have been reading for leisure a lot lately, especially after I read The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison, a memoir. It was very disturbing and shocking, but beautifully written. I was hungry for more after that. I read Push by Sapphire, which was made into the movie Precious. I also read a memoir-ish book by Marty Jezer, called Stuttering: A Life Bound Up in Words. Right now, I am working my way through The Lovely Bones in time to see the movie 🙂

  21. When I was a kid, I was known for reading constantly–especially historical fiction, books about orphans, and fantasy and science fiction. I really enjoyed trashy series books like the Animorphs and Diadem books, and I would read them over and over. I always brought a book to school every day–I’d scan my shelves looking for something I hadn’t read in a while. I mostly liked books that were angsty and/or about magic. As you can imagine I loved Francesca Lia Block when I was in middle school.

    Although I’ve gone through some periods of reading a lot when I’ve been depressed or just in an unusual mental state, I am not a very big reader now at all and haven’t been for probably five years (since I was about 16). For a while, I had this problem where I would have these compulsions about having to find a group of words with a certain amount of punctuation marks and then read that group over and over. Now I don’t really have that anymore, but I still have trouble reading. I think a lot of the problem just has to do with the social implications of reading. When I was a kid I would read books without worrying about whether they were considered trashy, and I would skip around in them, read them over and over, etc. Now, instead of thinking of reading as comfort, I think of it as work. I feel intimidated by books because I don’t know if I’m willing to put in all the concentration that it takes now.

    On the other hand I spend huge amounts of time reading blogs, forums, wikipedia articles, and fanfiction on the Internet. I don’t feel like I’m working or like I have to worry about compulsions or getting distracted. So I guess reading the Internet has just replaced reading books for me.

  22. I can’t go more than a day without reading something I like. I can’t stand most fiction, but will take recommendations from trusted friends (although I’m never going to read that Twilight nonsense).

    I love reading theory: most lately have been psychoanalytic explanations for white privilege and racism. I try to read “the feminist texts that brought us to this point” and the new stuff coming out in the field. I also enjoy reading about alternate realities/consciousness/theoretical physics type stuff and history. I have a few blogs I read regularly regarding social issues (including this one!). Biology and science is always pretty enjoyable. I’m currently reading DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman and I’m eating it up 🙂

    I’m anxious to start a book club at my new job. Although fiction appeals to more people and (usually) has plenty of social commentary, I’m hoping to find someone who is as in love with theory as I am.

  23. Amanda – even though I’m NT when it comes to books, if I wait long enough, I still get surprised by twists and go, “No, you can’t kill him!”

    (I also do that with movies. I knew the twist before I watched this movie, but watching it, I was like, nah, not gonna happen. I also felt that way the second time I watched the movie. I really get into movies and books when I like them.)

  24. millefolia — love the Vlad books, though I have not read the most recent book. The early books are my favorite. I love Morrolan.

    I mostly read fantasy and recently finished Sarah Monette’s A Doctrine of Labyrinths series, which was amazing. It had some really interesting main characters. One is mentally ill, one winds up with a bad leg, and another (in the last book) is blind. There are no miracle cures, everything comes hard. And they are all admirable, complicated, deeply flawed characters. I related in a lot of ways. She treats her characters as whole people, even when they are “broken.”

    Other than fantasy, I read some nonfiction, mostly history, books about animals, books about sex in all its forms, mythology (largely Celtic, ancient near-middle-eastern, and “classical”). I read and write erotica. I love fairy tales and retellings of fairy tales. I love books that cross genres. I don’t read romance as a rule (not that I don’t like it on principle, but I prefer stuff with a strong speculative element) or mystery as a rule (same deal), but the J.D. Robb Eve Dallas/In Death series is awesome.

    I read graphic novels often, especially when my bipolar disorder is making it hard to concentrate or making it hard to understand things.

    Books have definitely been a coping mechanism in the past. I think one of the kindest things my father ever did for me was tell me that if I would read them, he would buy me as many books as I liked. Any subject, didn’t matter. He never ever criticised my choice of reading material or told me I was reading things that were too mature or too immature. It was a completely safe area in a childhood that had relatively few of those. Those books gave me a place to go when I didn’t have anything else, anywhere else.

    My hearing comprehension is dreadful, so I can’t listen to books. I can’t read long works on a screen, because I have no kinesthetic? is that the word? sense of where in the book certain scenes were and where I am and how far I have to go. I wish I could do both of those things, because reading on paper is becoming increasingly difficult for me.

  25. I used to read Russian History for pleasure (I was a history minor, and then a major for a while until…well I have a kid now).

    Now I read more YA than is probably advisable. 😉 I read the HP series at least once a year. I have burdened my brain w/ Twilight for critique purposes. I have started His Dark Materials and have had trouble getting my mits on the second two books, I fell in love w/ Howl’s Moving Castle. I am now reading The Hobbit because The Guy got tired of me complaining about Steinbeck’s verbosity.

    I also eat adult fiction like baby flavored donuts OM NOM NOM! I read the Kushiel’s series every year at least. It is hands down my favorite.

    Perhaps it would be easier to list what I don’t like…

  26. Where to start? My book reading has flowed in cycles for as long as I can remember. I had a Greek mythology phase, followed by an Egypt phase, followed by a scifi phase, followed by a British history phase (well, two phases, really: one Eleanor of Aquitaine/medieval, and one Wallis & Edward/more recent), a fantasy phase (especially Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern and Merecedes Lackey’s Heralds of Valdemar), a YA phase (Garth Nix’s Abhorsen and Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci, Howl, Dalemark…), a manga phase (Naruto, Bleach, Shaman King, Claymore, and Kitchen Princess), a non-fiction phase…

    Suffice to say, our numerous bookshelves are very well organized by genre/author, or else finding books would be impossible. My favorite thing is when people enter our living room and see all the books and are so amazed, and then we take them upstairs to the book room and watch their eyes boggle…it’s great. 😀

    In high school, my “coping book” was Dragonsdawn—I used to read it once a week at least (and I’d guess I’ve read it more than 600 times by now). I can’t really say why it was so meaningful to me, but no matter how agitated or upset I was, I could calm myself down just by picking it up and starting anywhere. I *still* cry when Sallah dies, and at the end when Sean salutes Admiral Benden and presents the Dragonriders of Pern…

    Is it just me, or was 2009 a really bad year for YA and F&SF? I can’t hardly think of anything released this year that was amazing or fabulous. I am hoping 2010 will be way better.

    Also, re: Chalion, my favorite is also the first, and it’s a bit ironic that LMB won the Nebula for the third when it’s not liked nearly as well.

  27. Since I need to schedule work and chores and other necessary things during the time that my Adderall is in effect, I have a tough time concentrating on reading in my free time. (I’ve been reading the same book since July.) I tend to be a video games and comic books kind of gal, but if it counts, my favorite “book” right now is a manga series called Nodame Cantable. It is a romantic comedy about a free-spirited pianist and her adventures in conservatory.

  28. Like Bri up above, my goal is 100 books a year and I normally pass that – although this year, I discovered that my library has graphic novels, so I spent a few months reading many of the ones I’ve wanted to read but could never afford.

    Above all, I like speculative fiction – sci-fi, fantasy, horror, etc. I also love mysteries, thrillers. I’m not much of a fan of general “literate fiction,” especially those ones that sit atop the bestseller’s list all year and get recommended by Oprah. I adore British and European classics, but not American ones. I usually stay away from non-fiction, but this year I’ve read a few pop-science books (by Carl Sagan, Michio Kaku, Stephen Hawking) since I’ve never learned much about physics and astronomy. I can’t do books on tape because of my hearing impairment; my favorite joke about that is that I’d need a version with closed captioning (as in, the hard-copy book).

    @bme: the only YA book I can recall that was released this year to lots of praise was Suzanne Collins’ sequel to The Hunger Games. I’m holding off on reading them all until all three books are out, though.

  29. Having spoken so glowingly above of A Brother’s Price, I thought I’d better come back and temper that a bit since I did re-read it this weekend. This time through I noticed something that had escaped me before: the society described is one that would probably be hell on earth for gay men and only a little bit better for lesbians. Bi and straight people would mostly do OK there. So when I read it as a very sweet romance adventure Western etcetera, it only works if I have my het-privilege goggles on.

  30. Voracious reader most of my life. There were a few years when my meds were wrong and I couldn’t really read anything on paper: couldn’t focus, couldn’t remember. That was very very scary.

    Now I usually have three books going at once: one pop-science (The Body Has a Mind of Its Own); one fiction (Liar); one theory (Disability Theory by Tobin Siebers, very hard going, as he’s a philosopher.) As well as a TBR pile which could kill me, the partner and the dog if it toppled.

    Also blogs and LJ friendslists and DW circles, the first offline with RSS Runner on my iPod, the latter online.

    Also tons of fanfic and miscellaneous interesting stuff — commentary, rants, novels, articles — on my iPod.

    When I’m not reading with paper or with my iPod (eyes or ears) or on CD or cassette, I’m basically sleeping, eating or swimming.

    Although I have a very hard time picking out speech from background noise, I do pretty well with audio books, since I control the aural landscape. Audio also calms me down by keeping me in more or less one place.

    Happily my library is less than a mile away, and their on-line catalog permits me to keep more than a hundred books on wishlist.

  31. Jesse – when I’m on campus, my library is a five minute walk away. And they’ve changed some things – we can now order books online, so I don’t have to call somebody and ask for some hard to pronounce [title].

    They also let us *delay* the order, so over the summer, when I’m away from the library, I can still order books, but delay them until school starts.

    You know how I know this semester has been bad? I haven’t been since maybe October or so.

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