My Three Types of Reading

I meant to blog about podcasts and booktubing today, but I’ve suddenly become a little busier, so I’m postponing.

Last month I fell into the soft cocoon of YA literature, a well needed emotional comfort blanket and barrier to life. This craving for a YA sanctuary got me thinking about the way I read, which I have found fall into three categories. While books in these categories can and do overlap, I find these are distinctions I read by in relation to how I am feeling.

Comfort Reading

These are my emotional go-tos, the books that remind me of how I have felt and articulate how I can feel. They probably won’t teach me anything I don’t already know, deep down anyway, but they will remind me that happiness exists and that I am not alone in my sea of confusing emotions. These are the books I do not want to discuss, they are so much a part of how I feel that to share them would lessen the feeling that they are special. I’ll recommend them for broken hearts or damaged souls. My cynical side hates me at these very moments, it’s a reminder that sometimes I need to be happy.

comfort

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Fanirl by Rainbow Rowell
Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
The Somnambulist by Essie Fox

Intellectual Reading

These are the books I read when I want to feel as if I have learnt something new; books that will expand my mind and thrust me into a world of colour. They are the books I want to analyse, to think about for years to come; they improve me as a person and make me want to tell everyone to read them so they can watch the fireworks explode like I did. Predominantly they will be fiction, or autobiographical/memoirs.

intelect

The Reader by Bernhard Shink
Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
My Brother My Sister: Story of a Transformation by Molly Haskell
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Academic Reading

Even though I am no longer a student I enjoy reading books on an academic level, these will be non fiction books covering topics that, while still reading for an element of fun, am mainly reading for the knowledge I will glean from them. I try and read books on subjects or topics that I have not studied before.

academic

When Hollywood Was Right by Donald T. Critchlow
The Compatibility Gene by Daniel M. Davis
Fifty Shades of Feminism
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

Do you read in different ways?

10 thoughts on “My Three Types of Reading

  1. What a great classification system! I’ll have to think about my types of reading a little bit, but I think these three things are pretty similar to the way I read. The tricky part is finding the balance between the three! Sometimes I can get caught up with just comfort reading, you know?

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  2. Thanks for the good post! It got me thinking about my reading habits. I usually just pick up whatever I feel like reading, so many would be short or easy reads. And most of the academic reading I do these days are online. It’d probably be beneficial to be more organised, and strike a balance of different readings.

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  3. I read for comfort to. For me it books that will make me feel a certain way (usually happy or content). I read them to get a specific reaction out of myself, usually if I’ve have a particularly crappy day. I read a lot for professional development, usually plant science text – always educational, usually dull.

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    1. It’s rare to find a professional development book for employment that isn’t dull I think. I guess it depends on how interesting you find the subject, I usually find it depends on how interesting I end up finding the topic or the way it’s written.

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  4. You know, I don’t think I have any comfort reads. I think even before blogging I had a tendency to only read new books and I know I’m missing out. I do have a few books I’ll read a scene or so from every now and then, often when I’ve just read a really bad book but I’m not sure that counts. I do read intellectual and academic books, though, not as much as I’d ‘like’, but they can be heavy going.

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    1. I think reading a chapter here and there counts! Do you not find some of the new books you are reading are comfort reads though? I rarely re-read a book, so I tend to isolate genres that I know will illicit a comforting or emotional feeling.

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  5. I definitely read in different ways! I don’t always think about it while I’m doing it, of course, but it’s definitely there. I would say most of my reads could be categorized into the three categories you mentioned, but I feel I have a fourth category too. I’m not sure how I would describe it, but the books would fall somewhere between the first two categories. Like, I read mostly for entertainment, but they also make me think about things as well. I haven’t been doing much academic reading lately, because I needed a break after graduation, but I expect I will soon pick it up again soon. I was always the kid who liked reading on summer vacation between school breaks.

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    1. Yeah, I see what you mean, those comforting reads that teach you something useful as well. This is why I think I do have books that cross over into other categories as well, but this is as simplistic and basic a definition as I could get to.

      I don’t think I did anything but read fiction in between uni terms (a long time ago now) so I can totally understand you wanting to immerse yourself in some fun reading after graduating. I think if I were still studying/just finished school I would be reading far fewer academic books.

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