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An Informal Survey of Writers About Reading

A discussion with a writer friend piqued by curiosity about the reading habits of writers. I’d love to see some responses to these questions.

  1. How often do you read?
  2. Do you finish every book you start?
  3. If not, what causes you to stop reading a book?
  4. What’s your definition of flowery language?
  5. Does flowery language discourage you from reading a book?
  6. How important is the first line of a book or story?
  7. Do you read reviews before choosing a book to read?
  8. Do you read ebooks or are you strictly a physical book reader?
  9. What book are you reading right now (or the last book you read)?
  10. Did you leave a review?

 

57 thoughts on “An Informal Survey of Writers About Reading”

  1. How often do you read?
    Lately I’ve been reading more.
    Do you finish every book you start?
    If I like it.
    If not, what causes you to stop reading a book?
    When I’m too busy or don’t like the story.
    What’s your definition of flowery language?
    Elaborate use of more than required words.
    Does flowery language discourage you from reading a book?
    If it’s the requirement of the story, I don’t mind it.
    How important is the first line of a book or story?
    Story is more important.
    Do you read reviews before choosing a book to read?
    Sometimes. I usually stick to authors I know or recommend by other friends.
    Do you read ebooks or are you strictly a physical book reader?
    Mostly ebooks.
    What book are you reading right now (or the last book you read)?
    I have started “the mysterious affairs at Styles” by Agatha Christie
    Did you leave a review?
    Often

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadje, thank you for responding. It is interesting to read the responses of others. If flowery language is not over-used and fits the story, I do not mind it. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I combined some of your questions, Maggie.

    How often do you read?
    Do you finish every book you start?
    If not, what causes you to stop reading a book?

    I read everyday. I don’t finish everything I read, but I read a lot of non-fiction so, sometimes, I feel like I’ve read enough. Fiction has to be pretty bad for me to stop reading. If I don’t like a book, I stop early.

    What’s your definition of flowery language?
    Does flowery language discourage you from reading a book?

    Hmmmm? That’s hard. I don’t like language when it seems it’s being used to impress me rather than to add to the story. Over-the-top words and phrases work sometimes.

    How important is the first line of a book or story?

    Important, but I’m willing to give an author a mulligan.

    Do you read reviews before choosing a book to read?

    Not usually, at least not the ones published on the bookseller site. I might read blog post reviews – I trust those more.

    Do you read ebooks or are you strictly a physical book reader?

    I read both but I prefer physical books.

    What book are you reading right now (or the last book you read)?
    Did you leave a review?

    “Dead of Winter – Journey 11 – The Samelazon” by Teagan Geneviene

    I am bad about leaving reviews. I did leave a review for the previous Journey in this series and I plan to leave a review for this one when I finish it.

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      1. Thanks for the responses, Dan. I seldom leave reviews, but it is different perhaps when we know the author and hope our review can help others discover their work. I did leave one negative review years ago. I was angry with myself for reading the entire book – it was a waste of several hours of my life, but that is a rare occurrence. I can usually find redeeming qualities in most books. Teagan’s work is so well done.

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  3. 1) Not as much as I used to. I slowed down to a stop during the pandemic.
    2) Usually.
    3) Repetition of events.
    4) Not if it is in contex. (Historical, for example)
    5) Over use of descriptive words when one will do, and using words that most people born after 1970 would have to look up in a dictionary. (As in ‘Punctillious’ instead of ‘Meticulous’.)
    6) Depends on the genre. In crime/mystery/thriller it is very important. (As in ‘Rebecca’. Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.)
    7) Sometimes. Usually if they are by an author I used to like, but haven’t read for some time
    8) Mostly Kindle versions now, but I still buy hardbacks on occasion.
    9) Just read a book by a fellow blogger, ‘His ladyship’, by Stevie Turner. reviewed it on my blog, and on Amazon UK.
    !0. See 9) above.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pete, I appreciate your responses. I like hardback books but my eyes cannot take paperbacks. E-books I read on Kindle are so effective. I can read on my iPad or my phone and also ways stay synchronized. There is something great about reading a physical book, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for an interesting post Maggie.
    1. I read every day. Especially at night.
    2,3. I try hard to finish every book. But, if I feel the narrative is not going anywhere or is boring, I give two more chances and then give up.
    4. Flowery language is when the writer uses adjectives and descriptive words to highlight to describe something or someone.
    5. I like flowery language. Because penned by a prolific writer even a simple blade of grass comes alive.
    6. The first line or the first paragraph is what draws me to a book.
    7. No. I prefer to be surprised by the writer’s skills of story-telling. I may get books recommended by friends without spoilers.
    8. I am a strictly physical book reader. I love the feel of the books as I go through the rows in the library and choose books, turn pages gently, use bookmarks, ( NO dog ears for me), go back to a page I particularly like, and at the end, close the book with a feeling of accomplishment.
    9. I typically have three books by my bedside. In case I don’t like the one I start. Right now, I am reading Dear Edward. Love it.
    10. No.
    Best wishes.
    Chaya

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    1. Chaya, thank you for taking the time to respond. I enjoy well described scenes especially when an author has command of the language. As you said, an everyday object becomes almost magical.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. .1)How often do you read?
    Every day.
    2) Do you finish every book you start?
    No
    3) If not, what causes you to stop reading a book?
    I stop reading a book if it does not hold my interest in the first chapter.
    4)What’s your definition of flowery language?
    Use of unnecessary big and gushing type of words.
    5)Does flowery language discourage you from reading a book?
    Yes.
    6) How important is the first line of a book or story?
    Not important.
    7)Do you read reviews before choosing a book to read?
    Yes.
    8) Do you read ebooks or are you strictly a physical book reader?
    I read e books and physical books.
    9)What book are you reading right now (or the last book you read)?
    I am listening to Moby Dick.
    Did you leave a review?
    No, I do not write reviews.

    Interesting questions 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lakshmi, thanks for taking the time to respond. Your responses made me think I should have included questions about audio books. For those, the voice of a person reading the book makes a huge difference to me. I once listened to a book read by the author and I was so distracted by her voice I could not enjoy the book itself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My son has subscribed to Audibles. We can listen to the sample and choose. Till now I have listened to books like War and Peace , Don Quixote and others. I have liked them.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I read every day. I love books but now I read mostly Ebooks. I very seldom stop reading a book once started. I stopped reading when it poorly written and going no where.
    Flowery language is like porn…I can’t describe it but I know it when I see it.
    I love it when the book has a good opening sentence.
    I tend to read the blurps describing the book more than reviews.
    Right now I am almost finished with Ngaio Marsh’s Night At The Vulcan. Marsh writes about theater and actors back in the day like no one else.
    I will give it 5 stars, no written review, sometimes today and begin ‘The Searchers’ by LeMay.
    In my younger day I tackled classics. I read and reread Faulkner. Now I tend to read lighter books like mysteries and westerns.

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  7. How often do you read? every day
    Do you finish every book you start? I give it 50 pages, then if it doesn’t perform, I stop.
    If not, what causes you to stop reading a book? Poor character development and silly dialogue.
    What’s your definition of flowery language? Way too much description of ordinary things in strange ways.
    Does flowery language discourage you from reading a book? Yes
    How important is the first line of a book or story? Not so important
    Do you read reviews before choosing a book to read? No
    Do you read ebooks, or are you strictly a physical book reader? I read both
    What book are you reading right now (or the last book you read)? Mountain Laural Christmas
    Did you leave a review? yes

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    1. Hi, John. Thank you for responding. 50 pages sounds like a fair number of pages to decide about a book. I looked up Mountain Laurel Christmas and it sounds like one I should sneak in before Christmas.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. How often do you read? I read every day, but spend more time reading blogs now than books

    Do you finish every book you start? Usually, but if I really don’t like it, I’ll give up and put it in the Goodwill box

    If not, what causes you to stop reading a book? Dull characters, pointless plot, anachronisms, too many curse words used for shock

    What’s your definition of flowery language? Romantic English poets

    Does flowery language discourage you from reading a book? Yes

    How important is the first line of a book or story? Despite all the emphasis put on it, I don’t find the first line important, instead focusing on the whole first chapter

    Do you read reviews before choosing a book to read? Rarely

    Do you read ebooks or are you strictly a physical book reader? I read physical books

    What book are you reading right now (or the last book you read)? Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

    Did you leave a review? No

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ally, I agree with you on too many curse words for no reason. I generally do not object to language that is pertinent to the story and the character. Thanks for participating in my survey. The responses are all food for thought.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Trying yet again to establish a regular night time reading routine.
    Got bogged down after reading two books of a trilogy and still have the third book to return to if and when I wish to.
    Recently bought a pack of three books for £5 in a newly opened book shop in my home town, so far so good.
    I particularly like the short chapters in my first book of choice compared to the long ones in the trilogy.

    Like

  10. 1. How often do you read?
    I read every night before sleep, plus lots of reading of blogs throughout the day.
    2. Do you finish every book you start?
    Yes, even if I find the going difficult.
    3. If not, what causes you to stop reading a book?
    4. What’s your definition of flowery language?
    Unnecessary padding out of descriptions, normally when an author is trying to be clever or sophisticated, and failing miserably.
    5. Does flowery language discourage you from reading a book?
    No, but it may have the effect of encouraging me to speed read.
    6. How important is the first line of a book or story?
    Very important. It can draw you in, or put you off, intrigue, or fill with dread!
    7. Do you read reviews before choosing a book to read?
    No.
    8. Do you read ebooks or are you strictly a physical book reader?
    Physical only.
    9. What book are you reading right now (or the last book you read)?
    The Misty Harbour by Georges Simenon. I am reading all of the Maigret series.
    10. Did you leave a review?
    No

    Like

    1. If my mother were alive, I doubt she would ever read an e-book. She was a paperback fan – she loves the portability of small books. I have learned to enjoy e-books as well as physical books, the size of the print affects how much I can read these days. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my questions.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I read every day. Sometimes I multi-task too, leaving a book and starting on one. I am into e-books. I can adjust the lighting and the font every time.

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  12. Here are my test answers:

    1. How often do you read? Every night, but I fall asleep too soon.
    2. Do you finish every book you start? Not if it’s boring, too violent, has disturbing content, or poorly written.
    3. If not, what causes you to stop reading a book? I should have read this question before I answered the previous one.
    4. What’s your definition of flowery language? Overly poetic descriptions.
    5. Does flowery language discourage you from reading a book? Yes, or any unnecessary descriptions.
    6. How important is the first line of a book or story? Very, as well as the first chapter. If I can’t get into it right away, I’m done.
    7. Do you read reviews before choosing a book to read? Nope. They are subjective and I don’t tend to leave many reviews either. I won’t leave a poor review either.
    8. Do you read ebooks or are you strictly a physical book reader? Both.
    9. What book are you reading right now (or the last book you read)? 61 Hours – Lee Childs
    10. Did you leave a review? Not planning to.

    Like

    1. Leon, I agree about violent and disturbing contend. If it is historical, that’s one thing – the world has enough violence without subjecting myself to it in what I read. Thanks for the comment, I appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I wrote a post that will be up just after midnight. I’m one of those “all audible” readers. My eyes are so grateful for the break. I spend so much time on the computer or other visual media including processing photographs, by night when I want to read, my eyes have a different idea. They just want to close. Not necessarily to sleep, but to rest. When I’m lucky, I get an autobiography by an author who is also a good narrator (not all actors are good narrators — it’s a different skill set), then life is good for as long as the book lasts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree about narrators – they can make or break a book, even if the content is exceptional. It is always my worry when choosing audio books.

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  14. How often do you read?
    I read every day, but it’s not always books. Mostly, I read other people’s blogs.

    Do you finish every book you start?
    Yes. I’ve only ever not finished about 3 books in my life.

    If not, what causes you to stop reading a book?
    The 3 I didn’t finish were just awful. Terrible writing overall.

    What’s your definition of flowery language?
    I think Victorian era, when I think of flowery language.

    Does flowery language discourage you from reading a book?

    It depends on how well the author pulled it off.

    How important is the first line of a book or story?

    Not very. I need more than a first line to hook me. Maybe the first paragraph is what’s important.

    Do you read reviews before choosing a book to read?

    No, I don’t want to come across any spoilers by accident.

    Do you read ebooks or are you strictly a physical book reader?

    I mostly read ebooks.

    What book are you reading right now (or the last book you read)?

    I’m reading a book about writing, funny enough lol. I don’t remember the title off the top of my head.

    Did you leave a review?

    I almost always leave a review. If I don’t, it’s likely that the book is awful.

     

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for leaving your responses, Alexis. I can imagine that ebooks would be much more convenient given your accommodations. Good for you for leaving reviews. I am lazy about that.

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  15. 1. How often do you read?
    I read everyday. I’ve been known to read cereal boxes in a pinch.

    2. Do you finish every book you start?
    Almost all, but not every one.

    3. If not, what causes you to stop reading a book?
    Six typos on one page will turn me off every time.

    4. What’s your definition of flowery language?
    Way to many adverbs.

    5. Does flowery language discourage you from reading a book?
    Usually. I’ve seen a few, a very few that actually do well with flowery language.

    6. How important is the first line of a book or story?
    Extremely important. If it doesn’t hook me, I won’t read it.

    7. Do you read reviews before choosing a book to read?
    Occasionally for indie publishers

    8. Do you read ebooks or are you strictly a physical book reader?
    Used to do only physical books, but the wife made me switch to ebooks as she was tired of having books on every surface of the house.

    9. What book are you reading right now (or the last book you read)?
    Echo Volume II A Taste of Ashes by Kent Wayne

    10. Did you leave a review?
    Not yet. There are two more books in the series and then I’ll think about doing a review.

    Interesting questions. I hope you share your insights from this survey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I, too, have been known to read cereal boxes or any packaging that happens to be lying around. I will definitely write a post after digesting all the responses. Thank you for reading and participating.

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  16. How often do you read?
    As often as I can, though since I began pursuing my degree it’s been harder to do so.
    Do you finish every book you start?
    Yes, you can’t know a book until you read it through to the end
    If not, what causes you to stop reading a book?
    I might want to stop, but I finish them all just so I can be mad if I don’t like the ending.
    What’s your definition of flowery language?
    Language that just appears to be more complicated than it needs to be.
    Does flowery language discourage you from reading a book?
    Sometimes
    How important is the first line of a book or story?
    Like any first impression it’s vital, it doesn’t mean that it determines how the whole book it, but it sets expectations.
    Do you read reviews before choosing a book to read?
    Sometimes, I prefer to make my own judgments though
    Do you read ebooks or are you strictly a physical book reader?
    both
    What book are you reading right now (or the last book you read)?
    The last book I read was a reread of Stephen King’s Gunslinger, my favorite book.
    Did you leave a review?
    No I haven’t which I honestly should because I love that entire series, it’s what inspired me to write.

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    1. Jonathan, thank you for responding. I salute you for finishing every book. I try, but I must admit to abandoning a few over the years, but it is rare.Have you read Stephen King’s book “On Writing”?

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      1. Maggie, think you for posting it, sometimes we learn more from the questions we answer ourselves. I’ll admit it is not easy to finish every book I start, and a single bad book can torpedo an entire series with me, but I’ve found one of two things happens either the book gets better or I feel validated to be angry about how bad it was. Lol.

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