Wednesday, March 23, 2016

SOL #24: What I Know About Myself As a Reader, Part 2

I am making a list of things I know about myself as a reader.  I posted part one yesterday.  This may or may not be the final installment.   Several people commented they want to make their own.  I stole mine from this Slicer, so I am 100% okay with you stealing it from me!

26.  About 6-8 years ago I did all the coursework for a reading specialist license, but never did the practicum or test to get it added to my license.  Mostly because I would have had to do a practicum at both middle and high school levels, and I couldn't figure out how to make that happen when I'm already teaching full time.

27.  When I was a kid, I figured I could never go wrong on the first shelf of the library, because there I could find books by Lloyd Alexander, Louise May Alcott, and Joan Aiken.  Fantasy, historical fiction, mystery--my reading tastes were set early.

28.  I would re-read books I loved over and over when I was a kid.

29. Now I only re-read when I'm teaching a book or reading it aloud.

29. When I was a kid, I'd walk to the library.  When I got home, I'd make chocolate chip cookies.  Then I'd eat warm cookies while reading the first chapter of all my books until I found the one I wanted to read Right Then.  (Okay, I didn't always make cookies, but that was the ideal.)

30.  I've bought nearly 700 books for my classroom library in the last year.

31.  I've bought as many of those as possible without getting reimbursed, because if I ever leave my school, I want to take the books to my new school.

32. In my twenties I realized that I could go broke buying books, so I basically stopped.  I don't own very many books, and most of what I have is either nonfiction/reference or childhood keepsakes.  If I receive or buy a book that doesn't belong in my classroom library, I'll pass it on to a friend when I'm done.

33.  I love reading books by local authors.  It's silly, but I feel like I have a connection with them.

34.  Before last fall, I'd only ever attended one author event, Ursula le Guin reading from her poetry collection Blue Moon Over Thurman Street, in the mid '90s.

35.  After hearing April Henry, Martha Brattenborough, Laurie Halse Anderson and others speak at the Oregon Council of Teachers of English conference last October, I realized how amazing it can be to hear what authors have to say.  I attended multiple author panels at NCTE in November, and have organized two evening field trips for my students to attend author events at Powells.

36.  I wish I was someone who always had a book on them.  I get so annoyed with myself when I'm in a perfect pull-out-a-book situation and I don't have one on me.

37.  Just this year I've started listening to audiobooks on my commute.  I feel like I can tackle heavier works that way.

38.  When I was in my teens and twenties, I read classics, plays, and all sorts of Serious Literature.  As I have gotten older, my reading has become more and more skewed towards 100% brain candy.
#37 is a way to address that.

39.  I am married to a man who doesn't like to read books.  He reads for information only.  I would have probably assumed this would be a deal breaker, but it's not that big of an issue.  It would be nice if he loved books, but it would be nice if chocolate made me lose weight too.  Whatever.  I love him, and I love chocolate.

40.  There are some good picture books that I didn't like as a kid because I thought the art was ugly.  Some of my opinions were pretty, um, rare.  Like, I hated Eric Carle's books.

41.  I can be a little bit of a book snob.  I may also care a little too much about being perceived as a well read person.

42.  "Can be" and "may" should be struck out of the previous sentence.

43.  I am glad to have interests and hobbies and even responsibilities besides reading, but I get really frustrated with myself when I spend two hours surfing Pinterest and humor sites instead of reading.

44.  If I read in a foreign language, I have to read out loud.

45.  I skim over character names when I read, usually just recognizing the first letter of each character's name.  This means that I hate it when there's a Bill and a Bryan in the same book.  When I was taking tests in school, it also resulted in me using work-arounds such as "The protagonist's friend's uncle..." since I couldn't remember any of their names.

46.  When I like an author, I try to read everything they've written.  I usually don't quite succeed, but chances are, I've read several books by most authors I really like.

47.  I laugh, snort, exclaim, and cry when reading.  People around me find this either enormously entertaining or weird and annoying.

48.  While fiction is my home, I like to read essays and memoirs, and I turn to nonfiction to learn stuff.  I have Goodreads shelves about house building and about adoption because of this.  (We didn't end up building the house, but we did end up adopting.)

49.  My favorite reading spots in my house are an easy chair in the living room with a window directly behind it, and a leather recliner in my bedroom.

50.  I usually take the covers off hardbacks when I'm reading them.

Written as part of the Slice of Life March writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers


  1. Great list! I agree with your husband only reads car magazines and informational books as well.

    1. He read some as a kid--he remembers The Wizard of Earthsea fondly--but has zero interest in fiction now.

  2. Same here, my husband reads all kinds of car magazines. I think he should be writing articles for those magazines, instead. I'm a fast reader too, often skimming over names.

    1. My husband reads about sports rather than cars, or "how-to" info.

  3. #46 spoke to me. If I find an author I like, I usually end up reading everything they've written, or at least most of it. In my library, therefore, I have "sets" of books by authors like Annie Dillard, Nadine Gordimer, Louise Erdrich and Barbara Kingsolver. Isn't it interesting that all of the authors I collect are women? However, I am not reading the 4th volume of the six-part autobio by Karl Ove Knausgaard, a Norwegian writer, so I am not sexist. I just read what I like. I, too, have been an avid reader all my life. Nothing wrong with that!

    1. In college I read a big chunk of each of the women authors you mention! (Wondering if we're about the same age.) I just heard about Knausgaard a few weeks ago for the first time though!

  4. It's fun to read your list - I start making a list for myself and some of my more active students. They all really don't know what to do with the book jackets ... they always hand them to me. :)

    1. Yes, I have an official dust jacket collection spot in my classroom! I've found a few lately that feel pleasant to the touch and don't slide around annoyingly while I read, but most just bug me.

  5. So many of these struck a cord with me. I remember being so thrilled when I could read and when the librarian told me that a certain self was too hard for my age level, I just had to prove them wrong. Smart librarian.

  6. So many of these struck a cord with me. I remember being so thrilled when I could read and when the librarian told me that a certain self was too hard for my age level, I just had to prove them wrong. Smart librarian.


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