I read a lot of the same stuff

I wasn’t really surprised at my data, most of the stuff in my college library are books I haven’t read yet but most of them are books I intend to read. I bought most of them for leisure reading, as an English major I rarely get time to do this and am often forced to wait until summer to read the books I really want to read. The majority of the books on my shelf are fiction from the 1900s– I suppose most of it could be classified under postmodernism. I don’t know what that suggests about my reading habits, I generally like that genre more and think the writing is the most accessible, while still being profound to an extent. The date average might have jumped back a few years if I had taken the data earlier, but I returned Moby Dick to Hatcher before I compiled the data and thus it did not make the cut.

I couldn’t help but notice that the majority of the writers I am into are male. I think that this is as coincidental as it is intentional. While I don’t actively avoid literature written by women, I’m much more drawn to books written by men. More than likely this is because I relate more to the concerns or idea raised in their books rather than that written by a woman. I think that its a normal thing to be more inclined to read a book by someone of your own gender, though it definitely is more of a stigma for men than women in my experience. Men are far less open to reading a book about a woman than a man, but this is not the case with women as much. I assume the same would carry over to the author. But this is only my small library at college, and not representational of my reading habits of the past. I’ve read plenty of books written by women about women; my list makes me seem like I’m only drawn to certain styles and ideas. This was my first concern about my list.

My second concern was the glaring absence of school books. While several of the books were for school, they were novels. This does have an explanation– I try to rent most of the textbooks I get for school and thus they are never shelved. I decided to buy most of the paperback novels for a class because they were only slightly more expensive to buy (at most one dollar) than to rent, and they are books I am much more open to keeping than a bulky, ten pound book about Shakespeare. I only had four non-fiction books, and three of them could be considered non-fiction novels. The only one that was strictly information was The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, the second longest book on my list. I got this for pleasure but it’s heavy (literally and figuratively), but something I am interested in. I generally don’t like non-fiction but in some cases it is very interesting.

My reading list is pretty representational of my habits and taste. The books are all reasonable length with the exception of a couple. Most of them are recently published– the oldest is Tropic of Cancer, but I’m looking at the book now and it is pretty new looking, I simply couldn’t find another date. I think paperback and hardcover would have been an interesting statistic to look at, I feel like hardcover is far more fit to survive the test of time in terms of durability. That said, I think that each category is fairly true to how I like my books.



3 thoughts on “I read a lot of the same stuff

  1. I totally agree about having a ton of books that I have yet to read. It was actually a bit upsetting to me how many there were–I have never really looked through all of my books in one sitting, so this excess is not something I’ve noticed before. But hey, what is out modern world if not one of excess, so why should books be excluded from this? In regard to this trend, I found what Prof. Modey said during lecture particularly interesting–readers of the past were more likely to read everything that they owned because books were not such a luxury. This idea has made me rethink my own purchasing habits, and I hope to borrow more books in the future. The only trend I really noticed in the books I haven’t read was that many of them were from my favorite authors. It seems then, that I may often buy books based on reputation rather than merit.

    • I also find the subject matter very interesting . Regrading the fact that you actually have data that effectively represents your personal book selections, I feel that you are an outlier for our class. Maybe the fact that you are an English major allows you to have a better collection of texts than the other average college student. Also, I noticed that in my own personal books back home I also tend to favor texts written by men, but this semester specifically, almost half of my texts are by women. This is also a misrepresentation of my own personal choices, not in a bad way, but one that would display an untrue coincidence. I never approached my reasoning for reading more books written by men as one due to relation and I can see this as one of the most likely factors. You brought up a lot of great, thought provoking and I am excited to read your draft in class.

    • I think I said that people may have read more of what they owned because books WERE a luxury: they were proportionately more expensive and therefore, possibly, more highly valued. This isn’t unrelated to the idea of intensive vs. extensive reading we discussed at the beginning of the term.

      I’m also pretty interested in the gender issue that both John and Ira brought up. Do women read more women and men more men? And do women cross the gender divide more often than men do? And if so, why?

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