Monday, September 22, 2014

What Kind of Reader are You?

I've been noticing a lot of reader shame in the book world lately, and I predict there will be many posts to come about book/reader pretentiousness and what not.  But for now, I want to help you establish what kind of a reader you are.

In the broadest sense, I believe there are two types of readers: The Thinker and The Feeler.

You may be a Thinker reader if you:

  • Are constantly analyzing books.
  • Need a logical occurrence of events to satisfy you.
  • Cannot suspend your disbelief.
  • Are a fan of deconstruction.
  • Prefer to read for the enlightenment of it rather than the enjoyment of it.
  • Do no relate to fiction characters/don't need to relate to the characters.
  • Base a book on its writing style and organization.

(Image credit here.)

You may be a Feeler reader if you:

  • Read books solely for the enjoyment of it.
  • Prefer to be entertained than educated.
  • Find yourself getting way too involved in a character's life.
  • Need to actually like the protagonist to enjoy the novel.
  • Prefer plot and character over good writing.

In general, Thinker readers read more: classical literature, literary fiction, and sci-fi.

In general, Feeler readers read more: YA, fantasy, romance and children's/middle school lit.

Here's a point I want to make: both types of readers are equally valid and equally important.  They both add something new and different to the reading community and how boring would it be if we were all Thinkers/Feelers?

I am getting quite sick of Thinker readers looking down on Feelers for being too "vapid" or for "not reading proper books."  I'm also quite sick of Feeler readers looking down on Thinker readers and finding them to be too "pretentious" or that they "think too much."  Just because you only read classics does not make you better than the person who only reads YA.

In my opinion, only reading any one type of book is dangerous.  I don't care if you've read every single YA or classic novel ever written, but have you ever read a book by a hispanic woman, or a gay man, or a book by an African about his experiences? Have you read any romance?  Have you branched out to epic fantasy?  Have you read any Slave Narratives? (Because I've been reading a lot lately, and they are well worth the read.) What about literary fiction?  Magical realism?  Why are you limiting yourself to one thing?   If you only read the same type of novel, you will only think the same type of thoughts and there will be no room to grow.

That being said, I do think it's important that we start respecting each other's reading decisions.  While I don't think all books are created equal, I do believe that each type of reader should have the freedom to choose what they want to read without fear of being judged for it.

Personally, I think I'm a Thinker reader with very high Feeler tendencies.  But what about you?

What kind of reader are you?

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  1. Feeler definitely! I get so engrossed in a book, the characters situation, their feelings. I end getting attached too much. And yes, I agree that we should also explore other genres. I wouldn't mind an occasional non-fiction myself :)

    1. Yeah, awesome! :) A lot of my friends are feeler readers and I love hearing them gush over characters/pairings. :)

  2. Oh my! I think I'm the feeler as for books I buy and read for my pleasure mostly but definitely a thinker with ARCs! Though I do still try to connect with the story and characters anyway! :P

    1. Haha, I think we all have to be Thinkers when it comes to ARCs. Unless it just blows our minds and we end up in fangirl mode, haha.

  3. I find myself with qualities from both. I would much rather read for enjoyment, and I do have to like the characters to want to read the book. But I also find myself analyzing events to make sure that they fit into the plot line. The book has to be well thought out for me to thoroughly enjoy it. This is a great post, and I hope that no one judges me for what I read. If they do, oh well.. I do it for my own pleasure and no one else's! (:

    1. Yeah, I don't think anyone is an entire Thinker or an entire Feeler. I think that'd be very extreme in reading tastes, but kind of interesting at the same time.

      Exactly! Just read what you want. :)

  4. I feel like I'm a little of both, depending on what mood I'm in or what book I'm reading. One much devour books of all kinds to have a balanced literary diet. ;)

    Brittany @

    1. "One must devour books of all kinds to have a balanced literary diet." That is perfect! And exactly what I mean. :)

  5. I'm a hundred percent a thinker, but I read all types of literature because I like having each and every experience, you know? I can't help but not turn off my brain, but I want to know how I react to each text. It's interesting, kind of like a social experiment to me! But you're definitely right. No one should be looking down on anyone. We're all reading here, at least! Lovely discussion, Julia!

    Jess @ MyReadingDress

    1. Haha, I'm very much a Thinker too, but I also like reading a lot of things that Feelers (at least IMO) read. And I love when a book moves me to tears.

      I can't turn off my brain, either. It drives me nuts sometimes, haha!

      Thank you! :)

  6. I'm pretty sure I'm a mix of both. I need good writing and the book with beautiful prose will play a melody on my heartstrings. I also need logic and all that stuff but I do want to read a book sometimes purely for fun & I always need to enyoy the book I would give 5 or 4,5 Stars to.
    Oh and-"Find yourself getting way too involved in a character's life." that happens a lot.
    Awesome discussion! Will look to forward reading more of your posts :)

    1. I think most people are a mix of both. :) I'm a mix, too! I think I'm more on the Thinker side, but I've some definite Feeler in there too!

      Thanks so much! :)

  7. I would have to say I am a mix of both! I find myself reading autobiographies and classic lit one day, and the next I am all YA and dystopian, ahah. I think there is some shame in the reader world, but really, there shouldn't be. Yes, it may be a bit embarrassing if your family suddenly discover you read erotica but then again, it's the same as wear what you want. You are you, so live it up!