Scott Woods is a librarian, author, poet, and critic who runs one of the most successful poetry open mics in the American Midwest. At Scott Woods Makes Lists, he compiles lists, writes mostly as a satirist, and comments on current events, popular culture, and other issues.
A selection of favorite pieces from the editors of Brevity, a magazine of concise literary nonfiction.
Would you describe yourself as an “avid reader”? If so, how, would you say, is an “avid reader” defined? Is it a question of quality, quantity, passion, or some combination? Or is it something else entirely?
I am a great lover. Of books <ahem>. And I always have been. As far back as I can remember, and I suspect even earlier than that. I have always felt compelled by this inner drive to read, an obsession, almost. Every waking moment I find myself desiring to read. I am desirous. Of books. Not to own them, necessarily. But to read them. To smell them. To have them. To hold them. No moment is allowed to pass idly by if I have or know of a book anywhere in the vicinity. If I come across a book, in a bookstore, say, I have to fight off this almost overwhelming urge to plop right down and read the whole thing. It’s (almost) like a disease. So, I would argue, I have the passion requisite to qualify me as an avid reader.
But is there a quantity component? If so, I feel quite certain I have that too. I read books all the time, as many as I can, as much as I can. I am currently actively reading six books, not including the one I am listening to in my car (no radio for me; a waste, I think, radio). I am quite certain, however, that because of circumstances and things, there are others who succeed at reading more than I do. Not for lack of wanting to on my part; not at all. I just have a lot to do. Are they more “avid” than I? I guess it depends on your “avid” definition.
And is there a quality component? And no, I don’t mean you can’t read paperback editions. I have read water-damaged books, books with pages heavily marked, covers missing; if it’s legible, I read it, there is no shame in that. I am speaking more about content. Does it matter? Could someone who reads teen romance that may or may not betimes wax vampiric be said to be just as “avid” as someone that prefers the Iliad in its original Homeric Greek?
Is it a subjective determination? Are all “avid” readers created equal? I want to hear about your personal vision. If you are one, tell me how and why, and let’s come up with a working avid reader definition.
PS: If you’re looking for something weird to read, you might enjoy this post on strange books.
Mothers’ Day is just around the corner, and if you’ve had it up to here with chocolate hearts and perfumed soaps and schmaltzy messages on flowery greeting cards, you might want to consider a different kind of gift. How about a photo book that tells it straight, acknowledging the exhaustion and aggravation of motherhood along […]
I was just talking with Victor about comfort books…those books that you read over and over because you find them comforting even if you don’t understand why. He thinks I’m insane and possibly I am, but there are certain books … Continue reading →
Death will suit Twitter well.
If you could only read 8 books this month, dunces, what books should they be? We at the dunce academy have some great book recommendations. Here you go: (1) Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell: This has been kind of the year of Vowell here at the dunce academy, but so far, so far, our favorite…