Reading Books And Reading Magazines

goodreads325pxBack in January I set a goal on my Goodreads page to read 52 books this year. I’m a fast reader and if I can’t read a book a week, there’s something wrong with me. So far, I have read 18 books this year, so I am now 8 books ahead of schedule.

magazines325pxAt the end of last week I had finished my 17th book, “Off The Grid” and had planned to take a short break to try and get some writing and photography work done, and to read some of my magazines that had stacked up, both on my desk and my iPad. But my daughter brought me Mitch Albom’s “The First Phone Call From Heaven” so I could read it before she had to return it to the library and I just finished it yesterday. Thanks Princess!

NOW I will take a book-reading break!

man_reading_book_bench325pxFor me, reading novels is a different experience than reading a magazine. If I’m really into a novel, I find myself invested in the experience. Keeping up with the characters, the story, the plot twists, etc. like most readers. But I also try to study the author’s style, way of using words, strategy in plotting and way of utilizing characterization to tell the story I’m enjoying. For my own writing attempts, I’m looking for all that I can learn from authors who tell the kinds of stories I admire.

As a result, I am sometimes (OK, usually) loathe to put down the novel unless I absolutely have to do so. Sometimes, and I know this is hard to believe for those who know me, I can actually get cranky if I feel I’m being interrupted too often or deprived of what I feel is enough time to read the story I’m currently immersed in.

Reading a magazine is different. I can read the content in short, small bites or even be interrupted reading a feature length article and not feel the same kind of investment I experience when reading a novel. I usually try to incorporate magazine reading into my normal daily routine, fitting in a few minutes here or there to get those small bites. It can be while I’m eating lunch, during commercials when I’m watching a TV show live (as opposed to a DVR’d show that I can fast-forward through the damn commercials), or when I’m waiting for someone.

The point is that, reading a magazine, for me, is a different experience, different feel and different expectation than reading a novel. And that’s something I didn’t really realize until a few years ago.

So, I’m curious. How is it for you? Is it a different experience for you to read a book as opposed to reading a magazine or is it the same no matter what you’re reading? I’d love to read your comments on the question.


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