Monday, April 30, 2018

Reading Rebels: Turning Conventional Reading Upside Down

Get the inside scoop on why reading a book (intentionally) the wrong way excites these readers.  ♦ 
Flipping through picture books at a young age, you were taught to read left to right, one page at a time. As the years passed, you became wiser, cleverer and so did your reading skills. You went from reading Junie B. Jones to Harry Potter to Pride and Prejudice. However, one thing remained the same. You read books the same way you always had done—going from page one to page two. You never skipped a page and you wouldn’t know how to read any other way.
   Well, not everyone is stuck in old fuddy-duddy ways. Meet Emma and Emily. Two accounting majors who have learned how to ‘cheat the system’ while reading. Emma is a spunky, funny, and witty character who spends her time listening to Young the Giant and watching SNL clips on YouTube when she isn’t stressing about school. She loves reading and oftentimes will get herself lost in Call Me Your Name. However, Emma has one flaw. When it comes to reading, she likes start by reading the book’s very last sentence.
   On the other hand, Emily is your fun loving, “nerdy” red-head who likes to go to bed way too early and listen to French music while working out. On nights in, you can find her hunched over, studying for her exams or curled up, in bed reading Big Little Lies… if she hasn’t already fallen asleep. Emily is another person with a reading quirk. As much as she likes to read, she reads the first chapter of the book and then skips to read the last chapter. Essentially, she likes spoiling the entire novel.
   When I first found out about these strange reading habits, I was thrown for a loop. Two college-educated women out-doing themselves with schoolwork, but messing up something as easy as reading? Why would you read a book and potentially ruin the ending? I had to get down to the bottom of it and figure out what makes them tick.

Would you consider yourself an avid reader?
Emma: Yeah, I like to read. I read a lot in the summer and on the beach. I rarely read at night, because it makes me sleepy and I hate having to re-read pages if I forget what I had read the night before.

Emily: I definitely do not read every single day, but whenever I’m about to get into bed I’d prefer reading a book over watching Netflix. I normally fall asleep within the first few pages, but it’s a good way to end the day.

What kinds of books do you like to read?
Emma: Really anything. I will read anything that friends suggest to me. It could be anything from Rupi Kaur to J.K. Rowling. I just like the feeling of reading a good book that is actually interesting and keeps me engaged. I like those page turners!.

Emily:I’m currently reading Big Little Lies and I picked it up because I heard it was a successful T.V. show, but also because my friends couldn’t stop talking about the book itself. Similar to Emma, the books I pick up are ones that I’ve heard are great or I will go online and google something like “Top 10 most popular novels” at the time.

You both have strange, but different reading habits. Have you always grown up reading books this way?
Emma: I probably started the whole reading the last sentence thing in 6th grade if I had to guess. But, I’ve been doing it for a while now.

Emily:Obviously I didn’t do it when I was super young. We were taught to read “normally”, so I never would’ve thought, “Hey why don’t I jump to the last chapter first”. It’s something that I’ve grown into doing and now it’s like an addiction.
Why do you read this way?
Emma: I think I do it sometimes because this could either spoil the entire book or mean nothing. It’s a ‘thrill seeking’ sort of thing for me. Also, depending on the last sentence you can see the author’s writing style and it gives you something to look forward to in the book… if you like the way it ends.

Emily:I really do it because I don’t have a ton of time to read in general, so if the last chapter is bad I just don’t read the book at all. Which is really sad to say out loud, but it’s true.
So, you don’t read like this all the time?
Emma: No. If I was reading Girl on the Train I’d do it, but for Nicholas Sparks I wouldn’t. If I know the book will have twists and turns it gives more of a reason to read the last sentence for me personally. Sometimes though you gain nothing by doing it, but sometimes it makes me go “ooooo”.

Emily: I read like that all the time. Like I said, I only read books that I know will have a good ending. To figure that out, I have to read the last chapter. I know it’s wrong to do, but for me it works.

You’re both talking about novels. Do you read everything this way? Or just novels?
Emma: Well, I probably read every book this kind of way. Which is strange. I think that reading the last sentence of anything would only make sense for novels. When I say novels, I do it for every kind of novel… not just romantics but also mysteries and thriller. As for other kinds of writing… I don’t read that way. What would I do? Spoil the end of the Yahoo news article that I’m reading? But, now that I’m thinking about it, I probably read everything strangely. Sometimes for poetry, I will read a few lines back and forth and start at the bottom and read it back up. That’s completely different though.

Emily: I agree with Emma. I probably don’t read anything else much different than my romantic novels. I’ll admit that I don’t really read anything else. Except, for me it might be different because since I normally read the last chapter of a book, I do sometimes tend to quickly go to the end of the article where they just sum it up. You might think it’s pathetic, but I think it’s smart.

Do you ever think about the author’s intent for how they wanted the book to be read?
Emma: I think that authors create stories for their audience to read them however they like. I guess one could argue that the author wants you to start on page one and finish on the last page… but I’m the one who bought the book, so I can read it however I like.

Emily:I do sometimes feel bad, but the author isn’t the one sitting here next to me watching me go through their book. I think they want you to enjoy the book however you want to enjoy the book, which means I will read the last chapter first. I think you have to do what makes you happy. I am not changing the way I read just to please people or seem normal.
   This interview opens up a whole new realm of questions. What necessarily does it mean to “read correctly” or read “the right way”? Everyone has their own quirks and opinions on how one should read a book, or even a magazine. Many of us would hate to admit that we skim through a few chapters to quickly get to the climax or stop reading a book if the first hundred pages are pure misery. No matter how you choose to read, we all have one thing in common. We all appreciate the work. In the end, that’s all that really matters… right?
  • About the Author
    Anna Tripp is a junior marketing major at Miami University. In the future, she hopes to bring her love of words and creativity into a career in advertising.

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