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Interview with an Avid Reader

Everybody Reads! And to encourage and inspire your reading this summer, we have pinned down an avid year-round reader to tell us about her lifelong love for books. Many of us like to know how others organize their busy lives, and with that in mind, we asked retired English teacher and librarian Cindy B. about her reading habits and preferences. Even if you don’t share Cindy’s intensity for the written word—her sheer enthusiasm will have you comparing your own reading habits with hers—and appreciating what a lifetime of reading can bring.

1. Since you describe yourself as an avid reader, you must enjoy it—what does reading mean to you?
Reading serves every area of my life. It is my education, my entertainment, my security, my spiritual experience, and most of all, my one lasting passion.

2. Do you collect books or curate an online personal library?
I seem to go through phases with collecting books—at one time it was science fiction, then graphic novels, then books about books. I am currently collecting books about WWII and the Holocaust. I don’t necessarily save the books I read on a device.

3. Do you set reading goals for yourself? Do you keep lists of the books you’ve read, or books you want to read? Do you use Goodreads?
I’ve kept a list of books I have read for more than 20 years. I am transferring the list into Goodreads—it’s an excellent resource. I also keep a list of “to be read” books. I set reading goals each year—usually from 100-150 titles. This summer I will be keeping track by enrolling in KPL’s summer reading program.

4. How have your reading tastes and habits changed over time? Have you grown into or out of different genres?
My reading tastes change as my life changes. When I worked full time while attending school, I read mysteries and popular fiction to give my mind a break from professional or required reading. Since retiring, I have made for time for “serious” reading, such as history and the classics. However I still find time for a few mystery and science fiction titles every month.

5. How do you generally discover books you might want to read?
I read as many book reviews as I can find. I also get recommendations from friends and library staff. But I also just like to browse the library and used books stores.

6. Do you have a preference for fiction or non-fiction? If you read both, under what circumstances do you read each?
I have always preferred fiction because, as English major, I was introduced to such great storytellers. When I was young, I escaped an “only child” existence with stories of horror and adventure. Lately I have begun to delve more into non-fiction as I explore areas of life that interest me, but which I don’t have the time or money to actually experience. Reading makes those worlds come alive.

7. Do you read more for information or entertainment?
Both! But I lean more toward using reading as entertainment and distraction.

8. Do you read physical books, newspapers, etc. or digital editions? Or both? Does your format preference change with the kind of material you are reading?
I read physical books primarily, though I own several digital devices to use for travel and convenience. I also listen to books from Audible.com on my phone. I keep updated with the news on digital media.

9. Do you purchase books?
I buy lots of used books, rarely new ones. New books I get from the library.

10. Do you make use the library?
YES!

11. When do you read most?
I read in every spare moment. I read during meals, in the evening, during nights when I can’t sleep, and anytime I sit down!

12. Where do you feel most comfortable reading?
I particularly like reading AT the library. I love sitting among books, holding a book.

13. Do you read “socially”—that is, do you participate in book clubs or book discussion
groups?

Yes, I belong to 4 books clubs—3 of which are offered at the Kenosha Public Library.

14. So do you find that you gravitate to other readers as friends?
Yes, I most enjoy friendships which include book discussions and recommendations—even when their reading preferences are not my own. Advice from friends often launches me into new reading experiments and adventures.

15. Describe your perfect book-related day.
My perfect book-related day would have to include a visit to at least one used book store. I would take my time browsing and sampling several dozen books before making my choices. Afterwards, I would have a meal with my “bookish’ friends and then retire to my home for a bookish “night-cap”. Such a day is a real treat. However, for my everyday book needs—there’s nothing like the library!

Thanks to Cindy for sharing her love of reading with us. She is a perfect example of how we can all benefit from the information and entertainment that is found on so many reading platforms and how it can be a fulfilling constant on our lives. The library is proud to serve as a resource for much of the information and enjoyment so vital to our community.

Cathy Polovina
Research and Technology Guide
Adult and Digital Services
Kenosha Public Library