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Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Discussion: Gulp or Sip?

Last week, on the science fiction and fantasy publisher Tor's blog, Jo Walton posted this essay talking about being a gulp or sip reader. An excerpt:
I have nothing against reading in great gulps—it’s just that I don’t find it necessary for enjoyment. Reading in little sips works too.
So I was wondering—how odd am I? How many people are like me, reading as they go about their day, and how many like my friend, needing clear chunks of free time to get into a book? Does it matter if it’s a new book or a re-read? Do some books require more sustained attention than others? Are you a sipper or a gulper?
You can use this link to read the entire post. As for me, I think I am more or a sipper. I do like reading in gulps but with 3-4 jobs, and 2 small children, I always carry a book with me. I will read for 1 minute, 5 minutes, whatever time I have while waiting somewhere for something or someone. Also, I have found that it does not matter what book, fiction, nonfiction, re-read; no matter the book, I can sip at it.

I take this sipping even further as I always have an audiobook loaded on my ipod. I listen to books while doing the dishes, while folding laundry, while grocery shopping, and while waiting for school to let out. I carry the ipod everywhere, so I am never without a book. Sometimes I listen for as much as an hour, but more often than not, it is 15 minutes at a time.

Like Walton though, when I get the chance to sit an read for a while, I run with it. On Labor Day I took just that chance. While at the Indiana Dunes State Park beach, with the kids happily playing in the shallow water and digging in the sand, I spent the entire afternoon reading Freedom while next to me my husband was immersed in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Both of us enjoyed that chance for gulping.

However, if pressed to say which I enjoy more, I'd have to say the sipping.  When I sip, I have an easier time reading multiple books at once (I am always listening to one and reading at least one at the same time). Also, I have the comfort of always having a book to get lost in, even if just for a a few minutes. Sipping provides a mini-escape. If I would have to wait until I could gulp, I would forget the people and places I am reading about in between gulps. Also, I am afraid I would tire of reading so much if I only did it for hours at a time.

But hey, that's just me. What about you? For Today's Monday discussion, let me know what kinda of reader you are. As Walton asked, "Are you a sipper or a gulper?"

Remember, you can follow past Monday Discussions here.


John BPL RA said...

For me it depends on the book. If it truly is a great book I will gulp immediately. If not, I will sip and try not to gag. Unfortunately, I've found that the recent trend in literature has been towards sippers. Then again, this makes me appreciate the gulpers all the more.

Anonymous said...

I'm a gulper...usually I can't put a book down if it has completely grabbed me and won't let me go. I prefer to read books in 1, 2, or 3 gulps if possible and on the weekends I usually can swing that big a chunk of time. Of course that's not always an option and if I have to, I will sip.

Kathy BPL RA said...

Hmmm, I think I am somewhere in between - a taster, maybe. Although I do carry a book almost everywhere, unlike Becky, I won't actually read it for just a minute or ten or fifteen. On the other hand, I have NEVER read a book in one sitting. Why? I think it is because I have to contemplate what I am reading while I am not reading it. I would say between a half hour and two hours is my average reading time for most books. So, a taster.

Jackie, BPL Youth Services said...

Gosh, I never really thought about it until now. I love books, I love reading...so, my first inclination is to say I'll read whenever I have a chance. I am not a sipper, nor a gulper exclusively.

If every moment of every day, of every week was mine and mine alone, I would have to say I'd be a gulper. Yet, things get in the way...life, family, work, commitments. Of course, I am exaggerating, I enjoy all these things, too. I love my work and family and want to enjoy them,too.

Yet, I find myself trying never to waste a moment, so if I have a minute or five, I'll bring out the book that I always have with me. I, too, listen to audio books, and have one going on my hour commute to and from work.

I'd be happy to be labeled either a gulper or a sipper, just as long as you label me a 'reader', too!