Does what you read or where you read say anything about you? I tend to read in bed before turning in for the night, but I also “read” or listen to audiobooks in the car. What this says about me is that I tend to read when I’m somewhere quiet, and non-book words (spoken or otherwise) are less likely to distract me.
One of the reasons I need this is because my ears seem to pick up everything around me. This could be because of my classical music training, and playing in a symphony orchestra where one must listen to and be aware of dozens of other parts playing with one’s own. And you must be able to fit in harmony and rhythm as well. So you hear details, you are hyper aware.
When I’m in a crowded room, it’s difficult for me to tune out everyone else talking in the background, and truly focus on what one person—the one talking to me—is saying. I’m hearing several conversations all at once. That’s why if you meet me at a party and want to talk to me, I might pull you aside to somewhere less noisy. I’m not trying to be exclusive, I just want to hear you better without all the other “noise.”
As a reader, even audible sounds and words will distract me from what I’m reading. My wife is quite the opposite. Her background is in education. And when she was a teacher of middle schoolers, she had to develop the ability to tune out the noise and focus on what she needed to . Sometimes she gets so good at tuning things out and focusing that she tunes me out. It’s then I have to tap her shoulder with a smile, and she realizes she’s done it.
The one reading time I’m extremely protective of is my morning Bible reading. During that hour, I shut the door, keep the computer off, and tune out everything/everyone else. No internet, no phone calls, no emails, nothing. I’ve gained the most out of those times to an immeasurable benefit.
What kind of reader are you? Can you multi-thread and multi-task? Can you read, and talk to someone on the phone at the same time? Or are you like me, and get frustrated when you’re trying to read, and someone in the library is whispering, but having an intriguing conversation that you really don’t want to eavesdrop on, but can’t help hearing—and thus get distracted?
Joshua Graham is the award winning author of the #1 Amazon and Barnes & Noble legal thriller BEYOND JUSTICE. His latest book DARKROOM won a First Prize award in the Forward National Literature award and was an award-winner in the USA Book News “Bests Books 2011” awards.