We spoke with our regular visitor Ralph, an introvert who loves books.
Tell us about your reading journey.
I didn’t read much as a child and it’s when I entered my bachelorhood that I realized that my closest companions were books.
Anything in the non-fiction section. I need to read real stuff. I’m not a head in the clouds kind of reader and I don’t want to see the future either.
You have a unique taste in reading material. How do you come upon these books?
I have friends in their caves who send me books they can’t finish. Their recommendations, however, don’t always work for me. Once a friend recommended The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy but it just wasn’t for me. I like to read about real people and their ups and downs. I don’t mind self-help but I firmly believe that without a guru/coach, it doesn’t make sense to follow advice.
Do you recommend books to people?
I do but the general feedback is that my taste is far too heady.
How do you navigate through the very factual books you pick out?
I enjoy it, especially navigating passages filled with difficult words. It never puts me off. I’m the word resource person for most of my extended family, though my friends not so much as they don’t think the vocabulary I have can be collectively shared or understood. I highly recommend the Wordweb app. It helps you create a treasure trove of words. I like to encourage my children to indulge in vocabulary building as well.
And has that led to your children reading more?
Not really. I ask the children to note down any difficult words I come across so that subliminally they have a list in their mind. They only read what is prescribed in school and that’s a bit of a disappointment.
What about your reading habits?
Reading is an essential part of my daily life. I read for an hour every day, be it hard copy or paperback. if it’s on the computer I can finish faster. I like reading PDFs…very convenient for me to read on my laptop as the screen is fairly large and I can simultaneously take notes as well.
I’ve been meaning to ask you about your habit of compiling notes.
Yes, I compile notes all the time and I use those notes in my email as citations. It’s better for everyone to know where those profound ideas came from. I need citations so that other people are convinced.
Do you listen to audiobooks?
I haven’t tried yet. Though I must say that book readings have always stayed with me. It is something else when the author reads her own book.
So you often frequent book readings?
Yes, several. I prefer serious face to face events rather than online streaming. Like this BYOB Party for instance. It’s so much better to hear live opinions about books and not as some kind of virtual reality.
How was your experience at the BYOB Party this time?
Well, it was peaceful. We had a fairly homogenous group and a subdued experience. Very few eruptions this time.
Thanks, Ralph! Enjoyed talking to you!