Despite the stereotype of the typical bookworm, no two readers are exactly alike. Some like to stick with what they know, while others love to dabble in new genres, or take on multiple books at once.
Determining someone’s reading style might be as simple as asking what they’re currently reading (but it’s still best not to jump to conclusions!)
Below are 15 of the most common types of readers. You surely know at least a few of these, and might identify with several yourself.
1. The Serial Binge-Reader
These readers are like the binge-watchers of Netflix: Once they catch the feels for a group of characters or a particular writer’s style, they can’t stop and won’t stop until they’re all caught up with the series.
And pity the poor soul who has to keep this reader company while they anxiously await the next release!
2. The Highbrow Reader
Don’t even think about gifting this reader a paperback romance from the supermarket. They take pride in their knowledge of the classics, or whatever book former presidents or influential scholars are currently raving about in their annual reading lists.
They don’t want to be bothered with mass-market fiction or whatever the rest of us are reading on the beach, so unless you’re also a bit of a literary snob, you may not find much to discuss as far as your reading list is concerned.
3. The Player
There’s plenty of love in this reader to go around (just don’t tell the others). The Player doesn’t like choosing favorites, but thanks to their multi-tasking abilities, they don’t have to.
They can start the morning with an inspirational self-help book and doze off in the evening with a bookmark in the latest romantic bestseller. Not everyone can manage this kind of juggling, but The Player makes it look easy.
4. The Fickle Reader
The Fickle Reader might have a little bit of everything on their reading list, but once they get started, they have trouble seeing the job through.
Unlike The Player, who knows how to spread the love around, the Fickle Reader tends to get bored fast—so they move on quickly to whatever catches their eye next. You could build a fort out of all the half-read books they have lying around the house.
5. The Repeat Reader
Whatever good intentions you had when you recommended a new book to the Repeat Reader, they most likely smiled politely before picking up their cherished copy of The Sun Also Rises for the 100th time and forgetting your suggestion forever. It’s not that they’re necessarily stuck in a comfort zone, but they do know what they like.
They’re basically the polar opposite of the Player: Once they pair up with a book or author, they’re loyal for life. They’ve found their lobster and they see no reason to wander.
6. The eBook Denier
Though many of us have come to appreciate the benefits of an eReader, the eBook Denier refuses to conform. They want the feel, the smell, and the comfort of crisp pages, and they get no greater pleasure than seeing their treasured stacks of hardcovers and paperbacks piled up around the house.
Technology is a godsend for lots of things, but don’t waste your breath trying to tell the eBook Denier how much easier life is with a Kindle.
7. The Harry Burns
In Nora Ephron’s classic When Harry Met Sally, Harry explains that he likes to read the last page of a book first, so in case he dies, he’ll know how it ends.
These readers love to do the same; and they’ll keep doing it, whether you think it’s a wise strategy or a crime that should be punishable by death. FYI: If you’re thinking about planning them a surprise party, don’t.
8. The Nonfiction Nerd
From self-help, to travel memoirs, to brilliant how-to hacks, the Nonfiction Nerd prefers facts over fiction. They’ll devour numbers, historical accounts, and all kinds of real-life stories. And they’re not wrong—after all, life is full of great stories.
You don’t always need made-up ones to be entertained. Plus, if you love picking up little bits of random knowledge, the Nonfiction Nerd should be your go-to pal.
9. The Fiction Lover
On the other end of the spectrum sits the Fiction Junkie, who tends to be bored by the plain facts. They’re not interested in reading about the way things are or were; they crave stories from other worlds, other times, and other dimensions.
But that doesn’t mean the characters aren’t real to them—just try talking to a Harry Potter superfan for 5 minutes, and you’d think they studied at Hogwarts right next to Ron and Hermione.
10. The Film Buff
Some readers like to see film adaptations after they’ve finished the book. Some don’t, claiming the films are never as good as the books. And some prefer yet another route: After falling in love with characters on the big screen, they decide to grab their copy of the book.
Is that a bit backwards? Maybe. Have I done it before? Absolutely. So no judgment here.
11. The Catharsis Seeker
Some readers love a good cry. And a good book should give you some feels anyway, whether it makes you laugh, sob, or feel nostalgic. The Catharsis Seeker is here to feel it all.
They can even get so emotionally attached that they experience joy when a character falls in love, or pain when one dies. If you’ve ever found yourself thinking about a character as you go about your day, there’s no going back—you’ve become emotionally invested.
12. The Book Clubber
The Book Clubber makes most of their reading decisions based on what their book club has been assigned at the moment, or the recommendations of whatever celebrity book they’re following.
And they wouldn’t be in bad company—prominent figures such as Barack and Michelle Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, and Oprah Winfrey are all known for sharing their recommended reading lists, and their choices are usually on point. If you’re having trouble finding your next page-turner, just ask a Book Clubber what they’re reading!
13. The Note-Taker
You may remember that once upon a time, your high school literature teacher made you turn in your copy of Lord of the Flies to check your annotations in the margins.
But the Note-Taker doesn’t do this for a grade—they do it out of passion! The margins in some of their old paperbacks could probably tell stories that beat the book itself. Taking notes while you read (be it fiction or nonfiction) can be a great way to process information and reflect on your own thoughts.
14. The Vacation Reader
Life’s busy. Sometimes the only chance you get to dive into a good book is on holiday. The Vacation Reader loves to unwind with a page-turner, whether they’re sprawled out on a beach, riding on a train, or sitting in their backyard with a glass of wine.
They read for pleasure, so they don’t limit themselves to just one genre or class of book like the Highbrow Reader would. They don’t have much free time, so when they do get to unwind, they choose what makes them happy, whether their ideal beach read is a crime thriller or a steamy romance.
15. The Hopeless Romantic
You probably guessed it, but The Hopeless Romantic is a die-hard fan of the romance novel, and they don’t care what the Highbrow Readers or Nonfiction Nerds think. You can probably find every Danielle Steel novel ever written sitting on their shelves, along with a variety of historical romances and Nicholas Sparks staples.
And when the actors for the inevitable film adaptation are finally announced, you know they’ll have something to say about it!
A Million Ways to Read
Reading is a very personal experience, so it makes sense that different readers have their own reading styles. You may find that you’re one of the 15 above, or maybe a combination of several.
Whatever your reading style, keep doing what works for you. Life’s too short to miss the books you really love!
Which type or types of reader are you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!