Reader Interview Number Four – Jennifer Priester

Hi and welcome to the Library of Erana, a place of words and of their magic. Words are power, they are knowledge and they are freedom.  Readers play an important role in the life of books and words, for without readers books would sit unread, unloved and unknown.  What makes a good book, or for that matter a bad one?  Why do people read and how do they find their books?

Welcome to Jennifer Priester

Where are you from? USA

On average how many books do you read in a month? I normally read on average 2-4 full length novels. I also read a lot of comic books, graphic novels, and manga books which how many I read is highly variable and I am not sure what average is for me. When I do more reading than anything else I sometimes read 6-8 full length novels.

Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life? I find books bring me entertainment and often ways to escape the real world whenever I want. Sometimes they teach me something in a fun and entertaining way that I would not have learned otherwise. Other times, especially with the nonfiction books I read about animals, I read about people who often have the same problems with their pets as I do and I know mine aren’t the only ones. Sometimes these books help me discover solutions to my problems and other times they make my problems easier to deal with by offering a different viewpoint.

What genres do you prefer and why? I prefer sci-fi/fantasy and graphic novels. I am still unclear as to why on the sci-fi/fantasy. I have always loved fantasy because I love magic. I only recently discovered that many of the books I liked were sci-fi/fantasy. These books combine animals with mythical explanations for their behaviors but feel realistic at the same time. I’m not sure it’s really the genre as much as the subject, but sci-fi/fantasy keeps appearing as the books genre’s for the ones I really like. I am more subject based in my reading than genre based. As for graphic novels I just love how the books are told using both pictures and words. I prefer graphic novels over manga’s because the manga’s are the ones that read from right to left, which I prefer to read the same directions as the other books, and I prefer graphic novels over comic books because graphic novels are fuller stories and comics are usually just a collection of strips. I like them all though, but the fuller story lines, complete with the way the stories are told and the ease of reading makes graphic novels the winner for me.

Do you have a favourite book or author, why do you think you like this book/author so much?  One of my favorite authors is Erin Hunter. I like this author or rather, authors, because they write about animals. The stories are all realistic to the animal while having many fantasy elements. So, expanding a little on the previous question, the Erin Hunter(s), are some of my favorite sci-fi/fantasy authors.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this?  I still prefer paper books, but I have been switching over to e-book. I love paper books based on the fact that seeing the physical books on my shelves while deciding what I wanted to read made it easier for me based on the fact that I could see length, title, and art design, all of which influenced my choice of what to read next. I also like paper over e-book because when you are done with a paper book you can sell it used, with e-books, once I am done I can’t do anything with it. The book just sits and takes up space. I am not the type to reread books. I don’t read books, watch TV shows, movies, or play video games more than once. When I am done, I am done. But e-books do have the advantage with me when it comes to how much space they take up. I currently have 15 shelves of unread paper books and keep getting more, which I have run out of shelves for. All the books I have now would fit easily on an e-book device and I would still have plenty of room to spare, but this also comes with one other disadvantage. For me the phrase out of sight, out of mind, is very true for me. If I don’t see it, I will forget I have it, which means that while on my shelves I see the books all the time and over time I may really get the urge to read a specific one, for my e-books I have to scroll through to find books and really I get tired of doing this very quickly and end up just settling on a book, which may not be the right book to read at the time and the book is sometimes less enjoyable than it would be at another time.

How do you usually find the books you read?  For example: recommendations from friends, promotion on social networks, your local library, following authors you already know? I usually find the books I read at library book sales and while browsing books in the library.

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look?  What makes you turn away? Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence the choice? Usually something on the cover will make me stop and look at a book again. I turn away from a book if I see anything on the cover or read anything in the book description that I don’t like, no matter how small it is. Such as, if I see a book that says it is a fantasy adventure I may pick it up, but if at any time it talks about romance I usually put it down again. Only in rare instances do I give the book a try. I rarely read reviews by others and they never influence my choice. I actually recently read a book that I read some of the reviews of and while most of the top/most recent reviews only gave the book one or two stars, I actually liked it enough to give it five so I have learned that for me, if the book looks and sounds interesting I should just read it and maybe read the reviews at the end to see if I agree with them or not.

What is the most important aspect in a book for you? Plot? Characterisation? Well written etc.?  For me it is what the book is about. This is what I pay attention to overall. Everything else such as a good plot, good characters, a well written story, and other book details are just bonuses that either help me enjoy the book or make me dislike it, but if the book is about something I like that is already enough to get me to read it. So if the book is about something, such as a fiction story about a wolf, I will get the book and start reading, which I usually get my books from the library so this is something I can do without worrying that I have lost money if I don’t like it. And for the ones I get at the library book sales, if I don’t like a book, which I don’t have this problem to often with my strategy, I still don’t consider the money wasted because it is helping the library.

What aspects turn you off from a book? Are there things you avoid?  Just subjects I don’t like. For instance, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t like romance so if the book is highly focused on this I won’t read it. I also won’t read books, with small exceptions, if a book has in it, evil witches or evil dragons. I also tend to avoid books that swear heavily throughout. I don’t mind occasional swearing in books, but I avoid reading any books that I know has a lot of it in.

Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline? Considering my favorite bookstore for buying new books closed, I would have to say yes. The only other one for new books in my area is too overpriced and buying on Amazon is usually cheaper if I want to buy new.

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