I am not entirely sure that how I read is, well, normal. I read with great fervor and eagerness, but I also do not read like most people I know, with the possible exception of my brother.
It goes like this: when I read, I read in chunks, large segments, sometimes 3 or more lines at a time, sometimes paragraphs. I almost always ignore articles and other regular grammatical words, perhaps because the simple volume of what I have read before gives me a good sense of what to expect. When I run into understanding issues, I will backtrack, but by and large I can continue on in this manner indefinitely to the end of a book or article. My comprehension is high but not absolute; I would estimate that an initial reading tends to produce something like 80%, but that is for the larger aspects...I have considerable trouble with remembering small details, such as character descriptions, colors, general descriptions, and ultra-specific quotation.
To offset these disadvantages, I am a voracious re-reader. It is unimaginable for me to read a book just once, unless it fails to capture me, and even then, there is no absolute cutoff. My favorite books I have read almost uncounted times, and nearly every book that I own has been read more than once, front to back.
This all means a couple of things for how I approach books. For one, I end up filling in a lot of what I miss, particularly in the area of description and characters. There's books that have managed to force their visions on me, of course, and I do not tend to invent things wholesale, but commonly I end up with impressions that stick and are entirely specific to me. As a whole, then, I tend to comprehend books in a very cinematic manner, its focusing dependent on how the writer writes. Another, and more important, result is my tendency to quickly fall in love with a universe rather than a specific story. Sometimes when I read and re-read books, I end up 'getting' the mechanics of that universe, seeing the characters and locations and situations as parts of a greater whole. I read the book then not so much for the tale it tells but for the chance to return there.
A logical extension of these habits and tendencies is that I sometimes willfully ignore that which the author has put in front of me (in fiction!). The text is everything, indeed, but I feel that it is often the character of a work that is its strongest point rather than what is embodied in specific words. One cannot control the precise meanings of a word, and neither can one control the imagination of one's readers. I do read for enjoyment, after all.
There is no possible way that my modes of comprehension are unique to me, but I still end up feeling lost and alone sometimes because of it. No, I wasn't paying attention to the color of the suit that so-and-so was wearing; no, I don't care about that particular subplot; what do you mean you didn't get why he had to do that, and so on. It leaves me with a zero-man audience all too often, unless I am talking to my brother, who I also suspect reads in a manner very similar, although likely not identical.
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