What Do You Read?

Harry Potter books won't be found on my bookshelves.It* seems that every time a new Harry Potter film comes to theatres, I have to have the following conversation and answer the following questions:

“Have you seen the new Harry Potter movie?”


“Have you read the books?”


“What do you read?” (sometimes accompanied by a tone of indictment)


“What do you read?” It’s a difficult question to answer. I find myself aligning myself with a quote from Fred Chappell: “These readers are almost completely immune to the fevers of contemporary fashions in reading, though they enjoy good new work equally with the older when they are certain they have found it.” I don’t read very many works that are considered “fashionable.” I’m not all that impressed by The New York Times’ bestseller list. It occasionally boasts a few good works, but, for me, most of the works are undeserving of my attention.

The question then, is, what do I read? I won’t delve into my online reading habits; I spend quite a bit of time reading articles about writing, social media, and any other topics that capture my attention. I will share my “offline” reading habits, i.e., the books that currently reside on my nightstand. I’m in the process of reading or am planning to read the following:

  • Ovid’s Metamorphoses
  • Poetry
  • The Essential Rumi
  • Beloit Poetry Journal
  • C.K. Williams’ Poetry and Consciousness
  • Mary Karr’s Lit
  • Kelly Link’s Stranger Things Happen

My list reveals a preoccupation with poetry, which is only natural since I’m a poet. Karr’s Lit is a memoir, a genre I only enjoy occasionally. I’m reading Karr’s because I love her writing style and her ability to talk about God and life in the most irreverently reverent manner. I don’t know how she accomplishes that, but she does. I can only hope to write like her some day. Link’s book is a collection of short stories. I like short stories – my obsession with them began in an American Modern class at Hardin-Simmons University – but I actually bought her collection because the stories are “strange.” They belong to the genres of sci-fi and fantasy as well as Gothic horror.

What do I read? I read many things. I just don’t read Harry Potter (My apologies to Harry Potter fans.).

*This post originally was published on July 22, 2011. I still haven’t read any Harry Potter.


  1. Soooo many things! Books find me:) I comb second-hand bookstores, thrift stores and mainstream bookstores, because I still love old-school paper books (eegads:) Right now, I have on the go: Falling Backwards (Jann Arden), The Law of Success (Napoleon Hill 1925 hardcover edition that I picked up for 25 cents), North to the Night, a spiritual odysseey in the Arctic (second time..so good..Alvah Simon), Drive (Daniel Pink), How to think like Leonardo da Vinci (Michael Gelb)…and that’s just a few I’m currently reading. I have piles of books throughout my home, in various states of read-ed-ness. I LOVE to read:) Cheers! Kaarina P.S. I haven’t read any Harry Potter either:)

    •  @KDillabough Wow! What a great list. I thought about updating the one contained in this post, but I left it alone. I’m now reading a different collection of essays about perception and some different poets. I love that you have piles of books throughout your house. 🙂
      You, vidyasury , and I can start a group for people who haven’t read Harry Potter.

      •  @Erin F.  @KDillabough  Looks like we are on the verge of a club of people who haven’t read Harry Potter, even at the risk of horrifying some of our best friends. Strangely, I have the entire set, on the off-chance that my son (who is 14 now, might want to read it).  Somehow, even though I am crazy about psychological thrillers, horror films and some sci-fi – I just couldn’t get attached even to the Harry Potter movies. I’d much rather be glued to comedy or police proedurals. 🙂 I read a lot – and my favorite go-to is P G Wodehouse/John Grisham/James Patterson/David Baldacci/and some chick lit. Love law/medical/crime fiction. 
        And these days, there are so many fantastic blogs to read, too! 🙂 I am curious to see who else admits to not being a Harry Potter fan.

        •  @Vidya Sury  @KDillabough There are a lot of good blogs! Do you ever read Kaarina’s? She’s authoring a series about business principles and bases the posts on a letter of the alphabet. I think she’s on the letter “o” at the moment, if you have any suggestions.

        •  @Erin F.  @KDillabough I am heading over to Kaarina’s! 

        •  @Vidya Sury  @Erin F. Ah, so this is how you found me:))) Thanks so much Erin for connecting us. In addition to Harry-Potter-non-readers, our love of trees connects us. And as Erin noted, my letter “O” post is complete and ready to roll tomorrow, but I will welcome letter “P” words now. Great to meet you here!

        •  @KDillabough  @Vidya Sury Quite welcome, ladies! bdorman264 introduced Vidya and I.
          Letter “P”? I offer “punctual” and, in a quasi-Bill Dorman fashion, “porcupine” and “prickly pear.” 🙂


  1. […] never been one for reading a book or series of books because of the hype surrounding them.  Harry Potter? No. The series with the sparkly vampire? Negative. The Hunger Games? Yes. I read those […]