There’s one thing that unites us here as Book Riot readers and contributors: we love reading. But reading is very individual, and we all experience it differently. For some people, reading a book means imagining it in full cinematic color in their heads. Other people don’t “see” anything when they read. If you ask a reader to recommend a book, some will respond with a tantalizing piece of the plot. Others will talk about how they make it felt, or how it relates to other media. Some readers cannot stand a book with “no plot,” while others enjoy watching characters develop much more than reading about an intricate heist being pulled off.
There are so many different aspects of books and reading, so I wanted to look at just one part to see how all relate to it: the plot. Personally, I feel like I read differently than most people: I’m not a very visual person, so I don’t “see” much in my mind as I read. It’s more of an emotional experience for me. Perhaps because of that, I often miss plot details, including clues and foreshadowing in mystery novels. I’m much more invested in the characters and how they change over time, or the emotional beats of a story. I remember very little of what happened in a story—instead, I retain it as what I felt about the book, and the big ideas that it brought up.
To try to figure out where we are all coming from in terms of reading for plot, my fellow Book Rioters and I brainstormed some broad categories, and you can take the quiz to see which one fits you best! Whichever result you get, you can scroll down to see all the options, because most people will fall into several categories. Are you a Serial Reader, a Blurber, or an Eidetic Reader? Are you a Critic or more of a Hazy Reader? A Detective, or maybe even a Clairvoyant Reader? And did I miss your particular way of reading plots? Feel free to reach out on social media to let us know!
Check out all the categories to see which other kinds of reader you are!
The Serial Reader
You can remember books pretty well when you’re reading them. Once you finish it and start another book, though, the plot of the previous one disappears. It’s best for you to read series back to back, or you’ll usually have to look a plot synopsis of the last book before you can read the next.
The Hazy Reader
You can’t even remember a book’s plot while you’re reading it. You’re often a little confused, but you’ve resigned yourself to going with the flow, and you enjoy yourself anyways! It makes reading surreal books a lot easier for you than the average reader, so that’s a plus!
The Eidetic Reader
You remember absolutely everything you read. How do you do it? You keep track of every detail and character name. You are truly the reader we all aspire to be.
You don’t memorize every detail of the books you read, but you can keep track of the important stuff. If someone asks you about a book you’ve read, you can deliver a concise elevator pitch about it. This makes you great at recommending books!
The Melting Pot
You sometimes get a little confused when reading: is this the guy who killed his father? Oh, wait, that was the TV show you watched last night. You remember a lot of what you read—unfortunately, you don’t always remember where it came from, so you tend to mix up the plots from a lot of different books (and sometimes other media, too). Keeping notes might help, but you can also just embrace the messy joy of your reading life!
You are rarely surprised by a book. In fact, you usually know how the book will end based just on the front and back cover. Whether you’re especially genre-savvy or truly psychic, you are able to see every twist coming.
You keep track of every plot detail and can determine whenever an author went wrong. You take it as a personal insult when a published author makes an error in their timeline, and you’ll make sure people know about it. You keep better track of the minutiae than most editors do. Just make sure that the red pen doesn’t take away from the joy of reading.
You study how books are put together to help in your own writing. You notice what works and what doesn’t, but only for your own edification. You take writing seriously—just make sure that you remember to read for fun, too!
Whether it’s a mystery novel or not, you’re always keenly aware of what’s happening in the book you’re reading, and you’re usually able to work out what’s going to happen next. No foreshadowing goes unnoticed on your watch!
The People Person
You don’t pay close attention to plot details, but you always keep track of the characters. You’re most interested in character development, and how they interact. What they’re actually doing is beside the point for you as a reader.
Whether it’s a romance novel or not, you’re always paying attention to who would make a good couple. Sometimes they end up together, but sometimes the characters don’t even interact. You don’t always mean to do it, but you can’t help noticing which people should probably just get their smooch on.