What does your book choice say about you?
Books can thrill, delight, challenge and inform and research shows most of us have our preferred genre. Whatever your preference, your choice of book says a lot about who you really are – so try our revealing quiz and find out what kind of bookworm you are.
1. A friend is telling a long story about her tropical holiday. Do you:
a Immediately think of the dangers and feel glad you’re staying home.
b Envisage the sunset, the waves, and wish it was you strolling on the beach.
c Wonder how someone managed to build a luxury hotel on a deserted island.
d Ask her what the locals there think of the tourist industry.
e Ask her if she went to any museums or archaeology sites.
f Ask her if she met anyone interesting out there.
2. You’re thinking of getting a pet. Will it be…
a A large dog – an Alsatian or a boxer
b A Persian or Burmese cat
c Stick insects or goldfish
d Pigs, pygmy goats or chickens
e Sponsoring a lion at the safari park
f A mongrel puppy
3. Your kids refuse to tidy their rooms. Do you:
a Remove their favourite toys and wait for them to notice.
b Promise them a sunny trip to the seaside if they do it.
c Stand over them explaining exactly what should go where.
d Explain how they can organise the room more effectively.
e Turn it into a game in which their beds are pirate ships.
f Try to get to the bottom of what’s stopping them doing it.
4. You’ve decided to take up a new hobby. It is likely to be…
a Crosswords and sudoku
b Painting landscapes
c Woodworking or joinery
d School governorship
e Volunteering abroad
f Amateur dramatics
5. If it was your wedding day, your biggest concern would be that…
a A disgruntled ex would show up halfway through.
b Your partner would jilt you at the altar.
c The table plan would go wrong.
d The guests wouldn’t get along.
e It would be boring.
f You wouldn’t have time to talk to everybody.
6. You’ve won the lottery – and you’re spending it on:
a A huge mansion with security gates and a moat.
b A total makeover, followed by a major shopping spree.
c Starting a business so you can work for yourself.
d Helping out friends and family.
e The holiday of a lifetime – a round-the-world trip.
f Lots of different trips and experiences – you want to try everything.
THE CRIME LORD
You are always aware that life has a dark side. On holiday you worry about pickpockets, at work you know exactly who’s plotting to overthrow you, and you can always sniff out exactly which child is fibbing. You’re analytical, suspicious and never take good things for granted. That’s why you’re a lover of crime books – whether it be dark Scandinavian thrillers, Sherlock Holmes, horror stories or cat-and-mouse detective tales, you love to read about humanity’s murkiest instincts, and are reassured when the bad guy (or girl) gets their comeuppance at the end.
Thrillers and true-life crime remind you that the world is just as scary as you imagine – but reassuringly, in the end, justice usually prevails. The only trouble is, you can end up seeing the worst in everyone – so try a contemporary novel where no one gets killed once in a while, like a Joanna Trollope, or Cathy Kelly, both excellent for warming the heart.
You often wish things were different, not because you don’t like your life, or your partner – you just can’t help dreaming about how much more fabulous it could be, if only you could write that novel, take that romantic trip, meet that perfect partner… You almost certainly got in trouble for daydreaming at school, and friends would describe you as the most generous, sweet person they know. You love to fantasise about the best that life can be – which is why you love both gentle chick-lit where everything works out, and bonkbusters full of glamour and excitement. Occasionally, to stop you drifting into an entirely imaginary world, tackle something with a little more grit. One Day by David Nicholls and A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby are gripping stories – but will also keep your feet on the ground.
Your guiding principle in life is practicality. You can’t see the point of reading about made-up events and people, and would much rather devote your spare time to learning something useful – whether it’s how to unblock a sink, or a complicated foreign language. You like to master skills, and your reading always reflects this. You may be missing out on flights of the imagination, and sometimes, you struggle to empathise with daydreamers and impractical types – you’d choose reality over fantasy any day. You like any kind of reading that helps to improve your skills, or help you understand practical concepts.
Sometimes, however, it’s important to challenge your imagination, and divert it from practical tramlines. Novels can encourage empathy and a new perspective, and open up your mind – try Jane Austen, whose accurate insights still resonate, or a thriller by Harlan Coben, whose spare, down-to-earth style might appeal to you.
You are almost certainly a brilliant manager, at work and at home. You’re fascinated by unusual behaviour, how groups work, and what motivates people. Popular science is your bag – and whenever there’s a new discovery, survey or statistic, you’re the first to know about it. You enjoy the psychology of business and love to observe how people work and play together. You’re also a born organiser, and likely to spend your weekends on community projects and fund-raising initiatives. Your reading gravitates towards social science books that help to explain us to ourselves, and self-development books whose advice you can put into practice and see results.
You might miss out, though, on the joy of escapism if you’re too focused on higher matters – so try blockbusters like Dan Brown’s Inferno or Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series to relax your brain on occasion.
You like your escapism to involve a hefty dose of information. On holiday, rather than sitting on beaches, you’d prefer to be exploring Roman ruins, while at home you’re fascinated by museums. You love to travel, absorbing information, taking photographs and cataloguing your discoveries. There’s never enough time to see all the things you’d like to – which is why your reading tends to consist of travel books, historical novels and informative non-fiction. It might drive your family mad, but when you’re lost in another world, there’s no getting through to you – you have the imagination to envisage the past, long-gone heroes, or the other side of the world.
But to drag you back to reality it might be time to introduce some gritty stories of the here and now, such as Zadie Smith’s NW, or May We Be Forgiven by AM Homes.
It’s other people and their emotions that fascinate you. You’re the person others confide in, the unpaid therapist for your friends and family. You have huge empathy and a great insight into human nature. To you, everyone is interesting, and every story you hear or person you meet helps to deepen your understanding of the world. You have no interest in riches or status symbols – as long as you’ve got other people around to talk to, you’re happy.
That’s why you love novels and biographies. From Dickens classics that help you understand what it felt like to be a poverty-stricken Victorian, to political biographies that reveal what presidents and queens were thinking, and contemporary novels or family sagas, you love anything that will show you a different viewpoint, and explain someone else’s thoughts.
Don’t miss out, though, on the chance to enjoy non-fiction. Try The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz, true tales of psychotherapy, or witty travel writing such as Road To Rouen by Ben Hatch.
And if you have a mixture of reading styles – or read widely across all genres? You’re likely to be open-minded and willing to give anything a try. You don’t like being pigeonholed and don’t pigeonhole your choices either. If an idea piques your interest then that is what matters, not whether it’s teen or science fiction, a crime novel or an autobiography. And it’s this well-rounded, warm-hearted attitude you take with you to all aspects of your life, from work to relationships to problem solving. You’re one in a million – and people respond well to you