Nelson Mandela is an icon of statesmanship, a principled activist who spent decades in jail for his efforts to bring an end to apartheid and the start of multi-racial democracy in South Africa. In addition, he can also help me with the ladies!
A similar survey carried out in December for the National Year of Reading Campaign found half of men and one third of woman have lied about what they have read to try and impress friends. The men polled said they would be most impressed by women who read news websites, Shakespeare or song lyrics. Women said men should have read Nelson Mandela's biography or Shakespeare.
I also learn from reading the article that my own reading habits are feminine and rare:
A study of reading habits showed almost half of women are 'page turners' who finish a book soon after starting it compared to only 26 per cent of men.
I'm a page turner. Check.
The survey 2,000 adults [sic] also found those who take a long time to read books and only managed one or two a year were twice as likely to be male than female.
I manage much more. Check.
Men are also more likely to have shelves full of books that have never been opened.
Dog-eared pages and cracked spines greet any browser of my bookshelf. Check, although I tend not to collect books anymore.
The only similarities between the sexes came among those who have two books on the bedside table at once and who start one book on the middle of reading another, switching easily. Twelve per cent of women were in this category – exactly the same number as men.
As I've written before, having a reading pool with multiple titles is an old--and evidently unique--habit of mine. Check.
On a related note, blogger Steven Berlin Johnson makes one novel point about the Kindle that makes it even more appealing:
When he was on John Stewart, Jeff Bezos mentioned that the Kindle was great for one-handed reading, which got a salacious chuckle from the audience (and Stewart), but I think it's best for no-handed reading: i.e., when you're reading while eating a meal, one of life's great pleasures. It's almost impossible to read a paperback while eating, and you really have to snap the spine of a hardcover to get it to lie flat, but the Kindle just sits there on the table helpfully while you cut up your teriyaki.
As a kid, my family ate out often. My parents tended to talk about work the whole time, so to stave off silent boredom I began bringing books to the booths and got pretty good at eating while reading (One wonders whether my love of chicken fingers had as much to do with their ability to be eaten blindly with one hand as it did with taste.). I wholeheartedly agree that the practice is one of life's great pleasures, but I almost never do it anymore because of the difficulties outlined above. Johnson's observation, however, gives me hope that one day I will again experience the sublimity of restaurant reading. I can see it now, some time hence: sitting at a fancy restaurant and shushing my date as I read Mandela's biography.