I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

OK, So I'm Backward !


It's only recently that I noticed something very odd about my reading behaviour. I don't know whether something has shifted in my brain, but I find that nowadays I always tend to read a newspaper or magazine from back to front.

I don't know when this started, and it must have been gradual, but I now find it almost impossible to start at the front and turn the pages from left to right. I tried tonight to read a newspaper from front to back and it felt very uncomfortable, as if I were trying to write with the wrong hand, as if I were being forced to do something against my natural instinct. But don't worry; I'm not so bonkers yet that I'm reading novels from back to front!

Is my way of reading papers and magazines normal? Is my mind rebelling against years of reading from front to back? Was I Japanese in my last life?

It's not even as if I like to follow sports, which would explain why someone starts reading the back of the paper first. It might have something to do with the fact that I'm a general news journalist and I don't want to overload my mind with too much news. Starting at the back means that after I've quickly dashed through the sport, stopping at the odd article or photo that catches my interest, I'm diving straight away into columns, opinion pieces, features and "softer news".

It's true that reading a paper from front to back requires a lot of strength these days. It's no fun getting through all the hard, depressing news, only to find there is little energy left for the lighter stuff, which is generally found between the middle and the back. Maybe my mind has automatically worked out how to maintain my reading stamina, to save myself for the lighter bits that are better for my health.

Could that really be the reason? Does anyone else read from back to front? Does it matter that I'm right-handed? Is it because one side of my brain is becoming more dominant over the other? Or is it just one of those quirky things we pick up with age? Of course, it may just be further proof that I'm well and truly backward!

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Oh, and don't forget to check out The Shameless Lions Writing Circle, where Grace's universe is being created. Instalment eight is now up.


Anonymous said...

Well now that you mention this habit, I do the same myself, especially with magazines.
Wonder if it is a cultural thing. One computer magazine published here in Ao-te-a-roa was aware of the habit and catered accordingly!
I cannot seem to help myself either. Every magazine I get my hands on I open up at the back page

Pallav said...

yeah i do that too...cuz some of the most interesting parts of a mag are the back articles...newspapers, are from front for me...and there are some mags i read from the center;)

good one :)


Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Glad you aren't reading novels from back to front; that kind of takes the excitement out of it when you know the ending before you know the beginning... sort of like that movie 'memento'... which was just strange.

I think it's brilliant to read back to front; I read in capricious little spurts... this spot, then that spot, then whatever else catches my eye.

Leonardo Da Vinci used both sides of his brain in everything he did; would that we could all be so inclined.

Read however you like, just ingest the written word. I think method probably isn't as significant as result, unless you're traveling.

I'm headed off to check up on Grace, and I would like to extend an invitation to you for Sognatrice's birthday party over at my page!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

mattfwcurran.com Web Admin said...

Hi Shameless

I'm another back-to-fronter. My excuse is that magazines tend to start with fluff pieces and the interesting stuff is usually at the rear.

(Er... That wasn't meant to sound like innuendo.)

Anyway, still can't get the hang of reading Manga regardless of this oddity.

PS: How many remotes do you need? Four? What's all that about then?

Debi said...

'Was I Japanese in my last life?'

Or Jewish possibly ... Do you also read the words backwards, sselemahS?

Anonymous said...

I must try that, although I know it's going to feel odd.

S. Kearney said...

Welcome! Finally. Ah, I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one. That computer magazine may be years ahead of itself! :-)

Snap! :-)

Your right. Reading is reading, no matter how we take in the words. I also know someone who proof-reads his work by reading it from back to front; keeping the sense but just collecting it from the back! He says it's easier to spot mistakes because you really have to focus on each word and not skip ahead. Interesting! And thanks for the invite. I will check it out.

Hi Matt,
I had to laugh at your choice of words there! I'm still absolutely over the moon for you and your publishing news! :-) You must be absolutely stoked. You deserve that kind of good news. Re the remotes; it is awful to have so many! I get so confused. Unfortunately we have so many different components! I just every new thing didn't have a new remote attached. Is it possible to combine them all into one? Now, that would be a great invention.

Yes, Jewish is also a possibility! :-) And doesn't my name look good like that! I may just use it. :-)

I'm sure some people who try it would find it more natural. It may turn out to be a great discovery for you! :-) Let me know how you go.

S. Kearney said...

Oh, Matt, I just counted and there are in fact FIVE remotes ... now that means things are worse than we first thought. I do work in television though, and we love music, and ... they all just seem so necessary. I just think one device would be fab though! :-)

Unknown said...

I think it's simply a case of going to the things you like best first - a natural attraction if you like which you're now allowing yourself to follow instead of being driven by conventional reading. More fun by far. Now just wait until you start reading novels from back to front - it could open up a whole new world of literature! ;-)

Unknown said...

i think it's quite natural. I personally feel it's easier to read newspapers and even magazines backwards! I have noticed this in me too. The fun party news and sports news is at the back! U know, a funny thing is, in school i had an English teacher who would teach us poetry from the last verse to the first. I remember she taught us Highwayman like that! Weird! lolz!

Unknown said...

FOUR remote controls in one little shot! Eh sorry, I was a little distracted. I tend to flick through, but I do think it's cos your a journalist and know your way around papers.

Kay Cooke said...

I think you're right in that we don't want to be bombarded at the start with the hard news. I am a back to fronter too. I feel more in control of what I'm reading that way - the magazine isn't controlling me, I am controlling it! (I wish.) Also - have you tried flicking a magazine front to back? For a right-hander it's much easier to flick back to front with your left hand ... Whew! Hope you can follow all that.

Anonymous said...

Wow. We all have some funny reading habits. I tend to start a few pages in from the front, jump to a few pages in from the back and gradually 'pincer' my way into the middle.

Then I start at the front again and work to the back.

I know my family think I'm nuts when they see me do that.

S. Kearney said...

Hi AV,
Anything that's not conventional I'm keen on. :-)

Pure Sunshine,
Poems backwards? Now there's a thought.

I feel embarrassed about those remotes now! And you're probably right about the journo thing.

Yes we are funny creatures we writerly/readerly types! :-)

Vesper said...

With magazines I usually tend to start at the back. Now that you've mentioned it, it looks kind of odd... I'm relieved I'm not the only one doing it!:-)

Anonymous said...

I think reading from front to back and left to right has been trained into us but that it's not necessarily the way we would naturally chose to read. I do it too. I wonder how many of us there are?

Anonymous said...

Maybe starting at the back feels easier because you're not expected to read the entire thing. At the beginning, you have all those unread pages staring at you. By starting at the end, you can find yourself reading the whole thing without an ounce of pressure.

S. Kearney said...

Now you mention it, you're right about the flicking through, which is crucial when I first get my hands on a magazine! :-)

We should start a back to front reader's club! :-)

Seems like there are many of us. Will more marketing people now think about doing mags from back to front ... as Noelle mentioned with that computer mag?

Yes, you are probably right. Starting at the back is like taking the lid off ... no one watching, no expectations, slowly does it! :-)

thecrazydotter said...

Don't worry. It's perfectly natural and I too read the same way. I am sure there's some scientific explanation to it. Maybe because the stories on the back pages are lighter ones and very often are snippets, so maybe we want to start off with light stuff before moving on to serious ones.

S. Kearney said...

Hi crazydotter,
I'm now beginning to think: is there anyone who starts at the front and works their way to the back? :-)