I've decided (or actually, I've known for a long time and I'm just now saying) that I don't like being read to. I like watching a good performance, yes, but not too many writers pull that off, and instead they just end up reading to me. I hate books-on-tape (CD?) for the same reason. But at least there's an off button for those. At a reading, no chance.
If I'm at a reading, then I'd like to see multiple people read for maybe five to ten minutes each, tops. They'd better make me laugh, too. I can even take a good poet for half an hour if he or she is reading a bunch of stuff. But I really have a hard time listening to prose for that long.
And believe me, I'm guilty, too. I've chosen stuff to read--stories, chapters--that felt wrong almost as soon as I got started. Just...no. Too wordy, too long, too dull. And sometimes I'll pick a decent story, but then I bungle it by not bringing the performance. Oops.
It's a weird thing, the literary reading. Weird.
Got to bring the performance, folks. Give the sort of reading you'd love to see! Be unforgettable! Don't just read to people and expect that to be enough.