I saw this fun post on Finding Time To Write, a great blog full of Marina’s poems, fantastic places to read as well as considered reviews. In turn Marina found this tag on the blog 50 a Year. I couldn’t resist sharing my reading rituals, honed over decades, with you all.
It’s always fun to hear/read what other people get up to, so in the grand tradition of My Blog Name in Books I thought I’d give this a go before editing my next crime-centric post:
Do you have a certain place at home for reading?
Very deliberately not; it’s something I love being able to just drop into at any particular time, and the idea of having to be sat in a special chair or surrounded by particular things seems antithetical to that.
Bookmark or a random piece of paper?
Somewhere in between: I use restaurant cards from places I’ve eaten while on holiday. Why? I honestly can’t remember how I got started, but it’s my system now and so I stick to it!
Can you stop reading any time, or do you have to stop in a certain place?
Previously, it had to be the end of a chapter. That has over the years caused problems with things like being late getting places (such as work…) and so now I just have to stop read in time to get where I need to be. Middle of a sentence, just before a staggering twist, halfway through Umberto Eco’s description of a door…wherever, gotta go, gotta stop. But it has taken a lot of conditioning.
Do you eat or drink while reading?
I read over breakfast, so yes. And I’ll drink tea/coffee/etc while reading, yes. Do I fear stains? Yes, but I’m one of life’s free spirits so I just keep on goin’.
Can you read while listening to music/watching TV?
Music, yes. I don’t own a TV, so that’s less of a problem.
One book at a time or several at once?
Novels I always read one at a time, but I have anything up to five short story collections going at any moment because I can never just sit and read short story after short story (it amazes me that people can – I always need to let them settle a bit). Several short stories by different authors is strangely fine, but I don’t really go in for anthologies by multiple authors for reasons that are too complicated and dull to get into here.
Reading out loud or silently in your head?
Do people read out loud except to others? I’m genuinely curious now – does anyone out there read out loud when they’re on their own?
Do you read ahead and skip pages?
No to reading ahead. I do have a fixation with knowing how many pages a book has before I start it, so I’ll always flip to the final page to see what its number is, but no randomly diving in at some page to see what’s happening – that’s where the spoilers lurk. I will skip/skim if a book a dull or overloading me with redundant detail, but I try to keep that to a minimum.
Break the spine or keep it new?
If it cracks, it cracks, but I’m not going to do so deliberately. Most of my read books look pretty new, but it’s nice for there to be some evidence of it having actually been read and so I’m not inconsolable if cracks appear through reading.
Do you write in books?
What am I, a monster?
My thanks to everyone listed above for bringing this around to my attention, it’s been a nice little break from worrying about how poorly I’m explaining myself when trying to put my opinions across. Get involved!