Friday, 28 December 2012

10 Odd Bookish Habits

Reading can be an obsession, and as with any obsession, we all do it a little differently. I thought I'd share some not-so-normal bookish habits that I have.

1. I read more than one book at once. I know this doesn't sound too strange, but for most people, they tend to stick to one book at a time before moving on to others. Unless it's a novel I read in one session, I typically have three to four books that I'm reading at one time. For example, right now I'm reading Stephen King's On Writing and Different Seasons as well as Life of Pi by Yann Martel and a couple other stragglers where I started them and somehow lost interest.

2. I read while I'm blow drying my hair. No joke. It's totally weird but blow drying your hair is such a boring monotonous task and I try to squeeze in reading time whenever possible. I've also managed to put on makeup and do my hair while reading. Skillz.

3. I have a system for how I dog ear pages (and I'm not a purist where I never fold a page, sorry, not sorry). Typically, you see people dog ear pages at the top right, but I fold in the bottom corner of passages where I loved the writing and I fold down the top right one to mark where I am in the book. I rarely use bookmarks - I have a tendency to lose them - and I hardly ever keep a book jacket on the book, unless I'm using the front flap to put in between pages.

4. I can listen to music while I read. Sometimes, I prefer it. I'm fortunate that I don't get motion sickness so on long car rides, I fire up my iPod and get some reading done. It's like the book has a soundtrack. I love it.

5. I almost never reread books. Unless it's a beloved childhood favorite or one where I need to reflect, I typically finish a book and that's the last time I see it. It's hard for me to recreate the magic of reading something for the first time and I don't want to be disappointed if the book doesn't have the same effect it had as the first time. I will go back and look at parts that I really loved (see #3).

6. When I buy a book, I read the first sentence and the last sentence first. To me, it's important to end with something meaningful, just as it is to start. I've had people tell me that ruins the book. 1) Authors almost never give away the entire book with the last sentence. That sounds like terrible writing. The book should evolve naturally. 2) By the time I reach the end, I've forgotten what the last sentence was. It's like rediscovering those words and after having spent a considerable amount of time with the book's characters, the ending and last line feel that much more satisfactory. 3) As a writer, you want to see how others do it - how they pull the reader in and how they put the bow on top at the end. It's basically research.

7. I love big chain book stores, particularly Barnes and Noble. I know! I'm learning to patronize smaller, local brick and mortar shops, but Barnes and Noble has a special place in my heart. It's where I learned to love to read, where I spent a lot of time writing (I'm a walking cliche), and where I finished my first manuscript when I was 20. When I was a kid, toys and candy were privileges, but my parents never told us no when it came to books. I distinctly remember coming out of Barnes and Noble, my arms cradling my newest haul, with a coffee (this is probably where my caffeine obsession came from). Going into the bookstore makes me happy (new stories!), exhilarated (one day, my book will hopefully be here), intimidated (omg, one day my book will be here), and angry (really, Snooki published another novel).

8. I confuse characters and plot lines constantly. I have a voracious appetite for reading, but a terrible time keeping everything straight because I read everything too fast. I never finished Harry Potter because after I read the 5th book on a two-day bender, I couldn't remember what happened the next year when the 6th one came out. So I gave up.

9. Some books I simply cannot read in public because I will sob. Mostly, anything written by John Green, the end of a beloved series, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, anything about the Holocaust, etc.

10. As of right now, I do not have a library card. Instead, I prefer to spend obnoxious amounts of money buying books, when I have neither the funds nor the space. Books are kind of sacred to me, so it's hard for me to part with one after I've read it even if I'm not going to read it again (#5). I know, it's absolutely insane and completely cost ineffective. Now, I can say it's because I want to support the author, since I'll hopefully be in the same boat one day, but honestly, I just love having a lot of books.

Here's some research for my Future Unsuspecting Significant Other:

You give me a library, I'll marry you on the spot.


Anybody else have any strange book quirks? Tell me I'm not alone! 

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