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Dirty Little Reading Habits

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.

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

I have always read in bed before I go to sleep and this is still my favourite place to read, unless it’s winter and the book I’m reading is a hardback – I still haven’t worked out a good position to stop my little pinky feeling as if it is about to break off! That said you can also find me reading on the sofa – I’m partial to the reclined position there also but at least I can prop the book on my knees without getting moaned at for letting the cold air into the bed!

Bookmark or a random piece of paper?current-train-ticket

For a while in my early teens I collected bookmarks and do still own a few but to be honest I rarely use them because they are never to hand when I want them! Often the random piece of paper is a train ticket which is quite remarkable as I live on a small island with no trains but they seem to hang around for years at a time and do the job remarkably well.

Can you stop reading any time, or do you have to stop in a certain place?

Up until relatively recently it was always at the end of a chapter, as I child I remember calculating whether I could get to the next one before my light was turned off for the night, often with the plea I’ve only got x amount of pages left – that said this training gave me an innate ability to calculate my reading speed. These days sadly I read until my eyes shut which is often far sooner than I would like!

Do you eat or drink while reading?Cup of Coffee

I’m a huge coffee drinker so often have a mug on the go whilst reading, food not so much I’m not too keen on getting stains on my books or smears on my kindle and I can be a little bit messy at the best of times.

Can you read while listening to music/watching TV?Music

I have to admit I prefer silence but out of necessity I have learnt to read with background noise due to other people sharing my life – I do huff a little if the sound is too loud (well I do that anyway) but once I’ve started reading I am completely unaware of what is going on around me.

One book at a time or several at once?

I am completely in awe of people who have more than one book on the go at a time – As I understand it some people have different books in different locations to make it work – I’m sorry I just can’t. On the occasions that I have started a fiction book whilst reading a non-fiction, which I can sort of manage, I tend to get far more involved in one than the other and end up reading to the end anyway.


Reading out loud or silently in your head?

I read in my head, no lip movements just eyes skimming along the lines. I’m not a big fan of being read to either, I struggle with audio books because I read fast and so can do the job quicker. The only time I ever read aloud is to children which I love.

Do you read ahead and skip pages?

I don’t ever read ahead, I sometimes skip bits if they are incredibly boring but usually if I’m tempted to do that it signals that this is a book I won’t be persevering with for much longer.

Break the spine or keep it new?

Most of the books on my bookshelf look like they’ve never been read – and no I’m not referring to the rather large TBR. I’m known to get most upset if I get a book post and the cover has been battered, probably by the postman shoving it violently through the letterbox. Over the years I have developed a method of reading to keep the books as god as new. I have to try very hard not to mind if I lend people books and they feel they actually have to open them fully to read them.

That said there are some old books which have been much loved and are a little more battered around the edges mainly due to my weakness for used book sales although even there I will ‘shop around’ to find the most pristine cover but ultimately under my rules these are totally acceptable and I’m proud to give these books a happy home.

Books GDFB

Do you write in books?

Never – I remember my English Lit teacher at school trying to get me to annotate my own copy of a set book – I was a quiet and shy schoolgirl and it caused me moments of acute stress and I would only do it in pencil which basically meant it was useless anyway.

I’d love to hear all about your own secret little reading habits, if you want to let me know in the comments below. Or, who knows, maybe even join in the tag on your own blog?


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

49 thoughts on “Dirty Little Reading Habits

  1. Ah, a fellow messy eater… I can relate. Funnily enough, I have no problems eating whilst on my laptop, but I don’t like doing that with books. And I can imagine the stress it caused you to have to write notes as a child in school – I had to laugh at that image!


    1. Me too – I’m always getting in trouble with my OH for the state of my laptop – not the same thing at all!! Mrs X didn’t realise that she scarred me for life by making me annotate my pristine copy of The New Dragon Book of Verse so much so that about 10 years later I bought myself a new copy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Love this post Cleo. And totally agree with you! I have a friend who eats crisps when reading and I nearly have a heartache each time I see her. I also hate writing in books – always have done. As for that scene in The Day After Tomorrow film where they burned the books to keep warm – well that was not a happy day. Think we should all form a booklovers protection society club or something!!


  2. Great post, Cleo. I think I may have to write one of these myself before the year’s out. I’m with you on breaking spines and am always dismayed when I lend someone a book only to find that they don’t share my views on that particular point!


  3. I’m like you, I can’t write in books and hate to crack a spine. I lent a book to a friend at work who is a spine cracker and corner turner. He was too scared to read my copy so bought his own 🙂


    1. I lent a book to a very careful lady at work, you know the type, and even she said to me, I haven’t read your book, I just keep looking at it – I acted all nonchalant and said to go ahead and read it, I didn’t mind and I’d judged well, it was returned in perfect condition 😉


  4. great post. i too read in bed or curled up on the couch (it’s why invented couches, isn’t it?) I mostly buy secondhand books or borrow from the library. I’ve never read a book on a Kindle. I generally have several books on the go: I’m basking in your awe.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great post, Cleo! I’m with you in that I almost always read before I go to sleep. And I prefer silence when I’m reading (Don’t always get it, but it is my preference). Such fun to get to know fellow bloggers a bit…


  6. Brilliant post! Never given that much thought to how, where and when I read but always have a book in my bag. Even today to avoid looking at the men’s underwear in M&S while my mum was using the facilities I managed to get 10 pages read! Ha 🙂


    1. You see despite being a huge lover of books I also haven’t mastered the quick read – I prefer to know I have enough time to read a decent chunk and thereby lose reading time (despite constantly carrying a book with me) all over the place – something else I need to work on.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post! I smiled a lot as I read, relating to a lot of what you were saying. When I donate my “read” books to the library, they often comment that the books look brand new. And that’s how I like to keep them, even if I eventually give them away.

    I like to read to the end of the chapter, but if I’m reading in bed, I usually stop when my eyes keep closing and I keep dropping my book.

    Thanks for visiting my blog today.


  8. That is a fun meme. I try to read a bit before going to sleep because it calms my brain. Whenever my mum and I would find a book at a store, we’d always pick out the best one, LOL, going through the whole stack first. I do break the spine and sometimes do eat while reading.


  9. Hi Cleo,

    What a great post and I can relate to almost all your responses, including the comment about being the shy, studious, bookworm at school 🙂

    The only point on which we have a slight difference of opinion, is whether I read ahead or skip pages. Like yourself, I never read ahead, but neither do I skip pages – just in case I miss something vital – and I have never yet failed to finish a book – that’s just admitting defeat and not something I do unless I am really backed into a corner!

    Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend 🙂



  10. Great post! I might have to do one too! I also struggle with reading more than one book at a time, I don’t understand how some people read loads, I like to be fully immersed in the world of one book. Also…have you got your Christmas tree up already or is that an old picture?!


  11. Wonderful insight into your reading habits, many of which I share. I’ve found I can’t get to sleep without reading first even if I am dog tired. Problem is that in winter how do you keep the book propped open without having at least one hand out of the bedclothes and hence getting cold.


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