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!
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!
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.
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.
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?