Like most avid readers and bibliophiles I have my particular rules, quirks and reading habits. This post is inspired by a post on Bookriot called What Your Reading Rules Reveal About Your Personality. I tried to post a comment but it did not work so I copied what I had written and saved it for later. When I discovered my notes I decided to make it into a post of my own.
My general reading rules
- Firstly, one unspoken rule is that I should not go more than a day without having a book on the go. Once I finish a book I usually find another one right away, but on rare occasions I will take a one day break to be a little more social.
- I always finish a book that I start (After all, like David Mitchell wrote in Cloud Atlas: “A half finished book is a half finished love affair” or some times a half finished hate affair, but needing a conclusion nevertheless). But rules are made to be broken, so I admit that a handful of times I have failed to read to the end of a book.
- Take my book with me wherever I go (even when lugging 1000 pages around gives me a headache). People sometimes wonder why I bring a book to a party. It is not because I plan to read it there (although sometimes I would not mind finding a cozy corner away from all those people) but there is always the bus ride home to look forward to.
- I never read two works of fiction simultaneously, but a book of fiction and a book of non-fiction is ok.
- I always finish a chapter or at least a section before taking a break (even if it means being late for work)
- I choose books according to my mood. It is important not make the mistake of reading the latest book by my favourite author of huge depressing tomes when I am feeling sad or tired. That will simply ruin the book. Instead I will pick up a children’s book or crime thriller.
Book maintenance rules
- Never dog ear. I use a magnetic book mark (with the quote: “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it is too dark to read”) If a bookmark is not available there is always some piece of paper at hand. “Dog earing” simply is not necessary.
- Breaking the spine of the book on the other hand is often necessary for a good reading experience. And while books are precious objects to me, being read is their main function. Peering into the shadowy ravine between half opened pages does not make for comfortable reading. Using my Little Book Holder makes it necessary to break the spine but allows me to drink tea with one hand and flip pages with the other.
- Never write in the margins of a novel. In non-fiction it is fine, but only with a pencil.
- In general, just treat your books with the love and respect they deserve, but don’t let the preservation of the book as an object get in the way of the reading. A book will always suffer a little in a handbag and be affected when read in a park. Accidents can happen when tea and books are consumed simultaneously. But whatever it takes to make the reading experience a good one, it is worth it. Because that is what it is all about, after all!