Friday, January 22, 2010

How do you like your reads?

Online or in a staff meeting, or just across the cubicle divide, where ever and whenever my colleagues and I get together, the favorite topic of conversation is "What are you reading right now?" I know, I know, I work in a library, so that's a natural question and a topic that never seems to get old with us bibliophiles. What we choose to read provides insight into who we are, how we think, what we fear, love, and dream.

But the question I'm pondering today is this: how do you like to read?

Take a moment, if you will, to think about a few of these questions, and please feel free to post your answers.

  • Do you curl up in your favorite chair or under a tree? Where is your ideal reading spot?

  • Are your books' pages pristine and their spines lined up in alphabetical order, or do you stack them on any available surface and mark favorite passages?

  • When is the best time of day to read: morning, afternoon, or nighttime?

  • What's your preference: hardcover books, trade paperbacks, or mass market paperbacks? How about audio books or e-books?

  • Do you use a bookmark or do you dog-ear?

  • When you're ready to take a break, do you stop where you're at, or push on through to the chapter break?

  • Do you ever sneak a peek at the ending or is that taboo?

Like candles and bath salts can enhance the experience of a bath -- or buffalo wings and a 50" plasma TV can rev up a ball game, if you prefer a sports reference -- so too can the right setting transform a simple read into one of life's greatest pleasures. (In my opinion, a candlelit bath is a darn good setting for a quiet read!) What comforting little habits create a really good read for you? And what does the way we read tell us about ourselves and each other?


Joel said...

My favorite time to read is at night before I go to sleep, when everything else is done for the day. I make sure to go to bed with enough time built so I don't nod off too early. Also, I always enjoyed a good book with a bowl of tomato soup for a calm Saturday lunch (back when that was still a reality).

I can never, ever look at the end of a book. I feel that if I do, I am not showing the book proper respect by letting it take me there in its own way. If I don't respect the book, I just stop reading it.

I can use any old piece of paper for a bookmark: often the scrap of paper that I jotted down the call number (I read a bunch of non-fiction) will work just fine. I've also found that old CTA cards are the perfect size and weight for keeping your place in any size book.

Roberta said...

I have favorite bookmarks, like the laminated paper bookmarks my former boss brought me from Turkey 15 years ago (I only have one left but I treasure it!). They're all paper - I don't like metal or those string and bead things that I have received as gifts.
My life long dream is to have a bedroom big enough to include a big comfortable chair and a good lamp in the corner. I tend to get too sleepy reading in bed, and the living room couch is distractingly near the TV. And I've dropped too many books in the bath to read there any more!

Karen said...

Bed or tub, generally. If I'm not feeling well or have the rarity of a lazy Saturday, I will read on the couch or sitting on the living room floor. If I am totally engrossed by a book I will read while cooking and eating lunch/dinner, too. Generally I dog-ear pages, might use some scrap paper or an old envelope. I like hardcover or weighty paperbacks and I'm a fierce magazine reader - I have received a number of audiobooks as gifts and I'm embarrassed to say I have yet to listen to one of them. Have never skipped ahead to the ending. My biggest problem is losing track of time with a really enjoyable read. I can't decide on a good place to quit, so I keep reading and spoil the chance for a good night's sleep!

Cathy F. said...

In bed in the morning is my favorite time to read. If I wait until the end of the day, I fall asleep. Maybe that's because I woke up too early in order to read. Any old piece of paper works for me to use as a bookmark. If there is nothing around I "try" to memorize the page number which ususally results in re-reading some portion. Of course, I never dog-ear. I'm reading library books!

Linda K. said...

I read just about anytime and anywhere, but my favorite place is at the kitchen table where I can prop up the book (hardcovers can get heavy) with a wooden book holder that I ordered from the Levenger catalog - a great resource for book lovers. I have loads of bookmarks, some purchased and some handmade, and some special ones from friends. I tend to be overly careful with my books (no dog-eared pages for me) because I usually pass them on to the Friends book sales or to one of my friends. And yes, I've been known to jump to the end of a book that I'm not enjoying, just to see if it's worth my time to finish it. I prefer hardcover unless it's a book I'm carrying around for doctor's appointments, etc. Then I go with mass market paperbacks.

Anonymous said...

I like read in my car over the lunch hour. I'll go to the local store with a salad bar then park in the back of the lot and nibble. It's like a mini-vacation in the middle of the day. I often use a napkin as a bookmark.

When I was young I would read the ending but as I get older I have found that good things come to those who wait. I have also given myself permission to think that a book can suck and I don't have to finish it.

If I find a book I love I will buy a second copy so that I have a nice copy to lend out and a battered and spilled on copy I can repeatedly devour.

Jo said...

My favorite way to read involves exact ritual:the lighting, the pillows, the cup of coffee, the telephone ringer turned off. I also must have a pencil and post-it notes at the ready so I can mark up the books. I also have a notepad on my bedstand so I can write down passages that I want to remember.

I never ever read the end of the book first. It is high treason.

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