Reader Habits and Controversial Opinions on Bookmarks

Do you have firm opinions about using bookmarks? Dog Earring pages? Eating while reading?

Some writers might be considered a bit weird in some of our habits or rituals, as are some readers. And most of us can have some pretty firm opinions about certain ways that books should be treated.

  I ran across a video by Ariel Bissett, who confessed she didn’t care if she had a nice bookmark.  She thought a stray piece of paper worked just as well. 

My mind instantly went back to an argument I had with a friend in middle school, and then again in high school.  She was firmly in the bookmark camp, and I was just as firmly in the same camp Ariel confessed to be a part of: the “as long as it marks the spot, who cares?” camp.

Like many other readers, I have firm habits for some of the following questions. But for some of the other questions, I find myself sitting back in the same “who cares” camp.

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Although it isn’t set in stone, I do have two typical places to read.  1) On my bed or 2) at my desk.  I usually read my fun books on my bed and my academic books, or books that I want to analyze at my desk.  Although, I realize, I also occasionally read at the kitchen table if I am eating breakfast by myself, but then I’m usually reading on my phone.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

As I stated earlier, I am firmly in the camp of “as long as it marks the spot, who cares,” with the exception of dog-earring pages.  Dog-ears are only acceptable if it is a book that I own.  Dog-ears should never happen with books you borrow from the library or a friend.  (My first paying job was working as the local library page, so this is a pretty firm line for me).

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter or a certain number of pages?

I can usually stop where I like.  I do try to finish the sentence, paragraph, or chapter, depending on how tired I am or how much time I have left before I have to leave the house, etc.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

Oddly enough, I am willing to eat things like chips, but not drink around my books. Water and paper books do not mix, but I don’t really care about crumbs.  The exception to this is when I read on my phone at the kitchen table, and I willingly put my phone at risk to both food and drink (ooh, big risk taker, there).

Multitasking: Do you watch movies or tv, or even listen to music while you read?

No.  I can only pay attention to one storyline at a time, so I tend to tune in to one or the other, and then after a while I have to ask, “What just happened?.”  If I do wind up playing music while reading, it tends to be instrumental.  If I play songs with lyrics, then I get distracted and start singing (badly) or I tune out the lyrics and embarrass myself at a later date by singing the incorrect lyrics (again, badly).

One book at a time or several at once?

Generally, I only have one book at a time that I am focused on. However, I can seem to compartmentalize, because I often have one fun book and one academic book that I alternate between.  Web Novels, however, are a different beast entirely.  Because web novels are often being translated one chapter at a time, I have a huge list of novels that I regularly go back and read just one chapter of each, but that means I may be reading 50+ books at a time.

Reading at home or everywhere?

I can and will read everywhere except in vehicles.  I get carsick when I read in a moving vehicle.

Reading out loud or silently in your head?

I read silently in my head.  Fun fact: I once was placed in the lowest possible reading class because when I took the reading assessment, my eyes and brain were several words ahead of where my mouth was, so I messed up the verbal reading assessment.  So they assigned me to the class where students were taught the difference between meat that you eat and meet when you greet.  I was reading a novel a day at that point (short novels, but still novels).  It did not go over very well.

Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

I rarely read ahead or skip sections of books.  I occasionally do it when I am losing interest in the book, so I skip to the end of the book to see if the ending is worth reading towards.  But it is a very rare occurrence.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

Break the spine.  It’s a book.  You’re supposed to open it and read it.  Unless you are keeping it for aesthetic reasons, or you are keeping it in mint condition to sell at a later date, go ahead and break the spine.

Do you write in your books?

I only write in academic books or the books that I want to analyze.  I NEVER write in books by my favorite authors.  If I want to analyze a book from a favorite author, I break out the sticky notes and I write on the notes instead of the book itself.

Those were the 11 Reading Habit Tag questions.  I hope you had fun reading about these, and let me know if you have firm opinions or answers to these questions.