Monday, March 23, 2015

Reading Habits.

This is an old survey that I did once before on my blog. I decided it would be fun to revisit, as my habits have changed a lot in the last year or two! Let me know if you decide to complete it as well!

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack:
I usually become to absorbed in what I'm reading to snack while I'm trying to flip pages. I'm also a fast reader, so I find it incredibly distracting to eat and try to read!

What is your favorite drink while reading?
I'm a big Diet Coke addict (I've cut way back from how much I used to drink), but I usually have a my water bottle nearby. I've been meaning to try adding fruit, etc to my water to give it more flavor, but haven't tried it yet. I know they make special water bottles for that as well!

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
It really depends on what I'm reading. If I'm reading something history related, I will usually jot notes down. And depending on what kind of novel it is, I might circle or star something. I used to do much more to my books when I was in college, but I've fallen out of that habit. It is fun to go back and reread those old notes!

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
I am very kind to my books. I always use a bookmark (or a scrap of paper, a postcard, something) when I'm reading. Since I consider my book collection more of a library, I want to take care of them so they last. That might sound silly, but it's how I see. I also try to protect the spines of my books as much as possible, but if it breaks, it breaks. I have quite a few hefty paperbacks with broken spines, and that's AOK.

I will say that if I lend a book out, I do expect the person will treat it the way I do. I mean, I know things happen, but if you destroy one of my books, that's the last time I will ever let you borrow from me. My BIL is one of those people that lost the privilege of borrowing from me.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?
I read a lot of fiction, but I also love history, biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. I would really like to read more of those, but I often feel they require a little more effort on my part.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
If I'm really tired and just can't get to the end of a chapter, I will try and finish the "Scene" that I'm currently reading. But I have a hard time stopping mid-chapter. It usually means I start over from the chapter's beginning when I pick the book back up.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
I've done it a few times, but it's rare. The only book I can vividly remember throwing (more than once) was Atlas Shrugged.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
Usually I don't need to. I think context clues are very helpful, so I always go that route. However, if I can't figure out that it means, I have to look it up or it will annoy me.

What are you currently reading?
I just finished a book (I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak) this afternoon (Saturday, March 21) and I'm hesitating in deciding what else I want to read. This is the first weekend in a LONG time where I haven't had piles of grading, so I'm not quite sure what to dive into. I might pick up the new Andrew Smith or Lady Audley's Secret.

What is the last book you bought?
I just posted about some recent "Book Loot" but I also just ordered the first 2 volumes of Fables. I read the first 9 or 10 a few years ago, and I have been meaning to acquire and reread them. It helps that the series is coming to a close shortly.

Do you have a favorite time/place to read?
I usually read before bed. It's really the only time I have available anymore. It's also pretty typical for me to come home on Friday afternoons and relax with a book while Matt is working. It's rare that I read any other time of day. However, if I'm teaching a text in class, I usually complete the homework during my prep hour (and yes, I count that as books read, as I always reread the texts I teach).

Do you prefer series books or standalones?
It really depends on the mood I'm in and what time I have available. It never used to be that way, but since my grading pile dictates some of my free time, I'm wary of starting big series in the middle of the school year. That's why I've avoided some books!

I do think that there are way too many trilogies, etc, and there is nothing wrong with a good standalone title. I actually really like picking up a book and knowing the story will be complete when I close the cover.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
I have some standard titles that I always recommend: The House of Mirth, The Portrait of a Lady, The Odyssey, etc. But recently I've added a few books and mainly because I know that students have enjoyed them. They always love John Green and Andrew Smith!

How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.) 
I currently have 5 bookshelves that house about half of my total library (the rest are in boxes in the closet). The 2 tall shelves in the living room house most of my classes. My small Puffin Hardcovers are actually sitting in our entertainment center on a top shelf (I had to move them because I ran out of room). The classics are mostly in alphabetical order by author, except when a book is too tall to fit on a shelf (then it gets kicked to the bottom row). The whole left shelf is A-R, and the right shelf is the rest. The top 5 rows on the right shelf are also home to my Penguin clothbounds and all 100 Penguin English Library editions.

In our second bedroom, I have two more tall shelves, and one super skinny shelf. One of the tall shelves houses all of my Shakespeare (takes up a whole row...and it's organized a little crazy to get them to fit). The rest of the shelves house YA, a row of teaching reference books, and history/biography titles. The skinny shelf holds a mishmash of things, but mainly it has a ton of mass markets (mainly fantasy and Sci-fi). The skinny shelf is double stacked because I've been acquiring too much. haha.

I also have some nicer leather-bound books in another storage area in our living room and a stack of TBR on my nightstand. As my husband says, we are quite surrounded by books. It IS a bit excessive and I do need to cull some titles (especially from the boxes in my closet).

Any other weird habits?
I keep a written record of books read each month. They are all in a spiraled journal and I've had it since the beginning of 2008. I did fall out of that habit a few months ago, but I did update it. :)

I have a big printed out list of the titles on my 250 list taped to the back of our "office" door. I highlight each title as I finish it. I'm a big fan of crossing things off, so it helps me visualize my progress!

If I buy the first book of a series in a certain format (paperback, mass market, or hardcover), I like the remaining titles to match. I know that it's a bit obsessive, but I'm weird like that. So, it bothers me when publishers change the layout/design of books halfway through a series.

I used to keep a book database in Excel of all the books I owned and when I last read them, but I stopped updating it about 3 years ago when it became overwhelming. I opened it up the other day and it is so out of date and incorrect that I need to just start over. Perhaps I will do so over the summer and after I cull some books.

I like pretty covers. If there is more than one edition, I look at a couple of things before buying. 1-the publisher. I do have preferences when buying a classic, so that trumps everything (I prefer Penguin or Oxford). 2. The cover. I like pretty covers. Maybe that's a bad thing, but it does make me want to read certain titles over others!

There are my habits! Let me know what yours are!


  1. I'm a big fan of keeping track of my reading too, and of crossing off my to-read lists. I actually have two copies, a digital one on my computer, and a physical one that I update less regularly. It's definitely satisfying to cross them off once you've finished. :D

    1. Yes! I'm a big fan of list-making in general, so I totally understand that satisfaction of crossing things off.

  2. I need books in a series to match TOO! With the Graceling books by Kristin Cashore, I actually have the second book (Fire) as a signed galley AND a hardcover book, because the other two are hardcover but how can I get rid of a signed galley?? Glad I'm not the only picky one out there :)

    Also, yes to treating my books nicely if you borrow them. One of my sisters is a little wary of borrowing from me because she's a dog-earer (*shudder*) and less careful in general with her books, and she worries her habits will unconsciously seep through to affect the book of mine she's borrowed!

  3. I must read Atlas Shrugged one of these days - I don't know a single person who doesn't detest it and I'm curious! :)