Happy June, everyone!
Each month we’re picking our favorite facet of the reading experience to talk about together. We hope it will help you to get to know your friendly neighborhood gardeners, and that we’ll get to learn more about you through your comments as well.
This month we’re focusing on our reading habits.
Are you the curled up in the quiet type? The anywhere, any time reader? Do you protect your books like Frodo’s ring, or are you the trusting sort who loans without a wince? Are your books in mint condition, or do they look a little lived in?
Whatever your style, there’s no wrong way to read a book. Here’s how we do it.
Miss Darling’s Persnickety Rules for Reading
- Spines are never to be creased on paperbacks.
- Dust jackets are to be removed from hardcovers.
- Distracting noises make Miss Darling very cross.There must be no disturbing sounds to distract from the story, including music, television, or pesky conversation.
- E-readers are primarily used for travel, waiting in lines, or pleasure reading.
- Post-It Notes are used to mark particular passages or beautiful quotes, which are removed from the ARC after a review is published.
- An assortment of bookmarks ensures that Miss Darling never loses her place.
- Only the most trusted of friends are afforded the loan of a novel from the Darling library. Those who return a book with a creased spine, bent pages, suspicious odors, or a worn cover will have their privileges summarily revoked.
- Miss Darling has been known to hold a grudge if a favorite book is not returned. Or if the borrower fails to recognize the greatness of the aforementioned book.
- If a book is sublime, it must be obtained across multiple platforms, and often for friends and family as well. Miss Darling generally prefers paperbacks, but some treasured tomes are purchased in hardcover, with additional clear mylar jackets to protect the precious contents.
- As fussy as she is about keeping new books pristine, she also adores buying secondhand ones, and once rescued a yellowing copy of 84, Charing Cross Road merely because it had sentimental articles tucked into it.
- Reading in a com
fortable bed or lying down in the great outdoors is ideal. (It helps if one is already in a swooning position.)
- Miss Darling is often overcome with the uncontrollable desire to consume food described in books, which can be most inconvenient during the wee hours of the night. During more reasonable daytime hours, she enjoys pairing food to books when she can. There’s no reason why the characters should be the only ones enjoying tea and cake.
Thinking about reading habits for this month’s favorites, I realized how personal and unique each reader’s habits must be. Reading is so individual and intimate, even spiritual. It isn’t something you can share with others. It is a process you’ve carved for yourself. You snuggle into your routine, close your eyes to this world and open them to another. So here are my habits, strange or otherwise:
- I do most of my reading in bed or the couch (anything with cushion). During the day, of course, I read on the bus, though only in the afternoon. I feel like my brain first needs stimulation before committing to reading, like a warm-up. So no morning reads for me.
- I don’t mind noise — but I dislike sounds with words like music, television, or people talking. I don’t want words I hear in the air competing with words I read on paper.
- I use postcards as bookmarks. Also, I do not dog ear or highlight. I take notes by jotting down page numbers in a book. In said book, I also like to write down quotes, scenes, ideas burst into being after reading something good.
- When a book is particularly gripping, for whatever reason, I cover the portion of the page I haven’t read yet and go line by line. Because I will always be tempted to look ahead, especially when I see something is in caps or italics. Or those cursed one-liners in the end of the chapter. Curse those!
- I’m a fast reader but I choose to read slowly.
- I prefer soft covers to hardbacks.
- When something is moving me, I like to re-read and replay each scene in my head. Savour it. Then continue. I don’t want to miss a glance, a pause, a blink.
- I don’t mind my books looking a little worn.
- A book that looks like it’s lived is a beautiful thing.
- I am an anywhere, any time kind of reader. I carry books with me everywhere (usually a couple physical books, as well as my Kindle) just in case any opportunity to read arises during the day. In fact, I’ve taken to listening to audiobooks during my (ridiculous) commute, so I can even read during the hours it’s physically impossible to read.
- It doesn’t matter if the room is silent, or filled with twenty people. I can lose myself in a story just about anywhere.
- I am that reader who probably horrifies you. I underline. I dog ear. I crack spines, spill tea on pages, and sometimes, when I love a book very, very much, I read the cover right off. And I do not feel bad about it.
- I mimic the facial expressions of the characters. If they furrow their brows, I find I do the same. I smile with them, and frown, and narrow my eyes. I am probably hilarious to watch as I read.
- My favorite way to read is curled up in my bed with a cup of tea, a bit of toast, and a few alternate books within arm’s reach. Just in case I need a change of pace.
- I find myself reading mostly ARCs these days, but if I truly love it, I must have it in ebook (so I can have it on hand constantly), as well as hardback (because it’s pretty). And I’ll likely buy it when it comes out in paperback too (because that’s what I prefer to read).