Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My reading rituals

After reading this post on Book Riot discussing "what your reading rules reveal about your personality," then seeing CW reveal her reading rules, it got me pondering my own reading rules. I may have mentioned a rule here or there, my I never really thought of the issue as having "rules." For me, some of these things seem like small rituals related to reading. So, responding to those blog posts, I am listing some of my rituals for reading. I have no idea what they might reveal about my personality, but here they are.

1. I always have more than one book going at the same time. I tend to read a lot based on mood and serendipity. Thus I have more than one book going to suit my moods.

2. I usually have a nonfiction book, a fiction book, and graphic novel or manga going at any given time.
  • If one of them is in Spanish, I may add a second work of fiction. 
  • I sometimes read two works of nonfiction, especially if the subjects are different. If I do this, one of the nonfiction books is usually very light reading, like humor or an essay collection on the light side. For example, as of this writing, I am reading Breakfast: A History and The Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right. The latter is the light one that I can pick up on idle moments. 
3. I have a series of bookmarks that I rotate from book to book. I collect bookmarks (a topic I could blog about some other day). From that collection, I have a few picked out for daily use. They are mostly paper bookmarks. When they wear out, I toss them in the recycling bin and start using a new one.

4. I don't write in my books. Any reading notes I take are written in my personal journal, which partially serves as a commonplace book. However, I did do some marginal notes in some college textbooks, often at the urging of professors and mostly for my literature major courses. Those books are now long gone. Aside from that, no writing in books.

5. For fiction, I tend to prefer standalone novels over trilogies or longer series.
  • There are exceptions. I make an exception for established series or universes, like Star Wars or Warhammer 40K. Even then, I try to favor single works or works that can stand alone. For Warhammer 40K, many of their trilogies eventually get put into omnibus editions, and I tend to wait for those editions, thus treating them as one work. This leads to my next rule or ritual. 
6. If it is a series or fiction work over a set of volumes, I prefer to have them at hand to read one after the other. This if I know a work ends, say for a trilogy.

7. A corollary to the above: I really don't read single issue comics, aside from samples, say from Free Comics Book Day. Otherwise, I keep an eye out for good story lines, then wait for a compilation so I can read the story arc all at once. I just do not have the patience to keep track of the vast array of single titles it often takes to get one story arc. For instance, say you read Batman comics from DC Comics. For a story arc, you may need to find: Batman, The Dark Knight, Batman and Robin, Nightwing, and whatever other title the arc runs into, and heaven help you if Batman crosses over into Superman or other titles. I just wait and get the compilation. Now, I know comics publishers do not like hearing that, since they decide on making a compilation based on the popularity of a title (or so they claim). That's their fault for overstretching things out hoping to sell yet another issue. I have limited time and patience for little pieces. Plus, I am not an uber comics geek, which means I am very selective on what I pick up when it comes to comics and graphic novels. I figure the good stuff will get collected eventually while the geeks rush out every Wednesday (Wednesdays for my readers not in the know is when comics companies release new titles).
  • A small note. I do pick up an issue here or there to try out, though rarely. However, I can say our daughter does read more individual comics. For those, we do have a folder set up with a local comic book store (local as in Lexington. There is no comic book shop in Berea). We go pick her titles up about once a month.
 8. Like others, I prefer to read the book over and/or before the movie. For the most part, film makers will mangle a book anyhow, so I prefer to read the book. There are some exceptions, such as the film for The Godfather.

9. I try not to break book spines. If it happens, it happens. For me, books are meant to be read and handled.

10. If a book does not work for me, then I drop it. Time is too short on this Earth to waste it on a bad book. No regrets here. Oh, and I don't always use the Nancy Pearl's Rule of 50 neither. First chapter bores me, I am gone I don't care how many pages it has.

11. I don't read stuff that is hyped or everyone is reading it, or is the next best thing, etc. For me, just because everyone reads it, it does not mean it is any good (for me at least). Exhibit A? Fifty Shades of Grey. For that example, believe me, there is better erotica out there. Do yourself a favor and find it if you enjoy erotica. Need help finding? Ask your local friendly librarian. If your librarian sees no problem with that book, find another librarian.

12. I do read every day. I especially make sure to wind down at the end of the day by reading.

13. I try to stop at the end of chapters or at some logical stopping point in the book. This is especially applicable in fiction where I look for chapter breaks or end of chapters to stop. In nonfiction, I can usually stop anywhere as long as it is not in the middle of a sentence.

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