One of my enduring childhood memories has to do with my grandmother’s books. I can still see her hunched over the little brown card table she set up in her living room, a book splayed in front of her (or a game of Solitaire. Endless rounds of solitaire. Must be where I get it from). She loved to mark up her books with notes in the margins, highlights of favorite passages and astute analysis at the end of a chapter. There was never a bookmark in sight, as she was fond of dog-earing the pages to keep her place. To this day, she can still be found marking up her books.
Truthfully, I never understood her penchant for taking pen to page like that. I’ve always been one to keep my books pristine. Then again, I suppose we all have our reader “quirks” (check out my writing quirks, too.) Here are mine:
I Keep My Books Like New
As I mentioned above, I don’t write notes in the margins, dog-ear the pages—I don’t even break the spines. I won’t loan books out to people for fear they’ll come back a total mess—I’d rather just buy the book and give it as a gift. Then you can do whatever YOU want to them. I’m not sure where this purist attitude came from, but hey, that’s why they call it a quirk.
I Read EBooks and Print Books Equally
Some people have sworn off paperback/hardcover books for good, preferring the ease of eBooks. Others shake their fist at the notion of doing anything other than holding a book in their hand and hearing the flick of a turning page.
I like both.
I never thought I’d cotton to eBooks, but as is my way, while never an early adopter, I usually come in sometime before intermission. I love eBooks for when I’m travelling (much easier to throw my Kindle in my carry-on than a hulking hardcover) or for the times when I can’t get a seat on the bus (try balancing a book in one hand, while holding onto a pole for dear life with the other. Not fun.).
Free Books Are Great
There are some in the indie community that feel readers don’t value a free book, meaning they are less likely to read it and if they do read it, they are less likely to like it.
This is not a premise I buy into. I don’t know if it’s because I was a library kid, where the books were “free,” or because I worked in a bookstore where booksellers are privy to all kinds of free books (see my post, Musings of a Reformed Bookseller), but I don’t put more value on a book I paid for over a book I got for free. I value the story. That’s the currency I care about. It doesn’t matter to me if the book was a gift, an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC. Got LOTS of those), a bargain book scooped up from a bookstore for $5, a garage sale find for $.50, or a free download. A good book is a good book.
I Categorize My Books Like a Bookstore
Again, this is probably a holdover from my bookseller days, but I keep my mass markets (small paperbacks) in their own bookcases. Trade paper (larger paperbacks) and hardcovers go together. And everything’s alphabetized.
My Favorite Genre to Read is Psychological Suspense
Well, yeah. And I also like to write it J
Basically, I love reading anything that will twist my mind like a pretzel. Perhaps what I like the most is the feeling of something happening, of being swept away by something sinister as you try to suss out motives and murderers.
I also read a lot of literary fiction, classic literature, autobiographies and biographies.
I don’t read sci-fi or westerns. Ever.
Sometimes, I Peek at the End. Sometimes
I used to be much worse about this, but not as much as I’ve gotten older. I guess patience really is a virtue.
I Don’t Read Series
Like adult-onset food allergies, this one happened as I got older. I used to devour Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, The Girls of Canby Hall and Sweet Dreams (remember those?). However, for whatever reason, as an adult, I haven’t really read a whole lot of series, preferring to stick with standalone books.
I Read at the Library
Seriously. Sometimes, when I need a little peace and quiet, I’ll go to the public library for a few hours and read my book. There’s something about being engulfed by all those books that I just love.
What about you? What are some of your quirks as a reader?