Reading Habits

I have a lot of strange little quirks when it comes to me and books. It borders on compulsive, these problems habits of mine.

First, I can’t seem to stick one book at a time. I don’t know how it happens, but I always wind up in the middle of at least three books – more often six or seven at a time. I think it’s because if the original book that I started reading isn’t closest to me, I just grab whatever is near and start reading that. Then I like to keep a small paperback in my purse. You know, just in case. Then I have people loaning me books all the time and I like to work my way through those pretty quickly so I can return them to their rightful owners. Lastly, I always seem to be in the middle of that book that I just can’t seem to get through…

Which leads me to my next book-ism. I can’t leave a book unfinished. I’ve only done it once with Frank Herbert’s Dune and I don’t doubt that one day I will go back and finish that. It doesn’t seem to matter how awful the book is or how long it takes me to get through it, I am determined to give the book its chance to the very end. The book that I’m reading currently is one of those ones. It’s good, but not great and I’m finding myself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of characters and the similarities in all their names and titles. I’ve been reading this book since November. Of course, I’ve completed well over a dozen books since then, but this one is still a work in progress. I’m making it my goal to finish it this week.

Another oddity of mine is my need to read all the books by an author in the order they were published. Especially if it’s a series. It doesn’t matter if the novels can stand alone; I have to read them in order. I get a bit twitchy if I find out after the fact that I’ve read something out of order. I hate it when people tell me that it doesn’t matter if I read them correctly or not because damnit, to me, it matters. I used to even wait until a series was completed and published before I’d even start to read them, but I’ve gotten over that quirk. Mostly.

I often find myself staying up late to finish a good book. This wouldn’t be weird in and of itself except that when I finish it, I can’t sleep unless I get at least a page into a new book. I hate the feeling of not having moved on to something else. This probably also contributes to the first bit I mentioned – where I sometimes wind up in the midst of more books than any one person should be reading at any one time.

So as you can see, I’m a bit weird about my books. I also don’t get rid of anything in my collection. Not even when it sucks. If it’s awful I just stick it on a shelf out of sight, but I can’t seem to get myself to pass it on. I tried taking part in this really neat project (whose name I can’t remember or I’d link to it) where you’d leave a book in a public place with a note and a link in it telling the finder to read it and pass it on with the same link. When they went to the link they’d find a page where they could register where they found the book. Then you could see how far and how often your book travels. I was able to do it with one book and it hurt. So I stopped. I like to keep my pretties where I can be surrounded by them. I love sitting and reading the familiar titles and figuring out which books I’d like to read next and remember which were good and which were stinkers.

I just love books. What are your weird reading habits?

11 thoughts on “Reading Habits

  1. If I come across a book I don’t like, I will stop reading it. I’ve only made it halfway through 1984 and I just had to stop because I disliked it so much.

    Otherwise, I only read one book at a time. At the most, I’ll juggle two if one is fiction and the other non-fiction.

  2. Oh, I have tons of them, let’s see:

    A) I read one book at a time, and have to finish it before I start another.

    B) The only time I can find to read is on the toilet, or near the toilet, like when I’m brushing teeth or bathing the kid. I have, however, been known to stand there in the bathroom at the sink, reading for up to an hour after I’ve finished whatever I was doing in there, simply because I’m caught up in the book.

    C) Like you, I can rarely get rid of books. I’ve trashed, like, 3 in my life. And they were really, really terrible. Everything else I keep and re-read. My wife only reads a book once and then never again, in contrast.

    D) I hate, hate, HATE dustcovers. They piss me off. I usually will keep them for my books, but I almost always remove them while I’m reading the book, then put them back on for storage. The ones that are on library books that I get on book sales I rip off and throw away.

  3. In another life, we were twins. Seriously, I love you. (Can I borrow your Twilight books?)

    I used to be like you on so many levels. I’ve had to change habits because a) I’m a single mom with two kids and a full time job. b) I no longer have the brain function to juggle more than two plots at a time. c) I move too often to keep all of my books. d) There are too many good books to waste my limited time on a bad one.

    So now for my own little Sherry-isms…
    1) If there is a hardcover version of the book, I get it rather than the (cheaper) paperback.
    2) I keep a spreadsheet of all my books with information including (besides the obvious title and author): format (hardcover, pb, cd), published date, date I purchased, series and book #, genre and # of pages.
    3) I have to know what the next book I’m reading is.

    Except for #2, I’m probably not so strange.

  4. Hmm, I’ve got 3 or 4 books going right now. I tend to do that until I find one that grips me and then I stick to that one until it’s finished. I, too, will follow a book to the very end- no matter how it treats me! I’m so lost and/or confused in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude but I refuse to call it and move on. I will finish it!!!

    I prefer paperbacks to hardbacks. They are more portable and bendy.

    I love stories that have little bits in them that make me think, “So true. So poignant. Couldn’t have said it better myself.”

    I never really liked to read until I was an adult.

    I love books that are so enjoyable that I’m sad when they are over.

    Maybe not weird…but those are my bookisms…

  5. The name you’re looking for is Book Crossing – I’ve never done it but it sounds like a great idea.

    I’m on my lunch break so I’ll have to get back to this – but I think I could write a whole post about my book habits, so I’ll write it later and link back!


    Good idea, Courtney… though my post turned out entirely different from yours. Funny how, like the blog-off, an idea can take so many forms.

    I must have been using a different login the last time I commented, because my last post is still awaiting moderation. I was trying to add Book Crossing ( as the organisation that follows tagged books around the globe.

  7. I am the same way about reading books in order. I have to read them in the sequence written or it doesn’t feel right to me. Also, I will stay up all night to read and then find myself thinking of the story all night so I have to start reading something new as well in order to get my mind of the previous book. Problem is I usually want to read more of the second book. 🙂

    I have a hundred page rule where if the story doesn’t grab me in a hundred pages I will put it away and start the next one. I have no problem with leaving a book. I will read anything people suggest to me but I don’t have to like it.

    I also hate leaving dustcovers on my books, but not because I don’t like them, but because I like to keep them nice. So I will take them off and keep them clean and new to replace when I finish the book. And I never let anyone have a book with the dustcover on. In fact I have a hard time lending bokos to anyone. I worry about them coming back in less than pristine condition. I recently lent my mother a whole series of books in hardcover and just found out she lent them to her coworker. I about had a heart attack and am fully prepared to have to replace all those books because they will be ruined for me. Yes, I am mental.

  8. How funny! You’ve pretty much described me, too! Although I’ve gotten better about not finishing books I’m not loving, since there are so many out there that I still want to read. I also rarely reread books, even ones I loved, since a) there’s always something out there that I still haven’t read and b) I’ve so often been disappointed during rereads, and it sullies my memory of the pleasure of my first reading. Oh, and I always MUST have at least one book going and a number of books on deck, just in case. I get twitchy otherwise.

  9. We just recently decided to purge a whole bunch of stuff, and that includes books. My spouse and I have been so sentimental about books over the years, but frankly, have really amassed quite a collection. So, before getting rid of them, we are making a list with title, author, etc. You can do that at

    We shipped books to Portland for our visit, and sold a bunch back to Powells for a good price. Totally worth it if you’re ever able to give them up.

  10. “Another oddity of mine is my need to read all the books by an author in the order they were published. Especially if it’s a series. It doesn’t matter if the novels can stand alone; I have to read them in order. I get a bit twitchy if I find out after the fact that I’ve read something out of order.”

    It’s been awhile since I admitted I do the same thing. I love to see there are others out there as neurotic as I am. 🙂

  11. I can never, ever, EVER get rid of a book. It’s seriously a problem. I’m about to move and my parents dining room is filled with boxes of my books,and I have no idea how I’m going to fit them into my new apartment, but I’ll do it.

    I almost always read the entire book even if it stinks, depending on how far I get. If I can’t get into it past the first or second chapter, I just give up for the time being. And I also have to know what the next book I’m reading is! Especially when I’m re-reading.

    I have to read books in the order they were written, and once I start a series, I won’t stop until I have read every book in the series.

    I also don’t love to loan out my books due to the condition they may return in…especially to my mother who totally thinks I’m just OCD (well, she’s kind of right).

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