What Your Reading Rules Reveal About Your Personality

Maybe I like my fiction with pictures and my non-fiction without.

OK, is that a pretentious title, or what? My “personality”? My preferences, maybe.

Anyway, the meme comes from Jeanette at Book Riot. Then Jaquandor did it, and added questions (after #5). SamuraiFrog did it, and added #9.

1. Always stop at the end of a chapter. Always.

Well, I’m not hung up on that.

Certainly, I want to have a good jumping-off point, so I’ll see if there’s a natural section break.

2. Use specific bookmarks.

Oh, goodness, no. Whatever I find that’s thin enough I’ll use. A ruler, a bus schedule, the envelope from a bill, a Post-It note. It’s not that I don’t OWN bookmarks; it’s that I’m not organized enough to FIND them when I want them.

2a. No dog-earing, bending, or folding of pages.

I HATE dog-eared books; I find them inherently ugly. As a page (clerk) at the Binghamton Public Library many years ago, I noticed how people would do that, and it rather ticked me off.

2b. Weirdly enough, spine-breaking is fine, just don’t get too crazy with it.

And I REALLY hate that! I’ve had books come apart in my hand in two or three sections, held together by some strands. It was not just aesthetically unpleasing, it made the reading experience too much work. Not to mention a cost to the taxpayers.

Re: a comment on someone’s blog, no, I can’t use a book as a drink coaster, either!

3. Always read two books at once.

Depends. Generally, I get so engrossed in one book that I’ll just finish that one, then forget where I left off with the other, not physically, but emotionally.

4. No (or minimal) writing in books.

I tend to agree with this, except for some used textbooks I once had to buy back in my college days. Sometimes the previous owner even used a highlighter, and that was sometimes OK too. But in general, for most purposes, no.

5. Rereads must be earned because there are too many great books out there to read an okay one twice.

It’s been so long since I reread a book, can’t really speak to it. In my teens and twenties, I did all the time, and they weren’t necessarily “great” books, but ones that resonated with me. It’s more that I don’t have time to get through all the books I want to read, but that “earned” stuff seems like elitist snobbery to me.

Now, there are sections of books I’ll read. A Grimm fairy tale or a Shakespeare sonnet or a particularly nice passage But most of the books I have are comic books in hardcover form – Mr. Frog has been reviewing the early Marvels, BTW – or reference books on movies, TV, music, sports, and general knowledge, some of which I have NEVER read (though some histories of programs such as The Twilight Zone and The Dick Van Dyke Show, I have). In some ways, the vast majority of books I have I consider reference books, even if you would not.

6. Not finishing a book is OK.

I had a REALLY hard time with this for a LONG, LONG time. But after I passed 50, I got less driven about that. Too many books to worry about THAT one, even if I’M “supposed” to have read it to prove how well-rounded I am. Partly it’s that I don’t care to meet that amorphous expectation.

7. It is always better to take more books on a trip than you think you’ll possibly have time to read.

Seriously, it’s only in the last two years that I took ANY books on trips. It was usually periodicals I took because if they get lost/damaged, I don’t care as much. I once left a book at a motel, and to get it back, it cost more than it would have I just purchased it again. That said, I don’t get much reading of any type done on a trip, except in the car, and that HAS to be a magazine, where I can navigate and read at the same time.

8. Having a favorite genre is fine. Getting stuck in that genre is bad.

Meh. Several times I’ve tried to read fantasy, and most of the time, it just didn’t take. Indeed, most of what I read is non-fiction, and the only fiction I read last year, 11/22/63, was based on a real event. Yet, I read comic-related material for years. Maybe I like my fiction with pictures and my non-fiction without?

9. Reading on a tablet is still reading.

Well, sure. I mean I don’t do it, not likely to do it, have no interest in doing it, but I don’t find anything wrong with it. I’m more bothered that they are leasing the book to you, essentially, rather than you owning it, but that’s commerce and ownership issues, not reading issues. (Jaquandor answered this question of mine on this topic recently.)

I just listened to the Bat Segundo Show podcast with author Norman Rush. About 45 minutes in, Rush noted that what he likes to do when he visits people’s houses is to look at what’s on their bookshelves. That would be lost with the adoption of the tablet, though I suppose Good Reads, or other online reading lists, can be inadequate substitutes.

Books on tape are also reading, I decided. I mean, how else, save for braille, can the blind read? There’s REAL snobbery in this arena. If one is actively listening, as opposed to having on the background the way some people play music, then it’s reading. Love this short but sweet story.