Reading Habits

If you haven’t guessed, I spend a lot of my time reading. I’ve already read 73 books this year and it’s only week 14. (And my yearly goal is only 78!)

When I’m not reading, I’m usually thinking about, talking about, or posting about books or bookish things. And when I was thinking about book-related things, I got to thinking about reading habits.

So today I thought I’d share some of my reading habits.

Where I Read


I’m not joking. I carry at least 1 book with me everywhere I go. At the minimum, I have the Kindle app on my phone and my Kindle library is full. I am never without a book.

So if I get stuck in a waiting room or standing in a long queue, out comes the book. You’d be surprised how much reading you can accomplish in the between minutes.

But my preferred place to read is at home in my favorite oversized chair.


Like many bibliophiles, I’ve been known to use anything that’s handy, including photos, leaves, a gum wrapper, and of course, receipts.

This is a book I had in high school. I used a photo (yes, people actually printed photos) and a ginkgo leaf as bookmarks.

But I never, ever, ever, ever, dog-ear a book. Dog-earring a book (turning down the page corner) is simply monstrous. Only evil beings like He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named or orcs dog-ear books.

Seriously. Don’t be a dog-earer.

My bookmark preference are magnetic bookmarks. They don’t fall out as easy when I inevitably drop my book. And my favorite magnetic bookmarks are iClips. They’re small and the magnets are very magnetic-y. I particularly like the skull & cross bones ones.

Reading and . . .

Sometimes I multitask while reading. My most common activity is to read while I’m eating. I often use my lunch breaks at work to read a few more pages.

I also often walk and read. I get a lot of comments on this, mainly how do I do it.

Decades of practice.

And since adapting to audiobooks, I often multitask while listening, such as work jigsaw puzzles or clean.

One Book, Two Books, Red Book, Blue Book

At any given time, I will be reading three or four books. No, not all at the exact same time, but I’ll switch from one to another depending on where I am, what I’m doing, and what my mood is.

The breakdown is usually one audiobook, one e-book, and one or two paper books. If I’m reading two paper books, one will normally be a non-fiction title.

Silent or Aloud

Most books I read silently to myself. But I have exceptions.

First, poetry books. Poetry is meant to be read aloud. Something about reading a poem out loud makes it come to life. Think about it, songs are just poems set to music. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to silently sing a song would it?

Second, along the same line, plays. I have several plays in book form, including my fave Shakespeare play, Much Ado About Nothing. Like poems, plays are just better aloud. And it’s fun to do the different voices.

Third, some ancient or older books. I’ve found that reading some books aloud help with comprehension. Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales immediately spring to mind. They just make more sense to me when read aloud.

Skip, Skip, Skipping

I have been known to skip ahead in a book. This happens when I’m not enjoying the story and I want to see if it picks up. Or if I’m really not enjoying it, but want to see how it ends.

Most recently, I did that with Magic for Liars. I wasn’t particularly enjoying it, but wanted to see the story’s resolution. So I skipped from chapter 10 to chapter 23. And had no problems skipping 13 chapters. I still knew exactly what was going on.

The Stopping Point

My favorite skull & crossbones iClips.

Everyone has their own preference when it comes to a stopping point. Some people must finish the chapter before stopping. But I can stop anywhere in a book, even mid-paragraph. (This is another reason I like iClips is because the arrow points to my exact stopping point.)

Stopping randomly on a page may be considered anarchy by some, but it doesn’t bother me. I mean, I have stayed up into the wee hours of the night to finish a book, but I usually regret that the next day when I’m holding my eyelids up with toothpicks and drinking copious amounts of espresso.

So since I really try to go to bed at a decent hour, I will stop reading at whatever point in the book I happen to be whether that be at the end of the chapter or mid-paragraph.

Maybe I like a little chaos.

Spine Breaker

I try to not completely break the spine, but I will flex the spine of a paperback so I can hold it one handed easier.

I know, I know! Some people feel that spine breaking is a crime.

In my defense, I don’t “break” the spine. None of my paperbacks can lay open on their own. I just warm the spine up a bit.

What can I say? I embrace chaos.

Taking Notes

I don’t typically write in books. Mostly I think writing in books is a crime. (I know, I’m inconsistent in my chaos.) But again, exceptions exist.

Non-fiction reference books/textbooks. I will jot the occasional note or underline a passage. But only in pencil. (Writing in pen is criminal.) And only in books I intend to keep.

Poems and plays. Again for the same reason. And again, only in books I intend to keep.

But I never write in fiction books. I may flag (with a sticky) a page to go back to because I like the prose or the thought or the reference. But I never write in them.

To Read or To Watch First

I’m not a purist. I don’t insist on reading the book first. In fact, I’ve watched many movies that I didn’t even know were adapted from books until after the fact.

But I will say, about 99% of the time, if I read the book, even if I read it after I saw the movie, I will think the book is better.

Consistent Covers

I admit, I like matching covers. This is especially true for series. Series covers should always match. No exceptions.

But even for books not in a series, I still like consistency. For example, I love that the publisher has continued the cover theme of Samantha Irby’s book covers.

I DNF’d It

I used to force myself to push through a book even when I wasn’t enjoying it. As I’ve gained wisdom in my middle years, I’ve changed my mind on this. I now will DNF (did not finish) a book. Life is too short and my TBR (to be read list) is way too long to waste time on books I’m not enjoying.

Also, I found that when I’m not enjoying a book, like most people, I will procrastinate and find other things to do rather than read that book. This just means I’m not reading as many books as I could. Again, why waste the time?

That being said, once in a while, I’ve found it’s simply a matter of timing. I may have picked up that book at the wrong time. And if I pick it up again months or even years later, I will read it and enjoy it. Sometimes books have a season and you just have to find the right season to read a particular book.

Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera

So to wrap-up, I like a little chaos, I’m not a purist, and I think you’re a monster if you dog-ear or write in pen in books. That about sums up my reading habits.

Thanks for letting me share a few of my reading habits. Feel free to share some of your reading habits in the comments below.

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