Habits of a habitual reader

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

Routines, habits, tics of an obsessive reader:*

*Noted not as recommendations for anyone else but rather for personal reflection on the cherished idiosyncrasies of my gravely, gravely Type-A self…

  • To mark passages worth remembering and writing down: In books I own, I make small brackets with a pen and note the page number on the last page of the book, often with a one- or two-word description of the passage. In library books, I use sticky plastic flags with a clear tab to mark a passage. The clear sticky tab is somehow very important to me; a normal sticky note won’t do.
  • I am in the library weekly and am on a first-name basis with the front-desk librarians. I always put books on hold; I never browse. I have never had an overdue book in the five years that I have lived here.
  • As soon as I add a new book to our library, I stamp the colophon with a rubber stamp that I had made, of my handwriting, that says “EX LIBRIS / Abby and Guion.” Eden has decided that this stamp is hers, and she has tried to eat it twice. Guion glued it back together, but it isn’t the same.
  • I am a bit precious with books as physical objects. I will yell at anyone who breaks a spine, bends a cover, or creases a page.
  • Books I am planning to read soon live in my nightstand; everything else is appropriately filed on the shelves (alphabetized by author surname within proper genre).
  • For the past two years, I have kept a running Google doc with reading notes, complemented by my physical notebook. I start a new doc for each year.
  • I have about two dozen reading lists (e.g., Pulitzer Prize winners, National Book Award, Book Critics Circle, Nobel laureates, Francine Prose and Mary Karr’s lists of books to be read immediately, etc.) on Google Drive, which I revisit from time to time.
  • One book perpetually lives on my nightstand and and two or three reside in the kitchen, for meal-time reading.
the ones that got away: oct.
The little independent bookstore I worked at in high school.

What are some of your habits while reading?

2 thoughts on “Habits of a habitual reader

  1. I love that you are such an obsessive reader, because I have always wanted to be, but have never quite been able to due to school and work. Now that it is summer, however, I find that I can finally resort back to my natural habitat of reading and writing. I have a serious passion for writing, and I find it is such a refreshing way for me to process all that I read and experience in life. Question: do you write as much as you read? And, if not, how do you process all that you read about?

    P.S. check out my blog! Just started a couple weeks ago 🙂

    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment. I write a little bit, here and there, but my time is mostly given to reading. Congrats on the new blog!

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