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.
What are some of your habits while reading?