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Are you sitting comfortably?

3rd November 2011 - Laura Crosby


Laura Crosby from our Bristol shop has some quirky habits when it comes to reading books. But she's not surprised to learn than she is far from alone.


I grew up with a family who all enjoy reading. We all have very different tastes too, which means that my childhood home is crammed with a bit, ahem a lot, of everything. This post is about the quirks people have when they read or buy books. So it seemed only appropriate that I start with one of my own - wanting books that represent as many topics as possible. Growing up in a household where I could learn about almost anything from our bookshelves alone was a huge inspiration for me to do the same for whatever family I create.


One of the greatest gifts my parents have given me is knowledge in our home. Broadening my horizons has never been so much fun! My partner is somewhat scared about moving in together, due to the amount of books I have. Little does he know I have big plans for making sure I have books on everything from cookery to poetry, to the politics of a zombie apocalypse.


Other reading habits of mine include highlighting words and phrases that I like to use for inspiration in my own writing. Another is carrying multiple books everywhere I possibly can much to the annoyance of my bag-carrying partner. (In my defence, you'll never know when you might need any one of those books, plus I carry it MOST of the time.) I also love finding books in second-hand shops with notes in the margin from the previous owner: it gives a real personal history to the book.


Another major habit/problem of mine, is smelling books. I know, everyone does it, but when you work in a bookshop, it's really hard SELL them without SMELLING them. Especially graphic novels, with the shiny paper and colourful ink and... okay, enough. I want to know what other people do, so I've only gone and researched it a bit! Turns out, there really are some wonderful weirdos out there.


Now, hands up who does any of these....


One lady who posted wrote about how she doesn't just collect bookmarks that match the book, she'll also tear the perfume strips from magazines to use as bookmarks so that she has a perfect aroma while reading! Now how wonderful is that?


Another lady, I found something in common with; destroying your books. And I don't mean ruthlessly or in ritual, but just through life and loving. Folding the pages to mark your place, breaking the spine and general wear and tear I think is a sign of love. Or carelessness, either way.


I also read about a gentleman who records every book he's ever read and bought. He writes down the date, place of purchase and general overview of how he felt when reading it. Something wonderful to hand down the generations, me thinks.


The next one I read rather astounded me. A lady in America admitted to never finishing a book she enjoys reading. She has loads of unfinished novels because she can't stand for it to end! How lovely and sentimental is that? Personally, it would drive me crazy to not know the endings of a lot of things I've read, but there you are.


One of the last ones I found, I sort of agreed with and disagreed with all at the same time. A lady claims to read the last chapter of every novel when she's only about half way in. She writes how she's too curious and impatient to wait, and also to check that the characters she likes thus far don't die at the end. Now, I can kind of see why she'd do this, but let's face it, the end is the end for a reason: let's not ruin that shall we?


One of my colleagues told me how she has a huge stack of books by her bed, and how she spends some time going through them individually most nights until she finds the 'right one' for that particular evening. Every book has a shot with her, and that's quite 'equal opportunities.'


My supervisor, however, can't read at home due to the many distractions. Bless him and his limited lunch hour reading.


And then there's my terrible, albeit dangerous habit of reading whilst walking and falling on my face that one time.
Don't worry, my knees are only a tiny bit scarred. It was worth it for American Pyscho.


Just like many things that pop into my head, the quirks of reading seemed so broad and such a huge topic, that I couldn't possibly encompass it all within this blog. So, if you fancy finding out more about people's habits when it comes to reading books you might want to try the discussion boards of the Good Reads website or The Book Club Forum.

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