So, I was totally inspired by this post, and as a result I decided to write up my own reading rules or habits. As Jeanette mentions, these reading rules really do seem to reveal a little something about my personality as well as my habits.
If I love the book and have to have a copy on my keeper shelf, I will not loan it out to just anyone. This was not always the case. I used to loan out books all the time. This changed, though, when the books I loaned out failed to make their way back to me, leaving me no choice but to purchase the book again.
If I loan someone a book, I try to be very clear about whether or not I want it back. If I say I don't, I don't. However, this also means I think the book was less than worthy of my keeper shelf.
I tend to read multiple books at a time. For instance, at this moment in time, I am in the middle of four books. It's ridiculous, but true.
- A paperback copy of Hood by Stephen Lawhead. This book is "safe" for bathtub time. If it falls in the water by accident, I'm only out a few dollars, not hundreds.
- The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, which is in e-book format and easily highlighted and notated. The Kindle (and it's iPad app) stores these highlights and notes online for me for easy reference.
- Wish Upon a Tiger by A.T. Mitchell. This is another e-book. I've been reading it mostly at night, right before bed. It's a bubble gum read that doesn't require much brain power, which is exactly what I need right before drifting off to sleep.
- The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I've been reading this book with a fellow writer. It's meant to get our creativity flowing, but I must admit we're both beginning to struggle with the text.
Different settings require different reading formats.
If I'm taking a bath, I grab a paperback or, less frequently, a hardcover. I have this nifty little reading tray that I can take into the bath with me to help support the awkward weight of a hardcover, a snack, and a glass of wine.
If I'm reading in bed, I always pick up the Kindle. The built-in light sources can't be beat. Not even a bedside lamp or a reading light can come close to offering the same reading experience.
I always have my e-books with me. This means I can read anywhere and at any time.
Reading for pleasure differs from reading for literary analysis and here's how. When I read for pleasure, I don't highlight or write in margins. I simply read. However, when I approach a text with a more academic focus, I highlight and leave marginalia in my wake. I also use Post-It notes and/or tabs, usually color coded to a specific literary element.
If I highlight or mark up a book, I don't resell them or lend them out. I know many readers are maddened by such behavior, so I keep those books to myself.
I always prefer to read the book before I watch a movie and television adaptation. This tendency often leaves me feeling a little saddened by everything the movie failed to do, but I find it also helps to fill in the many blanks that films, by their very nature, create. One of the most obvious examples of this is the Game of Thrones series on HBO. I think the show is great. However, I often feel like the non-readers who watch it are missing out on so many small, but significant details.
Sometimes, though, I know before I even watch a movie or television program, that the book cannot be done justice. In those instances, I try really hard to let go of my criticisms and simply enjoy the visual spectacle in front of me for what it is: passive entertainment.