Tag Archives: reading habits

Fabulous Reading Streak – Ending, or Just Beginning?

image Last night I finished This Body of Death, by Elizabeth George, and breathed a happy little sigh. I realized I’ve been on a wonderful reading streak, during which I’ve read one enjoyable book after another.

True, This Body of Death wasn’t quite as good as earlier George mysteries, but it was still a lovely read, and very nice to really have Inspector Lynley back, if you know what I mean.

My reading streak began when I picked up The Passage, by Justin Cronin, last month. (This is one of my “best books I’ve read this year”, by the way, and I highly, highly recommend it – you can read my review here.)

image What drove me to pick this 784-page book as the first book to read on the iPhone (the first non-reread, that is) is beyond me. All I know is, I downloaded the first two chapters as a free preview and before I knew it, I had bought and was deep into the full ebook itself.

I call this a reading streak, but I did have a few clunkers here and there. But the beauty of my reading method is that I have very low tolerance for a book that doesn’t hold my interest really early on (and by that, I mean by the end of the first chapter), so when I come across a clunker, I end up not having to spend that much of my reading time on it.

In other words: next!

So let’s just say that, for all intents and purposes, I moved, albeit not absolutely smoothly, from The Passage to Stieg Larsson’s The Millennium Trilogy.

As it turned out, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest was my favorite of the three Larsson books, with its government conspiracy angle.

image Which may have been why I enjoyed Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother so much. That link is to Amazon, but if you like reading ebooks, you can download it for free at Doctorow’s site. The free download comes in all flavors – I chose Epub, and read the book on my iPhone (of course).

I moved from Little Brother to Elizabeth George’s This Body of Death, another read on my iPhone.

In case you’re wondering who’s responsible for my decision to read both these last books, the blame falls to Jill of Rhapsody in Books, who posted wonderful reviews of both these books here (Little Brother) and here (This Body of Death); I would have read This Body of Death sooner or later – her review just made it sooner – but I’d forgotten about Little Brother until I read her review.

So now I’m asking myself, is this the end of a lovely reading streak? Or just the beginning? I’m hoping it’s just the beginning, as I’m now gathering together books to take with me camping (yes, that camping trip is coming up soon, very soon), and I think I’m off to a good start already.

In fact, I began reading Marisa de Los Santo’s Belong to Me the other day, and I’ve been loving it so far. (You can blame this one on Jill, too.)

Any recommendations on your end, to help me continue this marvelous reading streak?

Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy (Or, Breaking One of My Rules of Reading)

On Friday night, I broke one of my rules of reading.

I started Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

I didn’t even realize I’d broken one of my rules until I finished the book on Saturday afternoon with a happy sigh, and immediately raced to my bookshelf and pulled out The Girl Who Played with Fire, which I’d won in a giveaway last year.

My rule, you see, is to NEVER start book one of a fully published trilogy if I know that I won’t have a nice chunk of time in which to read all the books. You know, on the off chance that I get lucky, and books one and two are brilliant reads and I find myself like the proverbial kid in the candy store, reaching for more, more, more.

So today I had to do something painful. You see, I finished The Girl Who Played with Fire last night, and so of course I immediately pulled out my iPhone and downloaded The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (there is nothing like instant gratification, especially when you’re two thirds of the way through a trilogy). I read happily until 1:30 in the morning, read a bit more this morning, but then had to reluctantly close the book (or, in this case, turn off my iPhone).

Because I have to finish up a deadline that’s due tomorrow.

Sigh.

It’s my own fault. I broke a cardinal rule of mine. And I’m reminded that I do have good reasons for making these little rules about reading that I generally do follow.

Have you read the Millennium trilogy? Did you get swept away the way I did? Do you have any unspoken but pretty solid rules about reading that you try to follow?

The Me-and-My-Books Relationship

Molly at My Cozy Book Nook has a great post about why she writes in books. I myself don’t tend to mark-up books as I’m reading them, but it’s not because I feel any sort of taboo about writing in a book; I just never think about doing it.

One interesting result of participating in the recent BBAW reading meme is that I want very much to remember to occasionally write in a book now. I’m one of those people who actually likes to find books at used bookstores that have been marked up – it’s like getting two enjoyable things for the price of one.

Molly’s post is really wonderful, giving readers an insight into why she writes in books, what books she does write in, and how she does it. In her BBAW reading meme post, she also gives a link to Mortimer Adler’s essay, “How to Mark a Book” (link goes to a pdf file).

After reading Molly’s post, I got to thinking about my own relationship with books. From an outsider’s perspective, I suspect I look like I have quite the cavalier attitude when it comes to my own books.

I dogear like crazy, unless I happen to have the opportunity to read a book through from beginning to end in one sitting. I have no compunction about breaking the spine of a book that otherwise stubbornly refuses to shift into a more comfortable-feeling position in my hands. And I’m a snacking reader. I grew up munching on apples as I read (I can remember feeling quite fond of Ariadne Oliver, the apple-eating mystery writer who shows up occasionally in Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels).

Note: If you’ve lent me a book, though, not to worry – I only do this kind of thing to my own books. Honest.

The books in my house that are the most comfortably-used-looking also tend to be the most well-loved. A crease in the spine means I’ve read the book; several creases? I loved it. Fold lines in page corners are reminders of when I had to put the book down; they also mean I intended to pick it up again. I like comfortably used books the same way I love old wood furniture, whose lines and markings suggest so much more – a history of every day events, impressed into the wood as time marches by.

The tactile feel of a book, its pristine pages, that new book smell – all of that is lovely (there’s nothing much better than wandering around a bookstore, picking up books, feeling their newness, the smoothness of their covers). But when I look at a book I’m about to read, I’m never really seeing its cover, its bulk, its physical aspects. Instead, I see the story, one that might (or might not) grab hold of me and take me along on a gorgeous, glorious ride.

The anticipation! Each one just might very well be that next truly magical read.

I’m also very fond of giving away books when I’ve finished reading them. If I think you’d like a book I’ve read, you’re not going to be able to leave my place without that book in your hands. I never keep track of who I lend my books to, so when friends come over with a book I’ve lent them previously, it’s like an unexpected surprise.

Of course, if I really do want a book back, I say that, too. But usually it doesn’t matter one way or the other to me.

There’s no pressure to read it, either. Since I usually don’t remember who I’ve lent a book to, you’re not about to get a phone call or email from me saying, “Well? Was I right or was I right? Didn’t you just LOVE it?”

I kind of figure if the book’s meant for you, you’ll love it. If not, you won’t. Neither will I cross your name off my friendship list if we don’t share the same taste in books.

Mind you, none of what I’ve said above applies to my art books and other “coffee-table” type books, or to non-fiction. Non-fiction books are my reference library, so I need to keep them on hand. And big glossy colourful books get the museum treatment around here. I like to pour over them, and revel in the colour and feel of the pages, and yes, sniff appreciatively that new-book smell that never seems to fade. And I keep them, rather than lending them out.

What about you? What kind of relationship do you have with your books?

BBAW: Me and My Reading Habits – And a Giveaway!

I thought this one would be tough for me. Everyone knows how much I like using five words where one word will do, ten words where two will do, twenty words where three will do (need more numerical examples or was that just perfect?).

This BBAW meme requires me to answer the following questions in as few words as possible – and be creative while I’m at it.

And guess what? I had a TON of fun doing this. Why? Because I CHEATED! I’ve snuck in a few extra words (well, okay – a WHOLE LOT of extra words) throughout this post. The extra words are here, on this page. You DON’T have to leave this post to read them.

PLUS there’s a little BBAW giveaway hidden here, too. Yes. On this page. You DON’T have to leave this page to read about the giveaway. Honest.

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Let the games (and fun!) begin:

1. Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

Yes. Food. Any food.

2. Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

Pristine pages (except for food stains).

3. How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

Tried corner bookmarks:

CIMG1985Didn’t work. Still do this.

4. Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

This and that.

5. Hard copy or audiobooks?

Yes and yes.

6. Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

Read to the finish. Sometimes.

7. If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

Like this? I wish.

8. What are you currently reading?

This, this and this.

9. What is the last book you bought?

This.

10. Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

Multiple books.

11. Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

Anytime. Anywhere.

12. Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

Yes and yes.

13. Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

Yes. Several, in fact.

14. How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

Organize? What do you mean, organize?

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Did you figure it out? Here’s a clue: put your mouse over any of my links but don’t click.

And the giveaway? Put your mouse over the links in my answer to the “bookmark or dog-ear” question, but don’t click – you might have to move your mouse off the link and put it back on again to finish reading.

It’s just a little giveaway – and it’s only for as long as my mailing budget holds out. (Click here to email me your info). BUT you’ll also get added to my holiday card mailing list. AND my RAK list – I’m always on the lookout for little book-related things or slim paperbacks that can be easily slipped into an envelope and mailed out to names on my RAK list!