Monday, July 7, 2014

My Bookish Quirks

I’ve been meaning to write something like this for ages. A quirk would suddenly occur to me; I’d scribble it down on a bit of paper and carry on reading. Inevitably, these bits of paper would somehow disappear into the ether, never to be found again. (I’m sure a decade from now I’ll stumble on the desiccated remains of undecipherable scribbles and wonder how they got there.)

So here’s a list compiled from vague recollections of those original insights. It should be just as good. Probably not.

I can only read one book at a time.
Some people can have three or four books on the go at the same time. I’m definitely not one of them. I prefer to immerse myself completely into each book I read. Jumping back and forth between books just doesn’t work for me. Even if the books are different genres they tend to bleed into each other resulting in an odd jumbled experience.

Quiet please.
When I’m reading I want silence. I can’t read with music or the TV blaring in the background. Give me a comfy chair, silent surroundings and I’m in heaven.

I don’t lend my books. Ever.
Having experienced the humiliation of a sister who not only returns her library books late, but who actually had to replace a book after destroying it in a liquid related catastrophe I can’t stand to lend my books to anyone. Even if you sign a contract in blood and pay a hefty deposit I’m not going to allow you to leave with any of my precious books. I’d be more than happy to point you to the cheapest retailer so you can get your own copy though.

I can’t get rid of my books.
My bookshelves are like a black hole once a book has passed the event horizon of my shelves they are there to stay. I like to revisit the books I’ve already read from time to time. They always have something new to offer; a new insight or just rediscovering the familiarity of beloved characters and worlds. The thought of having to cull my bookshelves fills me with dread. Luckily I haven’t been put in a position where it was necessary to do so. I pray I never will.

I like to keep my books pristine.
A wise old librarian once taught me that books are precious. You need to wash your hands before touching them, you don’t lick your fingers before turning pages (eww!) and most importantly you NEVER write in them and you NEVER EVER break their spines. Those lessons stuck and to this day I can’t bear to do any of those things. I try to keep my books as pristine as possible. Notes go in a separate notebook and even paperbacks are read with the utmost care so the spine doesn’t crease.

Bubble wrap!
This could be incorporated in the keeping books pristine thing, but whenever I travel with my books I wrap them securely in bubble wrap. Yes, that's right. Bubble wrap! And then just to be safe they go inside a padded envelope for that added protection. If it's cloudy with the slightest chance of rain the enveloped-bubble-wrapped-book also goes into a plastic bag before finally being put inside whatever bag I'm planning to carry. You can never be too careful!

Bookmark OCD
I grow far too attached to my bookmarks. I've used the same bookmark for years now. It's not even something special or fancy, just one of the bookmarks you get with Book Depository orders. For some reason I HAVE to use that specific bookmark. I've misplaced it a couple of times and had to keep searching till I found it, at 3AM in the morning after going through every book on my shelf.

Got to catch them all.
When I discover a new author I love I tend to buy every book they’ve ever written. I might not even get round to reading them till years later, but I have to own them immediately.

One-way ticket to dreamland.
I don’t think I’ll ever struggle with insomnia. Ten minutes of reading in bed and I’m fast asleep. It doesn’t even matter how exciting or captivating the book is. Zzzzzzzzzz...

I like big books.
I love huge science fiction and fantasy tomes, those ones you need a forklift to carry around. Part of it might be due to the fact that I don’t want the fictional worlds I inhabit to come to an end too quickly. More pages mean that you get the chance to stay in that world just a little longer. It also gives a weird sense of getting your money’s worth. Given the choice between a 1000 page epic and a 250 page novel, I’ll take the 1000 pager every time. It does come with a downside though – they take much longer to read cutting down on your yearly total.

Till the end do us part.
I can’t abandon books. Even if I don’t particularly like the book I’m reading I have to finish it. This is something I’m working on, but it’s tough. Life’s too short for bad books, but what if the book I’m about to abandon suddenly gets good? I can live in hope.

I own more books than I’ve read.
Yes, my TBR-mountain is out of control. That’s a given. The real problem is that the books I own and have read are outnumbered by those still to be read by a factor of 4! That’s about 5 years’ worth of reading if I didn’t buy any new books at all.

Craving cheese and bread.
Whenever I read a fantasy novel I crave the food they eat during their travels. For some reason this normally tends to be something involving cheese and bread (and the occasional mushroom as delicacy).

I love the book as object.
I love the physicality of books, the feel of it in your hands, how the paper glides beneath your figners and most importantly the smell of a brand new book. Nothing quite compares. I also like ebooks, but given the choice I'd much rather have a physical copy.

Blood and bloody ashes.
I tend to pick up swearing/phrases from books and they stick. At times I even find myself using them in normal conversation. Luckily most people don't recognize the references. Mostly. Crivens!

I’m sure I’m missing a few, so this list might grow in the future.

What are some of your bookish quirks?

Image credit: Kate Ter Haar

7 comments:

  1. I also can’t get rid of my books! But I have to read more than 1 book at a time!

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    Replies
    1. That's just something I just can't get myself to do. Perhaps if I switch to less tome-like volumes it might work.

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  2. There are so many things on here that we have in common. Firstly, I like quite too and I just really annoyed when people in the house talk too loudly when I try to read. I also don't rid of my books easily and one thing I hate is lending out my books, I've stopped that after a friend of mine dog-eared my pages!

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  3. Dog-ears. What kind of monster do you have as a friend?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She did it in front of me! I don't know why she thought that was okay.

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    2. I'd totally dog-ear her ears and ask her how she thinks it feels.

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