I’m not talking about decoding here. I know HOW to read (actually how one actually reads would be an interesting discussion completely over my head). But I’m talking about the practices YOU put into place when you read.
I’ve realized that I have certain unnamed rules that have crawled into place over the years. Since I’ve been reading so much these last couple of years, I’ve probably realized what works for me.
I’ll share some of my traditional “rules,” and I’d love for you to think about your practices and share them too!
- I don’t usually like to start a book if I only have a few minutes to read before bed. I’ve figured out that it usually takes me up to 60 pages to really get into a book. If I know that I’m only going to read for 10 or 15 minutes, it’s not worth it for me to start a book, because I often don’t remember those introductory pages if I’m not fully invested.
- I don’t really like to finish books right before bed either. I know that this is a far-weirder habit. I don’t usually stay up late into the night past my bedtime to finish the last chapters of a book; and since I have many books on my stack, if I only have 15 or 20 pages left, and I plan to read for 30 minutes or more, I might select another book instead of the novel I might finish in that time. There’s a couple of reasons for this. One is the reason listed above. If I finish a book and still have a few minutes to read, I can’t start another novel. Another is that I like to sit on the ending a while, so ideally I finish a book one afternoon or evening, then move on to something else. And the third is that I am not a night owl. When reading a night, no matter how lovely and compelling the book is — I am often dozing off, so I lose track of the plot.
- The majority of my reading does not happen at bedtime. I think that this is probably different from most of your habits as well. Again, it’s for the reasons listed above. I would say that most of my reading is done in the middle of the day, perhaps when others are being industrious housewives or responsible wage-earners or indulging in mindless TV. I try to set aside some of those minutes for reading.
- I don’t take half-finished books on trips. For a bookworm, how much reading material to pack is a critical decision that is debated much longer than which shoes match which purse. Because I know that I’m likely to put in many hours of reading time, I never “waste” one of those books with one that is half-finished. I also usually prefer to bring paperbacks over hardcovers, and I prefer reading fiction to nonfiction on trips, so I decide accordingly.
- I recently found out that I completely differ from Dawn who prefers to read non-fiction in chunks and grab minutes with fiction. I can and do select nonfiction if I only have a few minutes. I don’t get as engrossed in it, so I can easily read one chapter or even just a section and then put it down.
I’m sure that some of these will seem normal, but other things might seem totally weird to you. Let me have it! Let me know if you’ve developed some reading habits of your own.
Jennifer Donovan likes to read, even if it causes her to fall asleep at night, or get engrossed at the wrong time, or laugh aloud like a crazy person. She blogs at Snapshot.