I’ve been thinking about our reading habits.
Unless you’re in a book club or talk regularly with a friend about reading, our reading habits are often private, only visible to immediate family and housemates. Sometimes I’ll chat with a co-worker or a friend about a book I’m reading, but I don’t usually talk about how I read. (Of course, I’m an introvert; maybe extroverted bibliophiles talk about their reading habits all the time?)
I started thinking about different reading habits when a friend mentioned going out to buy a book she wanted to read. I’m such a library zealot that this was baffling to me; I love owning and buying books, but I buy books infrequently these days because my bank account would not be able to keep up with my appetite for literature. I’ve talked with other friends who would much rather buy than borrow. To each their own – but it sparked me thinking about private reading routines.
My reading habits are ridiculous; maybe that’s why I keep them so private. Today, I’m coming clean.
- If I’m in the middle of a good book and I’m driving, I keep the book on the passenger seat beside me, open to my current page, so that I can read at red lights. Don’t call the cops on me; there’s probably not a law against it. Because, does anyone else do this but me?
- I tuck my book under my shoe as I’m tying or buckling it, so that I can read. While I am tying my shoes. Which takes less than a minute.
- When I get to work, I read my book while I’m walking from my car to my office, because I know I’ll have to spend the next eight hours without the book and I want to savor those last precious reading moments. My peripheral vision is excellent because I’ve been doing this for years.
- I like to find out when my favorite authors (J.K. Rowling, Brene Brown, Elena Ferrante) have new books coming out. Then, months ahead of time, I periodically check my local library’s website to see when the book is listed as “Coming Soon” in their online catalog. As soon as I see it, I reserve a copy of the book; that way, the day the book comes out, it’s waiting for me at the library.
- One day, my wife Tee and I stopped by the library and I realized I’d forgotten my card. I had several books on hold, and I wanted to bring them home, so I problem-solved with my librarian.
“What if,” I said, “I just gave you my library card number?”
The librarian clarified what I meant – did I want to give her the 14-digit code on the back of my library card, the one I use to log on to the library’s website almost every day to browse titles and make hold requests? Did I know that number by heart?
Yes. I did.
I recited it for her quickly, got my books, and we left, Tee laughing at me the whole time.
- Typically I read one book at a time. Sometimes I get over-excited and I find myself reading two books at once.
The funniest thing about this habit is when the two books I’m reading merge. During the day, this thought will pop in my head: “Oh, my gosh – this guy’s wife is framing him for her murder! And if Harry doesn’t find the Horcruxes, I think she’s going to get away with it!”
What are your reading habits?