Thursday, June 23, 2016

Quirks of a Reader

One of my enduring childhood memories has to do with my grandmother’s books. I can still see her hunched over the little brown card table she set up in her living room, a book splayed in front of her (or a game of Solitaire. Endless rounds of solitaire. Must be where I get it from). She loved to mark up her books with notes in the margins, highlights of favorite passages and astute analysis at the end of a chapter. There was never a bookmark in sight, as she was fond of dog-earing the pages to keep her place. To this day, she can still be found marking up her books.



Truthfully, I never understood her penchant for taking pen to page like that. I’ve always been one to keep my books pristine. Then again, I suppose we all have our reader “quirks” (check out my writing quirks, too.) Here are mine:

I Keep My Books Like New
As I mentioned above, I don’t write notes in the margins, dog-ear the pages—I don’t even break the spines. I won’t loan books out to people for fear they’ll come back a total mess—I’d rather just buy the book and give it as a gift. Then you can do whatever YOU want to them. I’m not sure where this purist attitude came from, but hey, that’s why they call it a quirk.

I Read EBooks and Print Books Equally
Some people have sworn off paperback/hardcover books for good, preferring the ease of eBooks. Others shake their fist at the notion of doing anything other than holding a book in their hand and hearing the flick of a turning page. 

I like both.



I never thought I’d cotton to eBooks, but as is my way, while never an early adopter, I usually come in sometime before intermission. I love eBooks for when I’m travelling (much easier to throw my Kindle in my carry-on than a hulking hardcover) or for the times when I can’t get a seat on the bus (try balancing a book in one hand, while holding onto a pole for dear life with the other. Not fun.).

Free Books Are Great
There are some in the indie community that feel readers don’t value a free book, meaning they are less likely to read it and if they do read it, they are less likely to like it.

This is not a premise I buy into. I don’t know if it’s because I was a library kid, where the books were “free,” or because I worked in a bookstore where booksellers are privy to all kinds of free books (see my post, Musings of a Reformed Bookseller), but I don’t put more value on a book I paid for over a book I got for free. I value the story. That’s the currency I care about. It doesn’t matter to me if the book was a gift, an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC. Got LOTS of those), a bargain book scooped up from a bookstore for $5, a garage sale find for $.50, or a free download. A good book is a good book. 

I Categorize My Books Like a Bookstore
Again, this is probably a holdover from my bookseller days, but I keep my mass markets (small paperbacks) in their own bookcases. Trade paper (larger paperbacks) and hardcovers go together. And everything’s alphabetized.

My Favorite Genre to Read is Psychological Suspense
Well, yeah. And I also like to write it J
Basically, I love reading anything that will twist my mind like a pretzel. Perhaps what I like the most is the feeling of something happening, of being swept away by something sinister as you try to suss out motives and murderers.

I also read a lot of literary fiction, classic literature, autobiographies and biographies.

I don’t read sci-fi or westerns. Ever.

Sometimes, I Peek at the End. Sometimes
I used to be much worse about this, but not as much as I’ve gotten older. I guess patience really is a virtue.

I Don’t Read Series
Like adult-onset food allergies, this one happened as I got older. I used to devour Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, The Girls of Canby Hall and Sweet Dreams (remember those?). However, for whatever reason, as an adult, I haven’t really read a whole lot of series, preferring to stick with standalone books.

I Read at the Library
Seriously. Sometimes, when I need a little peace and quiet, I’ll go to the public library for a few hours and read my book. There’s something about being engulfed by all those books that I just love.


What about you? What are some of your quirks as a reader?

3 comments:

  1. Hello Bianca, as I read your blog? above, it brought home to me how different and similar book lovers really are. In one respect I am like you in so far as I keep my books pristine, although they have been read many times over the years, and I always use bookmarks - often whatever happens to be at hand! But in another way I am like your Grandmother and take to books, reference only, with pencil and even highlighter. In these books I tend to use lengths of knitting wool as bookmarks so I can readily find something. Some of my reference books are twice as bulky as they were when I bought them, they have so many wool bookmarks!

    I too,sort my books and can pretty much tell someone exactly where to find any given book. I do prefer "proper" books, but admit to being a late but pretty enthusiastic convert to e-books. As I have a physical disability, I am pretty much confined to the couch all day, so I read, and read, and ....

    I prefer books by Christian authors (including suspense and mystery), mainly because I know that I will not be subjected to profanities, gratuitous sex or violence, although of course some violence goes with territory, but at least it isn't usually graphic.

    I have lately discovered (rediscovered) the Golden Age of crime and mystery e-books available and am working my way through those. I also have several A.J. Cronin books I am saving like a miser.

    I have not yet read any of your books, but will download a sample and see how I go.

    Best wishes for your future books.
    Regards,
    Viv

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    Replies
    1. When I was younger, I was much less careful with my books - they looked a mess! Broken spines, bent pages, pencil marks, spills, etc. Not sure when I turned the corner to being nicer to my books, but it did happen.

      Definitely give eBooks a try. They will really change how you read - in a good way :)

      As I write about the Dark Side of Love, my books do contain some profanity, sex and violence.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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