My Reading Rules

At BookRiot, Jeanette Solomon talks about her “reading rules”–her own personal reading code, including when to stop reading (at the end of a chapter) and how to use bookmarks. This, of course, got me thinking about my own reading rules. So in no particular order:

1. It’s okay to read multiple books at the same time. Sometimes your nightly reading is a giant tome and you need a smaller volume to carry on the train. Sometimes you need to balance out Moby-Dick with some fluffy YA romance.

2. Thou shalt not dogear. Bookmarks (or receipts or plane tickets) were invented for a reason.

3. Rereading is encouraged. You don’t just have chocolate cake once in your life and move on because there are other desserts, right?

4. If you give a book as a gift, hope that it’s something the receiver will enjoy but don’t be weird and pressure-y about it. Sometimes a gift-book just isn’t your style. Also, readers already have a lot on their reading lists without book impositions; sometimes they mean to get to your book but want to read others first.

5. If you have given a book a good chance and, halfway through, still don’t like or care about it, you can stop reading it. (But beware: you can’t really claim to have read it unless you’ve finished it.)

6. If someone lends you a book, you need to do your best to return it. If you lend someone else a book, assume it’s gone forever and then be pleasantly surprised when the lender returns it to you.

7. Don’t shame someone’s favorite books. You may not love Twilight or The Da Vinci Code, but some people do and it doesn’t put them on par with puppy-kickers.

8. Say it with me: books are not coasters.

9. Don’t peak ahead at the ending. If you have to look ahead to see how many pages are left, try to avoid glancing at any actual text.

10. Marginalia must be stopped. I want to read the book, not your notes.

For more book rule goodness sure to check out the original BookRiot post and Leila’s list at bookshelves of doom, as well as the comments in each post. (I know, it’s like the one time it’s okay to read the comments.)

Are you pro-bookmark/dogearing/marginalia? Share your reading rules in the comments!

(images: Mo Riza; Madelinetosh; Brendan Murphy)

13 thoughts on “My Reading Rules

  1. L. Palmer says:

    I always find it helpful to take a break from more intellectual tomes to clear my mind with some cheesy, light, fun reading. Those books are more important than many think.
    While I agree books shouldn’t be dog-eared, I like writing in the margins – it creates more of a conversation within the book. This is similar to medieval manuscripts, where scribes would write quick definitions or notes, sometimes even doodles or notes on the days weather. It takes it from being just a copy of a book to its own, individual entity.

    • Annie Cardi says:

      It’s funny–I LOVE seeing marginalia in medieval manuscripts, but I can’t stand it in contemporary books. I have no idea why! You’re so spot on about it making a book its own individual entity, but I get so distracted by it.

    • Lauren says:

      I agree! Leaving notes in the margins helps me to straighten things out in my head, and it goes faster than having to write it down on another piece of paper (I always have to be really specific, which takes a lot more time). I only do it in a book that I own, though. I would never make marks in a book borrowed from a library or another person. I don’t leave marks in a lot of books, either. I just do it when I’m doing some kind of analysis, or if something stands out and I really need to make a note of it.

        • Lauren says:

          I hate finding library books with notes in them. I find those really distracting and it’s annoying because you know that someone else is going to read the book once you’re done with it.

  2. Catherine says:

    Ha ha, very nice – I like #6 in particular. But I’m afraid I am one of those terrible people who dog-ears sometimes… my husband winces like it hurts him when he sees me do it.

  3. feistyredhair says:

    Great list! I agree with most, though I have trouble reading more than one book at a time. I think it’s because I get so invested in each book that I feel as if I’m cheating if I go elsewhere for literary satisfaction!

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