When I was in hospital with S, I was so glad to have my Kindle with me. I spent most of my time reading book after book, as I was stuck alone on a ward with a baby who slept on me between feeds. One midwife was chatting to me one day and told me she kept a note book of all the books she’d read. In it she wrote down what the book was, and a brief note about it, whether she’d enjoyed it, etc. At the time I thought that was a bit of a strange thing to do, but as time goes on I realise I read a lot of books and don’t always remember what they were, who they were by, or whether they were any good. I used to keep a list of the books I’d read each year in the back of my diary, but I don’t do that either now. So I though it might be nice to write some reviews going forward, so that I can keep a record of what I’ve read, and perhaps the people who read my blog can pick up some recommendations for good books to read (or avoid). I’m finding the reviewing process enjoyable, because it makes me stop and think about what I liked or didn’t like about the book, giving me something of a focus rather than just rushing to finish a book and moving onto the next.
And so, on with the Book Tag…
Do you have a certain place at home for reading??
Nope; wherever there’s space. Usually on the sofa or in bed, but really anywhere. While we were away recently I spent as much time as possible sitting on our decking reading, and my favourite thing to do if I have some free time to myself is to go and sit in a local cafe with a nice drink and a good book.
Bookmark or random piece of paper?
It depends… but I couldn’t tell you what it depends on! For some of my books I use a postcard as a bookmark (I have a weird collection of postcards, don’t ask); for others I turn the page down, and for some I leave them turned face down on the side. I like it when you finish a book and it looks like it’s been read; I like for the spine to be bent and page corners to be turned down. I also turn up the bottom corner of a page if I come across a quote or idea I like, or a name I want to look up.
Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter or a certain number of pages?
I try to always get to the end of a chapter before I stop; if not I try and find a suitable place where a conversation or “scene” seems to have just finished. I hate going back to a book and having no clue what’s been going on. Because of my reading habits it’s sometimes days or even weeks before I pick up the same book again so I try to ensure I stop reading at a place I’m likely to be able to pick up from again.
Do you eat or drink while reading?
If I’m out at a cafe I’ll have a drink but I usually find it too distracting to keep picking something up to eat or drink.
Do you watch TV or listen to music while reading?
Not if I can help it. Sometimes if someone else is watching TV and I don’t like the show, I’ll get my book out. And often where I live it’s so noisy outside with people shouting, swearing or playing music loudly, it’s easier to concentrate on a book if I put something like Radio 3 or Classic FM on in the background. For the most part though, I prefer silence.
One book at a time or several at once?
Loads at once! I have a “reading now” folder on my Kindle with around 30 books in it; I tend to either pick and choose between them, or sometimes will work my way through, reading a chapter of each book at a time. Other times, one particular book will take over and I’ll read that exclusively until I finish it. In the past couple of days, I’ve read from about 4 different books.
Reading at home or everywhere?
If it’s a good book, anywhere and everywhere. If it’s a bit dry and hard going, mainly just at home where I can sit and concentrate without distractions.
Reading out loud or silently in your head?
Silently in my head – unless it’s Dr Seuss! Sometimes, with books like Trainspotting, it’s helpful to read the first few pages out loud so as to get one’s head around the dialect and the way it’s written in the book.
Do you ever read ahead or skip pages?
No! In fact, if there’s something amazing happening in the book and I don’t want to accidentally read the climax of a situation before the run-up, I’ll go all old school and use a piece of card to cover the page below what I’m reading.
Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
Breaking the spine! I love when you finish a book and it looks like it’s been read! I often buy books from charity shops because I love the feel of a book that’s already been enjoyed by someone else. When we were kids, my sister was the opposite to me; she covered many of her books in protective plastic, and did her best not to bend the spine or allow the corners to become dog-eared while she was reading them. I hated that; I don’t see the point in keeping books as if they’re ornaments.
Do you write in your books?
Sometimes I do. I remember being encouraged to make notes in the margins of my GCSE texts at school, and it feeling like a completely alien thing to do. I sometimes underline certain things, usually in pencil, but I prefer to just turn the corner of the page up and come back to it at a later date. When I was pregnant I bought a book about foetal origins, and it was literally filled with those little Post-it page markers when I was done!