Book Quirks


As if December weren’t busy enough, what with the gift-buying, early gift-returning, holiday decorating, partying, etc., this year the Framptons have been engrossed in the NYC middle school process; it’s like applying to college, only the kids are shorter and there’s no money involved.

So I haven’t done any writing.

I have been reading, however, and finding time to get coffee with friends. This morning, I was with a friend who happened to mention–not knowing what it would do to my psyche–that his wife often picks up books HE’S reading, with bookmarks and everything, and starts reading them herself. And then he proceeded to laugh at me as I noticeably freaked out at even the thought.

I accept that having to have a bookmark is my own idiosyncrasy that is not a dealbreaker for most people. But this one? OMG, I can’t BELIEVE it’s not cause for divorce (it doesn’t bother my friend, but oddly enough, it bothers his wife, because her dad does the same thing. She can’t help herself, though). If my husband did that to me–hoo boy. And it’s not just because I’m an only child! Is it?

Some people are end-readers; they have to know how the story finishes even before they’ve finished with the story. Some people have to read in order of a series (me!); others feel as though they have to finish reading a series, even if the author has swerved from what made them love the series in the first place along the way (Diana Gabaldon often comes up in this discussion). Some won’t stop reading a book, even if they don’t like it, because they feel compelled to finish. Some will give a book a certain amount of pages, or chapters, to prove itself or they’ll put it down.

What are your reading quirks? Does it bug you when people dog-ear pages, or crack the spines?

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15 Responses to Book Quirks

  1. Goedi says:

    Hah. I agree with your friend. Not a big deal as long as he still gets to finish the book. I hear she’s a faster reader than he (because of skipping) but she doesn’t give away the endings.
    The thing I really dislike is highlighting. I want to read the text with the emphases the author intended – or at least I want to guess at them without the previous reader’s help.
    That said, my grad-school discussions were often aided by anonymous previous highlighters.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Hmm. I avoid this conflict in my household by keeping my TBR away from thieving hands. Which is a clue, I think, to my opinion.

    Sorry, but I dogear pages all the time because I never have a bookmark handy.

    If I know I’m not going to finish a book right away and I know someone else would like it, then I might hand it over before finishing.

    Otherwise, if someone took my Currently Reading book and started reading it too, there would be a fight. And I would win because I’m mean.

  3. Jane Austen says:

    I’m actually one of those horrible book people who love their books so much that they are loath to loan them to people, unless the following conditions are met:
    A contract must be signed stating that the book will be returned to me in the same condition it was borrowed in. No dogearring of pages. No writing in the margins. No cracking of the spines (I do not own a single book with a cracked spine). No drinks spills or wet spots. If the book is returned with anything amiss the people must purchase me a brand new copy of the book. Needless to say, not many people borrow books from me.

  4. I don’t lend books anymore. Ever. Not even to my mother. If I like a book and think she will like it too I buy her a copy.

    I always stick a bookmark in a book because I have stacks of them.

    I have my books shelved in alphabetical order by author. I also have them shelved according to subject (non-fiction) or genre.

    I like being able to put my finger on the book I want without floudering around the house looking for it.

  5. Diane Gaston says:

    Omigosh. Jane Austen, I promise I won’t EVER borrow a book from you!

    O Doggie One, this is way too organized for me. You’d probably faint to see MY bookshelves.

    I don’t have many book quirks. I don’t dog-ear and I never read ahead to the end (shudder! why ruin the reading experience?)I used to think I had to read to the end. Imagine my surprise when the world didn’t come to an end when I put a book down before finishing it!

    I also never write in a book (unless it’s a text book). Once I got a used Regency from a local UBS that was riddled with red ink. Later I was talking to my friend Helen who is a professional editor. She said she found this book with so many mistakes in it, she grabbed her red pen and corrected them. It was the same book!

  6. I must, must, must have a bookmark, before I start reading a book! Don’t know why. And I only loan books to a very few people, who I KNOW will take care of them and give them back. πŸ™‚

    I used to think I had to finish any book I started, or follow a series through to the end, then I realized life was too short…

    Good luck with finding the right middle school!

  7. I only lend books to people I see frequently now, and write my name on the front pages just to remind them.

    But my most unfavorite book quirk is if I’m reading in the company of someone else who insists on reading passages aloud from their book. It unfuriates me!

  8. Heather Snow says:

    I’ve noticed the more I write that my “keeper” shelf gets smaller, and that some of the books I used to absolutely love don’t have the same effect anymore. I’m sure some of that has to do with my age…I’d like to think I’ve matured in the last 15 years πŸ™‚ But some has to do with the fact that I recognize author intent or mistakes more, so only books that are really smooth stay on my shelf. The rest, I tend to pass on to others.

    As far as quirks, I have few. I do love to have a bookmark, but will read without one if I must. I do read in the bath quite often (it’s sometimes the only place I can hide from my toddler!), so if the wavy curl of a once wet page bothers you, don’t borrow any books from me! πŸ™‚

  9. Jane Austen says:

    Louisa, my books are alphabetized and classified as well. I even have a cataloguing system on my computer. And Janet, I label all of my books too, only I make little computer sticky labels that have scenes from the A & E P & P on it and say “From the library at Pemberley”

  10. librarypat says:

    As a librarian, yes it does bug me when people dog ear pages and break the spine. Books are not made to last anymore and can’t stand the abuse. We have had best sellers need repair after only 2 checkouts. We can’t afford to buy replacement books. One teen checked out the first two books in Melissa Marr’s series and literally brought them back in pieces. The spines were broken and ripped, pages were loose and the cover was ripped (hardcover, not paperback). He was the first one to check the books out
    Also, be careful what you use as a bookmark. Anything too thick will damage the book. One library got a book back with a piece of balogna in it for a bookmark..
    My DH may pick up a book I’m reading, but not often. We share books on tape all the time. He spends more time in the care than I do, so he is always passing me If I start first. He doesn’t get much of chance to read, so the books I’m reading are for the most part safe. The thing that bugs me though is if he has finished a book, he’ll make comments about it and spoil it for me. I do not read the end first or peak to see what will happen.

  11. Leona says:

    I admit I will pick up a book my husband is reading. However, I am a much faster reader than he is and he leaves his books lying around face OPEN! As I result, I end up grabbing them, remembering a page number (I can never find bookmarks, even the ones I make!) and putting it on his night stand. This leads to me reading the back of the book and if it’s interesting, I’ll read it. Most of the time, he doesn’t even know I’ve read it until I tell him LOL. He’s mad I lost his page. I tell him he cannot leave the books that way because it ruins the spine and we can’t affortd to replace them.

    I volunteered at a library like 15 years ago and part of my job was repairing books. I don’t remember all the specifics on how, but I remember how hard it was to keep up on the repair jobs.

    I also read my books in the tub and I had my books categorized, but my family can’t handle putting them back right, so now they are seperated. Books I will kill you over if you take without asking and don’t put back and books that should be fairly easy to get copies of from used bookstores. Although NOONE touches my signed copies. πŸ™‚

    I used to lend out books, but I’m missing the first six Laurel K Hamiltons (some of them the original printings and covers) because someone I loaned them to loaned them out GRRRR

  12. Jane George says:

    I don’t dog ear or peek at the end.
    But I do read in the tub!

  13. My husband and I are very tough on books. We dog-ear them, take them in the tub, share indiscriminately with others, steal from one another, and pile them haphazardly on our many bookshelves.

    Our theory is that if we really love a book, and it somehow gets lost or destroyed, we’ll buy another copy. Supporting the arts, and all. πŸ˜‰

    (On a separate note, I now do most of my reading on a Kindle, which I lovingly named Precious. And I treat Precious with the utmost of care.)

  14. Jane Austen, I have my books catalogued on LibraryThing and I love it. I don’t everything on it yet, but since I started every new book that comes into the house gets entered on LibraryThing. I put one of those tiny stars teachers give out on the spine of the books that I enter so they don’t get mixed up with the ones I haven’t done yet. I like LibraryThing because I can access it when I am in a bookstore to make sure I don’t buy something I already have!

  15. Dana says:

    My husband and I have an unspoken rule to never interfere in each other’s TBR piles. It’s just unthinkable. πŸ™‚

    I am definitely in the bookmark camp. I like collecting them. Unfortunately, the cats are a little too interested in the ones with fringe and tassels.

    As for reading the end, I’ll do it if I have a suspicion that the author is going to end the story in such an infuriating way that the book is a danger to my drywall. I can’t stand to invest hundreds of pages of time in reading a book and find out that the hero and heroine are both dead at the end. Yes, it has happened, and the book was clearly marked as romance on the spine. If I trust the author not to do something like that, I try not to read the end. πŸ™‚

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