'How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare that after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.' No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement. — from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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June 1, 2010

Reading Habits

I've been discovering some new reading blogs (new to me, I mean), written by kindred reading-spirits, and this meme has cropped on several of them (including this one and this one).  I liked the questions (I liked their answers, too) and it's a good way to introduce myself. 

Do you snack while you read?
Yes, but I try (unsuccessfully) not to. Mindless eating is so bad. If so, what is your favorite reading snack? Buttered toast.

What is your favorite drink while reading?
Tea (usually hot milky, iced when it’s too hot weatherwise).

Do you tend to mark your books while you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I don’t tend to, but I don’t have a strong feeling against it.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book open flat?
Bookmarks…I collect things to use (postcards, actual bookmarks, etc.) I do leave books open flat, over the back of the couch, though I know I shouldn’t.

Fiction, nonfiction, or both?
Both, intertwined.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
Anywhere, though I sometimes try to read to the end of the chapter for a natural breaking point. Sometimes that matters more than at other times.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
No. Reading makes me feel calm.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
Not always, but I like to. I’ll then sometimes record the word (with or without its definition) in my reading notebook. Last one noted: riverine. After 45 years of avid reading, I like still being able to find a word I’ve never seen before.

What are you currently reading?
Dearest cousin Jane, by Jill Pitkeathley; Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell (so good!); Julia Child, by Laura Shapiro.

What is the last book you bought?
Jane’s Fame: how Jane Austen conquered the world, by Claire Hardiman.

Do you have a favorite time/place to read?
I do 99.9% of my reading in the window-side corner of my very comfortable old couch. Time – whenever I can. Sunday afternoons in winter, especially.

Do you prefer series books or stand-alones?
For mysteries, series books, unquestionably. Finding out what’s going to happen to Lynley and Havers, Duncan and Gemma, Richard Jury, and my other favorite characters is really why I read them.

{I hope the author of Bookish NYC, the blog from which I copied these questions, won’t mind if I quote from her answer, because she said this so well… ‘I do…love discovering a series after several books have already been published. This is what happened, for example, with Donna Leon's Inspector Brunetti series set in Venice. I didn't start reading this series until there were already about ten books and then I devoured them one after the other. What a enjoyable few weeks of reading THAT was!’ (I love this series too, and I have often discovered a new series this way!) }

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
Jane Austen, Laurie Colwin, Deborah Crombie, Elizabeth George, Martha Grimes, Elinor Lipman, Mameve Medwed, Barbara Pym, Cathleen Schine, Angela Thirkell…

How do you organize your books (by genre, title, author's last name, etc.)?
I have six bookshelves (two sets of two, and two stand-alone). In my study/guest room: 1. Fiction and mysteries, mixed together, alphabetically by author’s last name (I’d never find them otherwise). 2. Biographies, literature, spillover fiction (biographies by subject, literature by author). Travel books piled on top. 3. Cookbooks (random); cooking magazines in magazine holders. 4. Arts and crafts books, reference books, professional reading, small paperbacks (of all kinds); poetry. This shelf keeps me from feeling overly organized. Next to the kitchen: tall, narrow, very sturdy, very pretty blue bookshelf (bought for this spot and custom-finished) with the rest of my cookbooks, and some ceramics/pottery. 5. Small painted shelf (artsy piece) next to my dining room table, with food writing and travel writing (Frances Mayes and others). A few books usually scattered in other places. I want to live in a space with books everywhere.

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