Book Buying Addicts Anonymous discussion

Funny Reading Quirks

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message 1: by Amanda (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:30PM) (new)

Amanda | 2 comments Does anyone have any weird reading quirks? They don't have to be totally off the wall, but I'm kind of curious to see what other people like to do. I have several of them, one being that if I'm reading multiple books, I'll pick a day and I'll set my alarm at half hour intervals, then I'll switch between the two books. Nerdy? I think so...but it works for me. I'm also collecting bookmarks. What are some other quirks that are out there?

message 2: by ScottK (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

ScottK I save all my "fake" credit cards ( you know the ones that they send you when they are trying to get you to apply that are made out of cardboard) If your lucky you can also get one from Gieco.Not really a quirk but you mentioned book marks so I thought I'd chime in. Also I got a deck of really fancy playing cards with pretty pictures,I picked a few of those to use as book marks as well.

message 3: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) Not sure if this is a quirk, but I have a pile of books on my modem and they are arranged in the order I want to read them. Sometimes I rearrange them.

message 4: by Meredith (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Meredith Watson | 37 comments I have a thing about bookmarks, too. I have several but then I'll use a recent card I got in the mail or a recent snapshot. I change up bookmarks when I change books, ha. Another quirk is to change genres. For example, if I read a chicklit, then the next book has to be something really different, like true crime. I almost always do this.

message 5: by ScottK (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

ScottK I also change bookmarks with each book,too funny ...and I can not read 2 books by the same author in a row even if it's a series, I take a break and then come back to it. (that's kinda quirky I think.)

message 6: by Melissa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Melissa (melissaharl) I'm with you, brother.

message 7: by Beate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Beate (beate73) | 2 comments I always need to be reading atleast 3 books, and I always read them according to mood. I'd be bored silly if I'd have to stick to just one book. Also, when breaking the spines of pocketbooks, I have to do so at a new chapter. Never in the middle of one. Weird?

message 8: by Christina (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Christina | 6 comments I share the loathing of breaking the spines. I hate the sound of it really.
I cannot read with the television going. I have to go in another room that is quiet or with music. I can even manage to read while someone is playing a video game. It is only with the television on that I cannot completely immerse myself in what I am reading.

message 9: by Melissa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Melissa Sarker (haphazardkid) | 4 comments I never use book marks. I just look at the page number I'm at and say the number out loud and close the book. I can remember it for months because I'm always switching what I read. I read anywhere to three to six books at the same time.

I also listen to music while I read so some songs sort of become anthems for some books. Usually they don't make any sense but if I hear the song I want to read the book or if I read the book I want to hear the song.

I don't finish a lot of books or series. I always stop at the last chapter or last book of a series. I only do it for the ones I really enjoy. I hate the feeling of finishing them and knowing there's no more so I put it off.

I hate getting hardbacks. I ruin them. ;_; My attention span goes only for the words so I never pay attention to what's happening to the *book*. I have to take the sleeves off too- cause I suck. :(

message 10: by Judub (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Judub | 11 comments I don't use book marks either. And I can always find where I left off the last time I read. Others are always amazed considering that I usually read two or three books at the same time

The other "quirk" I have is that sometimes I go ahead read the last chapter of the book after I am 1/3 into it. It is maybe like cardinal sin of reading especially since most of the books I read are mysteries. But I can't help it!

message 11: by Gail (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Gail Oh, I've done that. And people get so irritated: "You cheated!" What? Is this a contest? I read for myself; if I want to know what happened because my tolerance for suspense has lessened over the years (I guess I'm afraid the old heart might give out or something), who cares? I don't usually do it with mysteries, though.
I also collect bookmarks; I'm especially fond of the little "bookthongs" that seem like jewelery for books. I usually actually use the little book dart things, though.

message 12: by ScottK (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

ScottK I agree with the whole you cheated thing ....its not like you a cheating anyone but yourself and if you don't mind then more power to ya. I have actually been known, not to read the last chapter, but to skim through further than I have read ...sometimes I find out things that I should have waited for but, oh well.I usually try to forget it before I really get to that point. Not that it works ....I'm just sayin'.

message 13: by Michelle (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Michelle (literarilyspeaking1) My weird quirk is a carryover from my English degree, but I have this overwhelming urge to always mark in and make notes in books. I know some people would fall over dead about my doing this (especially those who don't like to break the spines), but I like the idea that I can always know where to find certain key sections or ideas if I want to refer back to them at other times.

Plus, it's the same concept I keep with my house: What's the point of having it if it doesn't look like it's being used or lived in? I would rather people read my books and see all my notes, which may help enhance the experience for them, than have a person open the book and wonder if I've even read it before.

Just my weird take on the world.

message 14: by ScottK (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

ScottK GASP!!!! writing in books!!!!! < Falling over Dead >

message 15: by Meiso (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Meiso | 5 comments In recent years, when I encounter a word I don't know, I can't seem to continue reading on until I look it up.

This quirk has only led to a lot of frustration because it breaks my focus on the subject matter of the book. I've often wished that I had the time to compile or access to an already-compiled vocabulary list of unknown words for each book I read before I start it. This way, after studying it, I could read through the book uninterrupted by my compulsive need to open a dictionary.

What does everyone else usually do when they have no idea what a word is (i.e. can't guess from its roots, etc.)?

message 16: by Darren (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Darren | 42 comments I'm such a compulsive reader that I will read whenever I can find time. Even to the point that I read whilst walking to work. My workmates can't understand how I can manage to read and not walk into lampposts and trees but somehow I manage it. At the moment, my life is so busy and hectic that the train and walk to work is the only time I get to read.

Another thing that's not so much a quirk, but my mates can't seem to understand, is if I buy a book and I haven't read the one that came out before, then I will have to put it to one side till I've read the previous. Sort of have to read the series in sequence and not jump around.

message 17: by Helen Tanaka (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Helen Tanaka | 2 comments I completely agree with Michelle! I still have the urge to highlight and make notes in the margins of my books. Occupational hazard of being an English major. I have, however, limited myself to marking only in the nonfiction books I intend to keep. I actually have a highlighter in my purse. I think it's an illness. :-D

message 18: by peg (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

peg (mcicutti) | 24 comments Like some of you, I also suffer from a bookmark fettish. I like to use interesting postcards containing art work and quirky photography that may or may not pertain to the book I am reading.Sometimes I treat myself to a postcard on display near the check out line in the bookstore.

I also like to tear the perfume sample strips out of magazines to use as bookmarks.That way I get a little aromatherapy every time I open the book I am reading:-D

Here's a funny story. A few years ago I used a blank check from a bank that had gone out of business for a bookmark. I later "loaned" the book to a friend of mine not realizing that the check was still in the book. Several years after that I received a letter in the mail from a stranger and my blank check was enclosed in the letter.The person who sent the letter was concerned about the check until his wife reminded him that the bank no longer existed.The sender thought that it was funny that the blank check had been circling the globe and decided to return it unsigned to its rightful owner. In his letter he went on to say how much he enjoyed the book. Incidently,the book was The Red Tent. I found it ironic that my book and check had wandered from place to place like the nomadic people in the novel! Sadly, my book was never returned. I wonder where it is now.

That is the last time I ever loaned a book to that particular friend. After she read The Red Tent, she donated several of my books to her local library assuming that I didn't want them back.The books were then sold by the library:(

By the way,I bought a book thong yesterday.

message 19: by peg (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

peg (mcicutti) | 24 comments Meiso - I have a dictionary on my Palm pilot that I carry at all times.It has served me well in life!

message 20: by Llama (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Llama Castillo | 34 comments Quirks, let me count the ways ... I use almost anything as bookmarks, like Scottk, i use the fake credit cards i get in the mail. I do have real bookmarks but those usually get designated to a specific book. ex - star wars book markers for star wars books only or if a friend gave me a book and bookmarker it stays in that book.
I have to read more than one book at a time. I usually am readin a scifi, a classic, a fantasy, a teen/childrens story, devotional, historical and maybe a bio all at once. The book one may find in my hand at any given moment depends on what i am in the mood for, so i always carry at least 2-3 books with me throughout the day.
Another quirk, I always read the first then the last sentence in a book when i begin to read it. I don't know when I started doing this but it is now a habit. I like to judge whether or not to buy a book based on reading those two sentences as well.
yeah, I know i have more quirks than this but i don't want to be on here all day ... my books await.

message 21: by peg (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

peg (mcicutti) | 24 comments I often thought that it would be great to be able to read with music in the background but I can't do it. I can block out any other type of noise but if I am trying to read where there is music I always wind up closing my book and listening to the music. I have tried to do some serious reading in bookstores in the past, settling down with my book and a cup of coffee only to be distracted by the music in the store. More than once I have left the store and gone somewhere else to read.Maybe it is because I am a musician that music and books seem to compete for my attention. Now and then I also have to stop reading when I am tempted to listen in on a near-by conversation,at which point I pretend to read:)

Yep. We all have our quirks!

message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Can't think of much but definitely will not listen to an audio book that I intend on reading. Also, packing several books when traveling when the one I am reading will clearly last me for the trip.

message 23: by Sean (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Sean Little (seanpatricklittle) | 17 comments I carry a book with me everywhere, even if I'm going someplace where I know I won't be able to read. I take one to the movies and I sit on the side of the theater, under one of the sconces until the movie starts, then I move to the middle of the theater. Sometimes, when I'm really bored, I go to the mall and sit in the food court and read just so I won't feel alone. When I'm reading something really good, I will purposely ignore my wife when she speaks. I'm also usually reading 3-4 books at any given moment. Right now, I have a fantasy novel going, a police procedural, a graphic novel, and I'm reading a YA novel to my daughter.

message 24: by ScottK (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

ScottK I can't read with music on either ....I just stare blankly at the pages and listen to the music, and even though I take a book to the Dr. to read in the waiting room I hate to read when other peole are in there cuz they always talk really loud and distract me. And, like Jeremy, I too take 3 or 4 books with me on a trip even if I have just started one that I know will "Get me through".

message 25: by Foxthyme (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Foxthyme | 48 comments When I'm holding a book in my hand and I don't know whether to buy it or not, I'll flip it open to pages randomly and read a sentence or two. If the writing doesn't catch me, back on the shelf it goes. Then if I'm unsure...maybe I just read some bad sentences, I'll flip through once or twice more. No resonation, no read.

Meiso, I hate that too, somehow end up with those words rolling around my head. What did that mean exactly. If my computer's on I'll run over and use my dictionary dashboard widget (apple). It's often too interuptus to go through the hardcopy dictionary.

When it comes to marking up books, I'll tenatively use pencil, most often just using the inside cover to mark interesting tidbits with their page numbers. I do this rarely.

I've found I absolutely cannot read a book with highlighting or underlining in it. It drives me mad.

message 26: by Melissa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Melissa Sarker (haphazardkid) | 4 comments Ooo. I read the last chapter or paragraph too sometimes.

Especially when I'm at the bookstore and I can't decide if I want the book or not I'll flip to the back and if reads good then I'll usually buy it.

Also if I get half way through the book and I'm really invested in some of the characters then I check the ending to make sure they lived. I *hate* being caught off guard by a death. T_T

message 27: by Renee (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Renee My biggest quirk: I need to read away from home...away from my family! I need to be in a place where no one needs me for anything for an hour or 2!

Other quirky needs:
I need something hot and cold to drink...snacks are good but they could distract me. I have to put my cell phone on silent or I will listen to my messages or read/send text messages. The places to read - coffee shops, bookstores, my front porch. Never in bed - rarely make it past the 3rd page!

message 28: by peg (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

peg (mcicutti) | 24 comments I can't stand reading a book that is ruined by someone else's markings and highlighting.

message 29: by Lori (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Lori (tnbbc) As far as Quirks for me, Mine are pretty straight foward. If a series sounds good, I will buy all of them at once (If its more than a trilogy.. I wont buy more than three books at a time, i get readers anxiety then, and a pain in the checkbook too) and read then nonstop from first to last.... And I tend to not pick up a series until I think it is done being written. I hate waiting a yr for the next one to come out and then having to reread the ones prior just to get back up to speed.

When determining to purchase a book, I have to be able to read a little of it to make sure I like the writing. I do this one of two ways. I will try to find it online ( and read a sample chapter, or I will go to Borders and pick it up. If the first few pages dont grab me, It gets shelved again. If I can manage a whole page without losing interest or skimming, then I buy it. The only difficult part of all this is when a book is out of print and can only be purchased online ..... I chew my nails and do some serious headbanging before buying online if i cannot read a little of it first. I hate buying duds... You have no idea how many times Ive been burned by purchasing something because it sounds really intriguing and then it sucks from line one!

I will not loan out books unless you live close enough for me to walk to your front door and demand it back when you are through. I buy everything I read, I havent used a library since I was in school. I have this inner pride -- I want people to come to my house and go Holy Shit you have a lot of books, did you read them all? And I like to know that it is there if I ever get the urge to reread it again. Theres nothgin worse than having an urge to read something and to not have it handy to do so.

message 30: by Doina (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Doina | 58 comments A few quirks, hmmmm....

Like Lori, I tend to buy all the books in a series (no matter how long it is-althoug I usually try to limit myself to no more that 10 books per series at a time, considering that I buy several series at once). If I find out that I bought a book that is not the first, I can't very rarely read it unless I buy and read all the books from the start up until that particular book.

I use the local county library a lot, but I rarely borrow a book, because I know that if I like a book I will have to buy it anyway. And I have to be able to read an excerpt before I buy, because if I don't like the writing style of the author I can't read the book.

And most times, I have to have music playing in the background, or some noise around me. I can't really read (or sleep) in complete silence.

I never lend out books, because I have lost too many that way. I will go out and buy a book that someone wants to borrow to give it to them rather than lend it. There is only one, maybe two friends that are an exception to that rule.

message 31: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:35PM) (new)

Laura Ok, well I haven't seen this one come up. Like the other English majors out there, I write all over my books a lot (horrors!) but only when they're for school or if they're paperbacks. I also buy a lot of pricey hardcovers and wouldn't touch those with a pen / highlighter if my life depended on it . . . cracking spines also gives me the heebie-geebies. But in addition to annotating my books - or not - I cover them with little sticky tabs. The Barnes and Noble employees have gotten mad at me for only coming in to buy those "Hold That Thought" bookmarks with an array of multi-colored sticky tabs stuck on them. Usually, I use a specific color for a certain theme/character/passage, but by the end of a book, so many pages have been tabbed that I can't keep them straight anymore! I've been trying to ween myself off of them, but it's almost impossible.

message 32: by Mike (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:39PM) (new)

Mike As quirks go: stick of chewing gum bookmarks, spearmint works. Every few years I stop buying books, try to save money, and go to the library. I check out a book and then only read a few pages before the due date. Having a due date makes reading that book like having to clean out the garage. I can’t read unless it’s my book to accidently spill coffee on or leave those little orange fingerprints from eating Cheetos. When I visit a new house, I check the layout for the best reading location. If the house has a library room it makes me incredibly envious. I want people to go to Lori’s house and say “Holy Shit you have a lot of books…” and then come over to my house and say “Winner!”, even though I’ve never met her or talked to her and I’m sure she’s very nice and all and there’s no reason to be competitive, there are plenty of books out there for everyone….

message 33: by Rachael (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:39PM) (new)

Rachael | 23 comments I always have to take a book with me to work. Even if I don't get a chance to read it, I still have to have it with me. Anytime, I go on vacation, I have to take a book with me. Even if I don't get the chance to read it, I still have to have it with me.

message 34: by J.R. (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:41PM) (new)

J.R. Randle (jrrandle) | 14 comments Collecting bookmarks is one of my main quirks! It absolutley irritates me to see people using sticky notes, or odd pieces of paper in place of proper bookmarks. With many choices of unique or decorative...bookthong or traditional bookmarks, I must have a new one for every new book that I purchase.

My second quirk is to read a book of a different genre from the previous title I've completed. Once I'm finished reading a James Patterson novel I look towards reading a more inspirational or literary choice.

Third, like Raelynne, I must carry a book with me at all times.

message 35: by Jackie "the Librarian" (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:41PM) (new)

Jackie "the Librarian" I'm a librarian, so my quirk is that I rarely buy a book I haven't already read. I don't want to end up with a dud! It doesn't keep me from buying too many books, though.
I also remove the covers from hardbacks while reading them - they make my fingers feel sweaty, ick.
I don't need to ever buy any bookmarks. Ever. Something about being a librarian makes people think that the perfect gift for me must be a bookmark!
I can't stand to read books that have been previously read by a smoker. And that is why I never buy from paperback book exchanges.

message 36: by Lori (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:42PM) (new)

Lori (tnbbc) Mike... Haa haa... I take it you have quite an impressive collection of books? Mine are all stuffed into three different book shelves. We barely have room to live in this house as it is, with all our normal "being alive" clutter and the kids toys and whatnot, I actually have books stacked two and three deep, the poor book shelves are bursting from the wieght..... (Sigh)... It would be so nice to find a cheap ole house with huge ole library room, a cozy little fireplace in there, surrounded by shelves and shelves of all my favorite books.... (Ouch! I had to pinch myself, I'm pretty sure I was just dreaming) But for now, I guess Ill have to suffer the embarrassment of being in second place, yeah?

message 37: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:42PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I am a little OCD when it comes to reading series. I have to read them in order (if I accidentally get one that's part of a series, I stop reading it and go out and buy the books that come before it). I also like to re-read series books before a new one comes out. If I read a book that's part of a series and I don't particularly like it, I usually finish the series anyway because I feel I have to.

I love to read a book right before a movie version comes out. Sometimes I never go see the movie, but knowing it's out there makes me want to read the book.

Christina, I can't read with the TV on either, but have no problem reading with a video game or music in the background.

I have trouble reading at cafes because I end up people watching instead and I get distracted from my book.

message 38: by Michelle (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:42PM) (new)

Michelle (literarilyspeaking1) I look up the words, too. I don't get as great of definitions now that I no longer have access to the OED online...

message 39: by Recynd (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:43PM) (new)

Recynd Like many of you, I can't concentrate with music (with or without lyrics) or the TV on; TV's the worst, because of the flickering movement, but really, both are impossible. I can read in public, but I've never been able to attain that "settled in" feeling I long for unless I'm alone and someplace I can really relax. I could never read on the bus (when I lived where I rode the bus, that is) because I was always worried I might miss my stop; similarly, I can't read at the carwash (even if I know I've got at least 10 minutes before the car's dried), because I might not see the guy waving the towel at me. Lame, I know.

I won't break the binding of "nice" books (hardcover or the over-sized "soft" covered books) or ever dog-ear the pages, but I freely manhandle the cheap (trade?) paperbacks in ways that range from minor indignities to major disfigurements.

Lori: You described my dream-house beautifully. Last year, I finally got a built-in wall unit that can house some of my books in a manner which befits them, but I'd need four more to hold them all...

This is where one of my quirks comes in: I LOVE to arrange my books (though it would be far more satisfying if I had more room); I love to touch them, line them up by genre, alphabetically, by size, whatever...depending on my mood. I shuffle books in and out of view. I stack, re-stack, and replace. It's like a compulsion...but one I'd never banish.

Finally, another quirk I have is that I have to read the author's acknowledgements and/or any forward or introduction BEFORE starting the text. If I don't, I can't concentrate...I feel like I'm not ready, or something.

message 40: by Don (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:44PM) (new)

Don (donfoolery) | 27 comments My writing quirks are related. One of them is the fact that I've only read six novels in the past four years; the rest have been mostly short story collections with the occasional book of collected nonfiction or poetry.

The other being that when I do read a novel--usually something under, say, 250 pages--I devour it. I stay up late, I read it at mealtimes, I don't read anything else, watch TV, or write anything. I don't even think about it. I start a book, and the next thing I know it's four days later and I've finished. It's the closest I get to lost time.

message 41: by pop (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:45PM) (new)

pop I don't care to have the TV on, but can stand music if I like the music. I can read anywhere the quality of the book determines how involved I get in it. My favorite places are on the overstuffed couch where I have installed good reading lights, or cozy in bed where I also have good lights set up.

My writing habits vary, generally i like it quiet, but can write with music playing, I find the flickering of the TV too distracting. Of course since I use a desktop to do it, theres only one place I write.

message 42: by pop (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:45PM) (new)

pop NOTE TO ENGLISH MAJORS: Don't buy or read my books, I purposely ignore many of the silly rules.

message 43: by Mike (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:46PM) (new)

Mike Lori, one look at the top 50 readers on goodreads-wow…puts 1st place in perspective…maybe someday. You nailed the library room except you forgot the big window with the window seats like my grandparents’ house had. I want it to be as warm, comfortable and inviting as Bilbo’s place in The Hobbit. Like yours, my books are doubled up on a set of bookshelves in one of the boys’ bedroom. But he’s off to college, so I can replace his collections of Goosebumps, Animorphs, etc and unpack some more book boxes from the garage. I share Recynd’s passion for organizing, arranging and just having the books at hand. My problem is I pick up an old favorite and start reading instead of organizing and never complete the job.

message 44: by Jenna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Jenna (jentobox) | 4 comments I write notes in my books, highlight passages and quotes, add definitions to words I'm not familiar with. A lot of people freak out when they realze I'm writing in these beautiful books but its a habit I learned from watching Gilmore Girls.
"Jess vandalized your book?"
"No, no. Mark Twain wrote notes in his books too."
Something like that...anyone know what I'm talking about? Well, that's my quirk.

message 45: by Jennifer (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:09PM) (new)

Jennifer | 4 comments I also am a GG fan and I too, have gotten the habit of writing in the margins. In college, they scoffed and looked down upon you as basically an idiot if you didn't, so I started it then and I do so now as well. Not in the new fictions, but mostly the classics and what not. I also highlight references to other works. I love it when authors put sly little things from other works in there...maybe that's why I love GG, I get the references!

message 46: by Meirav (new)

Meirav Rath | 13 comments My mother's habit of reading while eating rubbed off on me. I think I owe my taste for books to that habit, since many good books drew me into addiction by the need to read something while eating. Then there's reading on the bus and train, which is an absolute must.
I have to break the spines of the books I have, since I feel it's my way of marking the book as read, that it's been used as it should be. I know people hate breaking spines but to me, it's just a weird obsession XD.

message 47: by Fenixbird (last edited Dec 27, 2007 06:17AM) (new)

Fenixbird SandS | 56 comments Hi..I share Beate of Norway's habit of reading multiple books simultaneously..a little bit of 1 here.. another perhaps at bedtime on a particularly wonderful day! etc (Uh hmm..and I know I am not alone in that habit!)

As a returning college student what I mainly do besides work, study & READ! Here is a poem I shared with Scottk because of his "GASP" over someone actually writing IN A BOOK!! Perhaps Michelle & Helen can relate?!?


Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
"Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!"
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs. Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
"Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love." "
— Billy Collins

Cheers to your health, Wings to your prayers,
Cinnamon in your coffee & Treasures everywhere!
Phoenix, Arizona

message 48: by Susan (new)

Susan (whathuh) I have always had several books going at once, and my husband has pointed out that I have "location" books. There is the book that "lives" on the end-table near the sofa- which I read when I am there. There is a book on the lamp table next to my side of the bed - the reading myself to sleep book. I have a paperback in my bag, for reading while waiting for appointments, etc. In the summer, there will also be a "screenporch" book. As I complete them, new books take up the location. Oh, and there is the kitchen table book, and at least one in his car that I can read while he is driving. I have a "Playaway" in my car, (currently listening to "a midsummer nights dream" back and forth to work- in a bookstore. I love Playaways! I would recommend their website to you all - they are ridiculously inexpensive,(compared to audiobooks) easier to handle than CD's for long drives, and require a $20 little adapter for use in your car. You don't even need to have a cd or cassette player. The "bookmark" feature is the best. (oops, long-post burst of fandom, sorry)

message 49: by Liz (new)

Liz | 3 comments I read the last chapter too. i usually read the last chapter first-before i even start the book if i like the back cover

message 50: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cookiejarprincess) I never use a bookmark. I have several but I tend to dogear my pages. *gasp* Sometimes I'll use a receipt or other random slip of paper but mostly it's the dogear. I also break the spines. I love the sound of a paperback spine cracking.

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