My Reading Rules

my reading rules

This Book Riot post made me start thinking about my reading rules and what they say about me.

1. Never crack the spine.

When I was in middle school, I had a friend who would grab the brand-new paperback I was reading out of my hands and crack the spine. It was horrifying. I don’t mind if it’s a used paperback that already has a cracked spine. But keep your hands off my new books!

The thing is, I do like reading used books and library books. But when I spend money to buy a book, or the book comes to me with an uncracked spine, I treat it nicely. I want it to stay pretty for as long as possible!

2. Never read the last page first.

Somehow I always feel like it’s a huge spoiler, even if the last few lines aren’t going to make sense because I haven’t even started the book.

3. Never dog-ear the pages!

As a librarian, this is a total pet peeve. I’d rather use a square of (unused) toilet paper to mark my place in a book than dog-ear the pages.

These reading rules are all starting to sound negative, so here’s a few positive ones:

4. Always finish the book

Okay, I can’t say this is a 100% rule. But I make a valiant effort. It takes a lot for me to DNF a book, and a lot of times it has more to do with it being due back to the library with a hold list meaning I can’t immediately check it back out and continue reading. I can think of at least 2 books that I continued reading despite having to return it and wait at least 2 weeks (for one of them, it was 2 months!).

5. Pass it along

This was the rule I used to whittle down my book collection. If I don’t plan to read it again (or, if it isn’t special in some way), I donate it. I’ve donated books to libraries, Goodwill, Better World Books, Salvation Army, and Savers. I’ve passed books along to readers who I think would enjoy them. I’ve resold books online.

My purpose in this rule is that words have power, and those words have no power sitting on a dusty shelf in my house. So I pass them along to someone out there who might need them.

6. Write reviews of every book I read

I love Goodreads, which I use personally to remind myself of what a book is about and how I felt about it. This was after years of keeping a list that was in reading order but helped me in no other way (I was still reading books more than once, not remembering anything about the story, and I couldn’t keep track of series this way). Once I started self-publishing, I realized how important reviews were to indie authors, and later, to fanfic writers and writers on Wattpad. Leaving a review or comment is the digital equivalent to word of mouth, and it can hugely help writers – not only by spreading the word, but providing some encouragement.

7. Organize the home library

I have a loose organizational system for my books, mostly so I can find them when I need them. My signed editions are in alphabetical order, with those I haven’t yet read in a separate stack. My Owlcrate books are all together, separated by read and unread. My comic books are together, my writing how-to books are together, and my favorite books are in two separate places. My unread books are either on my nightstand bookshelves or on my bookcart.

All of these “collections” are necessitated by not having a bookcase big enough to hold them all. My dream home would have a huge set of bookshelves with a ladder, but I think my collections would be similar – I couldn’t just alphabetize every book I own. I would still want my signed editions separate (the signed OwlCrate editions would be integrated) and to have a separate place for all the books I hadn’t read yet.

What do these rules say about me?

Not sure if they say much more than that I love and respect books in my own, librarian-ish way. Do your reading rules differ from mine? What do you think these rules say about me?

2 thoughts on “my reading rules

    • Kate says:

      I hate dog-eared pages!! I usually don’t highlight or underline, but I have… It’s usually only in nonfiction books where I’m trying to learn something or plan to reference later. If I like a quote, I write it down instead of marking up the book! (I do like how when you read on Kindle you can see notes and underlines, and it’s fun to find those in a used book sometimes… but I don’t like to do it myself…)

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