Our house, as you might guess, is filled with books. We have half a dozen bookshelves scattered throughout the house. They are mostly large and they are full. We also have piles of books we’re reading all over the place. When something becomes that big of a part of your life, you tend to get kind of quirky about it. So, here are our book/reading quirks:
Cate and I have separate bookshelves. She has refused to mingle the two. She refuses because I have a special, glass enclosed bookshelf my dad made. I keep my very favorite books on this shelf. It is referred to as “the good shelf.” Cate won’t let our books mingle because she doesn’t want her books mixing with what she calls my rejects.
My organizational quirks don’t stop there, though. There is the good shelf, of course, but in general, my books are separated into categories: Fiction, Literary Nonfiction, Information Nonfiction, Poetry, Unread. Cate is much simpler. She pulls out only her women’s studies books and her unread books. Everything else goes together in a wild, alphabetical free-for-all.
In the past, when I’ve given my students reading time, I read with them. I used a note card as a bookmark and when I spotted someone not reading, I wrote their name down on the card. I still use note cards for bookmarks, but they now have totally random lists on them. I currently have three in the rotation. One is a list of journals I mean to send stories to, one is the set list from the last Richard Thompson concert I went to, and one is the working reading list for my upcoming AP class.
Cate has lately taken to using paint swatches from Home Depot. She may or may not try hard to make sure the color on her bookmark compliments the cover of the book.
I subscribe to more magazines than I can really manage to read, and I’m always behind. I tend to go through week-long binges when I’ll read two issues of National Geographic, three issues of The New Yorker, and an issue or two of Harper’s.
Cate and I often read more than one book at a time, but I’ll confess that, unless one of the books is for a class I’m teaching (and thus has a set reading schedule) I’m incapable of really reading more than one work of fiction at a time. I get too sucked in and have to finish. I can do fiction and nonfiction concurrently, however.
I’m now going to give away one of Cate’s secrets: Her “what I’m reading” list is more a list of books she intends to read soon than of books she is actively reading. I’ve seen her have six or eight books on a list when I know she’s only cracked two or three of them. I think it’s equivalent to the book queues I give myself in that it helps her make sure she gets to certain things.
Do you have any reading quirks?