Reading Rules


reading photo
Photo by Moyan_Brenn

A three-year-old Book Riot post with a clickbait-y title came across my radar this morning. While I didn’t learn anything about my personality based on my reading rules, I did start thinking about just what those rules are, exactly. I think most people have reading rules. It could be certain kinds of books you read or won’t read. It could be how you treat a book. It could be whether or not you re-read books and what you re-read. It could be how your ratings system works. At any rate, these are my own special reading tics, and I guess you could call them rules if you want.

  1. I don’t dog-ear pages. I am trying to promote reading in my classes, and one of my students borrowed The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. And he dog-eared the pages. I was horrified when I saw it. It took a lot of self-control not to react, but I didn’t. After all, I did donate the book to my classroom library. But now I might need to have to buy a pristine copy for myself.
  2. I always have a few books going. My mood strikes differently. Sometimes I want to listen, and sometimes I want to be on my iPad and not in paper book. Sometimes I want to read a paper book. For that reason, I usually have at least three books going all the time, one in each format. Often more.
  3. I review pretty much everything I read here, and I rate it, too. I have done this for the last decade at least. I find I remember the books better if I reflect on them a bit before moving on to the next. Had Goodreads been around before I started this blog, I”m not sure this blog would exist. However, now that it’s established, I don’t want to move everything over to Goodreads. That said, I don’t like the Goodreads rating system. I have devised my own rating system instead. I still use stars, but my stars mean different things.
  4. I prefer paperbacks or e-books to hardcovers. I just find them difficult to hold. I don’t fold over my paperbacks or anything, but if a book is not available in paperback, I will try to get it in e-book or wait rather than get it in hardcover. The exceptions to this rule are special collectors books.
  5. I don’t like to break the spines in my books. Sometimes it happens with the cheaper ones.
  6. I don’t like stopping in the middle of a chapter. Sometimes it is unavoidable. If a book has really long chapters or worse, no chapters, it’s probably going to lose at least a star in its rating for me because it has inconvenienced me as a reader and possibly required me to break this reading rule.
  7. I re-read whatever and whenever I feel like it, and I don’t worry about it. I count those books as reads for whatever challenges I am doing as well because I see no reason why they shouldn’t count.
  8. I really prefer reading longer books on my Kindle. They are easier for me to get through that way. I am very sad that Citizens is not available for Kindle. It will take me forever to read.
  9. I give myself permission to stop reading books that are not grabbing me. I don’t have a hard and fast rule about how long I give it before I stop. Mainly, I play it by ear. But I never force myself to finish a book that is not working for me, and I think that is a rule everyone should follow. I helped a student out with this rule earlier this year. I think he was grateful. It might surprise some folks that kids might not understand you don’t have to finish a book just because you started it, but it’s true. I am, of course, excluding class reads from this rule. However (shh… don’t tell), if I kid doesn’t finish a required text for class, well, they missed out on a good book. I don’t get mad at them about it. I hope they’ll pick it up later when they are ready, and the choice likely means they will do poorly on some reading quizzes and writing assignments, but that’s their call. I don’t see any reason to flog a kid over it. I think (sadly) that I am unusual in this regard, and I think that’s how and why we create adults who don’t read.
  10. I don’t worry about what anyone thinks about my reading. I read what I want. If people judge others for reading, then they’re book snobs, and they are not worth my time. The most important rule I have about reading is that everyone should read. They should read what they want to read and not apologize.

Do you have any reading rules? I know some folks disagree with a few of mine, and ultimately, the thing I care about most is that people do their reading thing and don’t feel judged for it.


3 thoughts on “Reading Rules

  1. I don’t like stopping in the middle of a chapter either. The only times I will is if I absolutely have to take care of something (like the kid) or if I just can’t possibly stay awake until the end of the chapter.
    I’m also with you on the book care ones — no dogearing, no spine breaking. I once gave a boxed set of books to my brother after I had read them and he called me to make sure that I meant to give them to him because they didn’t look like they had been read yet.
    Other than those, I am trying to change back to my old rule of allowing myself to binge on a series. For some reason (blog-related maybe?), I had started feeling like I HAD to space out series reads but I am missing totally disappearing into a world for a while and so I’m giving myself permission to go back to the days of immersion.
    Kristen M. recently posted…#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks – AprilMy Profile

    1. I’m all for immersion into a series. So much fun when you can do that! My dad is also careful with his books. He re-reads his 1970’s copies of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings just about every year, and they are in pristine shape.

  2. I never dog-ear a damn thing. Very, very occasionally, I will dog-ear a page in a library book, but I do it the smallest amount I possibly can. I do not always have infinite bookmarks, although naturally I do my best to have infinite bookmarks lying around in every area of my life.

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