Top 5 Bookish Habits

Hey guys! Sooo… Let’s just ignore the fact that I haven’t posted in a week or so, and that I’m doing a Top 5 Tuesday post on a Friday… Whoops? *coughs* This week has been CRAZY! I had a couple of deadlines for grad class and a research proposal, and on top of that I’ve been trying to hit four runs a week to prep for my 21K in April, which I squeeze in after my 9:00PM grad classes. It’s been brutal, and by the time I get home I just want to pass out for a week.

But! I’m alive now, writing this post. Better late than never, as they say.

Once again, this one’s hosted by the wonderful Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm. This was a pretty fun prompt, so I’ll get right to it!

1. I plastic-cover all of my books – yes, even hardbacks.

dog rolling

It’s pretty humid here in the Philippines, so my books don’t survive long if I don’t plastic-cover them. Plus, I tend to lend my books out a lot (or rather I unabashedly recommend books to my friends and press them into their reluctant hands), but I don’t want them coming back to me with suspicious, new-looking creases on the corners, so wrapping them in plastic cover helps me protect my precious books AND be magnanimous in loaning them out at the same time. A win-win, I’d say.

2. I usually read at home. I can’t seem to concentrate reading anywhere else.

reading hatefully

Much to my consternation, I can never live out my rather mundane fantasy of reading books in public places, like my favorite cafe, or a public park, or the library – or even in places like the dentist’s office or the subway or the airport. Believe me, I’ve tried. But I just can’t seem to concentrate when there are people around.

I mean, I do read a little when I’m not at home, but my brain seems incapable of shutting up when I’m outside, so reading isn’t as immersive as I want it to be. (Wow, that’s the fifth time they called this Kenneth person – does he not want his vanilla sweet cream cold brew? How do I even know the name of that drink, anyway? Hey, I never noticed they decorated for Valentines’! …and so on.)

The place where I can really enjoy reading and forget the world is at home, where I’m so used to the surroundings that nothing catches my brain’s interest. So you can just imagine my relief at the end of a long day or week and I can finally relax with a book. It’s literally my favorite feeling ever.

3. I keep a running Notes document for all the striking words or phrases I encounter while reading.

this is good

Because I’m a nerd, I collect pretty or clever words and phrases like other people collect Pokemon or baseball cards. I’m not very systematic about it, though – I just dump everything in a single document on my iPhone’s Notes app. Actually, this isn’t limited to just books; it extends to everything I read. Whether it’s from a journal article or a tweet, if it strikes me as interesting, it gets added to the note (properly cited, of course). Sometimes I just scroll through it and pick up a word that tickled me and that I felt like using for my blog or my research paper. I guess it’s also my way of trying to improve my writing and experimenting with different styles, inspired by the authors I’ve admired.

4. When reading hardbacks, I usually pause reading around the middle or end of a book signature.

For those who aren’t quite familiar with the anatomy of a book, book signatures are distinct sections of pages in hardbacks:

book signatures

When you take it apart, they look like little filler notebooks:


It just drives me nuts if I have to place my bookmark in a section that isn’t neatly bisected by the middle or end of a signature, so I usually read with one finger already marking the end of the signature to get a feel for when I’ll be pausing. Sometimes I wonder if it means I have some weird form of OCD, but since it’s not destroying my life or anything, I’m chalking it up to just another bookish quirk.

5. I never dog-ear my books. Just… no.

dog ears
I laughed way too hard when I saw this.

I use bookmarks like a normal person. If I don’t have one on hand, I use receipts. In dire circumstances, I use my school ID. But I never, EVER dog-ear.

Topics for Top 5 Tuesdays this February

That’s it for this post! How about you, what are your bookish habits? Let me know in the comments!


5 thoughts on “Top 5 Bookish Habits

  1. Literary Elephant

    Ah, book signatures, so THAT’s what they’re called! I don’t mind much where I put the bookmark, but I do like keeping track of those little sections just as a way of marking my progress through a hardback. I also keep track of words/phrases/quotes and even names that strike me while reading, though I have a different system. (Mainly because I keep track of different elements I like in separate places, which is probably more complicated than necessary!)

    1. I know right?! I had to search for it some time ago while trying to name this habit of mine to a friend. Oooh, what’s your system of keeping track? I’m interested because I’m still trying to figure out how to organize mine! My Note file is so unwieldy now.

      1. Literary Elephant

        My system is definitely not perfect, but it works for me!
        I use Notes on my phone only for names and individual words I want to save (I put them in alphabetically and it’s easy to scroll through quickly. I like to have these handy while I’m writing!). I use post-it tabs while I’m reading to mark quotes or passages that I like or want to use in my reviews, and then at the end of the book I type them into a spreadsheet. This is handy for me because then I can find them later by title or author or even key words. For general notes about plot or my reactions I start a draft on wordpress with anything that strikes me that I might want to include in my review. These start out as a rough jumble because I don’t like interrupting my reading to type out full sentences, and then I work from that mess to form my reviews. Since I exhaustively review everything I read I don’t mind not having my general notes stored more permanently, I just look back at the reviews if I want to remember something. That’s what works for me!

      2. I should totally do spreadsheets! It sounds more organized and official. And yes, I get that you have to type out whole sentences after the book so you don’t get wrested out of the experience. You gave me a lot of good ideas—I might try the WordPress draft and the Excel ones. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

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