Saturday, July 10, 2010

Habits and Rituals

Everyone has habits, good ones and bad ones. For instance I bite my nails=bad habit. I have some habits and rituals that relate to books. I got to thinking about them the other day while cleaning house, which inevitably includes tracking down all my books and trying to get them back on the correct shelf.

My biggest book habit has to do with dustjackets on hardcover books. I hate them. Love hardcover books, hate the covers. The book gets to the house, comes out of the bag and the dust jacket goes into the trash...immediately. It's a habit I picked up years ago when I would read in bed under the covers and that stupid cover would keep falling off and getting in the way. It was so much easier to just ditch it, so that's what I did, and it stuck. I love the way the books look all lined up, plain colored bindings with shiny writing staring out at me.

Another habit I have is sticking my name on the inside of every book I own. I don't know why I do it, I rarely let anyone borrow them, so it's not like they leave the house. Maybe someday I'll feel like they're old enough to go out on their own and visit friends, at which point tagging them on their covers like a mom writes her kids name on shirt and underwear tags will make sense, but right now it's just a habit that I can't seem to break!

Some people have great book habits. They refuse to fold pages or write in the margins. They keep their books looking brand new for as long as possible. I'm the opposite, I love when my books look all beat up, and used. It shows that they were well loved, which any good book should be! I have some books that are literally held together with duct tape and one very well loved copy of Shakespears complete works that isn't held together at all- it simply lives on the shelf in 3 very seperate pieces.

How about you? Any good or bad habits you have?


  1. As an English major, I wrote it my books alot. Always in pencil but I just had to have my notes right there on the page and post-its were a hassle in class. Plus when I reread books it's fun to see what I thought about a passage years ago.

    I work at a library and see that there's two habits which destroy books the fastest: dog-earing corners and laying books face down when open thereby breaking the spine. So I refuse to do either of these.

  2. I try to open my book as narrowly as possible. I hate damaging the spine. I want my books to look unread.

  3. Where oh where are the beautiful leather covers of days of yore?

    My bad habits are giving my books away. Especially when I move, last time I gave out at least 100 books to anyone who asked...later only to regret it.

  4. I'm the opposite- I keep everything! Textbooks, picture books, books I have doubles of. I think somewhere between giving them away and keeping everything is probably the happy medium of a good habit!

  5. Oh and my two favorite books are my leatherbound Lord of The Rings trilogy (all in one book, including the Hobbit!) and my leatherbound Complete Works of Lewis Carroll- they look so awesome sitting on the shelf.