How to Read

My Reading Style
What’s below is said in jest, but if you’d like to read books as I do, follow the guidelines. If not, consider adding a comment with your own.

  1. Do not dog-ear or fold any pages in any books, ever.
  2. Underline prodigious amounts of phrases and passages.
    1. Sparkly and/or brightly colored pens are ideal for this.
    2. Highlighting is an acceptable alternative to underlining.
    3. This is the newest guideline and was established in 2001. It replaces “Do not write in any books on any pages, ever!
  3. Writing comments in the margins is permissible, but should be done sparingly. The comments should express feelings for the characters or author. They should never be complete sentences. X for something obnoxious or reprehensible and lulz for something ridiculous should suffice in the vast majority of cases.
  4. No rereading.
    1. Be constantly mystified by people who reread novels.
    2. Exception: Books in foreign languages that aren’t well understood may be reread.
    3. Exception: Parts of books may be reread, but rereading a novel in its entirety from front cover to back is to be avoided.
  5. In books that are to be shared with others, leave notes every once in a while. Do not write on the pages of the book, but fold up an absolutely tiny sheet of paper. Use a .18mm pen or smaller. Place the note randomly in the book.
  6. After a book is completed, stamp the inside cover with an extraordinarily fancy bookplate. The bookplate should feature your full name and a monogram/initial.
  7. If a book is read for fun and annotating isn’t important, read it on the Kindle.
  8. If a book is written by a beloved author, buy a physical copy. Place the physical copy on a shelf. Then, get the book on the Kindle and see the guideline above (read it on the Kindle).
  9. Buy and keep all university (text)books.
  10. Stock up on books.
    1. Try to keep the ratio of unread books to read books reasonable. Ban the purchase of new books when the ratio becomes skewed.

*The illustration above was done in Paper on an iPad. It doesn’t represent a real bookshelf, but books that I own and cherish(ed).

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  • Reply Amy October 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Hah, I disagree with almost every single one of your rules. Battered books are the best, because they look like they’ve been well-read and well-loved. Writing on books should be a crime, because it’s distracting next time you read it. Rereading is great, as long as it’s been long enough in between the books that you’ve forgotten a lot of little details (although there are books I keep coming back to, like the Harry Potter books, which I can recite almost by heart.)

    I need to keep reminding myself of your last rule. I’m so guilty of this…. my pile of unread books in Paris is currently sitting at eight, and I’ve only been here a month. I don’t even want to think what my bookshelf at home is like.

    • Reply chantelle October 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      My most beloved books look the most unloved, and I dislike that but not enough to bend them up.

      Rereading is what bothers me the most. I feel like I should because it’s something that “good” readers do, but it just doesn’t work for me. If details become foggy, all it takes is a page or a few sentences here and there. Then, I remember the rest. The problem is worse now that I annotate (underline) stuff because looking at those reminds me of all that I need to know. Regardless, I always remember the feeling a book leaves me with. I only need to think of it to remember that, so going through it again doesn’t have much effect on me. There are also so many books. I feel guilty when I think of rereading one instead of picking up something new.

  • Reply Stephanie October 28, 2012 at 2:10 am

    I love the idea of having a huge bookshelf, but at the moment, I’m not settled down and have to move all the time. Therefore, I read all novels on the Kindle. University textbooks are sold when I know that I will probably never have to look at it ever again and the person who buys it will have more use for it than me, such as my book on psychological disorders. Parting with a book is sad, but my bookshelf is already overflowing as is!

    What is this bookplate you speak of and where can I get one? I want to stamp it on every textbook I have in my office that could potentially get passed around and disappear.

    • Reply chantelle November 1, 2012 at 12:18 am

      I move a lot too. I don’t buy as many non-digital books as I used to, but I still buy them. I even think of them in terms of shipping cost (ex. it’ll be $300 to ship this back to the States -_- ), but I like books so much I’ve stopped worrying about it. The bookplate thing that I use isn’t available online, but you can find them on etsy (search for bookplate stamps) and order them in stationery stores.

  • Reply Maroon Caludin October 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Yeah, I totally break every one of those “rules.” I re-read certain books a lot. Mostly non-fiction with info I when I feel I need to refresh my memory.

    I’ve gotten to the point where I have so many unread books. But been slowly getting them read even though I keep buying more.

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