When it comes to reading, I’m an omnivore. I’ll read almost anything—mysteries, serious literary fiction, biographies, memoirs, and the occasional young adult series. I like to consider myself to be a flexible, curious reader.
However, I have a few quirky reading habits I can’t shake.
I know I’m not the only one — I’m looking at you, Joey from Friends, putting The Shining in the freezer — and these eccentricities just go to show that reading is an intensely personal activity.
Before I actually dive into a book or a short story, I always read the very first sentence, and then the very last sentence.
When I shared this tendency with my book club, the others were horrified. What about the potential for spoilers, they wondered? Reading the last sentence gives me just a hint of what’s to come, and piques my interest to find out how it fits in with the beginning of the book. I’m very careful to read only the very last sentence, and I try to avoid looking elsewhere on the page. There’s something suspenseful and thrilling about peeking ahead—but only just a little bit.
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The one time I can remember this backfiring on me is with the J.D. Salinger short story, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” If you’ve read the story, you understand.
I hate folding down the page corners of a book.
I will try to fashion a bookmark out of just about anything before taking the drastic step to dog-ear a page; old receipts, a penny, a bobbi pin, even a butter knife (don’t ask).
I also hate when books get new cover designs.
Some are more heartbreaking than others, like when the Harry Potter series was updated. The new covers seemed so strange and foreign to me; it was almost like it was a completely different book. The first edition I own or read will always be the best. No special new editions for this girl.
Finally, I love when books have a price sticker on the back that you can peel off.
My favorite local bookstore when I was a kid had those types of labels, and I loved bringing home a new book and peeling off the sticker. This childhood ritual has manifested itself in other areas of my life — I also love peeling the plastic protective sheet off of electronic devices, and the labels off of water bottles.