Discussion | The Scrutiny of Reading Progress in the Age of Goodreads

The title of this blog post might seem a little dramatic and fanciful but it’s nothing if not apt.

I am a reader. I am a reader who is visible online. I am a reader who considers myself part of the reading community online as a book blogger. I am a reader who LOVES Goodreads and being able to update her reading progress multiple times a week. (Yes, I’m one of those annoying people who update when they’ve went from 32% to 36% of a book during a reading session. Sorry/not sorry!)

However, in the past two weeks I’ve been feeling an overwhelming sense that I’m not reading quick enough or easily enough and that my reading is floundering. Father, I confess: it has been over a week since I last finished a book. Continue reading

Tag | Reading Habits Book Tag

Evening all! I bring something slightly out of the ordinary today – I bring you a tag. But, Emma, I hear you say, this isn’t Thursday so surely this isn’t a Tag Thursday?!? No, you’re right, it’s not, but my tentative posting schedule no longer sees me post on Thursday so we’ll have to make do with today. A nice easy tag to start off the week. Everybody on-board? Good, let’s begin. This is the Reading Habits Book Tag! I stumbled across this tag on the ever-reliable Thrice Read, so be sure to check out Jenn’s answers if you’re curious. For now, onward to the tag…

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Yes, my armchair. I can read elsewhere, but this is my chosen spot. I’ve wanted an armchair like that for years and after living with Liz in Liverpool for over a year I went back to IKEA to finally claim the chair (and footstool) of my dreams, in a rather fetching dark grey colour. It’s probably too big for the living room really but it’s super comfy and I can sprawl in it or I can sit cross-legged in it whilst I read so it’s pretty much #readingchairgoals. Yes I am very definitely in love with this chair, what can I say? I take my reading spots very seriously.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

I have tonnes of bookmarks so I will always say bookmark. However, if I’ve not had the foresight to bring a bookmark with me and I start a new book when I’m out and about then I’ll most likely use a receipt or train ticket to mark by place until I get home when I will replace the temporary excuse for a bookmark with a nice shiny proper one.

Can you stop reading anytime you want or do you have to stop reading at a certain page, chapter, part etc.?

like to stop reading only at a page break or a chapter break but I’ve had to develop less of an animosity towards the alternative due to reading on my train journeys to and from work when the train very rudely often pulls into the station when I’m smack-bang in the middle of a page. To be perfectly honest, I think it’s just rude and inconsiderate of the train to interrupt my reading like that!

Do you eat or drink while you read?

Ideally, yes. I like to have a cup of coffee or tea by my side when I’m sitting down to read. However, as previously mentioned, most of my day-to-day reading throughout the week is done on my train journey to/from work so sometimes a cuppa is out of the question. I like to snack on things if I’ve purposely sat down to read too, mostly biscuits if I’m being totally honest!

Can you read while listening to music/watching TV?

can but I have to be in the right mood to do it. If my concentration isn’t quite there then I don’t even try to do both. I’d probably listen to music I’m very familiar with, or that is instrumental/droning vocals (i.e. Daughter, Bon Iver). I struggle more with reading whilst watching TV, and can only really do it if I’m not actually watching the TV show but I just happen to be in the same room as someone who is watching TV so it’s basically just background noise to me – the classic example is when the football is on since I don’t give a flying fuck about football and I will happily let it become just background noise to me whilst I read something.

One book at a time or several at once?

I couldn’t tell you the last time I was “reading monogamously”, as I like to call it. I’m a polygamous reader through and through, mainly because I like to have an option in each format on the go at any given time – so I’ll listen to an audiobook and have a hardback/paperback novel on the go as well as an ebook on my phone in case I get stuck waiting somewhere. It just maximises my reading time and makes sure I don’t waste any “dead” moments in my day.

Reading at home or everywhere?

I think I’ve preempted this question in my responses above but basically I will try to read anywhere. The one kind of place I struggle to read though is in a crowded coffee shop; as much as I would like to be that kind of reader, I just find it hard to concentrate when conversations are going on around me.

Reading out loud or silently in your head?

I generally read silently in my head, and I haven’t read out loud for years at this point. I have nothing against it though; in fact, I guess audiobooks are a bit like reading out loud!

Do you read ahead or skip pages?

I have never intentionally read ahead. I have completely accidentally read ahead in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when the book fell open on the page with that death, no lies, and I then was devastated and had to read a bit of the preceding and following chapters so I could understand the context because it would have killed me otherwise. However, I never skip full pages…but I wouldn’t say I’ve never skim-read some of the more boring of my required reading. Sorry/not sorry.

Breaking the spine or keeping it new?

I like books to look like they’ve actually been touched, you know? So I really don’t mind about breaking the spine. In fact, it’s kind of a necessity if you don’t want to have to read a paperback very carefully.

Do you write in books?

I certainly used to happily scribble notes in the margins in pencil when I was studying texts at university, and I do love a good bit of marginalia so you can see what the reader was thinking when they were reading it, but I don’t really do it anymore as I read. Nowadays I tend to takes notes or just take a photo of the page I like using the Notes app on my phone, mainly because I like to have the option tor review the things I’ve read on this blog, but I don’t feel the need to scribble a lot of notes in the book itself anymore because I won’t have to sit an exam on it at some point in the future like I used to.

That’s all, folks, that was the Reading Habits Book Tag! If you haven’t yet done this tag I hereby tag you (yes, you) to do the tag yourself and please do link me to it below because I’d love to see your responses to the tag questions!

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Discussion | Marking Up Your Books

Today’s discussion post was brought to you by this tweet which I saw whilst scrolling aimlessly through Twitter. Yes, this is a discussion all about marking your books, specifically by dog-earring the pages. Please do not shrink away in fear or brandish the sign of the cross at me, I assure you I am not evil. The vehemence with which some people on Twitter were categorising readers who does this as HEATHENS really got my back up… until I remembered, I used to be one of those people. However, nowadays, oh boy… *deep breath* my name is Emma and I dog ear the pages of my books. No, please don’t back away, please I’m not a terrible person, I swear!

Don’t get me wrong, I used to be just like those people on that tweet who are jokingly (or not so jokingly) calling people who mark their books as EVIL. I used to think that anyone who would dare to despoil a book in such a cruel and callous way deserved the fieriest of deaths. Alongside those who purposely crack the spine of paperbacks and take some joy in the sound of the binding crying out in pain. And those people at the back? Those readers who not only annotate in the margins in pencil but in pen too – evuuuuul!

Yes, I am being dramatic. And I am being dramatic in order to present my change in thinking.

Continue reading