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Sara Edmonds | You MIght Call Them Quirks, But I Call Them Reading Rituals


I have always had a reading ritual- a couple actually. And I prefer to think of them as rituals and not quirks, although some would debate me on that.

When I am in the "reading mode" so to speak, I gather everything together--I get a pillow, light blanket and gather some snacks so that I don't have to get up for a break. I then open the dog door so I don’t have to get up, get in my favorite chair and turn on some background noise (yes, I am one of those people who can read with the tv on). I then settle down for a good few hours of uninterrupted reading time. And it goes without saying, the better the book the more I resent interruptions. Excuses abound during a good reading session-- dishes can wait until tomorrow and I don't need to do laundry. Then there is my favorite thing to say to all who interrupt me, "you can get it yourself." If only my lotto train could come in, I could even blow off actual work to read. I know I have a good book, when I deeply resent real life getting in they way of finishing a chapter. Even after I have procrastinated a day or two, I feel no guilt after, and that is the ultimate sign of a great book. Sometime the ritual varies slightly, I might stay in bed instead of sitting in my favorite chair, or I may only get in an hour or two of reading time if work gets in the way. But I always have the ritual, and I always look forward to it.

I have also been known to wait to read the best for last. When I know that it may be awhile until I can buy new books, I have been known to save one I know I will love because after that I won't have another for a while. I did that with Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ last hardcover, What I Did For Love. I have another now, a hardcover (those are rare these days) that was on a great sale a month ago and is on my shelf, not because I don't have the time to read it, but because it is the last new hardcover I can treat myself to the next few months, and I don't want to devour it and feel the loss later. OK, I know that borders on the "quirk," but I think the line between ritual and quirk is a thin one, and I am planting myself firmly on the ritual side.

So I ask, what are your reading rituals when it comes to a good book, or quirk (there is no judgment here)? Do spill.

EdmondsSara Edmonds
DFW Tea Readers Group

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35 comments posted.

Re: Sara Edmonds | You MIght Call Them Quirks, But I Call Them Reading Rituals

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, the time to curl up with a good book, first rule --- make sure the kids are occupied or in bed....lol. Then I like to curl up in the recliner, with a blanket, I am always cold, now if only they could make hand warmers that I could still turn pages with that would be great. A sweet tea and some dark chocolate usually accompany reading time-gotta have sugar don't ya?? My biggest quirk probably comes when it is time to stop reading, I always have to at least finish the chapter I am on, so what if the oven is on fire, and I prefer to stop reading when the book is done, otherwise an even chapter or one divisible by 5 will do. Its a left handed, number quirk I guess. Saturdays are library days in our house so off to prepare books to be returned.
(Kelly Holt 1:16am September 19, 2009)

Sara Edmonds: Thank you for your article. Now the rest of us with reading routines can come out of the closet.

When I'm reading for pleasure, it's almost always late at night and I'm in bed. With me is usually at least one of my furry babies, aka cats.

The TV is off. The computer is off or on standby. I adjust the light on my bed stand to just bright enough to see the print clearly and easily, but not bright enough to be glaring (I'm kind of photosensitive).

I put on my reading glasses, place Spartacus, Lucretia, and/or Archimedes in my lap or along my side, pick up the book, and read. And I keep reading until I fall asleep.

Usually there's more than one book I'm currently reading. Which one I actually pick up depends on what I'm in the mood for.

Keep up the good work!
(Mary Anne Landers 2:15am September 19, 2009)

I start whit a cup of cold tea some pillows to hold up the book whit because when your going to read for a few hours books can tire your arms out.and I read mostly at night while other are a sleep for I can read [email protected]
(Stacey Smith 4:21am September 19, 2009)

Tea and plenty of pillows!
(Katherine Reese 9:44am September 19, 2009)

My husband says when I have my nose in a book the house could be burning down and I'd never know it.HOW TRUE. So what if the wash is piled sky high and there's two baskets of ironing to do (yes, I'm one of those people that still irons),I'll get to it someday when I've finished a book I'm reading. If I have to go out for some reason, I'll take the book with me or read the last few pages. I know thats bad but I always go back to where I ended it.
(Evelyn Day 10:15am September 19, 2009)

When I have 'me' time, I always spend it with a good book or two (you never know if your reading mood will change). I have my pillows, my snugly blanket (depending on the season, my cell phone (for emergencies) and a large sweet tea. I leave my husband downstairs watching sports and I'm set. Unfortunately this doesn't happen often enough.
(Rosemary Krejsa 10:30am September 19, 2009)

I always have to have a book with me wherever I go in case I can get even a few pages of reading done. My strong concentration when I am reading drives my husband crazy. He has gotten to saying "pink elephant" when he wants me to respond because he knows it annoys me and saying my name does not work.

I love to sit and read on my recliner with pillows behind my back. Usually this is in the evening after the kids are in bed.
(Cherie Japp 11:36am September 19, 2009)

My preference is reading in bed. Not being interrupted is key, so my voracious reading habits follow me everywhere. I keep books with me for those spare minutes when a page or two can be devoured.
(Alyson Widen 11:42am September 19, 2009)

After a hectic day I love to curl up on my sofa with the over stuffed cushions and read. My husband's at work, my dogs are sleeping, and everything else can wait till tomorrow. A glass of ice tea, bowl of grapes, sweets or whatever, a good book, my life's complete.
(Theresa Buckholtz 11:58am September 19, 2009)

I don't know if I have a
particular ritual when I read.
The only thing I always do is
get comfortable because I
know, once I start, I'm going
to be there for awhile!
(Margay Roberge 12:42pm September 19, 2009)

I guess I don't have any particular rituals because I read anytime and anywhere I can. I read while I am cooking, during commercials of a TV show, waiting at a red light while driving, etc. Of course, sometimes I am able to just sit and read on my sofa with a cup of tea or a glass of wine.
(Cheryl Castings 12:48pm September 19, 2009)

I do my reading at night on the recliner couch. If hubby is watching TV I put ear plugs in, because I don't want to be disturbed. I really get into the book. If it is really good I may set up until three in the morning. I always have a drink beside me and it I need anything else I will get up and get it.
(Gail Hurt 1:34pm September 19, 2009)

I'm not sure I have reading quirks...I can read anywhere, at most anytime. In line for a while somewhere? I'm reading a paperback. When I used to have to wait in the car to pick up the kids from school events? I'd have a book with me. On car trips, plane trips--yep, reading away. At home, I prefer sitting in my recliner, surrounded by lots of natural light. But really, I can (and do!) read anywhere.
(G S Moch 1:45pm September 19, 2009)

I love to read. I have books in on the nightstand, in every bathroom and in the car. I would love to be able to just sit and read without interuption, but rarely have the opportunity. My best reading time is on a camping trip in the motorhome. I'll take 20+ books with me and enjoy them while the hubby is out fishing.
(Mitzi Hinkey 3:36pm September 19, 2009)

When I pick up a book at the store I never just pick one; so by the time I get home it's the big decision: which one do I start? The one I have been waiting the longest for of course. And where do I read? Anywhere that I am waiting: restaurant when waiting for a friend, at lunch time or break time at work, in the doctor's or dentist's office, and of course of an evening when my hubby is watching his favorite show.
(Diane Sadler 3:37pm September 19, 2009)

I like to read while I'm stretched out on the couch. The TV or radio is usually on when I read. I always have a drink next to me.
(Jane Cheung 4:57pm September 19, 2009)

I usually have the TV on when I'm reading. I also spend a bit of time IM'ing with my friends, so I read between messages. I
used to read at red lights, but now I do audio books, so I don't read at the lights anymore.
(Sandi Shilhanek 5:32pm September 19, 2009)

I HAVE to read every day!! I usually don't read until about 10 pm until 12:30 or so. I sit in my recliner with my coke, cigarettes and my puppy and the xm radio on satellite going & I'm good to go!!
(Martha Lawson 5:36pm September 19, 2009)

I make a pot of jasmine tea. Snuggle under soft covers in bed and lay propped up on several pillows. A plate of snacks is within easy reach on the bedside table along with a mug and the teapot. Edibles cannot be very greasy, leave stains or give off many crumbs. Want to submerse myself in the story without worry of ruining the book or making a mess.
(G. Bisbjerg 7:16pm September 19, 2009)

I do most of my reading an hour and a half before I go to bed. I'm a laying down reader and I either lay on my right side or back. Also my favourite place to read is laying on my bed.
(Jenny Ng 7:48pm September 19, 2009)

I guess my ritual isn't as involved as yours--in fact, I can't really call it a ritual, except for keeping something to drink (mostly nonalcoholic) close by. However, for most of my life, I have been unable to fall asleep unless I read a few pages, at least, before I turn out the light. With advancing age (lol), the number of pages have definitely grown. I also take a book with me wherever I go when I leave the house. If I forget, I feel "naked."
(Sigrun Schulz 8:17pm September 19, 2009)

No real rituals here. I read whenever
and where ever I can. I have a book
open at all meals. I read while we
watch TV, unless it is something I
don't want to miss, then I only read
during commercials. I rarely get a
chance to just sit back and do nothing
but read unless it is late at night.
Then I may end up reading until 2 or 3
in the morning and still have to get up
for work in the morning. But it has to
be a really good book for that to
(Patricia Barraclough 9:07pm September 19, 2009)

When I read a book I usually will read it from start to finish. I have a cup of coffee by my side no food I'm always afraid I'll get something on my book. I'll tune everything out but the phone. Someone always calls as soon as I pick up a book so I try not to talk to long.
(Sherry Strode 9:56pm September 19, 2009)

I don't have a reading ritual but I do resent it when I am disturbed. Well, that's almost always when the kids are around, so I try to get into my books during the time after school and during dinner.
Afterwards, its 'me' time. My favorite is soaking in the tub for hours with a good book with the door locked, of course. The family can fend for themselves when mommy is locked away.*g* In addition, when I drive I've always got an audio CD book going, so you can say I am never without a book.
(Armenia Fox 10:23pm September 19, 2009)

I'm a night owl and I like to have the
option to read a book all the way through
uninterrupted so it is the perfect time to
be reading when everyone else is in bed
(Sue Ahn 10:34pm September 19, 2009)

I like to read anywhere or anytime I can. My favorite is to have a cup of tea and sit in a comfy chair in our living room to read late at night when the house is quiet.
(Anna McKenrick 11:48pm September 19, 2009)

I am glad to know I am not the only one who feels incomplete without some reading time!

Kelly- LOL, I have wished for mittens too! Or a automatic page turning device that hold the book and turns the pages for me.

When I was younger, and up to a few years ago, I used to take my book with me to squeeze in a couple more reading minutes at lunch breaks, but my current job is a small office of only five and we work through lunch so that one ritual has stopped.

Great ideas to add to my ritual.
(Sara Edmonds 11:55pm September 19, 2009)

Wow. MY rituals have been more than covered here. Recliner. Drinks beside me (usually a pitcher of milk). Fleece throw over the legs. Semi-reclined. Good lighting. No one around in the wee hours. MUST finish my book before hitting the sack.
Otherwise the books are in my purse so I can read in the car, grocery store lineups, doctor visits, etc. When I attend boring dances, I tend to go to the bathroom often, so I can catch up on 10 minutes of reading at a time to help pass the hours. Yes, I too have been known to read a page of my book when I first get to a red light that has an advance on the other side. And yes, I've been the taxi driving mom who waits and waits for my kids, but I ALWAYS have a book or two with me.
I believe "any time is a good time" to read!
(Elaine Seymour 12:49pm September 20, 2009)

Look s like most readers are the same. A comfortable place, a favourite drink. Peace and quiet would be nice, but like others here, when I get into a good book, a bomb could go off, the earth could shake, a fire could break out and I am oblivious to it all!!! Hehe!!!
(Valerie Bongards 5:17am September 20, 2009)

When I get a new book I have to stick my nose in it and take a big whiff and then I read the first sentence, which often leads to the first paragraph or two. A few times the beginning of the book really grabbed me and I ended up reading the whole book! :)

Also, I have to read before I go to bed even if it is really late and even if I can only keep my eyes open for a page or two.
(Michelle K 2:01pm September 20, 2009)

Also, I like background music when I read. Usually something instrumental and I just put it on low volume. However, I can do that with TV too as long as it isn't loud enough to distract my attention.
(Michelle K 2:04pm September 20, 2009)

I would love to win the bundle of books from Fresh Fiction! Thank-you :)
(Tamara Bennington 4:25pm September 20, 2009)

I must be odd, none of the commenters mentioned the bath tub. I have plebitus and at night when my ankle is throbbing I head for the tub, light a candle and make the water as hot as possible and stretch out relaxing. Normally I can get in three chapters before the water starts turning me into a ice cube. But I have one rule I always have to finish a chapter before I stop reading and get out and make a mad dash under the covers and continue reading unless something is interesting on TV.
(Susan Lathen 7:08pm September 20, 2009)

no reading rituals now; I used to lay on the bed propped up by pillows and hold the book with one hand and reach for the potato chips with the other. LOL.

I have books in my night stand, one the trunk in the living room, on my computer desk and to the side of it. Read for reading.
(Robyn Lee 11:51pm September 20, 2009)

I curl up in bed for the night with a good book and my glass of water with soft beach music playing and I'm chilling.
(Rebecca Booth 3:51pm September 26, 2009)

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