It’s HOW You Read It: A Reading-Habits Q&A

This short survey asks about reading habits–not what you read, but where, when, and how you read it. I lifted the questions from a recent post on Suey’s blog.

where, when, how: a q&a about reading habits
1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Never good to begin with, my middle-aged eyes seriously need a well-lit place for reading, and my house has three of them. My favorite is my old green armchair in our second-story loft. It has a big window on one side and a lamp on the other, as well as a nearby table and an ottoman where I can put my feet up. I read in bed every night, even if I only get through a few pages before my eyelids start to droop, and I have a good bedside lamp (and a stack of pillows) to make that comfortable. The lighting over the armchair in our living room isn’t always adequate for my reading, but when it is, that’s my third spot. (I’m hoping the new contact-lens prescription I’m expecting soon makes it easier for me to read there more frequently.)


2. Do you use a bookmark or a random piece of paper?

I almost always use a bookmark. My favorites have a ribbon to mark the page and an elastic to wrap around the book, so I don’t lose my place when I drop it! (Learned from experience, y’all…)


3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter or a certain amount of pages?

It depends on what, when, and where I’m reading. I think reading audiobooks has helped me get more comfortable with stopping “wherever”–I listen to those in the car, and when I get to where I’m going, I turn the book off. That said, I do prefer getting to the end of a chapter or section before I stop reading a print book…but if I’m sleepy and catch myself nodding off, I usually won’t push it.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

If I’m eating alone, I read while I’m eating. If it’s not mealtime, I usually have water or coffee nearby to drink as I read. I rarely snack while I do anything, and that includes reading.


armchair by a window surrounded by books on side table and ottoman


5. Do you watch TV or listen to music while reading?

I usually have a hard time focusing on my reading if I’m in the same room where everyone else is watching TV, unless the show holds absolutely zero interest for me. I can read with music in the background, but I rarely remember to do it now that my music lives on my laptop and iDevices–it was much more common for me to have it on when I had to switch on the stereo.

6. Do you read one book at a time or several at once?

After a lifetime of bookish serial monogamy, book blogging has changed my ways, and I don’t often read just one book at a time anymore. It’s easy for me to read two books simultaneously if one of them’s an audiobook, but if I’m juggling two print books (or print and an ebook), one will usually end up getting the majority of my attention.

7. Do you prefer to read at home or anywhere?

I read with the most focus at home. I can read in coffee shops and other public places if the book is really holding my attention and I’m not watching the clock because I need to get somewhere else. I read audiobooks only in the car (as the driver). and I read ebooks in the car (as a passenger) more comfortably than paper books. In short, I read pretty much anywhere!

8. Do you read out loud or silently?

Unless I’m reading to someone else, I read silently to myself. (Don’t most adults?)

9. Do you read ahead or skip pages?

I very occasionally peek ahead and then return to where I was, but 99% of the time, I read pages in their natural, numerical order.

10. Do you break the spine or keep it like new?

I don’t usually break a book spine unless it was poorly constructed, but since I usually read paperbacks, I definitely bend covers.

11. Do you write in your books?

I’ve rarely written in a book that wasn’t a textbook; between Catholic school and university, I have had to buy many textbooks, and the one advantage of owning them is the freedom to make notes and write in them as much as you want. I do highlight in ebooks, but I seldom mark up a paper book.


You’re more than welcome to run off with them and answer them for yourself–let me know if you do, so I can satisfy my curiosity about how you read!

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One comment

  1. I recently wrote in an ARC that I knew I wouldn’t be passing on to anyone and I felt absolutely wanton!