I’ve known people who scribble notes on a book while reading it, making comments about what they liked, what they did not, underlining bits they really wish to remember and so on. And this is not merely academic reading I’m talking about, but also reading plain fiction.
And then there are those at the other end of the spectrum, covering their books in jackets and paper covers before reading them, even opening them at a 35 degree angle, so the spine won’t get affected and the book will stay as new. You look at the bookshelves of such people and it will give you the (often totally false) impression that they keep their books more for show and less for reading.
Personally, I never scribble on books. I do make an occasional mind-map on a notebook to make sure I’m with the plot in a particularly complicated book, but that’s about it. I open them as wide as required (often wider), and am known to stain them with tea etc. or even (accidentally) sit on them. (The exceptions are the books I borrow, which I cover up in paper immediately, and do not read while eating or drinking.)
You will find books everywhere in my apartment: on the sofa, above the sink, on the kitchen table, heaps of them by the bedside…..sometimes I feel I have more books outside my bookshelves than on them. (The only exception to these are the books I borrow, which I’m maniacally inclined to return in just the condition I received them. I also get very upset if books I lent out are given back mutilated or not returned at all.) I read whenever I can, wherever I can, while waiting for pasta to boil, or for the dishwasher to open, or the doctor to ask me in for check-ups, or while sitting beside the husband as he drives…..it can be nerve-wracking for those around me.
So, how and where do you read your books? Are you a careful book preserver, or a furious scribbler of notes? Do you sit at a table or lounge in bed?