My Reading Rules and Why I Have Them

book shelves in NorwichToday I’m thinking of readers, not just my readers but a whole world of readers, and one of my Pinterest boards relates so well to the topic. Have you seen the hundreds of pictures of libraries featured on Pinterest? They fascinate and boggle at the same time.

A few years ago, my husband and I were lucky enough to visit one of those fabulous libraries–the one at Trinity College, Dublin, where we ogled the Book of Kells in its glass case. Well Pinterest has that picture, too. I just saw it the other day.

Before we downsized to a condo the library above was just one wall of my library in our large house. Every book on those shelves had its own story to tell, obviously, but it also connected to me as I read and revered it. I had over 1500 books in my library and being a computer nut back before that was very popular, I had numbered my shelves and recorded my books in a database so that I could easily find the one I wanted. That was so useful to the English teacher me.

When we downsized, I sold a lot of my books but I still have the books where I wrote anecdotes about everything I read and occasionally I consult them, looking for just what that title was about or if I’ve read a certain book.

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My Reading Journal

So you can see my lifelong love affair with books. I like to read them, own them, revere them. I take good care of them and never turn down a page corner. Hardly ever have I written in the margins or underlined with markers, especially with my fiction.

I have to admit, though, that my reading rules which have evolved over a lifetime of reading include one surprising thing. I remember teaching my wonderful senior English class a series of fabulous essays. One of them talked about the value of having criteria for if we use no criteria and accept everything, basically we are debasing whatever the subject is and even causing it to lose its value. So I have learned to demand a certain standard from the writers whose work I read or I don’t continue.

I know, I know, everyone’s work has value to someone but the bigger question for me is how to maximize my reading time on this earth. Do I want to read everything? Or do I restrict my reading to those wonderful books which make my soul soar and my spirit extol the glories of living and reading? (Pardon the flowery verbiage!)

I chose the second. There are so many wonderful books being published every day, not to mention those already out which are waiting for me that I won’t keep reading if by fifty pages in, the story has not captured me. That means on my Goodreads account under the section “gave up”, I have three books listed. These are three I chose to discontinue reading. While I HATE seeing that “gave up” listing as it speaks of not completing something, I am totally comfortable with my decisions in each case.

Following my new rule and then last January taking the Goodreads challenge, I read 34 books even though I’d only committed to 24. And I loved every one. This year I’ve taken the challenge again. Hopefully it will have the same effect on me and my reading. Have you set a reading goal for 2016? Tell us about it in the comments section.

As always, if you can, write a review for one of my books, The Loyalist’s Wife or The Loyalist’s Luck, on Amazon or Goodreads. I’ll be so appreciative!



4 thoughts on “My Reading Rules and Why I Have Them

  1. Love your old library – you are so right, before even opening a page of them, each one has its own story for you. We have bookshelves in almost every room, although I made the mistake a while ago of having one in the bathroom. By the time I realised my mistake most of the books were ruined by damp! It’s lovely to just pick one or two out now and then and look through them. I value my reading time and make sure it’s something that will touch me, make me laugh, think, warm to the characters, have an exciting plot line. Lovely post, Elaine, a joy to read. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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