Do You Read the Last Chapter First? And Other Questions for Readers…

When my Dad picks up a book he typically turns to the last page to see how it all turns out. Does the guy get the girl, does the underdog win the trophy, does the nuclear bomb get disarmed in time?

At this point you’re either recoiling in horror or nodding along in agreement, thinking to yourself – “Doesn’t everyone do that?”

It’s interesting that among the many devout readers I’ve met over the years, we tend to spend most of our time talking about what books we read without discussing the nuances of how we read.

Do you dog-ear pages, make notes in the margin, and crack the binding? Do you smell your books, buy or borrow your reading material, and skip to the ending first (like my father)? Do you have multiple books going at once, read in your bed or in the bathtub or in a specific corner armchair? Do you read books in paper format or on a screen? Do you re-read? Do you belong to a book club? Do you read the acknowledgements section and endnotes?

I thought it would be fun to run through some of these questions – little quirks that make individual readers…individual. Our answers to these questions (and many more!) allow us to add a unique flair to the content we consume.

Feel free to chime in via the comments section below with your own take on any (or all) of the questions posed! I’m genuinely fascinated by this stuff…

1. do you read the LAST PAGE first?

I try, largely, to resist this urge, but have definitely been known to do this on occasion.

Usually I give in to temptation if I need to return a book to the library and can’t renew it or if I desperately need a good sleep and I’m in the middle of a cliffhanger. I think I skipped to the end of The Great Alone and A Gentleman in Moscow at about the 3/4 point in each book, but I can’t remember for sure…

My Dad does this regularly. My Mom would never dream of doing anything of the sort.

2. Do you skim or read every word?

I am a skimmer. I will read every word of certain sections (and often return to read parts of a book in more detail when I can tell I’ve missed something critical) but tend to read a paragraph at a time.

Do I retain less information than people who read more slowly and digest every word? Probably, but that’s just the sort of reader I am.

Also, I take notes from almost every book I read – key phrases, favourite quotations, even book suggestions the author might make.

3. Do you smell your books?

Some of the time. This question might seem highly unusual to some of you reading and then, for others, this might seem like a no-brainer. Books all smell different and the variety of papers, inks, and binding adhesives all contribute to a unique scent profile. My Anne of Green Gables books smell strongly of glue (think Elmer’s); my One Line A Day journal smells like magazine paper but is decidedly thick and non-glossy.

I ALWAYS smell old books; that musty smell of a book that has been sitting in an attic for 25 years is an experience I just can’t pass up – though it can set off my allergies. It’s a risk worth taking.

I’d say I smell about 25% of the books I read, but when I was younger that percentage was much higher. And you can all now conclude that I am officially crazy. Or you can go off and start smelling all your books and thank me for recommending that added sensory layer to round out your reading experience.

4. Do you dog-ear/take notes?

I do dog-ear books (if you’re not familiar with this term, it simply refers to turning down the corner of a page to mark your place and/or highlight a spot you want to come back to).

That said, I tend not to leave dog-ears in place. I will make very small dog-ears throughout a book and then go back and type out the quotes that left an impression, removing the dog-ears as I go.

If it’s a library book I’ll usually just take pictures of the quote with my phone and then type those up at a later time.

I tend not to write physical notes inside of books I own and don’t underline or highlight passages very often (I used to do this a lot more than I do now).

5. Do you re-read books?

Yes, yes, yes. I love to re-read books. Classic fiction and favourite works of non-fiction – but only my absolute favourites.

I really appreciate something James Clear (author of bestselling book Atomic Habits…which I’ve read twice and did insist on owning) said: “A recipe for getting more out of what you read: Start more books. Quit most of them. Read the great ones twice.”

6. Do you buy or borrow?

I almost exclusively borrow. I’m a minimalist at heart and just don’t have any desire to own large quantities of books; this also applies to picture/chapter books for the kids (of which we borrow hundreds from our local library).

I do browse the stacks, but about 75% of the books we get from the library I order through their holds system. I visit the library once a week to pick up a giant stack of books.

I have started asking for favourite books for Christmas or I’ll use gift cards from my birthday to buy the occasional gem I want to have on my bookshelf (mostly so I can re-read whenever the urge strikes) – so I have a small, but happy, stash of books.

7. Do you read multiple books simultaneously?

Yes. I can’t imagine reading one book at a time!? I typically have 2-3 books on the go. Sometimes one is “denser” and I am working through it slowly and want a faster read to help compensate for the mental headspace being consumed by the heavier material.

More generally, I just like having different books to suit different moods!

This week I have three books on the go – Everything is Figureoutable, Anne of the Island (now finished!), and Into the Wild. Some days I’ll read from only a single book; other days I’ll read sections from all three.

8. Do you read on a tablet Or Listen to Audiobooks or is it paper all the way?

I am 100% Team Paper. I have listened to a handful of books in audiobook form and have read about the same number on a tablet.

I just don’t love any medium other than good old-fashioned books. Not sure why and I have thought before I might come to love reading on a Kindle. But, honestly, I appreciate that reading hardcopy books keeps me off a screen. And, if something’s not broke, I’m not going to try to fix it.

9. Where do you read?

Hmmm. This has changed over the years. When I was younger, I read everywhere. Most times now I read at night and so this happens in bed.

While I love the thought of lounging on the couch all Saturday morning reading a book, that just isn’t feasible – both the timing and the fact that if I am on the couch, a child will smell my availability and come running.

My reading with the kids – which totals 30 minutes or so a day at this point – predominantly happens around the table. I read while they eat breakfast, or I’ll read to them after we finish our supper meal. A few times a week we’ll read a handful of picture books or a chapter of a longer book in bed (last night, actually, we snuggled up and read a chapter of The Hobbit; their obsession with J.R.R. Tolkien continues!), but now that the kids are older, we tend to do less bedtime reading.

10. Do you Read the acknowledgements SECTION of a book?

Yes! I love reading the acknowledgements.

I put a quote in my quotes book from the acknowledgments section of Hillbilly Elegy: “Last, but certainly not least, is my darling wife, Usha, who read every single word of my manuscript literally dozens of times, offered needed feedback (even when I didn’t want it), supported me when I felt like quitting, and celebrated with me during times of progress. So much of the credit for both this book and the happy life I lead belongs to her. Though it is one of the great regrets of my life that Mamaw and Papaw never met her, it is the source of my greatest joy that I did.

I love that last part.

Of everything I wrote in my entire Master’s thesis, the acknowledgments section was my favourite. Fun fact: I ended up sharing my thesis with a student a few years later so they could get a sense for formatting requirements (our topics were quite different); when I read over their thesis prior to submission they had PLAGARIZED my acknowledgements section almost verbatim. I gently explained how these things work and made sure they wrote their own acknowledgments section, but it did make me feel slightly elated that they thought my acknowledgements were so good they wanted to use every word.

Though, let’s be honest here, the more likely explanation is they were just being lazy and they hadn’t even paid attention to what I wrote…

*I realized I had spelled acknowledgements two ways (with and without the ‘e’); turns out the British version does include the ‘e’ and the Canadian/American preference is to drop it. American readers may have noticed I spell things like flavour and neighbour with a ‘u’…because that’s how we roll up here in the frigid North.*

What about you? Any fun reading “quirks” you want to mention or any surprising answers to the questions above? Anyone else a fellow skimmer and smeller? I know there are a lot of die-hard Kindle fans out there; please tell me someone else is proudly sporting the Team Paper jersey?

Header photo by Matt Walsh on Unsplash

35 thoughts on “Do You Read the Last Chapter First? And Other Questions for Readers…”

  1. Team paper all the way! i know we’re a dying breed…. but I love holding my books and turning the pages.-I don’t want to read on a screen. I would NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS read the last page first! I love mysteries, so even when a story isn’t technically a mystery, I like the mysterious element of now knowing exactly how the story will turn out. I get most of my books from the library, but like you, I’ll buy some, or use birthday presents or gift cards to get some books that I want. If it’s my own book and not the library’s, I’ll dog ear the pages, and if it’s non-fiction I might highlight passages. But if it’s fiction I never mark up the book. And I rarely read more than one book at a time- I get thoroughly engrossed in whatever book I’m reading- even while I’m not actually reading it, I’m thinking about it. It would be hard for me to shift gears and read something else in the middle.
    Love this post, because I love books and reading! It’s fun to see how people read in different ways.

    1. Yay, Team Paper!
      You’re clearly passionate about preserving the ending (my Mom, too – and then she wakes up exhausted because she can’t put a book down and stayed up 1/2 the night).

  2. Oh this is a fun read! I need to do this on my blog since I am so passionate about reading! I really cringed and my heart kind of raced when I read that your dad reads the last page of a book! That is something I have never done, with the exception of one book that I read last year that dealt with the kidnapping of an infant. I should NOT have read that while having an infant. It was so stressful, so I did read ahead to find out what happened to lower my stress levels.

    I used to love physical books but now I much prefer ebooks but that is more so because of my stage of life, I think. I need to have a book going on kindle so I can read while nursing Will! And I just find it so much more convenient all around. I especially prefer reading long books on my kindle because they are so heavy! My RA was so horrible during my pregnancy and I can remember times when I was reading a physical book and it was painful to hold the book! My RA is typically well-managed, but it wasn’t, so I really tried to read ebooks as much as possible and would only get a physical book if I needed to read something for book club and couldn’t get the kindle version.

    1. I’ll have to tell my Dad his reading style gave someone heart palpitations. I’m like you – I have to be so careful about what I read/watch. I am so, so sensitive to violence since becoming a mother and I just can’t go close to certain topics because I find them so heartbreaking. Maybe this is one reason I read mostly non-fiction (although there is lots of trauma and heartbreak there, too, at times).

      I feel like if I started using e-books I might love them too? But I actually appreciate the whole process of getting books. Going to the library in person. Handling the books. Seeing a stack on my bedside table. Even smelling them (as I mentioned)! It might sound crazy, but I just find the whole experience of paper books to be so multi-faceted and I enjoy the different stages to it: from browsing online book lists, to ordering them through our library system, to interacting with the librarians when I collect my books…through to bringing a completed book back and telling a person at the front desk what I thought of it…

  3. Oh, what a FUN post!
    1) I have read the ending ONCE because it was a book with an elderly main character and an elderly dog and I could not read ahead if I knew that dog wasn’t going to make it. It never occurs to me to skip to the end!
    2) I’m a skimmer.
    3) Of course I smell books.
    4) I generally use a piece of paper as a bookmark in paper books and I write down quotes/words or ideas I need to look up with page number in paper books. On my Kindle, I highlight as I go along. I try to be a careful reader, so I take notes on most books I read.
    5) I re-read occasionally, particularly if I’m anxious or depressed.
    6) I think I only bought five or six books last year and only two were paper. I, like you, prefer to keep minimal stuff around me. I’m a HUGE library user. I make good use of our public library and the university library system where I work. I mostly use the hold system at our library because I’m still uncomfortable hanging out in indoor public places, so browsing is off the table for me right now.
    7) I usually have a book upstairs for reading in bed, a book on the dining table for reading during meals, and a book by the couch. There’s also the possibility of a book I might be reading for work.
    8) The book I read in bed is always on a Kindle. I make liberal use of the Libby and Hoopla apps from the library to get books. I prefer to read on my Kindle because most books are big and bulky in my hands, but I also get a fair number of paper books from the library because our library system still gets more paper copies, so paper is more widely available. I LOVE my Kindle and will not hear anyone disparage it – it’s not “another screen” – it’s essentially like reading a newspaper. I very occasionally get audiobooks from the library apps, too, if I’m going on a long road trip or listening to the audio version has been highly recommended. I’d much rather listen to podcasts than audiobooks, but sometimes the audio version of a book will be the best for me!
    9) I read everywhere – on the couch, at the table, in bed, in the car if I’m a passenger.
    10) I always read footnotes and sometimes read acknowledgements if they’re cleverly written.

    1. Can I just say how HAPPY it made me to see you wrote answers to all the questions.
      Yay for another skimmer; I feel like a fraud reader sometimes, but it really is the way I prefer to read books.
      It’s also so interesting how you, like me, like to read multiple books at once while others find it confusing and want to be absorbed in a single book.
      My days have a lot of start and stops and I just don’t think audiobooks are a good fit for me. Also, maybe because I’m such a skimmer, listening to every single word is a bit painful for me? I also find I zone out in audiobooks and it’s not easy – like with a book – to go “re-read” a paragraph. I do like podcasts MUCH better than audiobooks, though I did listen to a Steve Jobs biography exclusively while walking outside and loved that experience.
      I used to read at the table a lot, but have to admit if I’m eating alone these days, I tend to use my laptop or just look out the window. But I used to LOVE reading while I ate and every once in a while I let Abby do this!
      I tend to skip footnotes and rarely look at endnotes, but I read a lot of non-fiction so all the extra information can just feel overwhelming.

    2. Okay, this makes me feel slightly better to know that NGS is a skimmer. I was feeling like, overwhelmed with how many books she reads! So *maybe* this helps me answer that question of HOW(!?!?!?!?!)- along with the fact that clearly she just reads all the time. and must forget to eat and sleep 😉 Just kidding!! I’m not a skimmer, so maybe this also helps explain why my number is much, much lower (along with the similarly inverse fact that- I just don’t read quite often enough!! Or not NEARLY as much as NGS, anyway. 🙂

      1. I too was WOWED by NGS’ reading list. My Dad (yes, the one who reads the endings first) is like this – he skims and ends up reading SO many books.
        I remember as a kid sitting down on the couch and he would come along with an enormous book and then be done it by the end of the evening. I’m not quite that fast (and definitely can take weeks and weeks to finish a book), but it just goes to show how many different “types” of readers there are – even if we’re all consuming much of the same material.

  4. Oh this is so fun! I want to answer every question but don’t want to leave a novel in your comments! Maybe I will post your questions and my answers over on the ol’ book blog.

    I love how you and your father both skip to the end — that boggles my mind!!! I cannot imagine doing that!

    And you are a skimmer!!! That must make reading go so much more quickly! I am a reads-every-word person and if I am not 100% focused, I end up reading the same paragraph over and over until I understand it.

    Only rarely will I read the acknowledgements — but you have inspired me to do it more often!

    1. To be fair…I only skip occasionally. But still, I understand the horror.
      And yes, definitely a skimmer!

    2. I’m on Team Suzanne here- I would NEVER skip to the end of a book to read the last page. Like, never ever ever ever!!! If I suspect that something big is about to be revealed on the lower half of the page I’m on, I will literally cover the page with my hand or a piece of paper so my eyes don’t “accidentally” catch something they shouldn’t too soon! haha. And for books- I’m also a read every word type person. I actually try to make a point to NOT skim in books- I feel like I want to make sure I really enjoy it, understand it, savor it.

      Now, with things like long form articles, newsletters and even blog posts- I am definitely a skimmer. But usually only because I’m pressed for time or need to hurry up to get through it!

      My job requires a lot of “skim reading” medical documents, lab or path reports, MD notes, H&Ps, etc so I do feel like I am quite exceptionally good at skimming something while still pulling out a lot. 🙂 It’s a skill I’ve really built up over the past 5 years in this role, as it is essential to my nurse data analyst job requirements. But for books- I definitely go for every word, since reading is not work and in my head should be more deliberate and just slower in general.

      Interesting post! I had one similar once but not quite as many questions I don’t think. I think I borrowed it from Gretchen Rubin and a podcast episode where they were discussing reading and book habits. I’ll have to see if I can find it. It was fun.

  5. !. No never have and never would, it would spoil the book and why would I want to read it if I knew the ending.
    2. Read every word, I have tried skimming but I lose track too quickly. I should perhaps point out here that more than 95% of my reading is non-fiction so you can fast lose track if you skim.
    3. Sometimes, but only when they are very old or brand new. I have never thought about why but there are some books that just have to be smelt and others I wouldn’t bother.
    4. I had not heard of dog ear but absolutely not, that is a crime against books! As are notes in books unless it is a cookery book, I make notes in my cookery books. I sometimes make notes of books I am reading in notebooks but rarely unless it is a rather memorable quote but as most of what I read is non-fiction I don’t come across them that often.
    5. Very very rarely, I cannot think of a single book I have read more than once.
    6. Borrow fiction, buy non-fiction. We have a house full of books, we have built in shelves in every room in the house except the bathroom. I have never counted them but I expect the numbers are high. I do have a small amount of fiction but it is mostly non-fiction.
    7. Yes, I didn’t used to but I do more these days. As most of my reading is non-fiction these days I might have several on the go (currently about six) which are at various stages of being read. I might read a few chapters from one and then move onto another. Some are books that I dip in and out of as they are better read that way rather than cover to cover. Some books are like a tutorial where you are learning to do something as you read. Some are to support an aspect of home educating my daughter.
    8. Paper, cannot get on with the other formats.
    9. Mostly in bed, sometimes at my desk or on the sofa depending on the book, see 7.
    10. Sometimes, it depends how much I enjoyed the book, I am more likely to read the bibliography particularly if I want to find another book to read.

    Great questions! Loved this post and interesting to read everyone’s answers. I was also interested to read about spelling where you are and using the slightly daft extra ‘u’ we have in some words which serve no purpose and never did! The word acknowledgements threw me as you had spelt it with the e I couldn’t work out what was not right when it didn’t have an e, until I read your explanation later on!

    1. I don’t read the ending often, but my Dad would argue he enjoys it much better knowing how it’s going to turn out. It’s like re-watching a movie (my Dad is also a HUGE re-watcher); there is some comfort in knowing what happens. Maybe not as good as the first viewing of say, something like The Usual Suspects where you’re blown away by the ending but, you appreciate things in a different way?!
      Wow – I can’t believe how few people re-read. It is a staple of my annual reading and something I find so comforting and enjoyable. And yes…my Dad is a re-reader, too!
      I think dog-ears give my books character; I’ve interacted with the physical copy in a tangible way and left my mark. I guess writing in it would do the same thing, but I don’t like to write in books. That feels like a step too far. But I am all about the dog-ears (which I remove at the end of reading a book, so it just leaves a tiny crease). Again, because I tend to re-read, I like seeing places I’ve made dog-ears. I do this a lot less frequently with fiction…

  6. 1. I never used to jump to the end (before kids) and now my tolerance also seems to be diminished for some topics. I had to jump to the end of The Alice Network and I almost did for A Gentleman in Moscow but I resisted because of how much I was enjoying the writing.
    2. I tend more towards every word and will also reread if I felt I haven’t absorbed it. With fiction I will skim a bit more. I like the idea of taking notes, writing down quotes. Maybe knowing I would do that would allow me to skim a bit more easily.
    3. I’m really sensitive to smell and can’t say I have any desire to smell a book!
    4. My mom and grandmother would be horrified if I dog-eared a book. I still don’t. After my grandma passed away, I inherited her book darts!
    5. I reread rarely. It took me several years to get my accounting designation while I was working. Between accounting textbooks and less time I was out of the habit of reading for fun for many years.
    6. I mostly borrow to keep costs and the amount of stuff I have down. Although I do have a gift card and will buy books that I want for reference or that I would re-read.
    7. I usually read for work bits here and there and try to keep my reading to one or two books at a time.
    8. I also wanted to love digital for the ease of use, especially when I was teaching in person and took the bus. I just prefer paper. Instead I used to listen to podcasts on the bus and read at home.
    9. I read in bed at night or sometimes on the weekend on the couch. My kids are old enough that they will ignore me for stretches of time!
    10. I regularly read the acknowledgements!

    Thanks for sharing in a way we don’t normally do. I’m intrigued now to go smell some books. Maybe!

    1. I had to go look up book darts! I had no idea these even existed. I do sometimes use the little removeable tabs (like tiny post-its), but I hate seeing all the colourful bits sticking out and much prefer dog-ears. Sometimes I will just put a dot of pen off to the side of the quote/paragraph I enjoyed as well. But as I said in another comment, I think I appreciate doing something tangible to my books? I feel like I’m interacting with the characters and/or author somehow. Like it’s a collaborative experience…if that makes any sense?
      Yay for another paper lover.
      Let me know how the smelling experiment works. I sometimes catch my kids doing it and it really does make me happy 🙂 And seeing someone else say (I think it was NGS): “Of course I smell books.” gave me a little jolt of joy!

  7. i just finished a book about writers and learned something new. Reading a book is like observing a piece of art. What matters is what makes you feel at the moment of reading. Not the plot, not what we learn, but what we feel physically when we read it.

    Nice to learn about your reading habits. 🙂

    1. So true. I couldn’t agree more. I also find that the messages we take from books can vary SO dramatically based on our circumstances when reading it. A book that might make you happy at one point in life, would make you sad at another.
      Maybe this is one reason I like to re-read books, because it helps to uncover all the layers available to the reader. It’s the same with music/movies/art-on-walls to different people and at different times it can evoke completely different responses.
      Thanks for providing this insight!

  8. Maybe because first time I encountered the idea of skipping to the end was in When Harry Met Sally, I never really thought it was something real people did. But I guess now I know it’s a real thing!
    I very rarely do it. In fact when I happen to accidentally glance at the last page of a book, I have a mental “drop like a hot potato” moment of horror.
    Such thoughtful questions…
    -I do dog ear, thought somewhat shamefully. I’ve also started using a piece of blank paper as a bookmark so I can write down the quotes I love in books.
    -I always read the acknowledgements – it’s one of my favorite parts of a book, and also something I miss when I listen to audiobooks. (I also always stay and watch all the credits in a movie. Maybe because I work backstage in theatre, but I feel like everyone deserves to have their name read.) Jim Tankersley has the sweetest acknowledgements in his book The Riches of This Land, where he pays tribute to his dog. I wish I had written it down because it seriously made me cry.
    -I borrow books. I find book clutter is hard for me because I can’t whittle it down, so best not to let it in to start. But… hypocritically, I love buying books for other people.

    1. I am no longer ashamed of my dog-earing. It’s like a form of interactive art, to me.
      What a great perspective on the acknowledgments/credits. It gives me such a thrill when someone does an incredible job in their acknowledgments.
      I don’t think it’s hypocritical to buy books for other people, because I think most people DO like to own books. Also, I think through a book I receive as a gift in a different way; it’s both a book to enjoy, but also a reminder of someone who has thought about me in a specific way. That said, I don’t feel any guilt about passing along books that have been gifted to me but that I don’t enjoy enough to keep.

  9. Such a fun post to read.
    I also read the acknowledgements 🙂
    I don’t skip ahead to read the last page as I like to be surprised but there have been times when I thought there were more chapters to look forward to and there wasn’t. The last few pages were the extract of another book the author had written for instance. When you are loving a book and want it to continue that is disappointing haha!

    1. Oh what a bummer. I don’t read much fiction, so don’t often get shocked with a surprise ending, but I know EXACTLY what you mean. I’ve actually wondered sometimes if the book got ripped or the binding gave out and I’m missing some pages that will tie up all the loose ends.

  10. I love re-reading books; I have some that are pure comfort reads for me. I’ve never read the last chapter first but I have occasionally looked ahead a few pages when things are tense in the book. I read 156 books last year and most of those were from the library. I do like receiving books for Christmas and my birthday that I know I’ll love, and I have quite a few books that I know I’ll reread many times.

    1. Yay! I’m so glad to have company on this. It seems like most people (commenting here, at least) are NOT re-readers. I find it such a pleasure and comfort.

  11. I love this post!

    I wouldn’t read the end ahead of time unless I don’t plan to finish the book in its entirety. My skimming skills are lacking – how does one skim exactly? It always feels as if I can’t get the essence of something unless I read straight through it.
    I really enjoy owning older/niche books, particularly children’s bookd, that aren’t readily available via local library system. I have no desire to own a modern best-seller, in general, but will make room for a thrifted set of Louisa May Alcott’s books, or an obscure L.M. Montgomery (just finished Kilmeny of the Orchard and kept it even though it wasn’t great because I know I can’t get it from our library system).
    Lately I’ve been reading in bed and loving it!! Tim is patient with me keeping the light on while he’s falling asleep.
    I don’t tend to smell books but love the smell of bookstores and libraries.

    1. How do I skim? That’s such an easy question but also feels impossible to answer. I just…look at a paragraph as a whole and will actually skip around to keywords/phrases and might not even read linearly – like I’ll look at a paragraph and read a few words at the bottom and then skip back up the top). I honestly don’t know how to describe what I do.
      You also remember things with A LOT more detail than I do, so I’m very quick to admit that it’s not the most “authentic” style of reading.
      Also, kudos for giving me the Anne of Green Gables box set, which you have seen has been put to good use in our household. I know my parents have an old set that belonged to me, but I think some other siblings might have appropriated some of the books, so I LOVE having that set on my shelf.
      I got my Mom a Ledgle reading light for Christmas and she has been LOVING it. If Tim is fine with the light on, no biggy, but this was about $25 and it can be adjusted around the neck and just clicks off and on (and recharges via USB). Again, my Mom raves about it.
      And such a good comment about libraries and bookstores. Yes, yes. I can still remember the specific smell of a leather store + bookstore in Annapolis Royal. If I close my eyes I can actually trigger the smell memory.

  12. Love this post. You are right we talk a lot about what we read but not enough how we read. I used to read the last sentence first in my youth but didn’t re-start that habit when I. got back into reading a decade ago. I think I like it better not knowing how it ends.
    I have a running list of quotes I save from books I read. Hence I always include one in my book recaps.
    And I do love the acknowledgments so much. It is always interesting who is being thanked and who had influence in a book.
    The smelling thing though is a tough one. I actually stopped getting library books because I couldn’t stand the smells. Specially on migraine days. But I happened to smell a book just this week. But it was my own so. all fine.

    1. An interesting perspective on the smells – some can DEFINITELY be overwhelming and musty smells can definitely set off my allergies. I actually had to get a whole set of childhood books out of my house because they made me so sick with allergic reactions.

  13. This is such a fun post. I love learning more about how other people approach books. I think I might steal this post idea and write my own version for the blog because I don’t know if I can actually answer everything here. Let me just say, I do NOT read the last pages of a book – ever. I mean, sometimes I am tempted to (no doubt!), but I feel like it would ruin the reading experience (and I am like your mom – if a book really captivates me, I’ll stay up half the night to continue reading! 🙂

    1. I’d love to see you blog about this! I have a version 2.0 in the pipeline because there are lots more fun questions to ponder 🙂
      It’s fun to be a reader!!

  14. 1. No way do I read the last page first! Oh, my goodness – it’s giving me palpitations thinking about it. (Just kidding!) I can understand the appeal but.. nope.
    2. I read every word. Sometimes more than once. However, I do skim work-related articles/chapters sometimes to see if they’re *really* related, so… I guess it depends on the context?
    3. I smell books mostly by accident. I am so sensitive to smell so if a book (usually an older one) has a strong scent, I definitely pick it up! That said there is a distinct smell to a bookstore (new or used, doesn’t matter, and yes, applies to libraries, too) that is one of my favorite in the world. So when I walk in to one, I always inhale deeply. 🙂
    4. I read mostly e-books, so highlight a lot. For print, I do dog-ear (but don’t often remove them!) and underline. My problem is that I don’t close the loop and return to the book to identify what really stood out at me. Definitely a character flaw. 😉
    5. An avid rereader. But I want to turn this into a blog post so that is all I’ll say right now!
    6-10… Will have to come back and answer. Darn it. Meeting starting!

    1. OK! Meeting over. 🙂
      6. I buy almost exclusively. I know, I know. For some reason I am completely unable to deal with the online library catalog here in WI. Maybe NGS can help me out. It’s a major character flaw. I will say that I buy mostly from Apple books and (in answer to question 8…)
      8. I read mostly on my iPad mini. I do periodically use the Kindle app for books that are not available through Apple books, but that is rare these days. I rarely-if-ever listen to audiobooks because I want to highlight/take notes/dog ear. And I find that most narrators put me to sleep. 🙂
      Back to #7! I always have multiple books going – at least 2, usually 3. I have a non-fiction, a fluffy book for before bed (to unwind) and many times a reread. Although those have been on hold recently as I got bogged down in Goblet of Fire and needed a break. The threat of the US-based Orange Voldemort returning to office was making me a bit wary of the fictional Voldemort.
      9. I read everywhere. Well, not the shower. But I walk around reading. Sometimes it’s a book, during the week it’s often the digital Washington Post or NY Times because I am also a news junkie as well as a sports junkie. Bathroom (yes, I admit it!), brushing my teeth, eating, in bed, on the couch, while I’m doing other things in the kitchen, etc. etc. etc. And when I am not reading for me, I’m reading for work. Which is, technically, also “for me” in some way.
      10. Whew! This is long, sorry Elisabeth! But I can keep this one pretty short. Usually yes, sometimes no. For no discernible reason!

      One thing I’d love to know is whether people remember when they started reading independently. I have clear memories of doing it several years after my mom says I started, but no memories of the initial experience. I’d also love to know peoples’ favorite books of childhood. 🙂 So many fun questions!

      1. Buying is ALSO not a character flaw. It’s a huge way to support authors and I commend people that do it.
        I mostly don’t because a) I’m frugal and b) I’m a minimalist. But I have started buying more of my favourite books, since I really enjoy re-reading!

        Funny you should ask about the childhood thing…I have a post up this week that tackles that very question 🙂

    2. Yes! The library scent; especially university libraries. The university where I did my undergrad? It’s library sounds the exact same as one of the buildings I sometimes go in to at the university I currently work for…I love the smell of bookstores/libraries. I also remember my childhood basement having a slightly musty smell…but of the book variety. My parents room had an entire wall that was just a giant bookshelf. I loved browsing the shelves and smelling the books.

      Re. 4 – that’s not a character ‘flaw’ – I suspect just by doing that, you absorb more information and it’s always there if you want to go back and dig deeper.

      I LOVE re-reading. It’s definitely very comforting to me.

  15. Ooh, what a fun post idea! I love learning the reading habits of other readers. We’re all so different in our approach!

    1) I have never read the last page first! No way!
    2) I am 100% a skimmer. Sometimes I wish I could slow down, but it is just the way my brain works.
    3) Oh yes, I smell my books. The beeeest smell!
    4) No dog-earing from me! If I do want to make notes, I will use Post-It flags to save the places I’ve highlighted so I can go back and reference them when I’m done.
    5) I’m not much of a rereader! But I have some favorites that I do reread, like the Anne of Green Gables series, Harry Potter, etc.
    6) I both buy and borrow! I love to buy books and have them all around my home, but I am also a serious library user.
    7) I am ALWAYS reading multiple books at once. Sometimes 4-5 at one time! I just cannot just read one at a time. My brain doesn’t work that way.
    8) I do audiobooks (2-3 per month), print books, and e-books. I love my Kindle because it doesn’t have any other apps to distract me and it doesn’t have the typical screen of a tablet/phone/laptop so it doesn’t really feel like I’m reading on a screen.
    9) Mostly, I read on my couch or my bed. And when I’m listening to an audiobook, it’s anywhere: while making dinner, while cleaning, while working, while driving!
    10) I very rarely read the acknowledgements, haha. Only sometimes!

    1. Well…I think we can conclude that people do NOT read the endings first. I’ll have to let me father know he’s been doing it wrong all these years.
      Glad to have another skimmer and you’re so right – it’s just the way I work. I think some of it came out of necessity – having less time as I got older + learning to skim in university because of the sheer volume of information I had to get through.
      Well…you know how I feel about Anne and Harry and smelling books. It’s all wonderful.
      And multiple books for the win! I can’t imagine any other way!

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