Friday, November 28, 2008

Seven wierd reading facts

Thank goodness for memes when blogging is tough! Basically, just seven oddities about one's reading habits. Since reading is quite personal, I expect that these will give some people quite the turn; some will possibly prompt "Yeah, me too! I thought I was the only goofball who did stuff like that!"; some will perhaps make you shudder in horror.

1. I used to be a mortal terror to books. At first it was just because I was an idiot and didn't know how to take care of stuff properly. Later it was because I had gotten into bad habits. Now I'm quite twitchy about keeping them in good shape.

2. Because of point one, I became adept at quick repair jobs to books with an exacto knife and clear packing tape. My old old paperbacks of the Lord of the Rings are essentially reassembled in this fashion (I got those in pretty bad shape), and I have fixed many a dust jacket.

3. I usually read more than one book at once, and usually a balance: something light on one hand, something heavy on the other. Then I have the occasional magazine or home-written draft to read and/or revise. Basically, I'm like a book junkie: instead of hiding cigs or weed or booze, I have printed material all over the house to dip into at odd free moments. And more generally, I am a stationary junkie. Whenever we go to a bookstore, office supply shop, or Target, my wife has to gently herd me away from the neato journals, pens and pencils, and etc. I have at least one half-dozen blank ruled books of various styles, completely untouched (in some cases, unopened), that I will eventually write in, along with unusual pens and pencils that I may never open because they aren't made anymore. I will probably die with a closet full of unwritten-in and unwritten-with stuff because I accumulate it faster than I can use it.

4. For some books, I cast actors in the various roles and mentally stage the action. I will also sometimes compile soundtracks... to the point of actually writing down song selections. (I have yet to actually rip a CD but it's only a matter of time.) Point 4-A: if I'm "casting" or "scoring" I will often cast myself in a particularly sweet role, because I'm obviously the great undiscovered middle-aged talent of the early 21st century.

5. In the olden days, my folks used to send me to the corner deli to buy Dad's cigarettes if he was busy. (It was a more innocent time - hey, let's give this ten-year-old two packs of Camels!) But I couldn't actually do this if anyone was in the store, for fear that someone would think I was smoking them myself. To avoid my alleged and untrue crime (which wasn't even one at that time), I'd commit a real crime - I'd loiter, looking to all the world like some wandering urchin trying to five-finger a candy bar. And during that loitering I'd read whatever was around me at the time. One busy Saturday, my Mom actually showed up, fearing that I'd been flattened by cars, snatched, mugged... only to find me hiding from the other patrons, reading potato chip bags, waiting desperately for everyone to clear the building so I could whisper, "Two packs of Camels, please, for me to take home to my Dad and not in any way consume myself."

6. I was a very early reader... I can't remember a time before I knew how to read, so I'm guessing I picked it up when I was about three years old.

7. As per point #5, I will read nearly anything... including reference material as if it was meant to be read cover-to-cover. As a boy I actually looked forward to the encyclopedia's annual volumes.

Thanks to ricki, sheila, and many other reader-y types who have done this. I tried to do mine without reading theirs first, which I guess makes no sense at all but too late, it's over. If you'd like to join in, I shan't tag, but the comments are available to you, as always.

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