Quirks, I have them

Written by Donna


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December 18, 2012

I surely cannot be the only person out there who has odd reading habits.

Can I?

One of 88 Christies I own

One of 88 Christies I own

F’rinstance.  Like most heavy readers, I have a TBR pile.  I cannot read the last book in it.  I must have an unread book available because if I don’t, there won’t be any unread books.  I know that probably makes no sense, but I hate the idea of not having a book I haven’t read available.  So I never read the book on the bottom of that pile (for years, that book was Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting, until one day I realized I had two unread books and that one had been sitting around for three years and I was never going to read it—it was donated to my local library).  The current book holding the “only unread book” spot is Jasper Fforde’s The Woman Who Died a Lot.

Also, I develop obsessions about writers and have to own everything they’ve ever written.  This would explain why I own 88 Agatha Christie books, for example.  This also extends to books written about them, which explains why I own at least 6 scholarly works about her and another 10 or so about Dorothy L. Sayers.  Because it also extends to things like histories of the time period, other writers of that time period, things like that.  Which explains how I got interested in Sayers, own everything Ngaio Marsh wrote, and own numerous historical works about people and events from England in the 1920’s and 30’s.  Because when I do something, I am thorough.

The first of my 33 Sayers books

The first of my 33 Sayers books

I get so attached to books I can’t get rid of them, even if I know I’m never ever going to reread them.  I still own all of the Nancy Drew books I had when I was a kid.  Like, 60+ of them.  I cannot bring myself to get rid of them.  I was very fond of Nancy Drew when I was younger.  I have biographies that I’m never likely to reread, but I just can’t give them away.  Every once in a while we simply have to prune, and it is painful and nearly impossible for me to do it.  And I feel sad for days after.  Like I’ve given away friends.

My books are shelved as befits someone as obsessed with order as I am.  All mysteries are in one bookcase (except my Sayers collection, which did not fit and is housed in its own small bookcase with my Nancy Drew books—because that juxtaposition amuses me), all fantasy and science fiction on another.  Classics and non-fiction on another.  Children’s books have their own place.  Furthermore, those books are shelved in publication order by author.  And I get cross if other people here borrow them and don’t put them back in the right place.  And it bugs me when I run out of room on a shelf and they have to run over onto the next shelf.  The horror, I tell you.  I then sit down, take everything off the case, and rearrange it so all of an author’s books are together.  Because they have to be.  If necessary and possible, I’ll double stack them before I’ll let them run over to the next shelf.

The first Bujold I read

The first Bujold I read

I don’t have an issue with reading a new series out of order, but when I finish, I’ll go back and reread it in order just because I have to get the timeline straight in my head.  Just as an example, when I first started reading Bujold, I started with A Civil Campaign because it was simply the only one of her books at that time I could find (it was still fairly new back then—just out in paperback).  I read the whole Miles saga completely out of order as a result as I tracked copies down over the following six months.  Then once I had finally assembled them all, I sat down and reread them in order.  Now it may have made more sense to get all the books first (I should be clear here that my library didn’t have them.  Small town…) and then read them in order, and it surprises me, given my need for order in my life, that I don’t do that.  I can only put it down to my desire to Read All The Things trumping my desire to Organize All The Things.

And I cannot stop reading in the middle of a chapter, either.  I can’t just say, “Let me finish this page.”  It has to be “Let me finish my chapter.”

Do you have quirks like this?  Share them in the comments if you’re willing.  It’ll help me feel like I’m not alone.

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