I don’t often take part in book tags, but I saw this one over at URL Phantomhive, and it looked really good fun. So, here we go:

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

At home, I love reading in my armchair. It’s such a comfortable place to sit and read. I also love reading in bed, and well, I listen to a lot of audiobooks when cooking or doing household chores. I mean, seriously, how did I even manage to do housework before audiobooks?
So I guess, I read in one form or another pretty much anywhere at home.

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?

I can stop anywhere … but I prefer to stop at the end of a chapter. That is, if I get there. I often read at bedtime and I have been known to drift off while reading.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Both. Some of my favourite bookshops have excellent booksmarks. For example, Topping’s bookmarks are very sturdy and very stylish. Whereas Blackwell’s use a retro advert as theirs (and are kind enough to always include bookmarks in mail orders). I also love the bookmarks provided by Persephone Books. These are beautiful and the bookmarks usually match the end-papers of the Persephone book that comes with the bookmark.
However, I love using random pieces of paper! I keep ticket stubs, etc. from travels and shows and museums etc. as mementos and I love using those as bookmarks.
Sometimes, I even get to use tickets that match the book:

Can we just appreciate for a second that I managed to use a Paris Metro ticket as my bookmark when reading Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex earlier this year?
Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

It depends. I don’t usually have the tv on when reading. (Well, I don’t usually have the tv on anyway, but that is another story…) I do sometimes have music on. I find that some books work really well with music in the background. In fact, one of my favourite reading memories is reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans in the kitchen of a cottage I shared with friends when I was at uni. It was evening and I had the radio on. It was tuned in to a BBC programme that featured popular songs of the 1940s. This was just absolutely perfect for the book, and I am sure my appreciation of When We Were Orphans is at least in part because of the setting that I read it in.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

Yes, I usually have a drink at hand while reading: Most often this is tea, tisane, water, or coffee, but I also like other drinks. And of course, some books just cannot be read without having some wine at the same time.
I also like snacks, but I prefer to focus on either books or food but not both at the same time.

Theatres may be closed but we can still have a G&T during the Interval.

Reading at home or everywhere?

Back in the day when we could travel and I travelled quite a lot with work, I loved nothing better than to read while on trains, planes, in airports, at the hotel. I guess I liked that certain parts of travelling allow you to focus on a book because there is nothing else to do. I also liked to pick books that are related to where I travel to, either because they are set where I am going or because they have some other connection.
I also usually take a book to appointments where I am likely to have to wait around. I read most of Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad while waiting for car repairs, and remember it well because there was another customer waiting for his car who sat next to me and also read along.

One book at a time or several at once?

I sometimes wish I was one of those readers who could just read one book at a time, but that is never going to happen. I am way too much of a mood reader, and moods can change within hours. So, I always have a few books on the go, and most of them are of mixed genres or about different topics.

Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Well, there is a question: I mostly read in my head. However, some books are made for reading aloud – especially books that heavily focus on rhythm. Poetry is often much better when read aloud. It is not just poetry, tho. There are some authors who work and play with language so masterfully that the written words carry sound, and I like to read those aloud.

For example, this part from Sarah Water’s Fingersmith describes a train journey, and by reading aloud you can just about catch the rhythm of the train rolling on the tracks:

“Soon the train gives a hiss, and gathers its bulk, and shudders back into terrible life. We leave the streets of Maidenhead. We pass through trees. Beyond the trees there are open parklands, and houses – some as great as my uncle’s, some greater. Here and there are cottages with pens of pigs, with gardens set with broken sticks or climbing beans, and hung with lines of laundry. Where the lines are full there is laundry hung from windows, from trees, on bushes, on chairs, between the shafts of broken carts – laundry everywhere, drooping and yellow.”

Sarah Waters – Fingersmith
Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

I used to, but I don’t do this anymore unless the book is really bad and I somehow want to get through it instead of DNFing the book.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

Tough question. Of course, a book with a pristine spine is a thing of beauty. However, if the book doesn’t stay open enough for me to actually read it without breaking the spine, then what is the use?
I guess, I am saying that I try to not damage the spine but it is no big deal if the book ends up looking like it has been read.

Do you write in your books?

Yes! Unfriend me, unfollow me, judge me! Whatever. I am a proud book scribbler. I also take notes elsewhere and use bookmarks and sticky notes, but yes, I do also scribble in books. I also don’t mind if I find a previous reader’s scribbles in a second-hand book. Sometimes the marginalia is better than the book. A friend on Goodreads recently shared this article which illustrates this point perfectly.

Just to clarify, tho, I only scribble in my own books. It would never occur to me to scribble in book that is lent to me – be it by a friend or by the library. I am not a psychopath, like some people…

Marginalia in my library’s copy of Rupert Brooke’s “John Webster & the Elizabethan Drama”

If you feel like sharing some of your reading habits, consider yourself tagged or let me know in the comments!