13 Feb My Reading Ritual: A Blog about Reading
As the world changes and mutates into something I can’t seem to recognise as normal, and as my anxiety flares and my time gets swallowed up by TikTok, I have become entrenched and dependent on my reading ritual. It is almost religious in a way – a reader praying at the altar of her books. I stand before them, these tomes, begging they take me somewhere I can stomach, somewhere outside, somewhere normal, and somewhere recognisable. This process is obsessive, step by step I set up my reading area.
I start with a bookmark. It has to be sturdy, big and colourful – I have opted for Dinosaur Flash cards. The box of cards has a home on my bookshelf and one is pulled from the box chosen to play marker of pages within a given book. I cannot seem to allow it to stay within a book, it has to follow me book to book until it goes missing like socks, glasses and keys (only to pop up weeks, months or even years later). Step one: Check.
My next movement is selecting the book if I don’t already have one ready and waiting to be devoured. I can spend hours searching for one, waiting for something to grab my attention off my shelves. If this process fails I either end up online or start planning an excursion to my nearest bookshop. I’ll admit it, I’m lucky enough for this not to happen too often as I am surrounded by books both at home and at work. There are books of all kinds at my fingertips. Still, the process of finding and planning the next read adds to the ritualistic momentum of my reading.
Once the book has been selected, I am on Goodreads or Storygraph (both have equal advantages) where I begin logging its details meticulously – the exact ISBN, edition, page numbers and cover. I did mention I’m obsessive, didn’t I?
As this process moves along, the kettle is put on and a hot beverage made to help aid this ritual of reading perfection. If a single step is missed, the reading conditions simply aren’t ideal. My tea is usually made in a pop-culture-reference mug that, honestly, brings me much joy (and is usually designed by MugLove). Once my tea is steeped and a book nestled under my arm (bookmarked and digitally catalogued), the time comes to find a comfy spot.
Comfy spots in our small flat are far and few between, the options are: couch (if the TV is off); the bed; or the floor. Wherever I end up, I need all the cushions in the house as well as a good light. Like a cat I paw and purr to find the right spot for the right book at the right time. But, once found, it’s perfection. With a crack of my knuckles and a crack of the spine of the book, we can finally read.
These are just the steps I have to follow to get me reading, never mind the rituals that I have to keep doing to maintain the reading. The first of these is keeping my to-be-read pile visible – it has its own shelf – as this goes a long way in keeping me focused. The world simply isn’t right without it. I get a massive serotonin kick when I make list and pack things and tick off my to-dos. My books and their reading are no different.
Cleaning out my books every so often is a must. I am given about 5 books per week to read, for either review or from work. So, books have a tendency to pile up real quick around these parts and they can start to suffocate if not read and loved. Plus, there’s nothing better than unpacking a bookshelf (for the ‘clean out’) and realising just how much you love your books. The cherry on top would have to be the smell of a good book.
I am sure everyone has their own rituals when it comes to books and reading, mine are mine. I depend on them and they make me happy!
What are your rituals when it comes to reading? I’d love to hear about them.