Weird and Quirky Bookish Habits

I am in the middle of a reading frenzy and when I find myself in that position, I tend to not want to write about it. That leaves me open to discuss other topics. That said, I have gotten a few comments lately (mostly from non-bookish folks) that have called my reading or bookish habits…weird. I don’t think they are weird but they might be annoying to booksellers as the first two deal with my in-store experience.

*I have been known to rearrange books on a shelf to more prominently display a hidden gem. You know how books sometimes face out at the bookstore? Well, sometimes I choose which ones should face out. I do this with all books but probably do it a little bit more with children’s books or Young Adult. YA, because I tend to always see the same books showcased. Come on, mix it up a little!

*I have also been known to move a classic to the bestseller’s table, just to remind folks that there are other books besides the latest Josh Grisham, although I have nothing against John. I know this might be slightly irritating to those in retail but I worked retail for years and years so I get why you might be irritated, I just can’t help myself. I also straighten stacks and alphabetize books that need it so I figure it all evens itself out in the end.

*I will pretty much contort my body any which way to see what a person is reading. This is harder to do with eReaders, but not impossible. Just takes a bit more effort on my part. I can tell that they notice me sometimes and they don’t seem to mind, but then why not just put the book down and tell me what you are reading? Would be so much easier for everyone.

*The books on my shelf are in the order in which I plan to read them. This helps me keep a visual of what’s coming up. Sure, I add stuff to it all the time but I always consider the order first and then position the title accordingly.

*If I pack an actual book in my bag, then I wrap it in a large zip lock bag to keep it from getting bent or messed up in some way. This did not save my copy of The Art of Fielding (The Girl’s water bottle found it in my car) but for the most part, it keeps books in pretty good shape.

These aren’t weird, right? What do you do that could be considered a bit weird by non-readers?

41 thoughts on “Weird and Quirky Bookish Habits”

    1. I am hesitant to say something to a shopper unless they are openly lost or can’t find help. I do remember butting in once when a bookstore employee suggested Girl with a Dragon Tattoo to a very young girl.

  1. I’m chuckling, because I rearrange books at the bookstore too. Maybe not pulling classics off the literature shelf and putting on a table, but I do make my favorite books prominent. And if I find one that is not in the right place, I put it where it belongs. I wonder how many of us do this? Hee her

  2. I don’t think you are weird. I do many of these things myself. I’m a compulsive organizer and alphabetizer and straightener. Comes from the library thing I guess. Anyway, I stand in the bookstore tidying as I look. I’ve had people ask me if I work there. LOL

    Checking out what people are reading? Who doesn’t do that? My husband has gotten used to me twisting and turning in the airport to see someone’s book.

    OK, here’s my weird quirk – and I don’t always do it, but…when I’m browsing in the library or a bookstore and I hear someone with a book or author question that they voice, I have been known to butt in and answer it, even if they have an employee with them. Especially if it seems the employee is not going to answer it correctly. Same goes if they are asking for a suggestion of what to read. I can’t help it. I must butt in. 🙂

    1. Regarding your quirk… I think most people welcome the input. At the museum the other day two ladies were talking about Middlesex and they were considering The Marriage Plot for book club this year… except they were having trouble remember the name… The Marriage, The Plot, I wanted to jump in and tell them but they figured it out.

  3. hmmmm…..i don’t know if i would rearrange books in a store….whoever is in charge of all the actual floor employees might get angry at them for “rearranging”things!
    i always want to know what people are reading..but here in the midwest it seems like people are secretive…the nook is tilted sideways, books are upside down with the covers off….
    but i am the only serious reader out of my friends so just the sheer number of books in my house make me a serious weirdo to them!
    love your site by the way…i usually get a laugh and a good read.

    1. I never thought of that. I certainly hope I don’t get anyone in trouble. Isn’t it sad that you are a weirdo to your friends just because you own books? I have very few friends that read but I have gotten my coworkers to read regularly which has been fun with all the book swapping going on. Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate it!

  4. Most of my non-bookish friends think it’s weird enough that I actually spend money on books. They think the library or a shelf of five measly books is more normal. Um, I don’t think so. At least, not for me. But, then again, many of my friends are non-readers…

  5. I love the feel and the smell of a new book. The smoothness of the pages of a new book are a tactile delight and I sometimes surreptitiously try to get my nose close enough to smell the newness of the page – not an easy feat in a crowded bookstore. And no, my nose does not touch the page. 🙂

  6. hmmm… I have never thought to do any of the bookstore things you mention but you have given me ideas!

    My bookshelfs are not organized… not one bit. I take that back. I have rooms with themes (ie: my fitness/yoga/nutrition books can be found in the excerize room). I recently bought a slew of books while in Paris. I will buy Paris inspired book ends and display them somewhere in the house.

    I have put books in a ziplock and should have put my ipad in one while traveling. I was so concerned something would happen to it. I need to have the world traveler buy a sleeve for it.

    As long as your comfortable with your habits… I have no issues! 🙂

    1. I forgot about book jackets! I take them off and keep them in a safe location. That lovely vellum cover that came with 1Q84 is safely tucked away until I get the book back from my friend.

  7. Hmmm…I do not do any of the book store things you do…but they make me laugh and show me a different part of you…

    I don’t like library books…something about all the hands that have touched or sneezed on them…

    I arrange books in tall piles and then put a lamp on top…it looks cool in certain rooms.

    I love old books…the really old ones and have them available in certain rooms.

    I miss reading tons of children’s books…I still am in awe of great picture books…

    This is almost a post…

    1. I might have a touch of OCD when it comes to organizing. I don’t have any stacks in my house. They are all shelved. In fact, I just went through them again to make sure only what I really wanted to read/keep was in there. Just a few weeks ago I had that library book that smelled like vomit. It was brand new! I saw nothing wrong with it but man, did it stink.

  8. You must realize that the next time I go into a bookstore I will be adding a classic to the best seller table, right? I love that idea!

    My husband & I both will often alphabetize and shelve books we see lying nearby or out of order at the store. A habit we picked up from our days working at the uni library.

    1. I totally see readers, mostly moms go “Oh… The Catcher in the Rye.. I remember that one.” LOL. I especially love all the newly released classics with the redesigned book covers. Makes my classic insertions that much easier.

  9. Your books habits don’t seem weird at all. I do them myself, except for putting a book in a plastic bag. Great idea, by the way. Almost all of my friends are occasional readers so I’m the weird one who has books everywhere. Like Kathy I have my own order to books that my husband does not understand.

    I thank God for book blogging. Where else can I indulge my love of books and talk about specific habits of bookish folks like the ones mentioned here? I’m glad you wrote about it.

  10. Weird is not the word … charming and lovely is the word! I adore your habits and I do share your need to organize books and highlight ones I think need more attention.

  11. I may or may not slip suggested reading lists into random books in the book store. I’m always afraid someone is going to see me doing this and ban me for life. Just the other day I was mortified by how unorganized, picked over, and generally unkempt the fiction section was at my local bookstore – I voiced my disgust which embarrassed my husband. The lady explained something about post-Christmas shopping and gift certificate holders. I proceeded to ‘fix’ the shelves and I could feel her glaring at me.

    We are not weird, just adorably quickly and fiercely protective of books. We’d only be weird if we did these sorts of things with vacuum cleaners.

    1. It’s hard to imagine how the stores could still be a wreck from the holidays. I mean, several weeks have passed now but they are. I won’t even visit my store until they restock and clean up a bit. I love that you put reading lists in books 🙂

  12. Not weird at all. I do some of the same things, and am intensely interested in what other people are reading. I also will arrange things in the book store and even barge right over to people’s bookshelves when I enter their houses to see what they’ve got hidden in there! I don’t consider these quirks weird, they are just me!

  13. I’ve been known to make major overhauls at bookstores when there’s a book I love not getting display love. And I’ll just add this on trying to see what people are reading, while driving from San Diego to L.A. we passed a charter bus and someone was reading a book that caught my eye. I made my husband keep pace with the bus while I tried to see what it was when I couldn’t figure it out (my kids were trying to) I finally stuck my phone out a took a picture. Yeah, I’m weird.

  14. I don’t think those are weird at all. I definitely do most of them. I always keep a book in a ziplock baggie in the messenger bag I take to the dog park. I’m always worried I’ll get caught with nothing to read, but I also don’t want a dog to slobber all over a great book.

    1. My pup seems to respect my book when I am reading. She sits on my lap, facing the book as if she is reading too, which I think is hysterical. Every now and then she looks at me, waiting for something to happen.

  15. None of this sounds the least bit weird to me! I have been known to rearrange books slightly in the bookstore and I love to see what other people are reading (much harder since the advent of e-readers). Think I’m going to start carrying my purse books in a zip lock bag – thanks for the idea 🙂

  16. Hi Ti,

    I just rearranged a bookshelf so that it held all me writing books together. Since it’s right next to my desk, I can turn my head and see them all. I also like to rearrange how the other books are grouped as well…sometimes moving them around by subject, or author, or some other random thought I’m having at the moment.

  17. Nope, not weird at all. I am also the one who uses the big baskets/bags kindly provided by bookstores and libraries, and I tend to enjoy filling them to the brim. I’ve noticed lots of odd looks from people when I do this, especially at bookstores. Like it’s odd that someone would buy more than one or two books at a time!

  18. I think you’re doing some good but lesser known titles a great service! I’d say good for you to promote them! Like you see, the title I’ve just reviewed Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deirdre Madden. I went to a bookstore (major chain here in Canada) and they don’t even have any of books on the shelf! Also, I see you have The Art of Fielding on your sidebar. Just like to see if you’ve written a review on it.

  19. There’s nothing weird about all that! I’ve felt a tendency to do half of those many times, especially ordering and reordering the books on display. LOL!

  20. I do all the things you mentioned in this piece with my books (except the putting the book in a large ziploc for protection — good idea!), so I found this a description of what is normal to do with books. You made me laugh. 🙂

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