Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Bookish Behaviors I Need to Quit


Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. This week’s topic is 10 Bookish Things I Want to Quit.


Note: these are not my book stacks! But if I keep piling, my house might end up looking like this. Photo CC-By Nicolas Mirguet

  1. Piling and stacking books everywhere. It doesn’t matter how many bookshelves I have: I quickly outgrow them. And then the stacks begin. The stack of books I’m reading. The stack of books I’m going to read soonest. The stack of books that just won’t squeeze onto the shelves. The stack of books from the library. The stack of books from the other library. The stack of books I need for class this week. Etc.

  2. Buying more books. I have thousands of unread books. If I never bought another book and read only books that I own from now until I die, I’d still have unread books—and that’s even if I live to a ripe old age. I periodically vow to stop buying books, just for a month. And literally the next thing I do is buy a book. It’s compulsive. It’s an addiction. It’s expensive. But, all things considered, fairly harmless.

  3. Returning library books late. Or to the wrong library. It’s challenging to juggle due dates when you check out books from four different libraries. Sometimes it’s hard to juggle the buildings themselves and make sure books get where they belong. I’ve fielded more than one confused call from a librarian about a book I’ve returned that doesn’t belong to them. It’s pretty easy to rationalize away the late book fees, though: that money is going to buy more books, right?

  4. Not using bookmarks. I would never deface a book by turning down the corners, and I rarely have anything handy to use as a bookmark. So every time I pick up my book to read, I have to find my page again. I really love hardcovers, partly because the jacket flaps can be repurposed into bookmarks.

  5. Listening to podcasts about books instead of reading books. I’m totally obsessed with now with Books on the Nightstand, All the Books, and several other bookish podcasts. I could be listening to my audiobook on the way to work. But instead, I’m listening to book reviews, making more lists of books to read, and then caving as soon as I get to the office and buying more books.

  6. Ignoring my digital library. I buy digital books fairly regularly and then almost never read them. I love the convenience but I don’t really like reading books digitally. Now that I’ve realized this about myself, I’m buying fewer digital books, but I’d still like to read the ones I have.

  7. Loaning and losing books. I’m a bookpusher, which means I’m always placing books into other people’s hands. I love to loan books. I love for my books to be read. But I really hate the loan and lose. Especially picture books and graphic novels. So expensive!

  8. Holding other people’s books hostage. You should never, ever loan your book to me, because I will never return it. I don’t mean for it to languish on my shelf unread. But there it is. Three years later. I’m sorry!

  9. Resisting assigned reading—even when I assign it. I don’t really have a traumatic past with assigned reading, so I don’t know where my resistance comes from. Maybe I’m just a reading rebel. But I can’t stand assigned reading—even the reading I assign in my own classes.

  10. Physically losing books. Okay, they’re not lost. They’re just misplaced. These are books I haven’t even read yet, books I’ve purchased and somehow misplaced before I can start reading them. Goodbye Stranger, where are you? I’ve been looking for you for at least a month now!


14 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Bookish Behaviors I Need to Quit”

  1. carriegelson Avatar

    Smiling my way through this. All of these point to some serious book love though. Which is, of course, the most important thing and makes it all forgivable!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Absolutely! And you know that I will never quit any of these behaviors. This is who I am as a reader, and I can embrace it!

  2. moddyscience Avatar

    Hilarious! I turned in all of my Chadron school library into my public library yesterday. It was a mess to get it back. Totally with you!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Ha! I’m so relieved I’m not the only one!! My local library in Hot Springs is used to this by now and they kindly and silently just mail the offending book to the right library, but other libraries are not so nice.

  3. Wyoming Jen Avatar
    Wyoming Jen

    So hilarious. So true. So me.
    I hate to dog-ear books. I’ve taken to putting the nearest paper THING into a book as a bookmark. I have receipts from the grocery story marking pages, tags off of new clothes holding my place, and literal trash keeping my spot! When I DO get/make a bookmark, it generally lasts through 1 book before it is mysteriously gone. I think the Bookmark Thief must come in the night and eat all the bookmarks in my house.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      My favorite book marks are paint chips! I have a big stack of them in favorite colors that I probably wouldn’t paint walls. I’ve been known to use clothing tags, napkins, receipts, etc. My son really wants me to do what his teacher does and use a post-it note so that I can mark the actual sentence we’re on and not have to scan the page to see where we quit reading. I just tell him that he’s lucky I use a bookmark at all in the books we read together since I never use them in my own books!

  4. Amy Avatar

    I am right there with you. I had to promise my husband to stop buying books. It’s a struggle, but I would like to stay married.

    Great post!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I have no willpower when it comes to these resolutions, though I keep making them. I don’t know what I would have to do to really stop buying books. Maybe move to a city with a good library system? Because I love using the library, but my libraries (all 4 of the ones where I have library cards) rarely have what I’m looking for. I am grateful for what we have, but small-town libraries are, well, small.

  5. shannonhorn1 Avatar

    All things considered, there are far, far worse addictions out there. Did you write the list in order? (As in, the bookish habit you want to stop the most is number 1?) I have two of your books that I promise I’ll return soon(ish)! I keep going back and forth between those two and several others, which makes it very difficult to finish one. I guess that’s a bookish habit I need to quit!

  6. margaretsmn Avatar

    I am so guilty of all of these. My husband was recently preparing taxes and I was totally caught! I spent way too much on books. I visited Eudora Welty’s house in my hometown of Jackson, MS and they keep the house how she did, with books piled everywhere, even on the sofa. Now I tell my husband that the cedar chest covered in books is my homage to Eudora Welty.

  7. reedjudd Avatar

    What a clever idea! I found myself laughing at a few because I have unknowingly adapted those habits as well! In fact, just yesterday I was cleaning the house and came across a book that was loaned to me; a year ago! SO, with my tail between my legs I returned the book to its rightful owner; only to have read the “back of the book summary.” Sad!

  8. […] A list of the Top 10 Bookish Behaviors I Need to Quit […]

  9. jayciecheatham Avatar

    The podcasts… This is my new obsession as well. I love listening to book recommendations, reviews hauls, etc. and jotting them down to add to my “Want to Read” list (which never gets tended to) rather than just listening to an audiobook or actually sitting down to read! Maybe you could dedicate one morning to podcasts and say four mornings to an audio book? That way you can get a little of both, but the podcasts can’t take over your life.

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