Reading Superstitions

I have mentioned a couple of my reading superstitions over the last few weeks. Firstly there is the fact that I like to get everything read and reviewed by the end of the year that I read it in, even if that means posting some of the reviews in the following year or cramming a few mini reviews in. Then I mentioned on Sunday how I have the superstition about the first book I read every year and how it almost prophesies how the following year of reading will unfold. This morning on the train to work I encountered another one…

Chapter 13

I find having to stop reading on chapter (or indeed page) thirteen in a book. Thankfully this morning I was early enough that I could read to chapter fourteen in the kitchen in the office, otherwise it would have bothered me all day. Not to the extent I would think something awful would happen (though if I am on a plane I have to have read past page thirteen and will stop on chapter 12 – nightmare – because it worries me, but I am a bag of irrational nerves on a plane so it is very extreme) but it would bother me like an ill omen all day. Is that weird?

There is only one other one that I have and that is someone damaging a new book. The Beard felt the wrath of this the other day when he moved a pile of books (that admittedly I may have left on the table for a while) and some of the pages edges got dented and I was distraught. Though that might just be my ridiculous love for respecting the pristine book. Before I sound crazy, or crazier, I don’t go to the extent that if I crack a spine I can’t cope or move on – though for those of you who do crack spines a book fairy dies, or twelve eBooks get bought instead or a paper one.*

So enough of my crazy, what book superstitions do you have, if any? They can be good ones too. I know an author who kisses a certain page number of every book they read, so I know I am not the only weirdo book lover out there.

*None of this is true.


Filed under Random Savidgeness

28 responses to “Reading Superstitions

  1. Jen

    I find you so interesting, Simon! I don’t subscribe to your superstitions, however, I do almost cry when my dog eats a book I may have accidentally left on my bedside table. Especially when it is a library book I then have to pay for.

  2. Chapter 13 doesn’t bother me, but having 13 items on a to-do list does… I also get upset if new books get damaged, and I NEVER break spines – those poor little book fairies!

  3. Jill

    My thing is if the cover is in any way creepy or has a face on it, I have place cover side down because I don’t like it “looking” at me.

  4. I’m only okay with breaking a spine if it means I’ve read the book so many times that it was inevitable (see my copy of Stephen King’s IT). But bending pages (or worse, getting a new book delivered with pages already bent, the horror) makes me crazy!

    • Oh don’t, that was my last straw with Amazon a few years ago, they sent a book I had paid for as new with battered sides, replacing it with one with torn pages. Only shop physically for books I say.

  5. BarbaraB

    Simon – I laughed out loud when I read about the book fairy dying when a spine is broken. Thank you for that!

  6. I never thought about the 13s, I hope I don’t do it now! I loved the book fairy comment too. I don’t go out of my way to crack spines, but growing up I wouldn’t keep a book if it looked remotely read after I finished it.

    • Hahaha that was my only worry with writing a post like this… what if my crazy is contagious. Oops. Lots of people come round to mine and cant believe I have read the books in the lounge they say they are all to pristine.

  7. This made me smile. Of course I’d say I was completely normal but if I’m really honest, Jill’s comment about putting faces cover down resonated a bit. And if a book is either upsetting or scaring me when I stop reading just before lights out, I’ve sometimes been known to take it out of the room in case it leaks in the night and gets in my dreams. See? COMPLETELY normal… [p.s. Thanks for the blog, Simon. I’ve been reading for ages but I’m only just getting my head around interacting a bit more!]

  8. Ive always thought you were mad. This post just confirms it 😉

  9. Simon, I was once in a book store and the man browsing beside me picked up a hard cover book then proceeded to break the spine before he read a few pages and then placed it back on the shelves. This happened a few years ago and I still can’t get over how horrifyingly thoughtless it was!

  10. Antonomasia

    Oh, gosh, I have the chapter 13 problem too. First time I’ve read of someone else having it, though figured they must exist. It’s a nuisance – I usually read chapters 12-14 in a block to avoid it and will plan around this. I can remember times when I had to stop at 13 and was fine, so I can relax a bit, but I’m still happier when I get through it.
    I was a bit annoyed with Krasznahoraki in Seiobo There Below, which had Fibonacci numbers for the chapters, as there was the chapter numbered 13 *and* a thirteenth chapter.
    Also planning that the 13th book I read this year will be very short, for similar reason.

    (I hope this comment works, I often have trouble posting comments and give up.)

  11. Cracked/broken spines make me cry – there I’ve said it!

  12. My OH really doesn’t like reading a book after anyone else, to the extent that he will pass up a perfectly good second-hand copy in a charity shop, walk 100 yards down the road and pay RRP for a brand new copy in a bookshop. As a confirmed bargain hunter myself, this is often infuriating, but then he is one of the dying breed that keeps our bookshops in business so I guess I should encourage him.

    • I think actually this is good. You even each other out Stephanie. After all the book world will stop if we don’t buy new books so he is helping us all. This is also the excuse I use when I go on book shopping sprees despite the fact I am sent a fair few books.

  13. Oh no, I’m the 13th comment! horrors! Luckily that doesn’t bother me. I know you were all waiting for someone else to comment so you wouldn’t be the 13th. You are now safe.

    I probably have book superstitions that I’m not aware of. I do like to organize my daughter’s books by size, since kids’ books vary so much in size. I do have pet peeves: I think people who fold pages as a way of keeping their place are less evolved and deserve our scorn. Because I volunteer as a book sale organizer at my library, I see a lot of donated books with writing and underlining and highlighting in them, AS IF someone else wants to buy them like that. They just can’t handle the responsibility to throw out or recycle these books themselves, so they make us do it. Big babies.

    • See you’ve broken the thirteenth comment rule now, hehehe. I might be the thirteenth now for all I know as my comments intersperse all yours. I am not going to check though, it might throw me out all day.

      I have a funny thing about book sizes. Those shorter paperbacks are lovely when they are old penguins from the 70’s and 80’s but I hate them in newer books. No idea why. Another reading weirdness it seems I have.

  14. Thankfully I haven’t had to contend with any of these so far. But now you’ve gone and mentioned it the next time I’m on a flight I’ll be nervously approaching chapter 13

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