Do you read with accessories? When I was a kid devouring books over long school-free summers it was just me and the book with the only accessory being an unobtrusive bookmark. These days reading is an event that requires equipment. I have accumulated so many bookmarks over the years that choosing one is a pre-event to reading a book. I like the marker to somehow “match” the book. Except if it is a book from the public library that comes with a paper hold slip in it. The hold slip becomes my rather inelegant bookmark and an impromptu piece of notepaper.

But accessories don’t stop with bookmarks. No, a lifetime of reading and being a few years beyond forty have taken their toll and the reading glasses I’ve worn since college to prevent eyestrain because I read so much but could still read perfectly fine without them are now a requirement to see the print on the page. Oh, yes I can read without glasses, my arms aren’t too short for that yet, but it is much easier and more comfortable to have them. So book, glasses and I travel everywhere together. That’s just so I can read.

Reading accessories – not all bookmarks included

In addition to accoutrements for the act of reading, I need tools for note taking too. I have page darts to slip onto a page to mark pages/paragraphs/sentences I want to be able to find later for blogging and/or adding to my tumblr commonplace book (before tumblr there was an e-notebook on my computer and a paper one before that). I love my page darts and have two tins full of them, one next to the bed and one next to my reading chaise. They used to be enough but in the past year they have begun to feel insufficient on their own. Pull them out of a book when I am done and no one would ever know the book had been read. I have begun to feel the urge to leave my mark on the pages.

Don’t worry, I would never mark library books. They get post-it notes with comments and thoughts on them marked in regular pencil. I toss out the post-its after I have written a blog post about the book and the book goes back to the library. My personal books though, a different story. I have revived my red reading pencil. When I was in college and would often buy used books that had already been marked in I needed a way to tell my marks and notes from the previous reader’s. I found a red pencil at the bookstore and it turned out to be a wonderful thing. I could see my underlines and I could write pretty well in the margin of the book as long as I kept the pencil sharp. Which meant that where the red reading pencil went a little pencil sharpener went too. Now that I have revived the red reading pencil, I have it, a regular pencil, post-its, and a pencil sharpener on the table next to my reading chaise (my reading chaise happens to be red too as is my book room – a theme emerges!). I don’t have these next to the bed since I do not read anything that requires notes before sleep.

I also always need to have something to drink at hand. Most of the time it is water. Sometimes it is hot chocolate. Occasionally it is herbal tea (mint or echinacea). On weekend afternoons it is coffee. I even have a special Saturday afternoon coffee mug that is so large I could bathe in it. Well not that large, but it’s big and it thoroughly amuses Bookman but he is always nice enough to humor me.

These days reading on the go means, more often than not, reading on my Kindle. Thankfully it is an all-in-one device and I don’t have to carry around all those accessories. It remembers what page I am on, it lets me underline and take notes, and I even don’t need to wear my glasses because I can make the print bigger. It is kind of freeing in a way since I don’t have to carry around all my accessories with me. I find I almost never read on my Kindle while at home, the device has become the book(s) I take with me when I leave the house. Easy and convenient. Still, reading at home with all my accessories is what I like best.

What are your reading accessories?