Titles and Page Numbers
I have a confession to make. I don’t pay attention to numerical chapter titles, which happen to be the majority of chapter titles. They add nothing to the story so I ignore them. All they do is assign a numerical value to a chapter. They do not add any significance to the story itself and simply mark your progress through the book. If you asked me what chapter I’m on, I’d have no clue. My brain just skips from the end of one chapter to the beginning of the next, without reading the chapter title in between.
However, this instinctual skipping becomes problematic when it comes to titles that are words or sentences. In this case, the titles often do add something to the story and can, in some instances, be rather important as well. Then I have to force myself to slow down and notice the chapter titles, because even if they aren’t important, I find them fun to read. There’s something appealing to me about giving an actual title to a chapter; it makes each chapter almost feel like a short story – an entirety of its own, not just a part of a larger work.
I also appreciate it when chapters begin with quotes. I adore interesting and provoking quotes so it’s a nice way to begin a chapter. I find that they generally do add meaning to the book and can be a clever way to either foreshadow events or provide additional information. Plus, quotes force me to stop and think; to uncover the meaning they hold, forcing me to slow down and savour the book instead of charging through from chapter to chapter.
However, I do notice page numbers when I’m reading. I like knowing my place in the book relative to the end and I always check the total number of pages of a book before I begin. I also use page numbers as a way to know approximately how long something will take me to read so I can manage my time accordingly. Do I really want to start the next chapter if I know I won’t be able to finish it? A little math can prevent loads of frustration.
Is it just me? Or do you read this way too? I’d love to hear from you!