If you’re reading this post, you probably already know I am a massive reader. And, if not, Hi! I’m Stephanie. I read a lot of books. I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember – my parents used to find me in the wee hours of the morning in my closet with a flashlight and a book. But I’ve developed some bad reading habits. Mostly, they’re habits that are not great for my anxiety, but they’re all things I should probably work on.
I don’t read anything someone tells me to read. Whether it is a book club or for school or even a friend’s recommendation, for some reason, I develop an aversion to any book I feel external pressure to read. If you tell me I have to read something, I won’t do it. There have been rare instances where I have read a friend’s recommendation. But not until years later. And even though I generally love them, I can’t bring myself to break this habit. It’s why I fail at book clubs. (I am getting better at reading recommendations from friends sooner, but still can’t do book clubs.)
Sometimes, I skim. I am guilty of skimming books when I’m not particularly enjoying them. I know I should be better about DNFing books instead, but I’m stubborn. And I need to see if they really are that bad. Sometimes, I’ll skim through a boring part, or a chapter narrated by a character I don’t really like. But, often, I’ll skim large portions of novels simply because I don’t like them, but I have to finish them. I know this is partly because of pressure from blogging – if I didn’t need to review that book, I might be more inclined to put it down. But also, once I spend an hour or so on a book, I need to see it through. Even if that means not reading every single word. (I also know how to speed read, and will do that with an especially boring book, because I’m not technically skipping anything, just not savoring the words.)
I tend to approach popular books with skepticism. If everyone seems to love a book, I don’t go into it thinking I’ll love it, too. In fact, I usually go into popular books with the assumption that I won’t like them that much. Ten people tell me this newest book is amazing? Yeah, I probably won’t like it. I might try it when the hype dies down, but I’ll still approach it with a healthy dose of skepticism. Hey, I’ve been right more often than not.
I feel bad when I don’t like books. I’m fully aware this is a dumb habit, and one I’m trying to break. I’m not one of those book bloggers who feels obligated to give everything a great review. But there have been a few times when I really didn’t like a book and opted not to review it because I felt bad, but I also never want to lie and tell you all a book is great, when it really isn’t. I mean, if I was an author, no review is better than a bad review, right? (Although if a book is offensive – racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. – I have no problem calling it out.)
I get anxious when I haven’t finished a book in a few days. This is a ridiculous source of anxiety. because most people don’t read nearly the number of books I read in a year (which is totally fine), and it’s not the end of the world if I go a week (or a month) without finishing a book. Even though it makes me feel anxious. I did have to get over it a bit last year when I had some health issues and didn’t really read for a couple of months, but my addiction to finishing books is back. With a vengeance. I finished twelve books in the first nine days of April (including a few I’d been reading for a while, and a few shorter books), and on day ten felt pressure to finish one more. It’s insane, and I need to stop.
Do you have any bad reading habits? (And yes, dogearing pages definitely counts.) How many of our bad habits do you think come from being part of the book community? Or, do you think there are habits that are only considered bad because we’re part of the book community, and not casual readers who don’t publish all their bookish thoughts on the internet?