My Bad Reading Habits

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?

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48 thoughts on “My Bad Reading Habits

  1. I’m not sure if it would be considered as a bad reading habit, but when choosing a book I never read anything more than the blurb. No synopsis/reviews, because I worry it will give too much detail away. The only time I don’t have this habit, is when someone introduces a book with I don’t necessarily intend to buy and read; possibly because it’s not the genre I go for.

    Another habit which I don’t do anymore, as I learnt from my silly mistakes, is I used to buy a book if it had a pretty front cover. Anything with a cottage illustration, floral themes or Parisian style I’d buy it 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think that’s a bad habit, I think it’s something we should all do more often. I’ll admit to letting reviews sway me (one way or the other) often, and that’s probably worse.

      And I’m definitely guilty of cover buys, too!

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  2. I’m so guilty of skimming books! In my defense, this habit only dvveloped this year, and just as you said, I’d rather skim through the book than DNF it. What if it gets better in the end? (it rarely does.. But, oh well)

    Another bad habit of mine is that I can’t say ‘no’ to ARCs… And sometimes I go way too overboard on Netgalley requests, and than feel the enormous pressure to read all this ARCs immediately to free up my queue. 😂 It’s a constant vicious circle.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m trying to curb my ARC habit, too. I’ve gotten much better at only requesting books on NetGalley that I have time to review (most of the time), but I can’t say no if a publisher reaches out. At least they’re familar with what I like, so I always enjoy those books.

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  3. Ok so I have so many bad reading habits. Yes, I am one of those people who dog ears, but only my fave books because I want to mark up where I liked a quote or passage and… there tends to be a lot of those. My copy of Six of Crows is… well-loved, shall we say?

    I also get the anxiety when I haven’t finished a book – I low-key panicked last month when I was reading Priory and loving it but, because it seemed to take FOREVER to read, I felt like a bad reader? Bizarre. I don’t think the online book community helps with this feeling tbh, because it seems like EVERYONE around you is finishing more books all the time.

    I also get the ‘I don’t read recommendations’ feeling. I tend to wait a while and then pick something up when the hype has died down. Weirdly though I get this in a really big way with TV and film. EVERYONE around me right now is telling me how great this show Fleabag is and I’m like the more people tell me to watch it (without telling me WHY it’s good), just adds another month onto the time it will likely take before I finally cave and give it a go. I must be stubborn like that, eek!

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    1. I do that, too! Whenever I’m reading a big book, I tend to also be reading smaler books I can finish quickly so I feel like I’m accomplishing things.

      And I’m that way with anything anyone recommends, books, shows, movies, food. I guess I don’t like being told what to do. I usually eventually do it, but not when they tell me. I still can’t bring myself to read The Giver, because it was required reading when I was twelve. It’s been eighteen years…

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    1. Me too! I do tend to be more interested in books up for awards, because the awards I follow usually don’t nominate terribly popular books. I do like the books I put off reading more often than not, though.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Mainly the big ones – I’m always curious about the Pulitzer (I tend to like the winners, even if I don’t love them) and the Man Booker. Most of the books that win have pretty mixed reviews, which is probably why I like them.

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  4. I totally understand feeling bad about not liking a book!! I hate writing negative reviews. I always try to find something positive about the book. Like, this person just poured their heart and soul into something and then you dislike it. I absolutely hate that.

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    1. Me too! My one exception is if a book is offensive in any way (I recently wrote a bad review for a book that is borderline racist), and then I don’t feel bad. I tend to not accept books from authors I don’t know anymore for this exact reason.

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  5. It’s like we’re the same person. I relate to, literally, EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of these on a visceral level! I HATE not finishing books, I don’t like reading books friends recommend because what if I don’t like it? What do I say when they ask me? I definitely feel guilty when I don’t like a book (Golden Child was the WORST I reviewed it on my blog but I hated it). And I’m super skeptical of popular books because they’ve burned me before (don’t hate me but I don’t love John Green and Liane Moriarty is only OK).
    The point is. I feel you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you! I read a couple John Green books in my early 20s, and I didn’t hate them, but I’m kind of over it. And I like Liane Moriarty’s books, but I’m not in a hurry to read more. I think my hang ups might stem from the time in college my friend swore to me that Fifty Shades of Grey was “actually really good” and I had to read it to prove her wrong. (It is NOT really good.)

      Glad I’m not the only one that feels this way!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oooof! I have so many of these habits / inclinations as well. I REFUSE to read something because someone else told me to. I think b/c over the years I have learned that almost no one understands my taste so their recommendations won’t actually work for me, and then there is the awkward thing where I have to be polite when they asked how I liked it.

    I’ve also not reviewed books that were just sort of ok b/c I felt bad about not liking them. But if a book is terrible I WILL SHRED it with no hesitation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same! I’ve learned I have one friend who’s taste in books is very similar to mine, and I’m finally starting to read his recommendations, and I’ve liked them all. (Bonus: he doesn’t ask if I’ve read them unless I bring it up.)

      And I don’t feel the least bit bad about giving a book a bad review if it’s offensive (I just wrote a 1-star review for a book that’s borderline racist). But I generally don’t accept review copies from self-published authors anymore because I’ve had some not great experiences, and I feel bad giving a bad review. There have been so many times I just wanted to email them back and ask if I could please edit their book for them instead of a review.

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  7. I’m am guilty of many of these myself! I always feel bad when I don’t like a book, more often than not I assume it is me with the problem, not the book. I always try to find something good, but will never leave a glowing review if it isn’t worthy.
    I am terribly stubborn and rarely DNF. I always hold on to hope that it will get better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! Even when my review is 1-star, I try to find something good. I always assume if a book is published, it has to have some kind of audience, it’s just not for me. And that’s fine.

      I’ve DNFed very few books in my life. If I’m not feeling it, I’m much more likely to set it aside to pick it up later. I even made an “On Hold” shelf on Goodreads.

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  8. I’m definitely guilty of a few of these too! I’m currently going through the last one with my current read, it’s taking me longer than expected and I’m starting to feel bad that I’m not flying through it even though I’m still enjoying it.

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    1. I do that all the time! I think finishing The Name of the Wind in three days makes me question why I don’t read other books as quickly. But we still read a lot of books, we should feel bad if it takes us a bit longer to read something.

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  9. I have so many of these bad habits as well! I think my worst habit is reading multiple books at a time. I have one for commute, one before sleeping and one for something or the other. Except a few books, I hardly ever stick to one book. You cannot imagine my luggage-packing problems when I travel for more than a couple days! I have a book crammed in every bag, just in case I don’t have that bag with me at that time. It used to drive my mom crazy and now it’s my husband’s turn, poor thing.

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    1. I do the same thing! But I don’t see it as a bad habit, because I’m a huge mood reader. If I’m not in the mood for one book, I can read another for a bit. I try to read different genres at the same time so it doesn’t get to confusing. I usually have an ebook or two, and an audiobook, so it’s not THAT big of a space issue for me. Usually.

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  10. I hate required reading too!! I understand they had them in school to get kids reading, but I was always so frustrated because I would read the things they were asking us to read (or sometimes more difficult literature) when I just wanted to do what I want.

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  11. Approaching popular books with skepticism, isn’t necessarily a bad thing! I think its better to have low expectations and be surprised if it is good, than to have high expectations and be disappointed if its bad! Unless you think your skepticism sways your opinion of the book negatively, then I would actually say this is a good habit 😀

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    1. Thanks! I think the hype puts me off, and I end up missing out on some good books. Like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – I loved that book, but didn’t read it for a long time because I didn’t think it could live up to the hype.

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    1. Me too. That’s one reason I tend to read multiple books at the same time – even when I’m reading 900-page historical fiction, I can still finish a few shorter books while I’m working on it.

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  12. I relate to this so much. I have been guilty of skimming lately because I don’t have that much time and few books pull me in deeply anymore. It’s easier to skim and still understand the book well too.

    But it’s interesting that you don’t take book recommendations. I haven’t met anyone like that before. I don’t think it’s a bad thing though cause it’s more that you want to choose your own adventures for yourself instead of going on one that someone picks for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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