Let’s Talk: ‘Bad’ Reading Habits

lets-talk-bad-reading-habits-book-blog

One of the big ~conundrums~ in my life is that I’m really good at developing bad habits, but really bad at developing good ones. It takes me weeks to talk myself into wanting to develop a good habit, for example, and a few more weeks talking myself into starting, and a few more weeks before I actually start.

Now, that might not sound too bad if the habit stays with me forever, but that’s 100% not the case. Often what happens is I “let go” and “take a break” for a day, and soon I forget about working on that habit and just totally give up on it. I’m that bad. 🙈

Anyway! This list has to do with my “bad” reading habits — bad in quotes because, well, it’s all pretty subjective. Let’s get to it. 😊

1) Reading on the bed.

boo-reading-monsters-inc-gifI read mostly in bed — at night on weekdays, and in the mornings on weekends. I always start out good: lots of light, back straight (or at least upright), book in hand… and then I get lazier and lazier as time goes by and suddenly I’m lying on my side or on my back, completely horizontal, and only using my nightlight. I think I’m ruining my eyes, guys. 👓

2) Not taking notes.

When I read, I like to be 100% uninterrupted, and taking notes sometimes takes away from that. It’s great, but then I find myself needing to write a review having forgotten pretty much the fine details. This is probably why I’m really, really fond of reading e-books — the process of taking notes and jotting down quotes is just faster, easier, and more convenient.

3) Skipping to the end.

my-eyes-my-eyes-friends-gifHave you ever encountered a scene so tense, you just have to know if the characters make it out alright? I have, and quite often too.

When the anticipation gets unbearable, I flip to the very last page before I could stop myself. Then I breathe a sigh of relief (or swallow a cry and then remind myself not to get attached), and go back to where I paused reading. It calms my heart, but it also sometimes takes the excitement away from reading.

4) Skimming.

Similar to the above, I guess, but I usually commit this ‘sin’ with books that have superfluous writing but tremendous potential. It gets tiring having to wade through dense, heavy purple prose, so after a while I just stop trying.

Case in point: Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight. Loved the premise, but the writing wasn’t exactly my style. I skipped all of the footnotes and basically skimmed the first few chapters of the book. 💁

5) Getting a gazillion books out from the library.

tangled-read-book-gifI think I’ve been guiltier of this ever since I started my bookstagram I just want to take pictures of all the books and would even bring home things I’ve read before. I also get very reserve-happy and extend-happy and admit that I’ve held books for longer than one month at a time, during my worst.

My highest personal count is 12 library books. That doesn’t sound too bad when you consider how big some people’s hauls are, but it’s an amount heavy enough to lug to and from the library! Almost back-breaking, if I were to be honest.

6) Tuning out audiobooks.

I usually listen to audiobooks (or podcasts, they’re very similar to me) when I’m at work, and sometimes I just don’t even try to really listen. Like, I’m listening, but I’m not actually hearing things, you know? And soon I find myself listening to Chapter 6 having no idea who the characters are or even (honest) what book I’m currently ‘reading’.

This mostly happens with fiction audiobooks — I do OK with non-fiction and I love podcasts, but give me an element of fiction and you lose me after the first three minutes. I still don’t know what it is! Maybe I just haven’t found a narrator that works for me. 🎧

7) Losing focus when reading.

ross-asleep-friends-gifMost of my reading is done after 10pm, just before bed, and often find myself reading until well after midnight. 3-4am nights aren’t that rare in the house of Reg — I’m obstinate enough to want to finish a book before I sleep, no matter the condition. Drooping eyelids? Whatever. Early morning start? Pretty much my reality every day of the week.

The bad thing, of course, is that my eyes might be reading, but my brain has practically shut down. Sometimes I have no idea what I just read, but I power through anyway. 0/10, would not recommend. 🙅

8) Snacking.

Pretty much any time after lunch is snack time for me. I have little to zero self-control and could likely eat all snacks all hours of the day if I ‘let go’.

This is especially dangerous when reading, because I’m just not paying attention to what’s going into my mouth and suddenly I’ve eaten a whole bag of chips, a bar of chocolate, AND a whole box of chocolate chip cookies without even really feeling it. 🍪

9) Multi-tasking.

typing gifI’m perpetually running out of time to do the things I actually want to do, so I’m perpetually attempting to multi-task. Keyword here, of course, being attempting.

Very often I find myself sitting in front of the TV catching up with the latest episodes of a show, with my laptop open to reply to blog messages and such, and a book in my hand. The end result? I end up missing a lot of tiny little details and often have to rewind my show and continue that book later. 😕

10) Reading too many books too quickly.

Okay, okay, this one doesn’t sound that bad, but if you’re anything like me… it’s pretty bad. I may be a fast reader, but I’m also really easily bored. Reading too many books too quickly is a sure-fire recipe for a burnout or a reading slump for me, and I have to very carefully tread the line between ‘reading a lot’ and ‘reading too much’.

I can read a lot, but I also need to be doing a lot of other things. 💪


Now that that’s over, let’s talk! 💖

  • Do we share any of the same reading habits?
  • What are some of your ‘bad’ reading habits? Are you actively trying to ‘fix’ them?
  • If you’re like me — bad at developing good habits, good at developing bad habits — what has worked for you in the past?
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152 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: ‘Bad’ Reading Habits

  1. Oh gosh, I relate to this post SO MUCH. Especially:
    – Skipping to the end (UGH YES, especially when I don’t know if they’ll be alive or if there’s going to be conflict – I’m SO averse to conflict haha – so I skip a few pages ahead and let my eyes roam for a split second. Sometimes I see a name and I know THEY’RE ALIVE but then sometimes it ruins it for me. I am a terrible person, lmao)
    – Getting out too many books from the library (Me too! I somehow convince myself that I’ll ALWAYS read it all but nah, I end up reading 1/3 on average. ;____; )
    – Tuning out with audiobooks (Now that I listen to a lot of audiobooks, I can pin this down to certain voices and narrator styles? Narrators that don’t intonate will lose my attention fast!)

    I find with note-taking, if the book compels me enough it will evoke words or thoughts. If books don’t, then it didn’t resonate with me or didn’t inspire me, in which I just let it go!

    Ah I’ve written so much and you’ve had so many comments for this! I shall stop right here. 😂

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    • Yaaas, so glad to hear that! I’m so guilty of many of these and it’s a bit of a relief to know I’m not the only one. 😊

      I also end up returning more library books than I read unless I’m being REALLY REALLY GOOD (which is kind of rare). And then I forget to borrow them ever again and the book sinks down to the bottom of my TBR…

      RE: audiobooks – I probably have to listen to more to really pin down what works and what doesn’t work for me! I’ve heard that hearing to British narrators really helped. 😂

      And that’s a good way of looking at note-taking! I think it’s the same for me, except even with books that I like, leaving a long time between reading and reviewing can mean that I forget some of the finer details. 🙈

      Thank you for your comment! They’re all appreciated, each and every one of them. 💞

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can relate to the taking notes issue! I type them on my phone but sometimes my battery runs out and I can’t bother getting up to find a charger or I’m just too engrossed in a story and I don’t want to stop reading. When I’m in front of my screen to write a review: blank. So many details lost because of my laziness, haha!
    I ALWAYS take too many books out of the library!! I dread to run out of books and I add books until my arms are full and hurt!

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    • I’m glad I’m not the only one! Sometimes I leave a long time too between reading and reviewing and I’ve forgotten many, many things. It’s not that efficient bc then I’ll have to leaf through the book again to remember what I wanted to talk about.

      And yeeees. I pile books upon books and sometimes even need help carrying them all. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The taking notes thing is too real. I mean, I even get lazy with e-books and forget to add the note, and then I suffer trying to remember what I thought about certain things when I’m writing a review. Or forgetting to highlight stuff and then being unable to find them for the reviews, too? I hate when that happens to me, but I still say “I’ll remember, I don’t need to take notes”… When will I learn? hahaha. Awesome post Reg 😀

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  4. I currently have 20 books out from the library, and earlier it was at the highest at 36. I renew constantly if I don’t have time (for some reason my mom doesn’t yell at me as much if I’m reading an eBook vs reading an actual book (I guess I look “less lazy”). So I have the same library habits as you!! 😂

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      • Oh, I am always stressed. That’s NOT counting ebooks from the library but I never have that many because of the wait lists. I am down to 20 now from the library physical book-wise because I had to let some go…I kept the important ones but you know the expression, “my eyes were bigger than my stomach?” Well, my eyes were bigger than my time!
        (And for some reason my mom thinks I’m doing nothing when I am reading a physical book, but when I’m reading an ebook I guess I look busier?)
        So it’s harder for me to read my physical books even though I find a lot of New Releases in physical form that have huge waiting lists as library ebooks!

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        • Aww, you poor thing. Do you think if you take out less books you’ll be less stressed? 😛

          How long is your library loan anyway? Mine is for three weeks and there’s no way I could finish, like, 10 books in that amount of time, let alone 20 or 30! Real life is always so busy it doesn’t leave a lot of time for reading.

          I don’t live with my parents anymore but they think I’m unproductive regardless what I’m doing. 😂

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think I get 3 weeks too. Then I get 2 renewals without a fuss. I was supposed to go today to return some but I was busy with school stuffage. Totally forgot. But I am whittling them down to a manageable number. No more piles of books in the trunk: it just won’t do.
            I am going to take the stress level down. Reading should be fun, and it still is, but I don’t want to make it into a chore, you know?
            I think moms see us reading and wish we were cleaning, lol! 😂😂

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  5. I totally agree with the audiobooks thing! I didn’t have the time to read The Hobbit, so I got an audiobook, state three times, never got anywhere. BUT podcasts! Love them, I can listen to any non-fiction all day, probably because even if I zone for a few minutes, I don’t feel that I’ve lost a major part of the plot or something.

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    • I’m so glad that I’m not the only one! I looove non-fic audiobooks and most of the time they work for me and it’s exactly because of what you said: you can zone out a bit and get back to it easy without losing anything important. Do you have a favourite non-fiction audiobook or perhaps any podcast recommendation? 🙂

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      • Well, my absolute favourite is Gastropod, the tagline being ‘food through the lens of science and history’. For news, I do the BBC Daily Commute, it’s generally 22-29 minutes long and perfect for my bus ride.
        Sorry I’m still going on, but I recently started listening to This American Life and A Taste of the Past, but the first two are still my favourites. Are you a podcast junkie too?

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        • I haven’t listened to any of those! I generally listen to lifestyle/entertainment/book stuff. I like Dear Sugar, The Split Book Reviews, The Binge, Two Fat Expats, No Filter, The Nerdist… I’ll give Gastropod a chance, though, that sounds interesting. ❤️

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  6. I am 100% terrible about skimming. If things start getting slow or dull(I am also very easily bored) I start vaguely skimming and then refocus a few pages later. I’ve ended up missing so many major plot keys that way. Right now I’m reading The Lies of Locke Lamora and have skimmed way more than I’d like to admit. That book is so slow moving.
    http://literaryweaponry.com

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