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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153 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: ‘Bad’ Reading Habits

  1. Pretty much all of these are bad reading habits of mine as well, except the audio books one because I’ve yet to listen to an audio book! When I read in bed I normally get sleepy and halfway through a book, and it could be the best book in the world for me, I will fall asleep, but I’m guilty of potentially ruining my eyesight as well, and honestly it isn’t that good to begin with! Also I always used to skip to the end of books/paragraphs/chapters/scenes/whatever when things would get tense, just to make sure all my favourite characters were still OK. I’ve stopped doing that now but when I was a teenager there was never a book I read that I didn’t.
    Most of the rest are things I still do now, and some I probably won’t even stop/start. I can’t really write notes and read at the same time, and I’ll never stop snacking either!
    Great post Reg! ❤

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    • Ooh, do you think you will give audiobooks a try sometime in the future? I’m not saying you have to because I realise it’s a hit-or-miss for many people, but I’ve found that certain genres (like memoirs) are really good in audiobook-form, especially when the narrator is the author.

      And I feel you re: eyesight. I already wear glasses/contacts and I reaaally don’t want my eyesight to get worse, but at the same time I also don’t care enough to make active changes to my reading habits. 😫

      I used to be worse, i.e. I used to read the ending first (like the final few pages) and then start a book, haha. At least now I only skip a little bit. 😛

      Thanks, Beth! I’m really glad you could relate to some of these, it makes me feel less alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe one day, at the moment they’re not something on my list to try out but I guess never say never right? Like you said if I find a genre or a book I feel will be better in audiobook-form then I’ll pick it up but if not then I’m fine sticking with paperback books/my Kindle.
        I shouldn’t wear glasses when I read, and normally I don’t, but honestly my eyesight is so bad I feel like it couldn’t possibly get any worse than it is at the moment. Plus I don’t want to cut back or give up reading either.
        Maybe it’s a habit everyone has when they start reading, and then we eventually give it up when we get holder, who knows, I don’t do it at all now, I like to be surprised at the end, good or bad surprised.
        That’s all right! 😀 Yeah it’s nice knowing I’m not the only one with bad reading habits!

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        • Someone else told me about poetry audiobooks and I think I’ll try that next – sounds like a great way to enjoy poetry.

          Why shouldn’t you wear glasses when you read? My experience has always been: wear glasses when you read (unless your eyesight is perfect, ofc). Perhaps they do things differently in different countries? 😂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. We share so bad reading habits Reg! 😂 Number 1 and 3 happens all the time, in fact I always look at the end of the book first before even reading the first page 😂 I don’t know why that always happen. And for 10, it also always happen to me. But if I cut back my reading, I ended up going into a slump to because my reading has been so slow. So it’s either read fast and as much as I can or read leisurely. Both will ended up with me in a slump 😕

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    • That’s comforting! Oh god, I used to skip to the end too but I stopped doing that bc I am now more okay with getting less-than-satisfying endings.

      I suppose slumps will always happen no matter what. I find that if I just follow what I want, though, I take the pressure off myself. Some weeks I read a lot, some weeks I read not at all, and so far it’s kept me off a slump. I hope you find something that works for you. ❤

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  3. I’m guilty of all of these!!

    The amount of times I’ve woken up because a book landed/closed on my face is ridiculous 😴 And I’m only able to take notes when it’s an e-book but I barely ever read those so…

    I skip and skim all the time. Tbh if I get really impatient I look stuff up in a wiki or read a super spoliery review because I just need to know! I do it for TV series a lot too.

    The library will be the death of me 💀 Now that I actually have a good collection of books I want to read I’ve been amassing a ridiculous amount of library books. I’m gonna have to start bringing my own books when I stop by because my babies are crying from neglect and dust.

    Also I have this terrible habit of when I don’t know what I want to read I’ll pick out 20 books and check out 12 from the library (digitally ofc (give or take all the books)) and I’ll just read a single sentence or hear the “chapter 1” and be like nope. Not today. Then I don’t read anything at all, but I’m too lazy to return anything. Please tell me I’m not the only who does that 😅

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    • So glad you could relate! I definitely read spoilers for movies and TV, but somehow I’m better at avoiding those with books… possibly because they don’t really have plot outlines on Wiki the way most movies/TV series do, so it’s that extra effort to look them up.

      The library is a life-saver for me! Some people buy TONS of books but I try really, really hard not to – I don’t want to collect too many physical books bc I like my space clean and uncluttered, and the library has really helped me do that.

      And I can actually relate with reading only a single sentence or the first chapter! Usually that’s when I get a feel of the voice/tone/writing style and if it’s not for me, then I just DNF the book without ever looking back (for the most part). Too many books, too little time to pick up something that you just KNOW won’t be your thing. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post as always! 😀 reading in bed is my problem too, just like you I start out with my back straight and propped by some pillows but almost always end up lying on my side. Which is why I prefer reading ebook on the bed because lighting wouldn’t be much of an issue 😛 and I definitely can’t take notes. It’s too distracting for me and more often than not I end up not using my notes at all, so I’m used to writing reviews from memories :’) and yes to skimming and skipping to the end, I do this when I watch tv shows too hahaha and I lose focus A LOT! Especially when I read fantasy at night! >.< one habit that I try to 'fix' is reading on my side because I know it hurts my eyes and don't want my eyesight to get worse.

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  5. I recently started using audiobooks when I’m trying to get through classics quicker and have done the tuning out thing way too often. One the one hand I’ll be thinking “ohh I can do this while listening and save some time!” and yet on the other hand I just tune out and don’t have a clue what happened by the time I concentrate again 😆

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    • That’s exactly why fiction audiobooks are challenging to me! Like with memoirs/non-fiction, sometimes missing a few sentences (or even paragraphs) you’ll still be able to understand the point, but with fiction I just find myself lost every time, haha. I’m glad you’re able to read more classics that way, though – that’s a feat for sure. 😍

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I always flip to the end in tense situations, just to make sure everyone is alive and well 😛 I’ve spoiled myself for so many books because of that! I do it less while reading e-books though.
    Also, the notes thing. Taking notes in an ebook is so much easier but while reading physical books, I make mental notes which I forget in like 2 seconds.
    Loved this post! 😀

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  7. Loosing focus & mutli-tasking, are two of my big ones! Gosh just recently I was reading too much fantasy that I couldn’t understand what was going on in the books and everything started to sound the same. I’ve taken a break, because if I would have continued that way, man there would have been a lot of books I read but didn’t read.
    The amount of times I try to multi task ha! I can picture your scene perfectly because it looks a lot like mine. I try to do things during commercial breaks. So I have my laptop on the floor, a book beside me while watching whatever show. Nothing ever ends up working right!
    Great post, I enjoyed reading it! 😀

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  8. Ok you just summed me up in this post, I am guilty of all of these. I read all the time in bed, I just can’t get comfortable anywhere else – if I go downstairs i’m like urgh too cold or someone comes home. I also don’t take notes whilst reading which as you say is a pain when it comes to writing reviews especially if you don’t write them immediately!

    Great Post!

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  9. I can relate so much to this post! I’m exactly the same with being really bad at developing good habits and then when I do they almost never stick for me either. 😂🙈
    I have the worst spoiler impulse so I also find myself skipping to the end during intense scenes because I just HAVE to know if my favorites are okay. There’s one series that I love where I almost always end up peeking ahead because I’m way too into certain storylines haha. Also, I’m the same with multi-tasking. I attempt it but almost always I end up rewinding my show and putting off the book until I finish. I started watching Outlander recently and it seems that when I’m really into a show I can’t focus on reading 🙈. And I read a lot at night in bed as well which is why ebooks have become my best friend. Great post, Reg! 😊

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    • I’m so, so glad to hear that! I’m TERRIBLE at this whole self-improvement thing. I wish I wasn’t, but I’m so lazy and comfortable, it’s hard to feel motivated. 😂

      Ooh, what’s that series? I do this with pretty much everything: books, TV, movies. I just get really tense and my heart beats super fast, and knowing that things are going to turn out OK calms me.

      Ebooks are my best friend for that exact reason, too. I read mostly on my phone, and it’s been great to just know that I’m a click away from immersing myself in a whole new story. Thanks, Melissa! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know right!? It’s hard to change something you’re stuck on and comfortable with. 😂🙈
        It’s about this lady, Claire, who is visiting Scotland with her husband post World War II when she accidentally travels back in time through these stones and ends up in Scotland in 1743. It’s an adaptation of a book series by Diana Gabaldon. It’s so good 😍! I love history so that was interesting and then the characters were great. I binged both seasons in less than a week because I couldn’t stop watching it. I’m exactly the same way! I’m terrible with intense parts.
        I read a lot on my phone too. I also have a Kindle but find that I get easily distracted when I’m not reading on my phone lol.
        You’re welcome! 😊

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        • I’ve heard SO MUCH about Outlander, and I think recently it got really, really popular, but this is the first I actually discovered what it’s about! Thanks for writing all that for me – it sounds really interesting, and if you get tense that you skip, I’m sure I’ll be exactly the same. I’m also TERRIBLE with intense parts… even in kids movies. 😛

          Liked by 1 person

          • I so just realized you were asking me what book series I always spoil parts for myself 😂🙈. It’s the Shadowhunter books. The things I miss when I blog half asleep! lol
            It really is such a great show! I think it’s gotten really popular recently too because before this year I hadn’t even heard of it. I need to read the books now after having loved the show so much.
            I do it with kids movies too. I was watching Tomorrowland yesterday and was all ahhhh intense part *skips* haha.

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  10. My bed is the only place I read 😅 I mostly read at night on my Kindle too which probs isn’t good, but oh well 😅 I do literally all of these (except skipping to the end). Losing focus and multitasking are two big ones for me, haha. I get distracted sooooo easily. I also NEVER take notes which is probably why I struggle with my reviews so much. I downloaded OneNote and everything and /tried/ but I would just keep forgetting or they’d be super vague and I’d read them back and be like “what”? Haha.

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    • I’m SO glad I’m not the only one with these habits! I mostly read at night too bc the day is reserved for work and going out but I’m worried it’ll ruin my eyesight even more… BUT I also don’t have the self-discipline to actively make a change. 😫

      How are you liking OneNote, beyond the vague-notes thing? I usually just use a Google Doc, and I try to write notes immediately after I finish a book. I think that has helped, but it hasn’t helped as much as I wanted it to. 😛

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  11. These are all so relatable 🙂 Especially the skipping to the end. I catch myself doing that often. Sometimes I’m worried a character might not survive and I end up just quickly skimming the rest of the book to see if I see the name or a hint anywhere. But when I do, I always curse myself for spoiling it. I just can’t help it!
    And I really want to get into audiobooks, but I never do because I’m worried I’ll either tune them out, or just stop whatever it is I’m doing so I can focus on the audiobook… 🙂
    I’m also terrible about writing notes! Terrible as in: I just don’t do it, but I really should 😉

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    • I’m glad that you could relate! And yeah, I do that exact thing – instead of cursing myself though more often I just feel all relieved, haha. I get so tense, it’s ridiculous. 😛

      I think you have to shop around for audiobooks! I tried, er, maybe two before I found one that I like (Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari). Comedian-narrated-and-written audiobooks work best for me so far. 😉

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  12. Dude I pretty much do all of these hahahahahahahaha I guess we are very similar readers. I just got to the point where I stopped judging myself on my habits and stopped thinking of them as bad, it’s just the way I read now so people gotta deal with it haha

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  13. Oh wow, I do so many of these.
    I wish it was easier for me to concentrate on audiobooks, so far it only works with poetry. I might try some nonfiction too.
    Snacking while reading is so much fun! Maybe not healthy, but still fun 😀

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  14. I don’t think not taking notes is a bad habit, tbh! As you said, it can take away from the reading experience, but I totally understand forgetting the details when you write a review later. I’m totally guilty of tuning out audiobooks too! Especially if I’m listening while I’m on public transport. It’s why I have to listen before bed so I can’t get distracted haha.

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    • That’s exactly why I put “bad” in quotes! So many of these are not exactly bad, haha – I suppose they’re just habits I’d like to improve on? 😂

      I love listening to audiobooks (or podcasts, tbh) when I’m out and about, though. My commute’s really short, so I don’t really get the chance, and sometimes I just prefer music instead of books in the moment. Before bed will just keep me awake.

      Thanks for the comment, Cilla! 💕

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  15. Great post as always Reg! For the most part I kind of do all of these too and I think the worst one for me is the not taking notes part. I need notes when I’m writing reviews but I never take notes while reading. Like you said I like to immerse myself in reading and pausing for notes takes me out of it. I actively tell myself I’ll remember it later when I write the review…biggest lie I tell myself, haha! 🙂

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    • Thanks, Heather! What has helped me so far is to immediately write notes AFTER I finish a book… so not quite disrupting my reading flow, but I usually still remember enough to be coherent. There’d be things I miss, though! My memory is like a sieve. 😂

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    • That’s not a bad thing at all! More time to savour the book, haha. My memory is like a sieve with books maybe bc I read so fast.

      And I’ve trouble rereading rather than picking up new books. I’m always looking for something new, and I hardly ever reread even when I want to. 😂

      Thanks for your comment, Nereyda! 💗

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  16. Ugh I’m guilty of 3) too but usually only if there’s confrontation and I just need to know how it plays out for my own sanity!
    I tend to do 4) with book club reads because I’ve not read them in time 😳
    6) is totally true for me too! Looove non-fiction podcasts but just cannot do audiobooks, it feels a little passive to me but maybe I need to try again…
    Finally, 9) I love ebooks for this particular reason too. I’ve found when I’m reading physical copies I take note of the page number on Notes on my phone but neglect to put the title down so I end up with lots of notes with random numbers and nothing to indicate what on Earth book it was *sigh*

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    • I do it for my own sanity too! And I also have skimmed when under duress (i.e. a deadline), though it’s more library reads than book club reads in my experience. 😛

      AND FINALLY, another podcast listener! What podcasts do you listen to? I’m kind of new to it but only listen to a very small number, but I get bored easy and have to rotate them every few weeks or so.

      I’ve written my book notes on the back of receipts, sticky notes, etc… the bad thing is that I often lose them, thereby rendering my whole effort just completely useless. 🙈

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