Reading Habits

I think it’s common for each of us to do something in our own way, and to feel it’s the normal way. But then you see or hear about doing that same thing differently and you wonder, have I been doing it all wrong? 

This is how I feel sometimes when it comes to other people’s reading habits. Of course I know that there isn’t actually a right way or a wrong way to read when it comes to choosing a book, how many I read at a time, how much I read in a day, etc., but sometimes I still feel that way! Here are my reading habits and why they work for me.

1. Most of my reading happens during my lunch hour at work. My typical reading time is only five hours a week, all during my lunch hour at work. This works for me because this is not a time that is conducive for doing much else, and it’s set-apart time where I don’t have to feel guilty for using it for reading. If I’m really into a book, I will sometimes read a little more at home in the evenings or on the weekend.

2. I only read one book at a time. The one exception to this is my Bible reading or if I’m reading a little bit of a non-fiction book at a time, usually along with other people. I cannot even imagine trying to keep up with reading multiple fiction books at one time though, and it would take me longer to finish a book which would drive me crazy! If it takes me much more than a week to finish a book I usually get antsy (unless I knew it would take a while because of the book’s length), and I think I would have an obvious favorite and that the others would get put aside.

3. I don’t read ARCs, so I read whatever I want, whenever I want, almost always solely based on my mood. I actually feel weird when I finish a book and I don’t know what I want to read next. I almost always know. And I don’t like when I’m ready for a library read that isn’t available, and when it is I’m usually in the middle of something else (like me impatiently waiting for The Winner’s Kiss right now).

4. I have a bad habit of losing bookmarks, so I generally use ticket stubs, coupons, and other random paper things. I really wish I used pretty bookmarks while reading, but alas.

I want to hear from you! What are your reading habits? Why do they work for you? 

Discussion: Are You Going to Finish That?

In the years 2012-2015, I deliberately put aside four books (I think it was actually one a year) without the intention of finishing. I came to a point in these books where I didn’t care enough about the characters or their journey to continue.

However, in the same number of years I have set aside about 7 books to not be picked back up again thus far, but that I would like to finish.

unfinished-books

Image source

Five of those books were non-fiction. One was Les Miserables. One was The Prestige audiobook, and long story short, it took me a long time to figure out how to download an audiobook with my library again like that without streaming with my phone’s data, and by the time I did figure it out I did not really have a good time to devote to audiobooks, and I just haven’t gotten my hands on a physical copy since.

As a general rule, I read one book at a time, for about an hour or two a day at least five days a week. For some reason, I have a difficult time putting non-fiction down and picking it back up in this matter. There are exceptions, like the wonderful book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. But in my daily reading time, I am seeking some sort of escape. For most non-fiction, I have to pretty much carve out a different reading time and read it in significantly less settings. This worked out really well for Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs, which I read most or all of one Sunday afternoon, and completely adored it.

Some of the books I have set aside but not picked back up yet have been religious non-fiction, which, even when I like the book, can be hard for me to dedicate the time to both read and reflect. Another one was a writing book that has been highly praised but I wasn’t really into, though I still think one day I’ll get back to it. But again, I feel I might need to take notes or something when I read it, rather than doing so leisurely.

And while Les Miserables is fiction, that behemoth is certainly not a leisure read. What I read was really interesting though, and I would like to pick it back up. I was actually trying to read that one at a different time than my normal reading time, very slowly. I’m not sure what the best plan of action for me reading it in the future is though, other than dedication.

So tell me, do you struggle with occasionally setting something aside and not picking it back up? What kind of books do you typically set aside to finish later? Do you have any specific reading strategies that work for you when it comes to books that you might not read as easily as others?

Reading Since Blogging

I know there have been a lot of posts from others about how blogging has affected their reading habits, and I wanted to talk about how it’s looked for myself. This all started when I was thinking about how I rate books. I have wondered before it I was too picky with my ratings. Last year I only gave out three 5-star ratings, but I also only read like 20ish books. I know this is shocking to most book bloggers, but I’ll get more into that later. I’ve only given two 5-star ratings so far this year, but I’ve already read about the same number of books as last year. And I’ve also have given out quite a few 4.5’s, which to me is for for books that don’t have quite all the punch of an exemplary 5-star book, but are still pretty dang awesome.

I think I’ve become both more critical and forgiving as a reader over the last year or so, if that makes any sense at all. I can spot the tired tropes and phrases and recognize weak plot points or weak character traits, but I also find myself looking for the good in every book if I can. As an aspiring author myself, I know that behind every book is a story that was once a burning idea in the author’s heart, so even if maybe they did not execute as well as we might have liked, there is something in the story that called to them, and maybe we can spot just a glimpse of that. That’s why I haven’t given out any 1 stars since I started blogging, I believe. That and I’m pretty careful about avoiding or dumping duds.

One of the other big changes has been the speed at which I read, and this has really crept up on me. Before I started this blog, I didn’t always have a “current read.” I didn’t know what Goodreads was. I read just a handful of books a year when the mood struck me. I never felt like I was a slow reader, that is until I started the blog and compared my reading speed to other bloggers. I figured other bloggers were spending a lot more time reading than I was, which was (and still is) probably true. I usually don’t spend more than an hour a day reading, and more often or not I actually skip reading completely on weekends. Basically, most of my reading happens during my lunch hour at work. I do sometimes read outside of that, and I think maybe I have done more of that this year than last, but not enough to explain the significant strides I’ve made in my reading speed. I think, simply put, I am just flat out reading faster. Which is a definite bonus, because I can enjoy more books that way.

belle-libraryAnd lastly, I do believe that reading has helped me when I write… though I admit, the more I read the less I tend to write. I’m still struggling to find that balance. But when I do write, I think the words just come out better. And that is definitely awesome! Now just to find the balance of writing/reading/blogging that I have been struggling with…

What about you? How have your reading habits changed since you started blogging, or in general?