My Reading Habits Tag: what I'm reading, genres I avoid, bad reading habits, and more
my current read: This is a particularly funny question at the moment because I'm taking an English class at university for the first time. Sure, I've taken a writing class but not an English class where it's centered around reading books. So that's greatly inflated the number of books I'm reading at the moment.
Normally, I read two books at a time – a "print" fiction book, whether it's on my Kindle or actually in print, and a nonfiction audiobook. Two totally different worlds. I just started reading If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery last night after finishing Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Then I'm halfway through Raw Dog by Jamie Loftus as my audiobook which is a memoir about roadtripping across the country to eat hot dogs. It is as random as it sounds. I'm not entirely sure why I'm reading it either. Also, in full chaotic transparency, I'm also 42% of the way through "You Just Need To Lose Weight" by Aubrey Gordon. I love her podcast Matinence Phase, but this one is taking me a while to get through, and I'm not loving the writing style, but I still have two weeks to get back to it before my library loan expires.
Finally, I have the required school reading that will stick with me in prescribed numbers of chapters until December. First is In the Not Quite Dark by Dana Johnson, which is a short story collection set in LA. Then there's two novels: The English Patient for section and Overstory for lecture.
I can't believe I'm currently reading six books at once.
genres I typically avoid: I feel like this is pretty easy to guess if you're at all familiar with my blog, but I don't typically go for sci-fi, fantasy, or historical fiction. I say it in that order because I'm slightly more open to them in that descending order. I have such fond memories of my historical fiction phase (those were actually the first books for adults that I read as a middle schooler) that I'd be inclined to pick up something in that category if it sparked an interest. I occasionally talk myself into trying fantasy, and unless it's very very tangentially a part of the book (think Ling Ma), I just can't do sci-fi.
worst reading habits: Do I have bad reading habits? What are bad reading habits? I definitely have bad blogging habits like writing heaps of book reviews and never actually posting them. I guess with reading it would be taking like a week to read the first half of a book and then just rapidly finishing the second half on a weekend morning in a few hours. It doesn't make sense how I can read so slowly and then so fast.
I guess the idea of fast does bring me to my other bad reading habit. I do get really caught up in just wanting to finish a book and get on to the next one. I've always been obsessed with speed and efficiency in life, and that's definitely not kept out of my reading. I don't really linger in stories or reread passages or spend time with books like I maybe should. There's a part of me that's always itching to get to the next book whether that's to experience more stories or to add another finished book to the checklist.
Okay, that made me think of a third. I often shy away from really long books. They make me feel panicky because of my above issue with being obsessed with finishing books. I recently duped myself into reading a long book because I didn't realize how long Swing Time was until I looked up the page count because it felt like I was making no progress through it. Getting it from the library on Kindle meant I had no idea that it was a chunky book. I won't explicitly check a page count before I pick up a book, but if I know from the outset, it gives me a weird feeling the whole time I'm reading. I think that's why I ended up DNFing Babel despite my best intentions.
favorite reading method: This is a tough one because there's what's my favorite and there's what I do from a practicality standpoint. I love reading paper books with a highlighter and pen in my hand, highlighting favorite lines and making notes to myself in the margins. I think it's cool how you can write your own story, in a way, over the text of the book, and it also just makes me a more engaged reader. It's one of the only ways I can convince myself to slow down. The issue is that to do this, you have to own the book, and books are expensive. Even getting them from charity shops, there's also the issue of storage. I have a tiny little bookshelf in my apartment, and I move around a lot. It's not practical for me to have a giant library. Also, sometimes you just didn't love a book, and it's surprisingly hard to get rid of books, especially when you've written in them. This is like a rare treat form of reading for me, and often, I only get to do it with one-off purchases or re-reads once I've committed to wanting to own the book. By far the best thing about reading for school is it justifies buying the paper book.
Practically, I can't recommend pairing a Kindle and a library card with an e-catalogue enough. It's light, it's easy, it's backlit and doesn't mind if I'm holding it topsy-turvy while I'm reading in bed at 10 p.m. The Kindle is supremely practical. I never run out of books. It's easy to pull out of my bag on the train or all the other random bits of time I try to sneak reading into. It makes life so much easier. It does bring out the speed reader in me more, but that's a small price to pay for the ease of it. And it means that all my books come from the library now in a totally seamless way thanks to Libby. Though it doesn't have the dimension I love with annotating and feeling the pages, I have to say I am most comfortable reading on my Kindle.
do you read used books: I have no issues with them! I found one book on fashion history called Deluxe that was super expensive to purchase online for $1 on a used book cart in LA, and that felt like a huge win. My library back home also has an incredible used book resale nook in the library. It's always well stocked and the books there are in great shape. It also benefits the library! So when I want to buy books it's always worth checking out.
do you read the synopsis before reading a book: I wasn't aware that people didn't? There have been a handful of times that I've just seen a book enough on bookstagram or heard it recommended by an influencer I trusted enough to just pick it up, but a lot of the time, even in that situation, curiosity will get the better of me and I'll read it. I feel like I have a right to know what I'm getting into? Sometimes they contain some valuable information? How will a I know if the book is even interesting without them?
do you read the last sentence/page of a book before starting it: Since I read basically all my books as Kindle files or audiobooks, this would just be too inconvenient to bother with. I'll occasionally do this if I have a print book just for the random chaos of it, but it's definitely not a habit. Answering this question, though, makes me want to go through my bookshelf and just read all the last pages.