June 26, 2013

My Reading Habits {I'm Sort of Quirky}

I saw this post over at Book Riot a while back and it got me thinking. Then last evening, I was trying to read a book quickly because it was due back to the library and after paying some late fees last week, I was determined this one wouldn't be late. But while I started it, I realized pretty quickly that it wasn't compelling enough to make me want to finish it. Plus I only had a couple hours til it was due, so I stopped reading. (And yes, I returned it to the library. No late fees this week! Yay! ;)

All of this combined to make me wonder what my reading habits actually are. Because we all have them! Whether consciously or not, I believe we all have a set of guidelines we use to determine whether we want to read a book or not and whether we'll finish it once started.

Don't you?

I mean really now. If you stop and think about it, doesn't this make so much sense? I thought so too. Therefore, here is a list of reading habits/rules/guidelines/etc that I use. But please remember that these are what I use at this point in time. If I'd written this post ten years ago, I bet my list would be a bit different. So these are my current guidelines and rules!

1. There has to be a love story involved.

Yes, I am quite aware that this one will make me seem kind of shallow. But it's the truth! I enjoy a story so much more when it has a love story attached to it. Now granted, it doesn't have to be the main storyline (although I like those too), because I do enjoy quiet love stories in the background of the main plot. Just so long as the love story is there in any capacity, I'll be satisfied. Probably. ;)

2. There has to be a happy ending!

I like my happy endings, okay? I want to end the story on a high note. I want the guy to get the girl. I want the family to be happy and healthy. I want all the things that I can't guarantee in real life! Real life is hard. Real life can stink some days. Fictional life can be anything I want. And I want my happy ending!

3. If a story isn't working for me, it's okay to stop reading. No matter how little or how much I've read.

You know, I've read several places where people say that this particular rule used to be a big no-no to them. A lot of them have since changed their minds, but they used to feel that if you started a book, you had to finish it. I say not so! In fact, I've always felt this way. If I'm not enjoying the story, what is the point of my reading it? I read because I like to, not because I have to! You may then argue, but what if it gets better farther into the story? Then you'll be sorry you didn't finish it! Well, that's kind of a silly argument because if you don't finish it, you won't know how the rest of the story goes, and therefore you won't be sorry. That's my theory anyway. And besides, there's nothing saying that I can't pick the story up at a later date and then it just might be the perfect thing I want to read. Some books you have to be in the mood for, you know.

4. If a story is awesome, it's always worth re-reading someday. Or even re-reading as soon as I finish it!

I love to re-read! That's part of the beauty of reading great stories. They are just as lovely no matter how many times you've read them. I try to only buy books that I want to re-read. Occasionally I have to go through my shelves and weed out ones I haven't read for ages and don't think I will again. But for the most part, my shelves are full of books that I've loved and aim to read and re-read and re-read until I'm old and gray. :)

5. If you feel the desire to write in a book, if your words need to be beside the quote that gave the thoughts in the first place, then by all means write in the book. So long as it's your book! And for goodness sake, don't give the book away to be sold again. If you're going to write in it, you should keep it. Because I don't much like getting a used copy with writing all over it.

Okay, so that one's long. Sorry. But I do think it's self-explanatory.

6. I like spoilers.

I am going to admit to something that most of you will probably be absolutely horrified over. I'm sorry. But you'll just have to deal. I read the end of the book first a lot of times. Not every single time. But most of the time! I like to know what's going to happen. Okay yes, there are certain books where it's way better to not know the ending. And I can restrain myself! But unless I've read lots of reviews that warn me not to, I'd just really like to know what's going to happen. It's simply a weird quirk of mine. I hope you still like me. I know most people think it's a terrible thing to do. I'm okay with that. Just as long as you don't think I'm a horrible person. We can agree to disagree, yes?............please say yes. Oh good! So we're still friends then? Yay! :D

7. I dislike dust jackets on hardcovers.

This is mainly because while I'm reading, they slide up and down and bug me. So I usually get fed up and take them off until I'm finished reading. Just a pet peeve.

8. I wish publishers and booksellers would stop putting stickers on covers.

I realize they need to put the price somewhere. But when it's on the front, it detracts from the cover. When it's on the back (of a paperback copy), it covers up the synopsis which really bothers me. If the stickers were easy to remove, I'd have no problems at all. And some are (thankfully!). But most are horrible to remove and if you try, it just leaves a bigger mess than the sticker itself. *sigh*

9. I don't fold or bend the covers.

It leaves them all wonky and then they won't lay flat. I like them to lay flat.

10. There is no rhyme or reason to how I choose which book to read next.

I simply pick one and try it. If it's not working, I put it down and try another. If I have a library book that's due soon, I usually try to read it quickly. Or if I've borrowed one from someone, or I need to get my review done by a certain time. But other than that, it's just which book catches my fancy at the moment!

So there you have it. Ten of my reading habits. Perhaps you agree and perhaps you disagree. Either way, this was fun to think about! What are some of your reading habits? I know you have them. :)

Happy reading, y'all!


  1. Very interesting post, Kara! Thanks for sharing all your quirks. :D Now I shall try to observe mine and then perhaps come up with a blog post after.


    1. Thanks Alyssa! It was a fun post to write, and I admit that I'm quite quirky! ;) I'll be on the lookout for your post someday.

  2. I never thought about my reading "guidelines" but never ever read the ending first! In fact, I'm not even fond of Prologues that give away an ending (like Nicholas Sparks books do). If I start a book, I feel like I owe it to the author to finish it, but if I am not into it at all at the 1/4 mark, I will give up on it because there are so many other books I could be enjoying. GONE GIRL was one I gave up on even though it is very popular, I just didn't like either one of the main characters so really didn't care what happened.

    1. Karen, the more I thought about it, the more I decided that I really do have "guidelines". I'd just never sat down and tried to figure out what they actually were. This list is just a small portion too. I'm sure there are others, if I'd think about it more.

      That's how I feel about finishing a book I'm not enjoying. There are so many others I want to read and my time is precious!

      Thanks for commenting! :)

  3. You're quite quirky! Hmmmm.. what are my reading habits? I so agree with the idea that a love story and a happy ending are needed, except, when I read too much romance, I tend to get a bit tired of it and notice the clich├ęs in the love stories. So I go with non-fiction then, which I like reading too, or a book like Iscariot by Tosca Lee - currently reading. I would also add that for me, the book has to be Christian. I seldom pick up a read from mainstream market and in the rare instances that I do, it does not leave me as satisfied as a good Christian book does. I have - or maybe used to have, since it seems to be changing - the tendency to feel bad when I give up on a book and I reason with what you called a 'silly argument'. :)) But now having less and less time to read as much as I used to, I just cannot afford to waste time, so I move to the next one, or wait until I'm in the mood to give the book another try - just like you said! I have more but it would take a whole post. And GASP, KARA! You like spoilers??? No, no you're not horrible. I read that somewhere before. A reader said that she would rather read the end of the story before starting it. I do that.. at times... AFTER I've gone a couple pages into the story. We all have our quirks and they make us special as readers and as people. Creative idea, Kara! I like this post.

    1. Hee! Yes, I am, Ganise. I know it well. ;)

      I do understand about getting tired of the love stories. That can happen to me too every once in a while. And I do enjoy books that don't have any romance in them at all! Honest.

      I hope I didn't offend with my "silly argument" line. I sure didn't mean to. And it's perfectly okay to disagree with me! Debate can be fun, when it's with friends. Right? :)

      I know people think I'm crazy for reading the endings, and that's okay. As you said, we all have our quirks and there very well could be something you do that I wouldn't. As long as I don't spoil the story for anyone else (which I don't, unless they specifically ask), we can all read as we like. And everyone's happy! :D

      Thanks! I had fun writing it. It's been whirling around my brain for quite a while and I was glad to finally be able to get all the words out.

    2. No, no, NOT offended. The line made me smile! Did you see the smile? :)) I still like you so, Kara. Very. And I'm glad you also like non-fiction.

    3. I see it now, Ganise! :D And I'm smiling in return. :D

    4. :))

      Oh and I wrote non-fiction! Sorry that was a mistake. I meant, books without romance in them.

    5. No worries! I knew what you meant. :)

  4. A lovely and enjoyable post! :-D I too admit that I like a love story in the books I read, so if it is shallow to like this, you are not the only one. As for reading the end, I personally like to be surprised, but I hold nothing against you for reading the end. I sometimes can't help but looking a little ahead to see what happens.

    Congrats on no library fees this week. I have one that I need to pay off, so I can understand the state of having a fee over one's head.


    1. Thank you, Grace! And I'm glad to know I'm not alone in that quirk of mine. :)

      That's the fascinating thing about reading. Or one of them at least. That we all have our "guidelines" or "habits" and we all get different feelings from stories and whatnot. So long as the reader is enjoying themselves, it doesn't matter if they read the end or they read slow or they read fast or whatever they may do. At least that's my opinion.

      And thank you! I dislike having a fee over my head. And I really don't like having overdue books. But some days, that's just what happens. *sigh* Good to know someone else understands my pain! :D

  5. Girl, you are a bad influence on me! I liked your "first lines" post and now this! Golly, I haven't even gotten around to writing that first meme let alone this one. But then, maybe I should re-think the "bad influence" thing. You keep this up, and you'll keep me in blog posts! ;)

    Fun! I wrote something similar (not my reading habits per se) a while back about the lessons I'd learned from reading/reviewing. I think it's important to "know" your likes and dislikes, and to stick with them as much as you can because time is worth something. And whether I am reading a book that I *have* to finish because I agreed to review it or one I am reading purely for pleasure, I don't want to feel "forced" into completing it.

    Movies/TV shows, I like spoilers. Books? Not so much - either way, matters not. Perhaps it's because my main reading is "typical" and as an avid reader I can guess how things will "shake out"?

    Love romance! It has to be done well even if it is subtle since I like it to seem "genuine" no matter how present it is. :)

    1. Oh Rissi. You make me laugh! I'm happy I can help keep your ideas flowing! :D That's what blogging buddies are for, right?

      I agree with you there. Knowing your likes and dislikes can help you decipher which books you'll most likely enjoy and which you won't. Which will save you from trying a book you won't like. Most of the time anyway. And you got my point! That I don't want to be forced to finish a story that I'm really not enjoying. Reading shouldn't be a chore.

      I like spoilers for movies and TV shows too! And that actually makes a lot of sense. That you're able to guess what will happen because you like similar stories. I think you may be on to something there.

      A well-written romance can brighten just about any story, in my opinion! And it'll definitely get me to read it. :)

  6. You continually inspire me to write blog posts like yours. I may follow suit on this one, we'll see. Anyway, I wanted to just respond to your reading habits here for now :-)

    1. My mom is like this. I'm not. A love story is nice, and I do sometimes read books that are centered on a love story, but I'm perfectly happy with books that don't have a smidgen of romance.

    2. I prefer happy endings, but some books just can't have them. And some endings that others consider sad, I don't find sad (like Hamlet).

    3. Yup, been doing that for years. Life is too short to read (or watch) something unenjoyable.

    4. Absolutely! While I usually wait a while between rereads, once in the greatest while I will reread something right after finishing it.

    5. Mostly agreed. I write in certain books -- my cop[y of The Lord of the Rings has all kinds of comments, underlining, and my cross-referencing from different reads. But I do enjoy trying to decipher other people's marginalia when I buy a written-in used book, so I do sometimes give away books I've marked.

    6. I don't mind spoilage that I encounter from another person, but the only reason I flip to the last page is to see how many pages I have left to read. My s-i-l reads the end of every book before she gets to it, though. She also has a passion for finding out what her Christmas presents are before it's Christmas -- she's a bit sneaky ;-)

    7. Agreed. Sometimes they're pretty and I put them back on when I'm done, but they're so hard to read with.

    8. YES! And I wish people having yard sales wouldn't either.

    9. Me either. My mother destroys book spines, and I kind of don't loan her paperbacks anymore. She absolutely ruined my copy of Sense and Sensibility when I was 16, and I haven't really trusted her with them since then.

    10. I'm a mood-reader, so I pick the next book that my subconscious says, "YEAH! THAT!" about. If nothing grabs me, I'll wait to start another book until something does, just catch up on my magazines until I can get to the library or something.

    1. Aw. Well I'm happy to inspire someone else, Hamlette! It was a fun post to write. :D

      Yeah, I figured you wouldn't agree with my #1. Because I've see you write before that you aren't really a romance story kind of lady. So we can agree to disagree on that! :)

      #2-And you're right. Some stories just wouldn't be as good with a happy ending. I have read some of those and enjoyed them! But I still prefer a happy ending if at all possible.

      #5-I can see that. If it's interesting writing, I would probably enjoy it too. But a lot of times, it just distracts me from my reading.

      #6-Hmmm. Is that what I am? Sneaky? I just might be! And it certainly sounds like your s-i-l and I would get a long well! Or at least we'd agree on reading habits. ;)

      Thanks for commenting, Hamlette! I so enjoyed your responses to my list. Made me smile! :D

  7. I'm actually pretty similar with several of yours! #1 and #6 are where we differ. ;) And, sometimes I do fold the cover back while reading a paperback. It's ONLY because a great deal of time I'm reading with one hand and it's less painful that way. :S

    This was a fun post!

    1. Thank you, Bluerose! And that makes perfect sense. One-handed reading requires finesse, therefore a folded cover is perfectly understandable. :D


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