DISCUSSION: How Do You Read?

There is nothing — NOTHING! — like picking up a new book to read. Whether it’s a book you own, a book you got from the library, or a book you’re borrowing from a friend, it’s always a great feeling to open up a book and dive into a new world.

But how do you go about choosing your next great read?

I am a HUGE mood reader — I don’t usually just pick up a random book and start reading. Normally, I ask myself what I’m in the mood for, whether it be romance, fantasy, horror, vampires, a contemporary book, or a book from a series. Do I feel like something long? Something short? Should I read a physical book — or something that’s on my ereader? There are so many things to consider when it comes to reading my next book!

Lately, I’ve been trying to just pick something up and read it. This is the great thing about my Book Hoarder’s Selection feature. I generally make up my posts MONTHS in advance, so when a book comes up on a Friday, I’m forced to read it (note: I’m just a little behind, but I’m working on catching up!). When this happens, I’ve been just picking up the book, opening it to the first page, and READING. I don’t read the synopsis or any reviews, I just dive in.

But sometimes I can actually sit back and really think about what I want to read next. Sometimes I want to stay in my comfort zone and read a book by a favourite author, and other times I want to finally complete that series that’s been on my back — or even read another book in a series so it feels like I’m making progress. Some series I have on my shelf have so many books already released in them that I wonder if I’ll ever catch up! This can lead to major anxiety when I’m picking out a book. The hard thing is when I own multiple books in that series — will I even like the first book to continue reading?

Then there’s the book itself. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for a HUGE clunker, but if I can get that book in ebook format, I may give it a go. There’s something to be said about a 1,000 page book that I can read on my ereader. My arms like that. And I’m less likely to wake myself up when I’m reading at night and drop my book on the floor (a word of warning, though — be sure to have plenty of protection on your ereader if this happens! My Kobo is safe, but my iPad is not.).ย 

In most circumstances, when it comes to picking a book off my shelf, I can feel very stressed. I have so many unread books that it’s overwhelming sometimes to pick JUST ONE BOOK to read. If I don’t have anything on the go, I want to read them all! This is where mood reading comes in handy. If I’m not in the mood for a series book, but want a lighter YA, for example, my options can go way down. Of course, if I have no idea what I want to read, you can usually find my shaking in the corner of my home library.

Just like reading that book in bed, I have to think about where I’m reading a certain book. If I’m going to be spending a lot of time in the car, for example, I’ll opt for an audiobook and maybe start a shorter contemporary read for the time I have to read where I’m not travelling. Or, if I’m at home for most of the week, I may choose a few larger books to finish — maybe a few books in a series.

The great thing about reading is that we have ENDLESS CHOICES. I mean, bookstores have TONS of books we can buy, there are so many ebook retailers, libraries have ebook options these days (for those snowy Canadian winters when you can’t get to the library for a physical book!), and with a click of a button, you can have books shipped directly to your home. The options can go on and on! This is why it can be so hard to choose a book to read.

In the end, I may not have a perfect system, but I’m glad that I don’t stress (too much) about what I want to read. I’m just happy to have this love of reading and that urge to always have a book on me — or multiple books, if that’s the case.

What is your approach to picking up a new book? Are you a mood reader?ย 

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49 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: How Do You Read?

  1. These days, I’m going solely by mood – but based off a huge stack of books I want to read. There are some awards that I read all the nominees for, and when that time comes, I’ll be more rigid in my selection, but since most of my books come from the library, I’m free to pick whatever strikes my fancy.

    • I must do the same … I’m trying to take out LESS books from the library, but still take out some to support it. I own too many books that I really need to get reading them and STOP buying new ones!

      I like reading award winners or nominees, too — especially in the YRCA division. My library is great for that.

  2. Yep, it’s definitely overwhelming sometimes. I’m the same as you – I’m a mood reader so I don’t really make plans as to what I will read next. Whenever I finish a book, I usually “take a day off”, write my review and digest what I just read. And then it depends. Like you, I like to mix things up a bit – I’m not always in the mood for paperbacks (or ebooks) and the genre I pick up depends on what mood I’m in as well. Mysteries/thrillers are the only genres that I can pick up no matter what – the rest depends on my mood. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Great discussion!

    • That’s an awesome thing to do. There are times where I’ll finish what I read and immediately dive into the next one. I think I should be taking the time to really think about the book I just finished and digest it a bit, THEN write my review, and THEN move on.

      I love that mysteries are your go to books! They’ve never really been my kind of book, but I love picking up a good contemporary — that way there’s not a lot of commitment on my part.

  3. I’m with you on the mood thing. It depends on what I’m feeling. I’ve been in a YA, erotica, drama, horror phase. Sometimes if I read too much of one book, I get tired of the genre really quickly. Then there are those books on the shelves that are begging to be read. I usually stop by so many books so I can devote time to those. So many books. So little time.

    • Exactly! Doesn’t that make you feel sad? I agree with you — too much of one genre can really burn a person out. If I’m reading multiple books at a time, I MUST mix up the genres or I just can’t focus in the end.

    • I would totally agree with that! I find that if I read tons of books during a readathon the LAST thing I want to do the next week is read lots of books. I think that’s why I’m really trying to go slowly with my reading in the past few weeks, trying not to read too much in one week.

    • Oh, I’m so glad you tried out John’s books! He’s just so good. ๐Ÿ™‚ I used to do that before blogging and I think it’s something I should try and go back to. That was how I found out about Kristin Hannah AND I read my first Stephen King book. Now I just own too many books that it can be so overwhelming to pick a read.

  4. Honestly, I’m the same way and don’t stress too much about what to read next. I used to try to “schedule” the books I wanted to read so I could read them all – but that never worked for me because I ALWAYS deviated from my list. These days, I do have a system of sorts where I read a review book AND a pleasure book at nearly the same time, which somehow works in my brain (oddly enough).

    • I’d like to do something like that in the next few weeks to get my review pile down to zero. AND I have to try and go easy with the library books until I read a good chunk of the books I own. I think that’s why I like my Weekend Library Reads feature — that way I can read a library book and support it, but still try to read the books I own in the interim.

      I’m glad that system works for you! Honestly, I don’t know how some bloggers get through all of their review books!

  5. I donโ€™t think of myself as a mood reader, but there are times I pass over a book because it doesnโ€™t interest me at the time. Lately, Iโ€™ve been sticking to finishing a series (or at least all the books I own) because that is my goal this year.

    The endless amount of options have stressed me out in the past, but Iโ€™m trying to let that all go.

    Read. Enjoy. Repeat.

    • That’s a great plan — something I really need to do! Or, at least read all the books in the series that I own BEFORE buying more of them. Actually, I just told myself that today — I must refrain from spending all the money on books!

      I’m glad that you’re trying to let go of the stress — I’m working hard to do the same!

  6. I’m a mood reader for the most part. Although, with review books, I tend to try to get them out of the way first. I’ve also cut way down on them and try to only have maybe 2 a month for review.

    I also have a pile of books that are ones that I really want to read, so tend to pick from that one first, unless I’m just really not in the mood for any of them. I really need to make a dent in my pile..lol

    • I’ve cut way down on review books, too. I’d like to get it down even further — I think I have just over 10 to read and I want to get them out of the way soon. It would really make me feel better!

      I have a shelf by my bed with all the books I’d like to read next — AND my Book Hoarder post helps fill in the gaps. Now, if only I could just stop buying more books!

  7. I go with my gut feeling, too! Sometimes I feel obligated to read something sooner than I would have chosen to otherwise, like if I win a ARC or giveaway. I’m trying to read books sooner after I get them anyway (gift, bought, whatever)โ€”new year’s resolution!

    • There are lots of ARCs that I’ve read WAY before the publishing date — still, I’m getting them out of the way which feels good. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m trying to get through my signed books and gifted books, THEN I can tackle the pile of books I’ve bought. I’d really like to be one of those people who reads books after buying them, but I tend to let them pile up. Maybe your resolution will rub off on me!

  8. I pretty much only read by mood. Of course, that bites me in the butt sometimes, because I get all my books from the library, often a week or so ahead of when I’ll actually be able to read them. I will sometimes get a book out that I am SO EXCITED to read on the day I get it, and then by the time I get to that one I’m not in the mood anymore and it just sits neglected until I have to take it back. It’s kind of sad, really ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    • That happens to me ALL THE TIME! Actually, I was so excited to get Gail Forman’s Just One Day, but still haven’t read it yet. I actually just told myself that I can’t read any books I’ve bought this year — I can read anything bought in 2012 or earlier. Let’s see how that goes!

  9. I’m usually a mood reader and tend to read a few at a time from whatever genre I’m into at the time. For example, I will read 3 political non-fictions in a row and then 4 literary fictions in a row, etc. But now that I’m doing all of these clubs (Classics, TBR) I am picking books from those lists. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it, but it’s nice not agonizing for an hour after every book to try and pick the next one!

    • Isn’t that such agony, trying to pick out the next read? Most of the time, I just grab a book and force myself to start reading it. Sometimes I’ll get through it, and other times I’ll set it aside for another time. Too many choices!

  10. I am so random when it comes to how I read. I sometimes go by mood. But lately I have been reading a lot of review books on my ereader because I requested so many. Plus, I usually have an audiobook for bed time. One of my goals for the year is to read most of the unread books that have been collecting on my shelves over the years.

    Sometimes, if I really like a book that I’ve just finished, I try to find one similar ones like it. I’m just not very organized, I guess.

    • I have quite a few review books, which I need to get through soon. It’ll be such a weight off my shoulders to get them read! And I have a goal like you, too! I just have to STOP buying more books to add to that pile … I just told myself that today!

      I love finding a genre I love, then reading more books in that genre. It’s always great when I have a few similar books on hand!

  11. I love your discussion posts!

    I tend to go hard on one particular genre or type of book until I’m sick of it and need something else. Last year I read a bunch of Big Serious Important Books by dead white guys. After the last one, I knew I needed a break. So far this year, I’ve read much lighter books. I’m reading another classic right now, but it’s shorter and written by a female author. In 2013 I’m focusing on pretty much anything OTHER than dead white guys – female, people of colour, contemporary, Canadian, genres other than literary fiction.

    I’m sure I’ll get another big serious classic in this year – someone recently challenged me to read Moby Dick!

    It also depends on where I’m at with life. Early last year I read a whole bunch of shorter, lighter books, because my brain was too fried from pregnancy and postpartum. Now that I’m going back to work, I’ll probably also start going back to the library, since it’s right there (downtown). When I’m working, I barely spend any money on books.

    As for format, lately I’ve been reading both physical and ebook – because I need the ebook so I can read while holding a sleeping baby, but I need the physical copy so I can flip through and go back looking for quotes and whatnot. I really thing that physical books need to include the digital rights or something. It’s kind of dumb to spend money on both, but they both meet different needs for me!

    • That would be awesome if when you bought a physical book, you could get the ebook, too — I mean, you can now get audiobooks with an ebook for cheap! I think the library would be great for that, too … there are a few books I own that are just too big to hold and read, so I get the ebook from the library. So much better!

      For me, I can’t read just a classic book — I’d have to read it alongside something else or I think I’d get bored. THOUGH, in university I read tons of classics and loved them, so I guess my taste has just changed.

      Ereaders must be great for mothers! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I’m a big mood reader too. I kind of just pick up whatever sounds good at the moment – I have a zillion books waiting on my shelves, but the book I just started is a book I found out about earlier in the week and it sounded so great I got it from the library. I like to read on a whim, but I like to have a LITTLE planning and structure, so doing my Monthly TBR post every month is a great thing.

    Fun discussion topic ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Iโ€™m not really much of a mood reader, but when I am, boy am I. A couple of weeks ago, I woke up one morning just needing to read a particular book, and I couldnโ€™t focus on anything else until I did, and then I needed to read another one, so I read it too.

    That doesnโ€™t happen too often, though. Usually I keep a queue of 5-10 books that I pick ahead of time, making sure to balance library books, purchased books, and review books evenly. Sometimes I get really anal and freak out if I want to pick up a book but I donโ€™t have the next in the queue right with me at that moment.

    So I guess Iโ€™m a sometime mood-reader.

    • Balance is KEY! It’s easy for me to overlook the review book pile I have, but I know I feel so much better when I read from it. I have a LOT of series books by my bed to read — all of which I own. It would be a great feeling to get through most of them.

      Having a queue definitely works for lots of people!

  14. Hmmm…I think, for the most part, I’m a mood reader too. Which makes sense because, all of the unread books that I own, I know I want to read them (that’s why I own them!), yet I’m often NOT in the mood to read some of them. I can be very indecisive when it comes to picking my next book to read. Sometimes I’ll even waste a whole day or two on deciding what to read next! I think if I owned fewer unread books (which is never gonna happen!), then I might not be as overwhelmed when it comes to deciding what to read next.

    That’s one thing I like about bookclubs – it take the decision-making out of it for me. I find it doesn’t really matter what mood I’m in, if it’s a bookclub book, then I’m game for reading it – BECAUSE I didn’t have to make that decision lol.

    This is also why I like to have at least two books on the go – one fiction and one non-fiction, that way, depending on my particular mood at say, bedtime, I can decide which one I feel more like reading. And with my non-fiction picks, they are often books that can easily be read in short sittings (just a few pages/chapters at a time), without worrying about remembering the plot.

    • I totally understand that! I went through all my owned books a while back and purged a bunch that I just didn’t want to read, but I still have close to 300 that I want to read. Now, if I could only refrain from buying more books! I think it would be a whole lot less overwhelming if I owned fewer unread books, too. I hope to work on that this year.

      Book clubs are great, BUT I find that you have to find the right one or else you’ll be like me and not want to read any of the books they choose. The club I was in chose lots of meh books so I don’t go anymore. I felt like I was forcing myself to get through books I really didn’t care about.

      I really should get into more of my non-fiction books! I have lots of memoirs that could be read alongside my fiction books … good idea!

  15. What a great topic I never thought about before!

    I also tend to be a mood reader – and I find that I’ll read a few books of the same genre one after the other. If I find an author I love, I’ll read all of their books, and usually love them. But sometimes I’ll jump around from genre to genre… for example I just finished a Sci fi series and now I’m reading about angels, and probably next I’ll want something more adult…. I don’t like having more than one book on the go at a time, but it happens sometimes anyways!

    I realized recently that just because I have a blog does not mean that I have to read only new or up and coming books – so I made a promise to myself that I was going to read for the enjoyment of it all, and not be pressured into a review book or feel I have too write a review for every book I read. If feel the need to write a review, I will! If I don’t want to, I won’t stress on it….

    I also have an urge to go on a re-read binge…. who knows what I can do with that on my blog!! LOL (Maybe a new feature….)

    • YES! I am so bad for finding an author I love and then wanting to read ALL of their books. I’m doing that with Sarah Dessen right now, slowly working through her catalogue. I have a few books on the go right now and plan to finish them AND another one today. I tend to read a lot in spurts, then take time off to do other things.

      And that’s so right about having a blog — I used to get a lot of review books and read them for the blog, or only read the newest books, but the great thing about books is that they’ll always be new to someone. I’m trying to get through all of my review books and then I’m really going to cut back on requests because I have so many old books on my shelves to read.

      I’m really trying to reread some books! It can be so hard, though … sometimes I get the same feelings I had on a first read and other times I feel completely different reading the book, like I’ve grown out of it. That would be a fun feature for your blog!

  16. I’m a mood reader too! At the moment, I’m all about the contemporary, but even within that, there’s ones that will rip my heart out and others that are just about romances. I always read physical books — as you already know — at my desk, just because my desk light illuminates the whole book. I personally can’t sit and read in bed for too long because it’s too comfortable and I may fall asleep.

    Great discussion! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I love contemporaries! The great thing with them is that there’s not a huge demand for commitment on my part — the book just ends at the end!

      Lately I’ve been the same way when reading in bed — I just can’t stay awake! I really need to allot an hour a day to just sit in a chair and read to get some books finished. And lots of light is key!

  17. This is one of my favorite posts I’ve read this month! SUCH a good discussion idea – and I’ve had a lot of fun reading through all the comments, too.

    Like you, I am usually a mood reader. It makes me frustrated when I look at my shelves because there are so many books on them that I really do want to read, but then I can’t muster up the desire to actually read them if I’m not in the mood for them. I can also become obsessed with something (hence my blog name) like a certain genre or time period and then get fixated on that in my reading.

    This is the paragraph I most identify with: “In most circumstances, when it comes to picking a book off my shelf, I can feel very stressed. I have so many unread books that itโ€™s overwhelming sometimes to pick JUST ONE BOOK to read.”

    I have major stress sometimes about the number of unread books on my shelves and then actually having to pick which one I want to read next. I’ll grab like five books and read a few chapters from each one to try and help me pick one that I want to read next.

    Really interesting to think about how different people read!

    • Aww, thanks Hannah! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I think my problem when I look at my shelves is that there are so many books I want to read, but it takes a lot of time to get through just one … I think it would be so much easier if I owned less unread books. I think with me and obsessions is that I can go through huge spurts of reading, but then I’ll get obsessed with something that isn’t bookish and then THAT takes up lots of my time. I’m a terrible multitasker!

      I’m so happy to see that I’m not the only one who feels major stress when picking out a book ot read … I need to try and read a few books at a time more often. I find that if I try to read 100 pages in each book and rotate through them, it keeps my attention for longer … THEN I finish a bunch of books at once. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I’m moody. Do I want to laugh, swoon, action? Contemporary or Paranormal? Adult or YA? Then do I want to read a paper book, on my nook or on my backlit kindle? What do I have going on? Will I have time to write the review right away or will it have to sit? If it will have to sit, then I might not pick a new book with a lot of world-building. I might pick an established series or an easy contemporary?

    It is almost incapacitating. But I love it. I love choice. Want. Need. Even the little bit of stress brings a little thrill to the hunt.

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