I was tagged a while back by Rachel to show some of my bookish bad habits. So many of her points were relatable, but there are plenty of bad habits to go around… here are some of mine:
- Thinking about my rating way too early – I don’t generally take any notes for my reviews until after I’ve finished reading, but I do try to keep up an ongoing mental roster of impressions. And thinking about what I want to include in my review always leads to thinking about how many stars I’m going to give. To an extent, knowing whether it’s a 5-star read or a 2-star read is going to impact the sort of review I’ll be writing, but it is totally unfair to any book to try forming a solid judgement when I’m only halfway or a third through the book. And by the time I get to the end, it doesn’t matter what I thought earlier anyway, because the rating almost always seems obvious by then, so all that worrying ahead of time about whether I’m going to say it’s a good book or not is just wasted worry anyway. Like I need more anxiety in my life.
- Committing myself to too many books – I’m not generally bad at math, but almost every month I have the same problem with overbooking my reading schedule. I pick up 5 books at the library thinking, “yeah, I read more than that in a month, I can handle this,” and then I pull 5 books off my TBR shelf thinking the same thing, and at no point do I think “well, I average more like 8 books a month so I actually have to choose which of these stacks is more important.” And then I borrow a book from a friend and agree to a buddy read and decide to read a prize longlist.
- Checking the page count first – Before I buy a book, I check the page count. Before I check out a book from the library, I check the page count. When a book I’ve ordered comes in the mail, the first thing I do is check the page count. Unless the book is extremely short or extremely long, the number has no bearing on when I will read the book. I just like to know. The reason I consider this a bad habit and not just a weird one is that looking up the page count means seeing the last page of a book first, and I concentrate so hard on not reading any of the ending that sometimes I accidentally see some of the ending just because I’m so focused on the fact that it’s there. I hate spoilers; I don’t know why I can’t stop checking the page count to help myself avoid them.
- Mood buying when I’m not mood reading – I didn’t own a lot of books as a kid and as a teen. The school library and the public library were easily available, I was big on rereading, and I didn’t have an allowance or a nearby bookstore. Just in the last 3 or so years I’ve developed a problem with buying way more books than I can keep up with reading. Other than the numbers of what I’m buying and what I’m reading simply not matching up (apparently I’m just bad at book math in general), my biggest issue is that I buy what I’m craving to read, but then I don’t read what I’m craving and the mood passes. I definitely own books that I think I would have appreciated more if I had read them right away instead of waiting. Which goes hand in hand with:
- Saving the best for last – If I have two unread books in my hands, one of them inevitably excites me more than the other. Instead of reading the exciting one, I start with the one I’m not as sure about so I can end on a high note. Except by the time I’ve read that less-exciting book, I’ve got two more books in my hands, and I’m picking up the less exciting one again just to get that out of the way. And the cycle continues, because there are always new books and I can’t stop buying and borrowing. But if I keep on saving the best for last, I will never get to those books I’m most excited about. I know that no matter how many years I live, I will die with hundreds of books left on various TBR lists. So why am I saving the good books? Why do I put aside books I’m incredibly excited about or interested in? The world may never know. This is the habit I most want to break, because… it’s ridiculous. I need to become one of those Eat Dessert First people.
The Literary Elephant