We readers can be pretty self righteous about our reading, can’t we? It’s understandable: for many of us, reading is a passion, but it’s so much more than that. It’s our window to the world, our fountain of knowledge, our lifelong comfort . . . it’s no wonder we take it so seriously.
But ultimately, reading is a hobby—and like all leisurely pursuits, it’s meant to be fun. When reading gets bogged down by too many shoulds or mustn’ts or taboos, it becomes an obligation, and that’s the last thing any of us wants.
Today, in an effort to remove some of my own shame surrounding my personal reading life, I’m sharing a few of my less-than-bragworthy reading-related habits. Any one of these confessions is likely grounds for disqualifying me as a card-carrying member of the Pretentious Bibliophile Club, but not one of them negates the fact that I love books and reading. I might not be the picture-perfect Reader, but I’d rather leave that badge of honor to the students; let them be slaves to their books. My way involves a lot less pressure, and is actually a lot more fun.
1. My desire to be as clutter-free as possible often outweighs my love for physical books.
This means I don’t keep a physical TBR shelf; I either read a book right away or donate it, with plans to borrow it from the library or purchase the ebook if I want to read it in the future. (This minimalist attitude does not apply to cookbooks or children’s books—I can never have too many of those! I also have an ever-growing library of purchased ebooks waiting for me on my Kindle, so clearly I’m much more okay with digital clutter.)
2. I don’t always love the classics.
I read a lot of them because I feel I should, and because I like being able to discuss books that are more widely read. However, these rarely become all-time favorites.
3. I refuse to start a book without reading multiple reviews first.
This is a no-no for a lot of readers, but I like to have some idea of whether or not the book is for me. I don’t know how I ever managed my reading life before Goodreads! (Actually, I do know: I read a lot more 1- and 2-star books!)
4. I use “cheats” to help me finish books I’m not enjoying.
Once I start a book, I have a hard time leaving it unfinished, but I’m also not a martyr . . . so if it’s a physical book, I’ll download the audiobook (which I find easier to get through) and listen at double speed. I’ll also skim to the end if I have to. But unless there’s a lot of unpalatable content, like foul language or gratuitous sex scenes, I almost always finish.
5. When it comes to book-to-film adaptations, I sometimes prefer the movie to the book.
This is certainly not always the case, but I’ve found it particularly true with the classics (and also with Nicholas Sparks remakes—I hate his books but love the movies).
6. I’ve never taken a college English course.
A lot of people assume that since I love books, I was an English major. In actuality, I tested out of all my required English courses and never got to take one. This is a huge regret of mine, and I’d love to back to school for an English degree.
7. I don’t enjoy rereading books, even my favorites.
In the instances when I have returned to a favorite title, I’ve generally had a good experience. But I always worry that I won’t like a book as much the second time through, so I usually choose not to risk it.
8. I don’t like long books.
This wasn’t always the case. But as I’ve gotten older and realized how many great books there are to be read, I’ve gravitated more and more towards shorter books so that I can get through more of them.
9. The internet keeps me from reading as much as I would like.
I often spend what “should be” dedicated reading time perusing blogs or scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. I know that in the long run, I’d be much happier if I put down the phone and opened up a book, but sometimes the allure of the screen is just too strong.
And, for my most embarrassing admission . . .
10. I actually like spoilers.
I almost always take a peek at the last few pages of a mystery to find out what happens. That’s harder to do with eBooks, and impossible with audiobooks, so I’ve been known to take a glimpse at the Wikipedia summary to find out how the plot turns out.
Are you guilty of any of these, too? Do you have any reading confessions of your own? I’d love to hear about them!