31DaysofBlogmas, Books

10 ways my reading habits have changed this year

Hello friends and welcome to my journey of blogging every day for December! Today I’m going to be talking about how my reading really has changed this year. (I was completely inspired by PaperFury’s blog post about how her writing style has changed, check it out here)

I used to be the person who would not only finish every. single. book I would start, but also give super high ratings to every single book that make me laugh. (Kid you not, when I have been going back and rereading some of these books, I shake my head and have to take down a star or two because past Stephanie threw those stars around like it was nothing!) And that made me think how much I have changed in the past year or so with my reading habits, I mean if ratings can change over the years, so have other things.

So in no particular order, these are some of the ways that my reading has changed over the past year.

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1- I have given myself full and absolute permission to DNF (do not finish) a book if I hate it. Or if I’m bored. Or if I just really don’t care. I have basically allowed myself to make reading fun again, because when I’m struggling through a book, it’s not fun. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite of fun.

2- I have become much stricter on how I rate books. So instead of squeeing with delight at finding “A NEW ABSOLUTE MUST READ, THIS BOOK IS SO FANTASTIC ALL THE STARS”  like past Stephanie wrote on many Goodreads posts, (like girl just chill a bit) instead I try to read them critically. (Sometimes this process works, sometimes I still squee and flail) But for the most part I question, “Is this book really worth a full 5 star rating? Was there any parts that really irritated you or annoyed you or didn’t flow? Should it be more a 4 or 4.5?” and I go from there. Sometimes even the things that annoy me are still part of the strongest book, and other times they are the reason that it drops.

3- I have utilized my library SO MUCH more than I have in previous years. Pretty much every single Monday I have trounced over to the library, picked up my holds, dropped off books and happily made my way home where I have found either new favorites or a thankful heart (and wallet) that I haven’t spent money on this book because meh.

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4- I have found myself gravitating more towards annotating books and highlighting passages in them again. I try not to do this with books I’m unsure about, but the books I know I’m going to love and going to read, over and over again, I completely mark up. I figure honestly, if like 90 years down the road and I haven’t discovered the cure for mortality and someone is going through my books, I want them to find things out about me, like what my favorite passages were or what quotes stuck with me.

5- I have employed the “try the first chapter” method to a lot of these books that I’ve checked out from the library, simply because in deference to the first part, I am allowing myself to DNF (without feeling guilty) and I know what I like. If a character’s tone or the way things unfold are things I don’t like, I now don’t feel guilty for just tossing it in the reject pile. There are some rare times when I just keep going on in the book, hoping that it will change, but sadly it usually doesn’t.

6- I also have stopped reading a lot of the books that people have recommended to me. Or that I have seen on Booktube. Like I still might think about them, and probably get them from the library, but on a whole, I don’t rush out and get them right away because I have found that over hyped books tend to be ones that I dislike (or at least wish I had checked out from the library). So I either wait for the hype to go down, or I read books that are less hyped. This helps me in 2 ways, the first that I can actually read without so much emotion attached to the book and that the book is available easier from the library when you wait a bit. 🙂

7- While I am still a bookdragon who would prefer going into books blind (without knowing much about them at all) because the synopsis usually spoils me for the book, there is something to looking up the reviews on Goodreads. If I’m struggling to get into a book or trying to finish something and just not really feeling it, I’ll check my fellow readers reviews of this book to see if it’s just me or if there are others who feel the same way. If it’s getting only high reviews, I know it’s just me, but if it’s not, then I know it’s actually the book. Sometimes that will actually help me finish the book.

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8- With a few exceptions, I have decided that if I was only mediocre about liking an author’s work, I will not purchase it until I have tried it first from the library. That way I’m not set up for a huge disappointment when I start reading it and it’s just not great. I’ll still give them a chance but I decided that it’s really wasting my money to buy a book that I’m not sure I’ll like or not (especially since I probably wasn’t full on board with their last book I read) This isn’t an isolated incident: I can literally point to 6 different authors that I was “meh” about their previous works and still ended up buying their newest works…and regretting it deeply.

9- Every 6 or so months I have been looking through my shelves. What are some books I haven’t read yet/lost all enthusiasm for/probably will not get to this year (or ever)? I sort out those books and then set them off to the side for one month. When that month is done, if I haven’t read them, they get donated. But if I have read them, they get to stay on my shelf. (Unless it was like a 2.5 star rating or under and then they go). I used to never do this, and my shelves and TBR were pretty much out of control. I just don’t want to waste shelf space on books I know I won’t reread or read for the first time.

10- I have made it more of a goal to reread a set amount of books per year. I love rereading old favorites or falling back into slightly new worlds, discovering why they might just make my list of new favorite books. There’s just something about rereading that I love. In the past I would just try and reread certain books and that’s it. But this year I decided that I wanted to reread at least a third of all the books I read this year. This has helped me so much, and as an added bonus because I have put this into my goals list, I don’t feel guilty by rereading books, even when I have a TBR pile that is massive. It’s like because it’s a goal, my brain relaxes and even comments that I should reread more books.

 

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So that’s 10 different ways my reading habits have changed this year. Do you do any of these? Or has your reading changed in the past couple of years? Let me know below!

Happy reading Dragons, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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