Ever had someone yell at you for how you read? I have. And I’m not alone. I don’t know why, but some reading habits drive people crazy.
3 Common Weird Reading Habits
Reading the End of Books First
This one is my guilty pleasure, and, yes, I’ve been yelled at for it. I’m still not sure why.
Here’s how it works: I open the book to where there’s a third to a quarter of the book left, and I read to the end. If I like it, I go back to the beginning and start over.
Sometimes, after I read the end, I’ll even start in the middle and read to the end again before I go back to the start. That way, if the book is good, I get the equivalent of 3 good reads out of 1 book.
And if the book is bad, I stop the first time, and I didn’t waste the time reading the whole book to find out!
I know. I’m crazy. I’ve been told that before.
Just so you know, though, I didn’t use to read this way. I read much more traditionally. I started at the beginning and read in order to the end.
Then, I read a book that had a bad ending. Ever had that? You spend all that time and energy enjoying the story, and then the ending is so bad, it ruins the whole experience? I get irritated thinking about it.
After a couple of those experiences (It took a few.), I started reading the end first to see how it turned out (romance novels that don’t end happily are not worth my time). That slowly evolved into a new reading style.
Weird or not, I’m not alone. Jayne Ann Krentz even had a character named Grace in Running Hot who reads the same way and who had the same opinion about romance novels (which made me very happy).
Skipping Sections of Books
I’m not just talking about skipping the quotes or excerpts at the beginning of chapters or skipping prologues. I get the impression that’s a common practice. No, I mean skipping whole parts of the book on a first read (re-reading favorite parts is different IMHO).
I’ve done 2 different styles of this:
1. Getting to the Action / Moving Past Exposition
When there are vast sections of exposition without action, and it’s not necessary to understand the plot, I’ve been known to skip to the next bit of action. If you’ve read any classical literature, you know exactly what kinds of sections I’m talking about.
It is less common today outside of self-publishing. Exposition-heavy books don’t get very far now because most readers don’t want it or have the patience/dedication to work through it.
Although sci fi and fantasy may be an exception. We’re kind of used to authors getting excited about the world they’ve created and waxing eloquent outside the plot here and there.
2. Skipping to Specific Characters
Sometimes, I skip to scenes that involve specific characters. That’s mostly in more complex books where there are scenes from other points of view, and especially in series.
If I’ve gotten attached to the main characters in a previous book, and I don’t have a lot of time, I might skip to the scenes with those people. I started doing that with Robert Jordan books, and If you know the complexity of the stories and number of characters, I think you’ll understand why.
I don’t really know if other people do this. Give me a shout-out if you do it, too!
Never Rereading Books
I do not do this one. In fact, it baffles me. That said, I do know people who won’t read a book again if they’ve read it already. They say they don’t want to read it again because they already know what happens. There’s no surprise.
All I could think was, “If I had to be surprised to enjoy a book, I’d have to stop reading.” Because, really, how often is a book completely unpredictable? But maybe they’re talking about a more general sense of surprise, like not knowing exactly what happens in the plot. I don’t know.
This one is especially hard for me to understand. I reread books constantly. In fact, if something reminds me of a book I’ve read, I have to reread that book. And if I can’t remember the name or enough of the plot to find it again, it drives me crazy that I can’t fulfill the compulsion.
So, no, I don’t understand this one. If you prefer reading this way, though, that’s fine by me! As long as you enjoy reading the way you read, that’s what matters, right?
Do You Have Any Weird Reading Habits?
I’ve shown you mine. It’s your turn. 😉
Seriously, though, if you have any weird reading habits to share, go for it. Clearly, I have some reading habits that drive people crazy, so I’m in no position to judge!