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My Heinous Readerly Habits

It’s come to my attention that I have a few bad habits as a reader. Books are one of my great love affairs. But, it’s possible that I am a bit forgetful in my love. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

With that in mind, I thought it was time to confess my readerly sins in hopes of trying to rise above them:

Dog-Eared Pages

Fold over, unfold, tear it off completely… I have a talent for book abuse, though damned if I know how it happens. I’m horrible about keeping track of bookmarks, and my paperbacks suffer for it. Hardbacks end up in slightly better shape if they come with a book jacket that doubles as a built in bookmark, but even then I often manage to tear the jacket opening the book or dropping it or flailing to keep it from hitting the ground. Really, I feel like a horrible person for the book abuse I take part in, but when the story is fantastic, I rarely notice what I’m doing to the physical copy.

At least I can safely say that I don’t dog-ear pages in any of the books I borrow from friends.

Though, that does lead me to my next bad habit…

On Loan for a LONNNNNNNNNG Time

I am truly lucky in my friends, and my friends’ bookshelves, and I take full advantage on a regular basis. My writing group tends to share books like it’s going out of style, and most of the time we end up buying multiple copies as the books we shove at each other with a “YOU MUST READ THIS” expression definitely end up being those we each need desperately to own.

The problem occurs when the book disappears into the depths of my To-Be-Read mountain. It’s not a pile anymore: it’s three towers teetering precariously. As each shiny and new preordered recently released book arrives in my mail box, the shiny-but-borrowed-so-long-ago-the-shine-is-hidden-under-dust books get pushed farther and farther down the stack. I don’t mean to leave them there. Really, I don’t. But I can’t seem to help it. (Sorry @augustclearwing - I know I tend to hoard your books the most by accident LOL!)

Multitasking to the Point of Forgetfulness

Along with the ritual burial in the TBR pile of books I bought or borrowed too long ago to remember comes my predilection for multitasking. Supposedly, it’s considered a great trait to have in the work place, but when I’m trying to finish a book, not so much.

I’ll have a wonderful book started that I love everything about and am about halfway through, when I do the unthinkable: I forget it at home instead of taking it to read at lunch. Then what’s a girl to do, but open up a new book on the Kindle app on my phone!

Later, on a rare evening when I decide to relax instead of write/revise, I see one of the TBR peaks from my couch, and there on the top of the pile is a book that just came out that I desperately want to read. And that book obviously makes me forget that I could be finishing up the ebook on my phone.

It’s not that any one of these three books failed to keep my interest – I’m super excited to read all of them – but for the life of me, I can’t get my little Gemini brain to remember to focus on one at a time. I’ll finish them eventually, but I probably will have started four more in the mean time.

Neglected Reviews

Finally, and this is a biggie for me, I am unacceptably bad about remembering to review a book I’ve read. I have grand plans to do so, and even keep a to-do list with the names of books I read recently and want to gush about, but I somehow have a hard time getting from the list to actually completing the task.

I am doing better than I used to – several of the books I read this year have reviews up on Amazon and Goodreads, but it’s only maybe a fourth of the total that I finished. Which is not OK. Not only have I not mentioned that book online at all, but honestly, if the book is that fantastic, I need to review if I want the author to sell more books. Because then, I get more books that they wrote to read! It’s a win-win situation, if only I would step up and review already. I haven’t a clue why it’s so hard for me, but somehow it’s the easiest thing to procrastinate about.


So, there they are: my failings as a reader for the world to see. I promise to do better.

I solemnly swear that I am up to – wait, no, wrong oath. Let’s try that again: I solemnly swear I will strive to kick my poor readerly habits!

So what are your bad habits and dirty secrets as a reader? I’m always up for commiseration! Tweet me over @C_L_McCollum

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