Post: Musings on Mood Reading

Even before discovering Book Twitter and the world of Book Blogging, I would usually set myself a TBR and stick to it, working my way through a list of books more or less in the order I’d written them down, sometimes months before. I’ve had yearly TBRs before that I have hardly deviated from.

But now, the way I read is changing. Now, more and more, I find that setting myself a list of books to read makes me chafe against the restriction, artificial and self-created as it is. Part of it is petty rebellion, wanting to be a bit ‘naughty’ and not follow the rules (sadly this is about as rebellious as I get these days!) but there is also something else going on.

I am becoming, slowly but surely, much more of a mood reader. Having studied literature at university, I got used to having set book lists and plodding my way through them methodically, and I guess I got stuck in that habit for a long time. I used to finish every book I started, dutifully, even if I wasn’t enjoying it. These days, I am much more likely to put a book down and pick up something else if it isn’t doing it for me. Sometimes it’s just a case of the wrong time, and I can come back to it later and enjoy it more. Sometimes the book just isn’t for me – and I’m learning to be okay with that.

There is, of course, the issue of books that NEED reading by a certain time – blog tour books, ARCs kindly provided by lovely publishers and publicists, author requests that make me feel very guilty if I leave them for months (it does happen, and I do apologise – I WILL get to them!). I have had to cut down on blog tours in order to accommodate my changing reading habits – I will always try and meet my commitments, I just need fewer of them at the moment.

What it boils down to is that I don’t want to feel obligated to read a book – I want to really, really fancy reading it. I think I’m having a sort of reaction against being so prescriptive with my reading for so long, and I reckon it will balance out again soon, so I will keep my hand in with the tours and so on, but for now, I am also going to let myself enjoy this new, freer way of reading.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this – do you set yourself a monthly TBR? Or are you a mood reader? If you take part in tours and read advanced copies, how do you stop it from feeling prescriptive and keep the sense of the fun of reading alive?

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4 thoughts on “Post: Musings on Mood Reading

  1. I think it’s a lovely thing. The fact that you can say that you don’t feel pressured anymore to finish books.
    I, myself, was never good at sticking to tbrs. I wish I would have. I was terrible at reading books we had to read for school, mostly I didn’t like them and sometimes I just couldn’t be bothered. I don’t think I ever really finished an appointed book in my school time (besides Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Dahl and Lord of the Flies by Golding) but I got really good at faking it. Nowadays I know that was probably not ideal.

    I recently started making Possibility Piles though. A set of books I put together at the beginning of the month, without the pressure of really HAVING to read them. It’s more a opportunity for me to look through my tbr and be reminded what treasures are waiting on there. Sometimes i even read a few of them. 🙂
    Anyway, great post and happy reading!

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  2. I am the opposite to you in this actually! I was always, always a mood reader before starting my blog. I would pick things up as they jumped out at me and that was that. I read a lot of books I really hated too. After I started my blog I spent more time organising my reading, choose books I was fairly sure I would enjoy and writing down TBR’s that I have mostly stuck to. I still allow myself the odd “naughty” book that isn’t on the list or last minute blog tour that looks really good but that I didn’t really have time for but in general having a strict TBR has made me feel more able to tackle the mountain of books I need to get through lol!

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  3. I am very much a mood reader. I tried at the beginning when I just entered the blogging community to do TBR post for the month/season, but I can’t stick to it. I just feel like it adds additional responsibility to follow up on my reads – it’s okay when it comes to ARC or blog tours, I just can’t when it’s for book I want to read. What I read is also very dependent of where I am mentally – like am I mentally stable enough to read this horror/drama? Are there any trigger warnings I need to be aware of? xD also, sometimes I just need a pick me-up read 🙂

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