“The library was a little old shabby place. Francie thought it was beautiful. The feeling she had about it was as good as the feeling she had about church. She pushed open the door and went in. She liked the combined smell of worn leather bindings, library past and freshly inked stamping pads better than she liked the smell of burning incense at high mass.”
It can be a blessing in disguise, but it can also be, put bluntly, a bit of a bitch.
Hello again dear reader or listener, welcome back to another little article from yours truly, a.k.a. Eleni felt like rambling about something book-related. So mood reading, what is it exactly? Well, the name is fairly self-explanatory, but I myself didn’t know that my kind of reading habits even had a name to begin with! As with everything then, reading is a strongly subjective experience, and with mood reading, in particular, it becomes even more so. In other words, take this for what it is, an opinion based on personal experience.
The baseline is that when you’re a mood reader, you can only really read the very specific subgenre/trope/plot type, etc., that you’re feeling like getting lost in at a given time. Or that you can only read when the mood strikes you, and not on a planned schedule, so to speak.
Which also means that you cannot stick to a pre-set TBR to save your life and that often, if you force yourself to get through a book that isn’t your current interest, or while you’re in your non-reading days, you will find yourself struggling to even like something that at a later time you might actually love. Not to mention lead you to the much-dreaded reading slump that haunts every bookworm out there.
This can also make things a little awkward if you are a book reviewer who has received an ARC or free review copy, because you really want to be able to read them in good time, but if you are suddenly hit with the proverbial bat of a completely different mood, then you’re in trouble. It’s pretty hard to explain, especially to people who are not mood readers, and even more so if that person is the author that has sent you the book. Like, please, do not think less of me, or that I am making up excuses to not read your book.
It is a genuine struggle, and I want to give your kindly offered book the best chance to become my next favorite! Personally, it is the main reason I don’t request many ARCs to begin with, and even then, only when I know I have a long enough time to read them by so that I can still hopefully manage even if some different mood hits.
The thing is, just like with reading slumps stressing us out since we are suddenly feeling all kinds of odd because we are not doing the very thing we love and enjoy, mood reading can make us feel like we’re doing something wrong compared to other people in the book community.
Why can’t I connect with this when everyone around me seems to be loving it, and (to add insult to injury) technically, I know I would as well? It’s the usual conundrum of trying not to feel like we’re lagging behind because we haven’t read as many books as others, because we’re not reading fast enough, because we’re not reading the newest/latest releases, and the list goes on and on. It comes naturally to compare ourselves to our reading peers after all! But it is also important to remember that by letting ourselves fall into that trap we’re only really harming ourselves and putting pressure on our favorite hobby, turning it into a chore.
On the other hand, as I said at the start, mood reading can also be quite neat of a quirk to have because you can be sure that at least 90% of the time, the book you are reading is one you cannot easily put down. By virtue of being drawn to specific elements in a story and hence having to seek out the very book that meets those requirements with some extra attention and research, you’re almost certainly going to find what works for you and avoid what doesn’t. Mainly the reason most of my reads end up being 8 and above ratings to be honest, and I am not at all complaining!
Ultimately, I can say that I love the book community I’ve found on Twitter. I love that it gave me the opportunity to have contacts with so many cool authors, and with tons of amazing people involved in the book industry and the reviewing world. My TBR has quintupled granted, and I suddenly learned that I am not always able to read every book that I learn of right away because, well, I am not in the mood for it right in that given instant. But I’ve also learned (and occasionally need to remind myself) that it is ok to take my time to enjoy my readings at my own pace and when the mood strikes.
To any authors that I owe a review to, this mini article was partly for you I suppose and please know that I’ll get there cause I’ve given my word and I genuinely am eager to get to your stories. To other mood readers out there, I salute you, and this is your friendly reminder to not be hard on yourself because there is no real reason to! If you’re feeling like a reread of an old favorite, go for it, treat yourself to your comfort read, it is what you deserve. And if someone tells you otherwise, send them my way for a chat.
What about you dear reader/listener? Are you a mood reader? And if yes, how do you navigate it? If you’re not, what does it feel like being able to stick to a plan and schedule? Is it like having an Infinity Stone? Asking for a friend.
Until next time,
Eleni A. E.
I totally understand … I am something of a ‘mood reader’ myself, and it would probably be a lot more exaggerated if I read as many books as a reviewer/book blogger probably does! It certainly affects my beta reading … my commentary varies a lot from mood to mood, and that’s reading the book when I want to. Though I think I’m only about 50% mood reader. There are things I’ll always love, and things I’ll always hate, and most of the things I love, I can understand why in any mood. But I have found that something I DNF’ed once, in one mood, I enjoyed reading much later.