These are the top 8 reading habits that I need to break. Reading constantly for a few months has made me aware of the things I am doing wrong, I’ve identified some of the major ones here that I really, really need to break. So let’s get into it!
1. Being afraid of reading Poetry.
(Let’s face it!) I need to start reading more poetry, I sometimes feel that I am just not programmed to get it or enjoy it. The second cause is more of a prejudice. It is the form that uses the least number of words, so they are supposed to be the most carefully chosen words- but sometimes when I read poetry, I feel like they’re just random words put together which could be easily replaced and re-constructed. And it’s hard to let go of that idea. I need to find the poems that speak to me irrespective of who wrote them or where they came from and brush off the others that don’t. So yes, read more poetry.
2. Being afraid of reading anguish-stricken books.
Is there a whole genre representing books that deal with distressing subjects? (on loss and grief, brutal killings, injustices, war histories, holocaust, racism.. the list is long). When I read a rosy book, its easy to forget the content but when I read or see a brutal book/film, it’s very very hard to forget it. These disturbing books are strong and powerful statements which will move you, change you, and sometimes dismantle every assurance you ever lived by.. but that’s the beauty of them. They stay with you longer and are not as transient in memory.
A part of me doesn’t want to let go of the rosy picture of all that is good and magical, and is scared to walk outside that comfort zone. I’ve been aware of my reluctance at picking a book that is scandalous, upsetting and/or depressing. So I’ve consciously picked out some books with darker themes like “The Vegetarian” by Han King or “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker in the last month. While I am still reluctant about picking up a book which will throw me in the woes of despair, I am very glad I read these. Inspite of the persistent grimace and churning in the stomach I felt while reading them, I loved the books. They were both terrific books. I explored themes that were new to me, I was strongly moved and there was a victorious feeling that I had, atleast partially, conquered an inner fear.
3. Dismissing Young Adult books.
I’ve tried to read a lot of YA books and while I’ve really liked a small set of them, most of them did not go down well with me at all. The books I did not finish are mostly YA books. Now I’ve got predisposed this mindset where I will dismiss a YA book the moment I see it, which is not fair since YA is a huge genre with millions of sub genres and a blanket dismissal of all of them is unreasonable. If you have a good YA recommendation which you think I might enjoy, please let me know!
4. Keeping track of how many pages of the book are left till I finish it. Keep checking out for the last few pages to go before I can start a new book.
Whether its an amazing book that I absolutely adore or a book I’m struggling to read and waiting for the end, I have this obsessive habit of checking out the number of pages (or thickness of book) that is left till I finish it. This means that I will rush through the last 40 pages or so because I’m excited to finish this book and start a new one. This can take away from my reading experience like a chain reaction in all the books that I read. And I really need to conquer this one.
5. Dismissing books with Indian authors.
I’m genuinely very embarrassed about this one. I have read very few books by Indian authors and I did not enjoy them. I’m really looking forward to reading more and finding authors I like. Again, any recommendations will be most appreciated! Please let me know if you think I will like it.
6. Skipping descriptive paragraphs to jump to the next twist/event in the story.
Sometimes I’m just so excited about what happens next in the story, that I find the story isn’t going fast enough for me. As a result, I tend to skip the descriptive paragraphs and go to the paragraphs which has dialogues or describes an actual happening in the story. After reading this, I go back to the descriptive paragraph that I skipped initially and read it. While this haphazard way of reading is not something I do often, I want to completely stop doing it. These descriptive paragraphs are there to serve the story build-up and setting. By skipping these and coming back to them later, I am cheating the book.
7. DNFing books quite easily.
*(DNF stands for Do/did Not finish).
A serious problem among readers is that they do not DNF books enough, so they keep reading books even though these can be single-handedly responsible for hurling the reader into a cavernous reading slump. My problem is the opposite of this. The last book that I put down was “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton. Somewhere in the middle of the book, I stopped reading it. It felt dry and burdensome to keep reading descriptions of different families without any real movement in the plot. I knew the more intriguing bits were probably coming soon, but I did not want to prolong my suffering any longer. I DNF books too easily, perhaps some struggle might be highly rewarding. (Proof of crime – I also DNF’ed “The East of Eden” by John Steinbeck last year when I found myself drudging through, yes, I was told incessant times how this was a crime).
8. Not reading the book before I watch the film adaptation
I’ve seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Silence of the Lambs, Blade Runner, A Clockwork Orange, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Fight Club, Gone With The Wind and many more films that were adapted from books! I’ve laid my hands upon their respective book versions multiple times but having watched the movie, I simply do not have any desire remaining to read the book. This is a shame since most of the times, the books are gems and the movies do not quite capture all their brilliance. Note to self: always read the book before going to the movie. If you don’t do it now, you won’t do it ever.
So these are the reading habits I am really looking forward to breaking. Ciao, Happy Reading!