The perils of being a mood reader

The perils of being a mood reader

I am a mood reader. No, I’m not a little ring that you slip on your finger and I don’t change colour to tell you that you’re feeling grumpy. When it comes to the books I read, I read whatever takes my fancy – whatever fits my mood.

Reading moods aren’t like normal moods. Normally you have happy, sad etc. In reading, you have ‘In the mood for my heart to be ripped into a million pieces’, ‘in the mood to fly through a book in one sitting’, ‘in the mood to feel hopeful about my life’ and ‘in the mood to pretend life is as simple as chick-lit makes it out to be’ along with countless others.

Books sit on the shelf for, well, years.

I will often buy books immediately when they come out (if I’ve been anticipating it). I always want to support the author in their first week but the problem is that I’m usually already reading something else when I buy the book. By the time I finish the book I’m already reading, I’m not really in the mood to read the new release. It can sit on my shelf for years to come.

It happens with books I get as gifts too! I’ve asked for books for my birthday and then, once I’ve received them, I never get around to reading them. I asked for Uprooted by Naomi Novik several years ago and, although it has glowing reviews and I actually do want to read it, I just haven’t been in the fantasy mood since I received it.

Even when it comes to recommended books – I might buy them after someone in my life recommended it to me but it will just sit on the shelf for years. It’s not because I don’t want to read it or I have anything against the person who recommended it to me … I’m just not in the mood for it!

There are reading droughts and they’re long

I can easily go for weeks without reading anything at all. Sometimes it’s because a TV show or podcast catches my attention but other times it’s because I just can’t quite figure out what I’m in the mood for. I’ll start things and abandon them after 10 pages.

I wrote a couple of years ago about why TBR lists don’t work for me. Since then, I’ve started using a monthly TBR list to push myself to actually read something every month and to combat these reading slumps. Tackling it month-to-month has been better for me because my mood doesn’t change a lot from the beginning of the month to the end of the month (my reading mood that is, my emotional mood can go from 0-100 in less than half an hour).

Re-reading is big on my agenda

The problem with being a mood readers is that re-reading is high on my list. Once I read the Harry Potter series 10 times, back-to-back. Just because I felt like it. That was an exceptional case, but I am no stranger to re-reading. I try to read something Jane Austen every year, which means that re-reading is rife. I also read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society every year – I don’t always record it because sometimes re-reading books you know so well is a bit like breathing.

My obsession with re-reading kept me in the dark from a lot of books I would have loved as a teenager too. While I was busy re-reading John Marsden, J.K Rowling, Jaclyn Moriarty and Louise Rennison, I was missing out on a lot of stuff that was being released. I did dabble occasionally but I think I was better at finding new stuff when I was really, really young. Since joining online book communities, I’ve been testing the waters more and I don’t regret my re-reading, but it is a danger of only reading according to my mood. I read the same books again and again because they give me comfort.

There are good things too …

There are benefits to being a mood reader! First up, I rarely read books that I don’t like. Of course, just because I’m in the mood for a book doesn’t mean that it’s automatically going to be a work of genius, but it does mean that I’m predisposed to look kindly on it and to see past its flaws. I hardly ever read something because I feel like I have to; in fact, if I feel like I have to read something, it’s more likely to turn me off the book completely.

I also rarely leave books unfinished. There is the odd occasion, I will admit, but overall, I want to read about the topic, so I do. I don’t get bored or confused because I’m in the right headspace! It’s a very satisfying way to read.

Are you a mood reader? If not, how do you determine what to read next?

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