• Kara C White

How We Read

Updated: Aug 12

Think Beyond Your Book Choices


When it comes to reading, we could fill a book (pun intended) with our favorite titles, favorite genres, and recommendations for our bookish friends. Today, however, I'm less focused on what you read and more concerned with how you read.


I realize, of course, that you know how to read. This isn't about decoding the words and sentences on a page or your reading comprehension (although if you're interested in what reading does to our minds, read my previous post How Books Turn Your Brain).


What I'm talking about here is the habits of our reading lives. If what we read reflects our tastes in content, how we read reflects our approach to reading as a pastime.


Some people like to read in the morning while others wrap up their day in the pages of a book. Some like to read multiple books at once while other readers prefer one title at a time.

When I examine my own bookish habits, I discover I'm a pretty straight forward, traditional reader. I tend to read in the afternoon or evening and to read one book before starting another. I don't have a problem with audiobooks or eBooks, but I usually read physical books that I can hold in my hands. I like the weight of the book and the texture of the pages as I turn them. I almost always finish a book I've started.

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I asked some of my friends and followers on social media about their own reading habits. It quickly became clear that while my bookish cohorts share a love of reading, we do not all share our reading habits.


Most are afternoon/evening readers, but a few prefer the mornings (or all day). Several said they liked only physical books while another said 100% audiobooks. Many of the readers who responded were comfortable with not finishing a book they weren't enjoying while a few, like me, stick it out to the end. Reading more than one book at a time was pretty common; one said always at least two at once! One reader disclosed frequently peeking at the ending early.

There's no right or wrong way to read, of course, though I don't care for readers who dog ear pages instead of using some sort of book mark (pet peeve alert!). Our reading habits simplify our choices and make our reading lives easier and more comfortable. At least, that's what they're supposed to do.


For many of us, our habits are so ingrained we simply don't think about them. This can mean we don't even notice when they're no longer working for us. Sometimes when we feel like something is off in our reading lives, the problem isn't the books we're choosing. The trouble could be how we're reading. Don't be afraid to try a new approach! If that doesn't work, check out my 4 Ways to Get Out of a Reading Slump.


I'm not likely to give up physical books for audio only, but I'd be well served by trying some new strategies now and then. The point is not change for change's sake, but to enrich my reading life. Maybe I'll be more willing to move on from a book that's not holding my interest or imagination.


How might you revise your reading habits? Best wishes for further reading!

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