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Guilty Secrets: Bad Reading Habits

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Whether you watch the film before the book, fold over the pages or judge a book by its cover, we all fall into these bad habits from time to time. Lily Pace and Dan Ewers confess their book related guilty secrets.

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When I was thinking about it, I realised that I have several different reading habits. Firstly, I confess that I am a reader who reads the last sentence of the book, before I start. I don’t even know why, because most of the time the last line is completely out of context. I don’t think I’ve ever read a final sentence that has given away the entire plot either. That only happens if I decide to read the last sentence again when I am already half way through the book!

I also admit that when I begin a book, I see how many pages there are in total and put my bookmark exactly at the halfway point. For some reason, I always feel like my reading speeds up once I get halfway, so I like to know once I have got there. If I’m reading on my Kindle, I become obsessed by the percentage in the bottom corner. I’d much rather read until the percentage is a nice number, than get to the end of the chapter, which is strange since I would never put a physical book down mid-chapter!

I’d much rather read until the percentage is a nice number, than get to the end of the chapter

Another habit I have is that if I start a book, I have to finish it. No matter how much I am not enjoying it, it irritates me if I don’t get to the end. I have probably wasted so much time reading books that I’m not enjoying, just so I can say I have finished it.

Lily Rose Pace.

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My one bad reading habit is that once I start reading, I put the bookmark at the beginning of the next chapter along. Once I get there, I move it along one chapter further still. Then, I proceed to repeat this process until the book is done, and I can begin again with another book. Now, this might seem like a totally harmless, “oh, that’s nothing really, just knowing how far to go until the end of the chapter”, but I’ve realised that for me, it’s not. In my mind, the bookmark shows how many pages until the chapter is over and done. It’s an end stamp for the reading session, a final goal, and thinking about it like this tends to take a lot of the fun out of reading for pleasure. It’s suddenly all about finishing the chapter and reading as fast as I can, so that I can get on with things. As a result, I don’t linger about and appreciate exactly what it is that I’m reading.

It’s suddenly all about finishing the chapter and reading as fast as I can

It’s a small thing, I admit, but I’ve come to realise that the habit is eating into a hobby that I do enjoy. My competitive spark won’t just let me relax (I’m blaming the Goodreads reading challenge here, I feel I’ve got to get that many books read), and while reading becomes a challenge when you’re constantly trying to get through the book, it’s a somewhat double-edged habit that I’ve recently fallen into.

Daniel Ewers.


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