How do you read best? Are you a mood reader, or do you like to have a set list? There is no wrong answer to this question and in today’s discussion post I talk about the pros and cons of each. Having done both for a prolonged period of time I have a good deal of experience in both. I started with one several years ago but have recently transitioned into the other.
When I started reading and blogging regularly I opted for the latter of these methods. I like to be organised and so setting myself a list at the beginning of the month gave me an idea of how much I have to read to meet that goal.
This works for people who like a sense of order in their lives. It’s particularly good if you have a longer-term reading goal as it can help you keep on track. It’s not foolproof because ultimately what matters is how much you actually read rather than what you plan. However, it gives you the opportunity to split your reads out in such a way that you can manage the load. You can plan to read a longer book in several shorter in a month, for instance.
I also found it very handy for blog tours and organised posts in which I had to schedule a post on a certain day. Doing a monthly TBR post ahead of time gave me a deadline in order to read the book and also to get the post prepared. It also serves as a good reminder that I had to do it! Whilst I like the pretence of being organised I will admit to being forgetful! Writing these posts made sure I couldn’t forget!
Over the last year I have switched to being a mood reader. For 2021 I haven’t set myself a reading goal and neither have I set myself definitive lists that I have to read in a given month. As and when I finish a book I can decide what I feel like next. It might sound daft but that freedom is liberating when you have spent so long structuring your reading! There are times when a book just isn’t right for your mood, and that can make the overall experience more difficult and less enjoyable. Given that someone like me spends so much time on the hobby, why should I force myself to read something that I’m not in the mood for? I’ve done it before and it doesn’t pay off. Maybe that’s a topic for another discussion post.
That’s not to say the being a mood reader means that you cannot meet your reading goals. You absolutely can – but it’s just not quite so easy to visualise your progress. And if you’re in the mood to read quite a few longer books in succession, then progress is going to seem slower than if you spread them out over the course of the year, or read a series of shorter books.
There is no right or wrong way to do it. There isn’t even any harm in blending these methods. If you wanted to read four books a month for example, you could ‘set’ two of them and leave the other two to be decided at the time (i.e. your mood read picks).
But even then, do the numbers really matter? Yes, it’s nice to have a reading goal to keep you motivated. But, does the number of books you read in the course of a year decide how much you’ve taken from them? Is quality not better than quantity? That’s what I’ve taken away from my year of mood reading. It doesn’t matter how many I read; it’s the fact that I pick up a book and read at all, and enjoy that book that matters!
Everyone is different and we all have our own strengths and weaknesses to play to. I have enjoyed becoming a mood reader though. Do you have a favourite method? Is it mentioned in today’s discussion post? How do you manage your reading list, or don’t you bother at all? I’d love to hear from you in the comments to see how diverse our methods are!