Unlike most people, I don’t just read books—you know, a chapter a day, two every here and there, maybe a novel finished once a week. Generally, those are probably good reading habits, allowing a person to read consistently and more widely than say someone like a binge reader—someone like me. Yup, I admit it. I’m a binge reader, and I’m having trouble coming to terms with the idea that, well, maybe binge reading isn’t as great as it seems.
My Reading Habits
When I say I’m a binge reader, it’s exactly as it seems. Like people who binge watch TV shows (me), or movies (me), when I see a new book or series I want to read—I devour it. I’m your, “don’t talk to me I’m reading” girl, the “turning the page and eating” person, the “have I been in the bathroom stall for 3 hours? it’s not my bladder, it’s this cliffhanger in the last chapter” kid.
In High school there were weeks when I’d spend more than 12 hours a day just reading—on school days, meaning staying up until late into the night (never later than 1 or 2 am, cus you know, healthy people start their bad habits later in life) finishing not 1 book, but 2 or 3 a day. It was intense, and I kind of miss those wistful days, where time was an infinite sea of possibilities.
As a teen, I read to escape, to discover, to deal with the internal and external issues in my life that I wasn’t strong enough to face in reality. As an adult though, I’m trying to come to terms with what it means to engage with text without simply consuming it.
Let’s be honest, binge reading doesn’t leave a lot of room for reflection. I realize that I’ve internalized and sometimes completely overlooked the most problematic elements of the works I loved, and some I still love to this day. At the time, re-reading books during my binge sprees always helped me address those issues, but now, with even less time on my hands, I find that I’m going back to old favorites less and less.
The problem with binge reading, isn’t just that you’re not digesting what your taking in, it’s also an issue of consuming the same thing, over, and over, and over again, until you’re sick of it—or maybe even worse, until can’t or won’t broaden your horizons. When I binge read, I read in the same categories, the same genres, the same authors—the same repacked versions of stories I’ve read before.
kind of like this. Like at that point, can you even taste what your eating?
It’s fine to like what you like, but you won’t know what you don’t know, until you paint with all the colors of the wind…or something like that.
I say all this, but I still love binge reading, and there are some bright sides to it too like:
I’m more open to exploring new, experimental works in the categories and genres I binge.
If I see a random book, any random book on the YA shelf with a vaguely interesting premise, you better believe I’ll be picking it up. This goes with movies too. At this point, I’m scrapping at the bottom of the barrel just to get my hit of rom coms, and surprisingly, I’m finding some real gems down there too.
I see everything.
Tropes, stereotypes, twin sibling conveniently showing up —I’ve seen it all. There’s no crack that I can’t spot, no table left unturned. I can enjoy a good trope when I see one, but I can also tell when I’m being manipulated. Now more than ever, I willing to move on to something else when I find issues with what I’m consuming.
Maybe this time…
So there you have it, my binge reading post. It was supposed to be a post about all the books in my reading cave, but you can just check out my favorite things page to get a gist of what I’m into.
If there are any other binge readers out there, send me a sign. What are you currently binging, any recommendations? Not for me I mean, just for a friend…
What can I say, a bad habit’s hard to break 😉