In a half century as a voracious reader, I’ve had my share of bad reading experiences. There’s nothing like being halfway through a compelling book and uncovering a plot theme that makes you want to throw the book at the wall. I took a look at those experiences to identify the common pitfalls in order to help me (and you) side step them.
The number one hack is to put effort into building your stack. If you’ve done enough research on your picks, you won’t be surprised by upsetting content. If you’re bored or disillusioned with a book you can move on quickly to the next one. Make sure you’re matching your picks to your current situation. Arrange your daily and weekly rhythms for maximum reading success. Keep up with your favorite authors on social media so you’ll know about new releases and sales.
How to Avoid a Plot Twist with Upsetting Content
Do the research on your picks
You need to dig into reviews enough to know if there will be plot themes or triggers that will ruin it for you. The trick here is to avoid spoilers but still get a heads up about content that will result in a bad experience.
It’s tempting to skip doing research if you’re ready to dive in and start reading. The truth is, finding great books can be it’s own hobby. In the same way buying craft supplies is different than crafting, finding great books can be just as fun.
Read book blogs, listen to book podcasts and follow bookstagrammers on instagram. It can be as entertaining as reading.
Find book whisperers that you trust
Avoid book whisperers that recommend books that aren’t right for you.
Keep looking till you find some that align with your tastes.
How to Avoid a Mismatch of Book Picks to your Situation
What books do you need for this season?
Sometimes you strike out with a book because too heavy, too complicated or too upsetting for your season. It’s true that on vacation, you can read a more complex plot with a plethora of characters. And when you’re stressed you’re more likely to need something light and fluffy, an easy, breezy read.
Decide whether you want to learn something and be challenged intellectually or if you’re escaping reality by stepping into a story that offers an alternate reality.
Re read a favorite
Or find a series or author you like and read all the books
Read outside of your age category
Young adult and middle grade novels can be interesting and well-written. Don’t let an age label stop you from diving into some great literature. These categories might take some more research, but don’t write off whole sections of the library without giving them a chance.
How to Avoid Getting Bored with a Book and Quitting
First of all, give yourself permission to quit books you aren’t enjoying.
This is is oft repeated advice from book gurus, but so true.
Go back to the number one hack: put some effort into building your stack.
Have that stack ready so you can move on quickly.
Evaluate your risk factor
Determine your risk aversion. How bad would it hurt right now to have a bad reading experience? If you want a safe bet, go for a re read of an old favorite. If you have a stack to check out, you can take the chance that one or two or three isn’t going to be a good fit for you.
How to Avoid Being too Busy to Read
Structure your life to fit reading in
If you’re trying to avoid a bad reading experience, plan your reading to your environment. Waiting in a pick up line might be a better match for quick essays. A day off might be the perfect time for a literary novel when you need a long stretch to move quickly through a slow moving book.
Pick the right medium for you
It’s so great to have so many choices of how to consume books: print books, audio books and ebooks.
Figure out what works best.
Some people don’t want non-fiction audio books because they want to underline and highlight, but a great fiction read aloud can make or break a road trip.
How to Avoid Constant Interruptions while Reading
Make arrangements to minimize disruptions
There are some scenarios that are more conducive to peace and quiet while reading than others. Some things are in your scope of influence and some are not.
For example, you could choose to put your phone in airplane mode.
You could physically make yourself unavailable, sequestered in a hard to reach place with a do not disturb sign displayed prominently.
The more stressed you are and the more that you need an escape from the pressures of life then the more the interruptions are going to irritate. Be aware.
If there’s anything you can do to reduce the stress in life in general, the less critical it will be to have uninterrupted time and the more tolerance you will have for interruptions.
Structure your life to reduce the possibility of interruptions
Wait till the kids are asleep or turn on a movie for them.
Schedule a coffee date with yourself and a book.
Take advantage of the natural rhythms of life when your space is quiet. If you’re reading to learn, early morning before anyone else is up might be right. If you’re reading to relax and escape, after everyone is in bed for the night might be best.
How to Get your Hands on Hard to Find Books
I certainly feel your pain here. Voracious readers often don’t have the budget to keep up with their reading appetite. Libraries don’t stock all the books you want to read, all the ones you’ve heard about that sound intriguing that you’d like to read.
This bad reading experience is a non-reading experience.
Fill the library suggestion box with titles that you’d like to see them stock.
Watch and wait for sales. If the author is living, find out where they’re active on social media and stalk them. They’ll be sure to let you know when their books go on sale.
Build that Stack!
Check out the book lists at Smart Mamas Read.
Looking for Books Like Atomic Habits?
Leaving for vacation and want to build your stack to be ready? Smart Mamas Read 2021 Summer Reading List