05 July 2014

Does Binge Reading Affect Your Enjoyment Of A Book?

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I am a binge reader. It is something I have been ever since I started reading. I clearly remember going to the library getting our 5 or six books each week and just binging on them. I would try and get out entire series at a time and I would finish them by the end of the weekend. If you think I am lying about this, I am not. I would visit the ‘teen’ section of the library (this was back in the days before YA as a genre was a thing) and I would pick out my books. I would rush home from town and read. I would have a book glued to my hand for an entire weekend. It got to the point that I could estimate how long it would take to finish a book by the length of it and plan my days around it. I would forego sleep to finish a really good series, I would read as soon as a woke up and continue reading until I could no longer keep my eyes open. I would finish a series and be lost without another book to read in that world. I regularly got out my favourite series from the library just to revisit.

I binge in all aspects of my life, though. I binge on TV series, I clearly remember turning sixteen and I spent all my birthday money on buying the Buffy the Vampire series on DVD and then I spent my evenings after school watching it. I knew how long it would take to finish a disc and would aim to watch 2 discs a night. I literally became a hermit. I barely saw people, it was probably a really unhealthy thing to do at sixteen, but I enjoyed it so much.

So, I know binge reading is not the best way to read. I often end up skimming pages in a book because I am so involved in a story that I must find out what happens, and as I read during my lunch hour and on my commute I am often limited in time, and cannot stop reading when I reach the end of a chapter, like at home. The way I read means often I do not savour a book, I dive in head first and immerse myself completely. Then I am so absorbed I read to the exclusion of all things around me. I do not appreciate books as much in some ways I suppose, I miss the intricacies. It also means I am always at major risk of a book hangover. I get so involved in books, and read at such speed that sometimes I finish a book too soon, and my mind is still caught in the pages. I am then lost trying to find another book to immerse myself in.

I sound like I’m a complete recluse, I’m really not. I just have self control issues. I am incapable of reading a book a few chapters at a  time. Instead I must carry on reading until I reach the end, or until something comes along which requires me to stop reading, such as reaching my stop on the bus. I don’t believe the way I read is in anyway a bad thing, but sometimes I do feel like I might be missing out by overindulging in this way. I don’t miss out on the enjoyment, but I certainly think the different ways in which I read affects the experience of the reader. But then again, each readers experience is individual so who is to judge how reading affects that. I don’t know.

Anyway, does anyone else binge read and do you think it changes the way you read a book? Do you think you miss out on things by speeding through a book and not savouring the story a bit? I don’t believe I enjoy books any less from the way I read, I’m simply curious if anyone else has the same experience from reading as I do.

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