The Importance Of Timing In Reading

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, especially when it comes to books.

Sometimes, maybe even most of the time, I’m hesitant to read a popular novel. For a few main reasons.

I don’t want people to hype up a book for me only for it to disappoint because of high expectations.

I also feel odd when I’m in the minority. Either I love a book that people generally don’t like or I dislike a novel everyone seems to adore. In that case, I tend to feel like I’m missing something. As if I didn’t get the essence of the story.

It’s easy to look at reviews or seek out other readers’ opinions nowadays. Thanks Internet.

It’s also easy to form a bias before reading something because of what someone else says. That’s why I typically avoid reading book reviews before I begin. I don’t mind looking at reviews after I’ve finished a novel.

Often times I find others are able to say what I want to say more eloquently than I ever could. Or better yet, reviewers are able to specify an issue or ten they had with a book that I did too.

When I decide whether or not I want to buy a particular book, I don’t usually read reviews. I’ll read the synopsis or summary. Maybe the back cover or the first page.

I want to form my own opinion without the influence of anyone else, even if I trust him or her.

Going back to popular books, there are a number of reasons why I haven’t read Harry Potter. And some days I wonder if I ever will. The whole being let down is part of it. As well as the prospect I may not love this series as much as my friends.

I’m a huge believer that timing matters. When exactly you read a certain book can change your entire perception of it. I know there are books I appreciate better now than when I read them five, six years ago. Even five, six months make a huge difference.

Same goes for books I’ve read recently. I feel I would have enjoyed them more had I read some earlier in my life like in elementary or high school.

Regardless, reading really is remarkable. So don’t let anything or anyone stop you from enjoying a good book at any time in your life.

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A Q&A About Reading Habits

Lately, I’ve been wondering about my reading habits, which led to the creation of this post.

What’s your policy on finishing books?

I try to finish every book I start regardless of whether I love it or not. As a kid I abandoned stories more easily, but I’ve gotten better at sticking with something if I start. It helps that I pick up books I want to read now.

How often do you read?

Daily.

How much do you read?

As of right now, I strive to finish 50 pages every day.

When do you read?

Mornings because I prefer reading in natural light. Sometimes I’ll have one reading session in the morning and another in the afternoon. If I’m busy during the day, I settle for evenings or nights.

Do you read one book or multiple books at a time?

One book at a time. If I have to read more than one, that’s fine. I tend to do so when I’m in school. I’ll read a book for class and read something else for fun. Way back when, I used to read a fiction and nonfiction book simultaneously. But my nonfiction game has been nonexistent nowadays.

Is there anything you do before or after reading a book?

I wash my hands prior to and update my GoodReads status if I remember. Key word there is remember. Sometimes I forget because I’m old and getting older with each passing second.

Now I’m curious about other people’s reading habits.

A Rant In Regards To Reading

This post may or may not be a rant depending on your definition, but it will be about reading.

I think it’s important to read what you want and to enjoy your reading experience. No, you might not love everything about a certain book, but try to find something you do like.

Even though I read as an escape from real life, reading for me is almost akin to living in a way. I get to live different lives through fictional characters.

Maybe I’m using reading as a metaphor or analogy for living. I’m not too sure. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not an English major.

I just hope readers don’t feel pressured to read what they don’t want to just because everyone else is. Case in point: Herminia and Harry Potter.

I also do my best to finish what I start, especially if I chose to buy the book with the thought I’ll enjoy the story. Or at least, enjoy some aspect of the work. Sometimes, it’s the writing. Other times, I’m a fan of the plot or I’m fond of the characters.

Besides, reading what you enjoy will always win out over the alternative of not enjoying yourself.

Am I ranting or rambling? I’m not even sure at this point. Now that I’m older and wiser, I hope going forward, I will decide what’s best for my interests. Not allow others to decide for me.

So go ahead, read what you want. If you realize you aren’t enjoying the book, read something else.

It’s perfectly fine to pick up another novel if you aren’t enjoying the one you’re on right now.

Reading, like life, is about timing. Perhaps you don’t appreciate a certain book at this exact moment. But maybe in the future, you will.

That might mean you’ll grow out of books. Stories you loved in the past might not have the same effect on you years later. This is okay.

After all, readers should read what their heart desires.

Live your life. Read the books you want. Have fun. Enjoy yourself while reading.

You don’t get that time back.

20 Lessons I Learned As A Reader

I spent nearly all my life around books, so here are 20 lessons I’ve learned as an avid reader.

  1. Start.
  2. Try to finish.
  3. Timing is everything.
  4. Read what you want.
  5. Read when you want.
  6. Read how you want.
  7. Just read.
  8. Study what works.
  9. Never stop learning.
  10. Books are great teachers.
  11. Seek out other readers.
  12. Some stories won’t resonate with you.
  13. You can still take something away from a novel you didn’t like.
  14. Give books a chance.
  15. Step outside your comfort zone.
  16. Enjoy the act of reading.
  17. The right book at the right time can change your life.
  18. Leaders are readers.
  19. Make time to read.
  20. Happy reading is the best kind of reading.

What is something you’ve realized as a reader of books? I’d love to know down below.

Why I Love Reading Books

I think it's no surprise that I love books. More than a lot of things and many people in fact. But why exactly do I love papers with ink on them so much?

As a kid, I've always liked reading even before I realized I did. I buried my nose into all kinds of books.

Mainly because I enjoyed learning, and I still do. I'm all for gaining as much knowledge as I can. I especially want to know more about subjects that fascinate me.

Being able to escape from the real world was always welcome for me. Sometimes we just need to get away, be distracted for a little while.

At some point, I wanted to write my own books. As much as I love reading other people's stories, there's nothing quite like telling your own.

Of course, I love words. That's why I'm a writer. Reading books ignited my passion for writing stories.

In elementary school, I had a much smaller vocabulary. Younger me wasn't as confident with the English language as I am now, even more so when it came to writing in it.

I can still recall a memory of myself in class. I always asked this much smarter student how to spell certain words I didn't know at the time.

Interestingly enough, my first language isn't English. I grew up in a Cantonese speaking household. Back then, my parents didn't speak much English. So for several years during my childhood, I felt more comfortable with Cantonese, my mother tongue. After all, it was what I spoke at home.

Only after reading a bunch of English books did my communication skills improve. Over the course of my elementary schooling, I saw my grades in Reading, Writing, and Oral Communication increase little by little.

Nowadays, I still crave exposure to new ideas and beliefs. I may not agree with everything, but at the very least, I get a chance to see the perspectives of others. More importantly, I try to understand.

I owe writers and authors a lot. They keep inspiring me to speak, to share.

Frankly, I have little desire to spend my money on anything that is not a good book.

Completing The 30 Books Challenge

1. A book you love:

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

I love this book with all my heart. And I’m trying to make other people love it too.

2. A book you can’t forget:

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

My grade five teacher recommended it to me. Bless her for doing so.

3. A book that motivated you:

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

King makes me want to be a better writer.

4. A book that made you think about life:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

It’s thought-provoking.

5. A book with a colour in its title:

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

I adore Brown and his brain.

6. A book with a number in its title:

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

I had to read it for school, but I liked the modernized zombie tale.

7. A book everyone needs to read:

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Timeless classic. What more can I say?

8. A book that was recommended to you:

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

A good friend of mine made me pick this one up.

9. A book you didn’t expect to like as much as you did:

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Because of the hype surrounding Maas and her work, I thought I wasn’t going to like her novels. But I enjoyed ToG so very much.

10. A book that made you cry:

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

It didn’t directly make me cry, but I was holding the book while I cried. Does that count?

11. A book that reminds you of your childhood:

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I was a naïve child.

12. A book you have reread or would reread:

Thirst No. 4 by Christopher Pike

I reread the fourth book prior to reading the fifth in order to jog my memory. The second read through was just as good, if not even better than the first.

13. A book that was turned into a movie:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I read the book before I watched the movie. If you know me at all, you know I’m firmly in the camp that the book was obviously better.

14. A book you wish was turned into a movie or TV show:

The Escape by David Baldacci

This needs to be made into a movie.

15. A book you couldn’t put down:

Endgame: The Calling by James Frey

Action-packed fun.

16. A book that kept you up at night:

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

I remember finishing the novel late at night and being blown away by the ending.

17. A book you travelled with:

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

I carried the novel in my bag with a water bottle I didn’t close properly. Safe to say water and paper don’t mix unless you’re painting with watercolours.

18. A book you wanted to toss across the room:

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Because of how it ends.

19. A book you received as a gift:

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

From my one and only older brother. Thanks.

20. A book you gave or would give as a gift:

The Elements of Style by E. B. White and William Strunk Jr.

I would give it as a gift, especially to someone who likes writing.

21. A book you think is underrated:

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

I don’t see or hear many people talk about Norris and her books.

22. A book that lived up to its hype:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I didn’t think it would, but it did.

23. A book that broke your heart:

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

It was my first Picoult novel. I’m happy to say it was not the last. I really felt for the characters in this one.

24. A book that restored your faith in humanity:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Young, awesome characters tend to restore my faith.

25. A book with a pretty cover:

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

It’s my aesthetic.

26. A book that reminds you of summer:

Atonement by Ian McEwan

The novel takes place in the summer.

27. A book that brings back good memories:

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Technically it’s a play I performed with some of my best friends in high school.

28. A book that makes you happy:

Nevermore by James Patterson

I enjoyed the entire series.

29. A book you will never get tired of talking about:

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

I could go on and on about this gem.

30. A book you wish you wrote:

Carrie by Stephen King

If I had to be honest, I wish I wrote every novel King wrote. Carrie is no exception.


This post contains many affiliate links to Amazon. If you buy through them, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

30 Books Challenge

1. A book you love.
2. A book you can’t forget.
3. A book that motivated you.
4. A book that made you think about life.
5. A book with a colour in its title.
6. A book with a number in its title.
7. A book everyone needs to read.
8. A book that was recommended to you.
9. A book you didn’t expect to like as much as you did.
10. A book that made you cry.
11. A book that reminds you of your childhood.
12. A book you have reread or would reread.
13. A book that was turned into a movie.
14. A book you wish was turned into a movie or TV show.
15. A book you couldn’t put down.
16. A book that kept you up at night.
17. A book you travelled with.
18. A book you wanted to toss across the room.
19. A book you received as a gift.
20. A book you gave or would give as a gift.
21. A book you think is underrated.
22. A book that lived up to its hype.
23. A book that broke your heart.
24. A book that restored your faith in humanity.
25. A book with a pretty cover.
26. A book that reminds you of summer.
27. A book that brings back good memories.
28. A book that makes you happy.
29. A book you will never get tired of talking about.
30. A book you wish you wrote.

How To Remember What Books You’ve Read

Unless you have a perfect memory, it’s tough to remember all the books you’ve read. But how can you keep a record of everything your eyes have pored over or skimmed? 

You want to remember the texts you read, don’t you? Imagine thinking you finished a book but not being entirely sure you did. It almost feels like a bookshelf falling to the ground.

Here are ways to remember the amazing, terrible, and mediocre books you’ve read. 

Use Goodreads. 

Goodreads is a godsend, especially since you can access it on a computer, laptop, or smartphone. I can’t believe I took nearly 18 years to make an account. If you’re looking for an online website where you can track books you’ve read and what you want to read next, get on Goodreads.

Keep a reader notebook. 

On the other hand, who doesn’t love using a physical notebook to record all the books they’ve read. I write down the author and title along with when I started and finished the text. I also tried getting into journaling about the books I’ve read to help myself with writing reviews after I’ve finished reading something. But so far, I don’t find myself reaching for that journal very often. Habits are hard to build.

Create an Excel spreadsheet.

Spreadsheets are fun, doubly so if they’re colourful. If you don’t want to make a Goodreads account but want a digital log, an Excel sheet might work well for you.

How do you remember what you read?

My Reading Journey

I could write a book about my journey as a reader. But I’ll write a short blog post instead.

I loved books as a child. As a teenager, I still do. I might even love books more now than I used to. I don’t see that changing when I turn twenty in August. Gosh, I’m getting old.

I used to read all the time as a kid. I still do. Unlike a lot of other things and people, reading is something that’s remained in my life all these years.

More often than not, I found myself bored at school. But I was never bored during silent reading time. That was my favourite part of the day, lunch and recess included. Breaks suck when you have no friends.

I remember a teacher recommending a book to me in grade five. I fell in love with everything about that story. From then on I vowed not to dismiss book recommendations, unless they come from a source I vehemently dislike.

I also remember those assessments teachers did in elementary where they asked students to read a passage out loud. I was terrified I’d come across a word I didn’t know how to pronounce. I can’t recall if my fear ever came to pass. So I like to believe I did well.

Over the summer when I had more time to read, I went through books quickly. I once binge-read an entire series in the span of twenty-two days.

Then high school happened. If my memory serves me correctly, I read more in grade nine and grade twelve. At least, it feels like I did. I’m not sure what happened in grades ten and eleven. I know what happened. I wrote like a madwoman in ten and started this blog in eleven. Perhaps I’ll write a post detailing my writing and blogging journey.

Somehow I’ve managed to read every single day for I want to say the past two years at least. Probably even longer than that. I can’t remember the last time I went twenty-four hours without reading a book. Which is insane.

I began university in 2015. So I’ve had to balance reading for pleasure and reading for school. The previous sentence should read I don’t have a social life. I’m perfectly okay with that. 

Honestly, books got me through some of the toughest times in my life. And I have no doubt they will continue to do so.

Why I Read

I read because I want to. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing when I’m reading.

It lets me unwind after a long day. I get to relax after a stressful morning or tiring afternoon. My body has a chance to recover while my brain is challenged. Books push me to think. Place myself in someone else’s shoes and see things in a different perspective.

I read for fun. Reading is fun. It’s enjoyable. More often than not, I’d rather stay at home and read a book than leave my house and hit the town.

Authors inspire me to tell my own story. Characters motivate me to be a better human being.

I read to escape. I like getting away from the world I live in. I don’t always want to be where I am. So it’s nice to transport myself somewhere else temporarily.

Reading is something I get to do on my own terms. I choose what I want to read. I decide when and where I read. How I read. 

I read to step away from the screen. To put down my phone. To turn off my computer.

Books are there for me when people are not. 

I read because it’s exciting and exhilarating. My heart beats faster. My mind runs faster.

Time spent reading is time well spent. I don’t feel like I’m wasting precious hours of my life when I read. Instead I feel alive. Like I’m living.

I read because I need to. It keeps me sane in an insane world. 

Reading helps me see the good in fictional characters and makes me believe real people can be amazing too.