The Hidden Downside of Mood Reading

I’ve made it no secret that I’m a mood reader. In fact, way back when I wrote a whole post about my struggles related to being a mood reader. But one of the things I didn’t mention in that post was how my mood reading can many times lead to me reading multiple books at once, and how this can sometimes affect my enjoyment of some of the books I’m reading, which can then affect my final rating.

darren criss books GIF

Me trying to read multiple books at once

To start with, let me just say that I am the moodiest of mood readers. This means that my mood can change by the day, or even by the hour, and that will in turn affect which book I read. So I may wake up one day, in the fantasy mood (it’s happened once or twice). I start the book, and I’m enjoying it. I read 75 pages, and then I go to sleep. The next day I wake up and it’s gloomy and rainy outside, with my mood to match. At that moment I am in no way interested in reading a fantasy book, which tends to be heavy and dark to me, no matter how much I was enjoying myself the day before. And so I pick up another book, this time probably a romance, and begin to read that book. Now I’m reading two books. Then I want to take a break from the romance I’m reading. I’m enjoying myself, but I want to change things up, so I start a contemporary. And so this pattern continues, sometimes with me finishing books in between, and sometimes with me just adding more and more books to my currently reading pile.

pop tv omg GIF by Schitt's Creek

Now I don’t think this way of reading would bother me so much if I didn’t notice how this method negatively affects my enjoyment of specific books. But unfortunately, I think this method has a big downside. 

You see, since my mood can change so rapidly, and my interest in a book can dwindle in a snap second, sometimes it can take me a week, two weeks, a month, or even several months until I return back to a book that I put aside because I wasn’t in the mood for it. Sometimes that’s because I’m just reading too many books at once, and so by the time I get back to the original book I started with, it’s a month later. Other times I’m just not in the mood for that book for a while. Whether because I’ve forgotten a lot of the plot or characters already or just because something I can’t put my finger on has changed during that time period, the result is the same. The books that get pushed to the side for the longest time, I tend to enjoy less.

What Happened Wait GIF by ABC Network

Me returning to a book after putting it aside for 3 months and not remembering a thing

This lessening of enjoyment can range from those books not getting 5 stars, even though I loved them, to giving what would normally be a 4 star read 3 stars because I’ve forgotten too much about what I loved from the beginning by the time I finish the book and rate it. Whatever the case, in these situations I’m aware that it’s the timing and my mood reading that have caused me not to enjoy the book as much as I could have, and that makes me sad. But since I can’t see any way to change my reading habits, I guess I’ll just have to learn to live with the impacts of being a mood reader!

Are you also a mood reader? Do you ever leave books in the middle of reading them for over a month before returning back to them? Do you have any advice on how to mood read more effectively?

44 thoughts on “The Hidden Downside of Mood Reading

  1. Ahh,gosh… This is so relatable. I can’t stick to one book either because other interesting looking books would ask my attention so I usually read 5-6 books. It doesn’t bother me that much either until I start to realise that I’m not enjoying one of those books just because others are so much better than that. It annoys me alot but that’s just how it is. Unfortunately I don’t have any advice on that either because I am on the same boat as you in this thing 😂
    Great post

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    1. Oh, yay! I’m so glad you found this post to be relatable! I totally understand the feeling of being in middle of 6 books, but only being interested in one or two of them, so the rest take ages to finish! But I guess reading multiple books at once is a good way to figure out which books capture your interest and which ones don’t though! There are some books that I put down and can’t wait until I have the time or until I’m in the mood to get back to them, whereas others are put aside for so long that I completely lose interest in them (at least for the time being)!

      Thank you!

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  2. Oh I totally relate!! I’m 100% a mood reader, but I’ve found that I’m lucky enough that my moods come in big stages, like for 3 months I read only fantasy, and then for 3 months after that only contemporary, etc. I’m also (gifted? cursed?) with the trait of only being able to read one book at a time, so I’ve come to be super careful about what I read because I don’t want to end up DNF-ing!! I can absolutely see how putting a book down only to pick it back up could have a huge effect on what you rate it, though!!

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    1. Oooh, that sounds wonderful! Does that make you more of a seasonal reader? I know that there are some people that have specific seasons where they’ll read particular genres. Unfortunately my mood changes day to day, although I am more likely to pick up fantasy in the summer or winter, when I’m on vacation, because I can’t focus on worldbuilding while I’m in school!

      I would say that only reading one book at a time can be both a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it. It definitely makes things easier to keep track of! That’s for sure! But I’m sure it must be frustrating when a book is taking forever to get through and you need to decide if you want to take the time to finish it, or just move on to something that’s hopefully better!

      But yes, putting down books definitely affects how I rate books! I’m happy that I’m aware of that fact though, because it means that I’m able to express when a low rating occurs because of the time that elapsed, and not necessarily through a fault of the book itself!

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  3. A really insightful post, Malka! 💕 I am not a mood reader so am usually happy to carry on with the same book regardless of how I feel. But I know that as far as book bloggers go, I am in a minority in that sense! It is very interesting to hear how it can affect your rating.

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    1. Thank you so much, Stephen! I’m slightly jealous of your ability to just push through and finish a book you aren’t enjoying! And sometimes it’s not even that I’m not enjoying a book, I’m just not in the mood for it! And I’d actually love to see the statistics on mood reading and reading multiple books at a time, and would love to see if there’s any correlation between the two. But that’s just the stats nerd in me!

      I’m so glad you found my rambling interesting! I noticed recently that this is something that affects my rating and overall reading experience in general, so of course I had to write a discussion post on the topic!

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  4. I’m a major mood reader too, but I think it effects me in a different way. I only usually read one book at a time, and since I always feel like I have to finish a book once I’ve started, if I start reading a book and then find myself not in the mood for it it means I won’t read much at all until I’m back in the mood for it. Which really slows down my reading!
    I think your approach is better, as at least it means you keep on reading, even if you’re hopping around from book to book. But in general, being a mood reader can be really annoying!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely hear that! I think that’s the benefit of being able to read multiple books at once. If I’m not that interested in a book, it naturally falls to the side while I read other books that capture my interest again. But starting a book also gives me a good sense of what mood would be the best to read each book in, even if my current mood isn’t a good fit. There are many books that I’ve gotten several chapters in, stopped reading, and then reread from the beginning as soon as I got into the mood for that specific book!

      But I definitely understand how frustrating it must be to either slog through a book you aren’t in the mood for, or not read at all! I’ve never even considered how my ability to switch between books and read multiple books at once makes being a mood reader just a bit easier! But yes, mood reading can be a pain, but I’ve learned to live with it! At this point I know that my baseline mood is for a romance or graphic novel, so I try to have lots of those on hand since that’s what I tend to reach for the most! As for all the other genres, they usually get one week a year where I’ll read them!

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  5. I think I’m also quite a mood reader — it feels just so great to be able to say “Oh yeah I read ” but actually doing it can be a lot of work LOL. I mean, especially since right now I’m checking out ebooks from my local library, I try to finish the books on my loans shelf within a few weeks. But one time during the summer, I put holds on way too many books than I had time for and ending up reading…like…none of them *oops*. I guess ways to combat this would be to make sure we choose a book we’re REALLY interested in reading and having enough time to do so…it also helps if the book in question is for an assignment or buddy read, because then that gives more good reasons to not procrastinate 😂 might be difficult to implement but possibly rewarding?! And I relate so much to what you said: Me returning to a book after putting it aside for 3 months and not remembering a thing. I literally did this with Dune it was quite funny actually but also a little annoying 😅 Wonderful post, can’t wait for the next!!

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        1. Don’t worry about all the comments that didn’t go through! I managed to figure out what you were saying, and they went through eventually!

          I totally understand that feeling! There are so many times where I’m looking forward to reading a new release, or I have plans to get to a specific book, and then I’m just not in the mood to read those books for months! It’s so frustrating to see everyone talk about these hyped books that I really want to read, but at the same time I’m not in the mood to read them!

          And I do the same thing with my library loans. Between the books I already own, and the books I get out from the library in both physical and e-book form, I never quite manage to finish them all! Even when I’m really looking forward to a book, or have a deadline like a due date or buddy read, if I’m not in the mood, it’s not gonna happen. Reading for school is a bit different for some reason, since I can read what I need to by the correct deadline, but honestly that could be its own post!

          Yes! Forgetting the entire plot of a book is my specialty! I’ll come back to a book after months and barely remember the main character’s name! Honestly, sometimes I just start the entire story over from the beginning, no matter how far in I already got the first time!

          Thank you so much! 💕

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  6. I’m not really a big mood reader, so this post was super interesting to read! I will get in seasonal moods if that makes sense- for example, I usually like to read historical fiction and fantasy in the fall/winter, contemporary and romance in the summer, etc. Or, like this month I was in the mood for magical adventures, so I’m participating in a middle grade readathon! But other than that sort of mood, I’m not really a mood reader. I pretty much just stick to my TBR that I make each month! I also can absolutely not read more than one book at a time other than reading one physical and one audiobook most of the time. I just can’t focus on two books in the same format, and the physical and audiobook I’m reading have to be very different types stories or I get them mixed up!
    It’s so interesting to me to hear from your perspective what it’s like to read multiple books at once. I could definitely see how taking long breaks between when you’re picking up a book could affect your rating! Maybe it could be helpful if you took some notes on the plot/characters and how you’re liking a book after you finish reading for the day, so you can have a little refresher when you come back! I know I’ve seen a couple people on Booktube say they put sticky notes every 50 pages in a book to jot down a couple notes on what they just read. Maybe that could be helpful for you? It might be worth a try!

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    1. I’m so glad you found this post interesting!

      I’ve seen other bloggers mention that they’re seasonal readers, but I can’t remember which off the top of my head. All I know is that you’re not alone! I’m somewhat of a seasonal reader, but my reading mood also varies day by day. I am more likely to read certain genres during certain seasons, but it’s not a definite thing.

      I can never participate in readathons because as a mood reader, I can never form a TBR! At most I’ll read one or two of the books I planned, and then I’ll decide to read something completely unplanned for my next several books.

      I read multiple books in multiple formats. I rarely listen to audiobooks, although I really should listen to more. But I frequently am in middle of 3-5 physical books and 1-2 e-books at any given point. It’s rare that I’m only reading one book at a time. I try to make sure the books are different genres, or at the very least that there are different plot points and tropes, but honestly I don’t get confused that often. Off the top of my head I can only remember one time when that happened!

      But yes, I frequently forget plot lines and names and such. And unfortunately, I find it really difficult to take notes while I read because it takes me out of the story. Plus I never know when I’m finished reading for the day, or which books are the ones I’m going to put down, and it would be really tedious for me to write notes after finishing 15-50 pages, for every book I read! But the sticky note idea might be worth a try. Although it’s usually small details that become important later that usually trip me up. There have been many times where previous comments, interactions, or objects are referred to and I had no idea what they were because I didn’t realize those things were significant the first time I was introduced to them!

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    1. Oh yay! I’m so glad you can relate! I have a book that I read 80% of over vacation, and then I came home and didn’t touch it for months! After a while I just decided that to finish it I would need to start over from the beginning since I had forgotten too much of the plot! (I still haven’t finished it yet, and it’s been over a year now!)

      Thank you! 💕

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  7. I’m a big mood reader, which is why I’m horrible at readathons as I can never stick to a TBR! I started a book back in May and I’m still in the middle of it? I should really finish it hahah

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    1. Yes! I can never stick to a TBR! At most I’ll get through one or two of the books that I planned to read before starting to pick up completely random books that catch my eye! And not to one up you, but there’s a book that I read last year on vacation that I read 80% of, but when I came home I was no longer in the mood for it. It’s been about 14 months, and I still haven’t finished the last 20%. I honestly think that at this point I’m going to have to just start over from the beginning because I forgot too much!

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  8. I’m a mood reader as well but my mood generally starts until I can get through a book so it’s not too bad. It didn’t help with series but that’s alright. What I notice the most is that I’m never in the mood to pick up trending books and that sometimes leaves me behind on the trends in the book community. I’ve learnt to not care about that now after years.

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    1. That’s good! For me I read my books in little pieces, so it’s common for me to only read 15-50 pages a day. Which means that there are many days for my mood to change and for me to start ignoring a book.

      I’m actually better with series, because once I decide to continue on or finish a series, I start from the very first book and then just binge all the other books until I’m all caught up/finished!

      I’m the same way. I’ve realized that my reading tastes don’t always align with the most popular books, and so I just don’t read the books I’m not interested in. I actually wrote a whole post about why I don’t read hyped books! It’s not that I have anything against them, it’s just that my mood is more important than what’s popular for me!

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  9. I think my record for books at once is 6? So I completely get what you’re saying. I don’t think I pick up multiple books because of mood though, more because I suck at decisions so I want to read everything at once 😅

    I don’t know if this would help since you are going to books because of mood, but I used to rotate between them daily. I would pick up one to read a chapter and see if I was feeling it, then if I got sucked in I would just keep reading. Rinse and repeat, and you’ve made a little bit of progress on all your books, and figured out which one(s) you’re enjoying most.

    It might work for you, it might not. But I do find the act of reading a book can actually put me in the mood for it, rather than waiting for my mood to change.

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    1. Recently I was somehow in middle of 10 books at once! But usually I’m in middle of 3-6. For some reason I find that number to still be manageable! For me it’s definitely a mood thing, because once I know what I’m in the mood for, I have no problem making a decision. Then if my mood changes or my interest wanes, I pick up another book!

      Once I start a book, I usually get a pretty good sense of what the right mood would be for me to enjoy a book the most. And where I leave off matters too. If I stop in the middle of an intense, stressful scene, it may take me a while to get back to that book, because I need to be ready to deal with the stress of the book! If not for my method resulting in me ignoring certain books for months, and therefore enjoying them less, I would have no problem with how I mood read!

      With me, if I pick up a book when I’m not in the mood for it, I just can’t focus on it and will instinctively put it down. It’s pretty impossible for me to just push through until I get interested again. It’s the strangest thing, but it’s how my brain works, so I just deal with it!

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  10. YES TO THIS. I am such a mood reader and usually it’s good because I know exactly what I’m in the mood for and so I tend to rate books highly! However when I get in that mood where I’m in the mood for everything and nothing at the same time it is so annoying. And yes like you said my mood sometimes changes so regularly so I’ll DNF book 100 pages in just cause I’ve suddenly decided I’m not in the mood. So frustrating!

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    1. That’s great! For me sometimes I get frustrated because I’m in the mood for an unreleased book, and nothing else on my TBR fits my mood! But when my reading mood matches a book perfectly, it’s definitely one of the greatest feelings!

      And I definitely know what feeling you’re talking about! For me it manifests in a way where I think I’m in the mood of something, but then when I pick it up, I’m no longer interested. But then it happens with multiple books and I get frustrated that maybe I’m just not in the mood to read at all!

      I stopped reading so many books 50-150 pages through! If they’re library books I usually just return them unfinished, but if I own them I usually put them down from the time being. And when I pick back up the books I owned but put down, I usually start again all the way from the beginning that way I remember everything that happened up until the point where I’m reading new information! It’s definitely a super frustrating experience!

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  11. You’re not alone in this, believe me! I’ve dubbed myself a “seasonal” reader so while I’m not flitting about from book to book, I’m very specific and strategic about what books I read when. For example, I’m getting ready to start Harry Potter but wouldn’t read it anytime but September/the fall. This year in particular, I have DNFed a tooon of books and hopped about, so I totally understand your struggle in that sense. Maybe I’ll return to them one day, lol!

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    1. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who has to suffer somewhat because of my mood reading ways! I hear that though. There are definitely certain books that I wait to read until a specific season. Like, I find that there are about 2 months in the year where I’ll pick up fantasy books, but in all 12 months I’ll pick up romance or contemporaries!

      This has been a pretty strange reading year for me as well! There are so many books that I put down halfway through that I intend to start again at some other point, but I just don’t know when! Its made my TBR grow to worrisome levels, since many times I only get halfway through a book before it goes back on my TBR shelf. It’s definitely a struggle!

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  12. With print books, I am a sort of, kind of, mood reader, but I don’t usually stop in the middle of what I’m reading unless I decided to DNF a book. With my kindle, I’m not a mood reader at all because I mostly read ARCs and I want to read them for reviewing by a certain date.

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    1. I’m way more likely to DNF a book if it’s in e-book form. Most of the books I DNF are library copies, in both physical and e-book form, but I have no issues DNFing an e-ARC if I’m not enjoying myself. And I do find myself stopping in the middle of books and putting them aside, but coming back to them and restarting them months later. So not every book that I put down is necessarily a DNF! Some books were just picked up at the wrong time, and so I do my best to pick them up again when I’m in the right mood to finish them!

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      1. Interesting… good point in that if you start a physical book and put it aside, you might see it on your shelf and say… hey, maybe I should get back to this one. That doesn’t happen as easily with an eBook!

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  13. I’m not a huge mood reader but when I do mood read, it completely affects how I see the book, especially if it’s a reread. I have been struggling heaps with so many books with picking them up and putting them down, and totally relate to how it affects your rating.
    Awesome post!
    Emma xx

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    1. Oh, yes! Re-reads are definitely mood based for me, and can definitely affect how I perceive the book!

      And you’re definitely not alone. I have so many books that I’ve been putting aside lately, that I’ve started nearly half the books on my TBR already, but I haven’t finished them all because I’m waiting for the right mood to strike so that I’m most likely to enjoy the reading experience! This year has been rough, so I’m trying to only read books that I’ll enjoy as much as possible. Ideally, I’d be reading all 4 or 5 star books if I could figure out which books those will be in advance! I don’t like how my mood reading affects my rating at all!

      Thank you! 💕

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    1. Oh, definitely! There have been a few exceptions to this rule for me though, actually! For Strange the Dreamer, I put the book aside for several months while I was in school, since I couldn’t focus on the flowery writing during the semester, but despite that I still gave the book 5 stars because of how fantastic it was! But that was definitely an anomaly. My enjoyment and therefore rating for most books that take me forever to read usually tends to suffer!

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    1. Yeah, it’s definitely not fun when mood reading gets in the way of my enjoyment of a book. And mood reading is so entrenched in me that I can’t just force myself to read review books if I’m not in the mood. That’s part of the reason why I’m no longer requesting as many books. I need to make sure I have the time to get in the mood to read my review copies, so that I can review them on time.

      I still read for pleasure, but that’s getting more and more difficult to do with school, which makes me very sad. School tends to effect my mood negatively, so that there’s only a small subset of books that I’m interested in, and those specific kinds of books can be hard to find. So sometimes I lack reading material, not because my TBR is empty, but because none of the books on there mesh with my mood!

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