Reading Books Straight Through

Last week, Nathan Bransford did a post about reading books straight through. It got me thinking: Why don’t I read books all the way through?

I have a habit of skipping around in books. I think I first started doing it in high school when the book was so boring I couldn’t read it. So I would read the last chapter, than a few chapters in the middle and eventually finish the whole thing.

This habit got worse in college. I sometimes read only half the book (first chapter, last chapter, 1 or 2 middle chapters) and still managed write A+ papers. Yeah, not very good of me. But I didn’t have time and I figured out first, last and middle chapters gave me everything I needed for the paper.

At some point, this habit carried over into the books I read for pleasure and I not entirely sure when it happened.

Part of it is that there are some writers I’ve been following since 9th grade. I know how they write, the kinds of phrases they like to use and sometimes it’s okay to skip a scene or two.

It’s harder when I skip whole chapters. Sometimes the book is that boring, but lots of times, I just want to know more about one particular character.

I mean, I did that when I still read the World of Time series. I don’t remember which book it was, but I skipped through the whole book looking for Rand’s scenes. There were lots scenes from other characters’ POV, but I didn’t care about them. I did this with Game of Thrones, too. Not just for Jon Snow (I liked him best) but a couple other characters.

Other times I’ll read the first couple of pages and then read the last page/chapter. I did that just yesterday with The Tempering of Men by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette. After I already had it, mind, because no matter how the book ends, I am still going to read the whole thing. I wanted to know how it ended just that badly.

And sometimes I read books straight through. That’s how I read Darkness Unbound by Keri Arthur. No skipping, no hopping, no searching for anything, just chapter after chapter.

I suppose all this means I am more likely to go chapter hopping if one character is more interesting than any other character; if I am bored or if I just cannot wait to know the ending.

I don’t think it’s especially helpful since I don’t know how I’ll react to any given book. And isn’t just silly? Wish I was more regular in my reading habits.