Discussion: Does Your Mood Impact Your Reading?

I’ve made some pretty ambitious plans for my reading in 2017, as I’m sure many of you have too. Reading more diversely, staying on top of ARCs, and tackling the ever-growing physical TBR pile are all a big part of that. There’s just one problem…I’m a mood reader.

That’s right y’all: despite all my meticulous planning and list writing and all my glorious monthly TBR plans, my desire to read a certain title is almost entirely dependent upon my mood. Even books that I’ve been anticipating reading for months can fall prey to my mood reading, and I often find myself pre-ordering a title or requesting it on NetGalley only to set it aside for months until I’m finally in the mood to read it. Looking at my bookshelves (which of course house dozens of unread books) I often lament that I have nothing to read. But what I really mean is “I’m not in the mood to read any of these books right now.”

If I’m tired, stressed, or depressed (the trifecta!), then the likelihood that I’m going to read something dark or potentially challenging is pretty damn slim. Unfortunately, the world is a pretty grim place sometimes and I can’t always bring myself to read those rewarding but dark books if they’re gonna make me feel worse. Add to that the fact that I hate being told what to do (even by my own TBR…I don’t get it either), and things can get a bit tricky.

So what’s a mood reader to do?

Personally, I’ve found that the best way is to hoard whatever kind of books you consider comfort reads and keep ’em around for when those inevitable bouts of moodiness descend on your reading. My comfort reads take on a few different forms: fantasy novels set at some sort of a boarding school; funny, banter-filled romances; and urban fantasy infused with a heavy dose of girl power. The great thing about comfort reads? They can be just as rewarding as hard-hitting titles, just in a different way.

When I first started out blogging, I wasn’t that great at finding the diverse comfort reads, but following more diverse bloggers and twitter feeds I’ve found that there are actually a lot of perspectives and experiences represented in even the fluffiest-seeming book. By seeking out those titles I can still read all my comfort books while meeting my reading goals, challenging myself a bit, and having fun!

This strategy has also helped me to read some of my favourite dark books like The Parable of the Sower and Bitch Planet, neither of which I would’ve had the nerve or emotional energy to approach without my comfort read babies ready to lift me up afterwards. And just in case you were wondering, both of those books appeared on my TBR for several months in a row before I was finally in the mood to read them!

Does your mood impact what you read? Do you stick to a TBR, or are you a mood reader? Or do you (somehow) manage to work both? Let me know in the comments!

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