What it’s Like Being a Mood Reader

by Sharese Stribling

It’s fall here in Michigan right now. The leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter, the air crisp and cool. Yesterday there was even frost on my windshield! Frost! I had to let my heater run in my car for at least ten minutes before I could actually start my daily commute to work. But do you know what else this means? It means that cozy nights of staying indoors with a mug of my favorite tea, a lit candle, and a good book are here at last. And for me, this time of year is for historical fiction, classics, and mystery thrillers.

I am what the bookish community would call a “mood reader.” A mood reader is someone who will pick up a book contingent on how they feel. In other words, my psychological state really shapes my reading, and like many others my mood is greatly affected by the weather right outside my window. If the mood strikes, I can read and read and read one specific genre until the idea of it makes me sick, and then as sudden as that mood started I’ll be on to the next one. (Ever heard of reader whiplash? Mood readers get that a lot!)

But like most things, there are pros and cons to mood reading. Here are a few of mine:

For starters, being a mood reader makes it either unbelievably easy or incredibly difficult to finish long books or series. On one hand, if I’m in the mood for a big fantasy series and I can manage to stay in that mood, a multi-book series will seem simple as pie. But on the other hand, I could be halfway through the latest bestselling fantasy novel or three books into a seven-book series and suddenly decide, hmm, I think I’m over this, and simply put it down without a plan to ever pick it up again!

Another challenging aspect of mood reading is that drafting up a to-read list is basically setting myself up for failure. I don’t know how I’ll feel a week from now, let alone a whole season from now, so trying to pick my books in advance hardly ever works. And if I pick up something that I’m not necessarily in the mood for, my final rating for it on Goodreads might be lower than, say, if I’d waited until I was absolutely raving to start it.

Being a mood reader also means that, more often than not, I enjoy all the books I end up choosing. Once I figure out what type of books I’m in the mood for, or at least the books I should avoid, the dilemma of picking out my next read essentially sorts out itself.

Now what about you? Do you consider yourself a mood reader as well? Or are you a part of the lucky bunch that actually sticks to your list?

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