Why Taking Reading Breaks Can Be a Good Idea

I haven’t been reading many books lately. It started last month when I went on vacation to someplace warm and sunny. Ontario is such a dark and cold place during the winter that I wanted to spend as much time as I could in the sun during that week without getting burned or tanned.

As is usual for my vacation habits, most of the reading I did consisted of visiting social media and checking out blog posts and short articles on my RSS feed.

Now that I’ve been back home for a couple of weeks, I’ve noticed that I still don’t have the desire to jump back into my normal reading habits. That’s okay. This happens occasionally.

You see, I spend a great deal of my reading time in the science fiction and fantasy genres. The interesting thing about staying so closely connected to a couple of genres like that is how easy it is to spot and predict patterns in them after a while. There have been multiple times when I’ve been able to correctly guess what the entire course of a story will be after finishing the first scene in it.

Part of this is due to the fact that readers expect certain things from their favourite genres. If a character mentions the existence of a long-lost magical amulet on page one, any writer worth his or her salt is going to make sure that amulet shows up again  later on in the storyline.

I’ve spent so much time in these genres that I’ve become well-versed in the numerous tropes that exist in both of them. I also know how their various types of storylines generally flow and can pick up on authors who decide to buck those trends pretty early on.

These are all things I’m saying with love for the science fiction and fantasy genres. This happens in every other genre out there, too, and it’s not a bad thing. There’s something reassuring about knowing that, unless you’ve stumbled across one of those rare authors who has put a lot of work into purposefully disrupting these conventions, the chosen one is going to prevail in the end no matter how dire his or her predicament may seem right before the climax.

The nice thing about reading breaks is that they give you a chance to step away from these patterns if you also tend to stick to the same genre(s) with every new title you pick up. Sometimes my breaks are short and punctuated by a stack of non-fiction books about history, food, medicine, or other topics I find appealing. Other breaks find me not reading any full-length books at all or visiting portions of the library that I typically skip over altogether.

Some of the book-lovers I know have never talked about their need to take breaks from reading. I don’t know if this is because they’re always interested in starting something new or because they simply don’t mention it when they wait a while between finishing one book and starting the next one.

It would be interesting to somehow gather statistics on this, don’t you think? Oh, the things I could do with that data in Numbers. There would be more pie charts and graphs floating around in there than you could shake a stick at.

Fellow readers, do you ever take reading breaks? If so, how often do they happen? What do you do when you’re not immersed in your favourite genre(s)?

16 Responses to Why Taking Reading Breaks Can Be a Good Idea

  1. I always take reading breaks. As a reader, I have this habit of reading everything an author wrote after reading one book that I liked. I don’t take breaks, I usually read 4-5 books by the same author in one week. That’s both unhealthy and very expensive. that’s when reading becomes really an addiction to me coz I really believe it’s not healthy to do that. And whenever I binge-read an author, i’d stop reading for a week or two to refresh or adjust my mind to read other author’s work. Same way on genres. 🙂 Reading breaks is really a necessity so we don’t lose ur enjoyment in reading.

    • Yes, exactly!

      And I do the same thing when I discover a new author I really like.

      What other kinds of things do you do when you’re taking a break from reading?

  2. My reading breaks are usually a switch of genre or a visit to non-fiction. I’m always reading——usually more than one book a the same time on my Kindle, plus newspapers, blog posts, etc. I find that travel often makes those genre variations easier. For instance, reading about everyday life in ancient Rome while in Rome… It’s a different kind of reading break.

  3. I think this is an interesting topic! While many other readers don’t need breaks, I find that after a while I need to take a step back from reading. While it’s great, it’s emotionally draining sticking with characters for days on end and then moving onto another set of characters. 🙂 In a weird way, It’s like breaking up, repeatedly.

  4. I believe it’s physically impossible for me to take a reading break. I’m reminded of that old episode of The Odd Couple where Felix and Oscar go to a monastery to rest and end up reading the back of the toothpaste tube. LOL

  5. My reading breaks are usually unplanned. I go watch and youtube videos, K-Dramas, movies or TV shows instead. It’s refreshing to change things up.

    And wow, I TOTALLY know what you mean. I’m the same!! I can tell/predict the general storyline or when some seemingly inconsequential information will take greater spotlight later on. Like, I KNOW what you’re trying to do, Authorrrr 😏 The best ones are when they surprise readers like us! Not that I wouldn’t rave about books that follow tropes. Their predictability is what I’m expecting and want sometimes. Like the enemies-turned-lovers trope. Or when the guy she likes gets jealous of some other guy coming on to her(as long as the girl doesn’t encourage the other guy, I’m fine with it).

  6. I don’t think I ever stop reading… although sometimes I read less in favor of writing (or editing) more, since I write books too.

    I don’t always read the same genre though. I remember reading The Kiss Quotient after I finished reading three Ember in the Ashes books and a couple of other books that were a little dark. I needed something else for a change.

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