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Do I Like Books Too Much?

Cassie Gutman

Staff Writer

Cassie Gutman is happiest when surrounded by books and dogs. Originally from a small, funny-named town near Louisville, Kentucky, she now edits words for a living near Chicago and would like to be paid in ice cream. You can find her on Instagram @happybooklovers or on Twitter @cassiepgutman.

This is a question I often find myself asking. I know, I know: there’s no such thing as liking books too much. But whenever I’m raving — to friends, acquaintances, strangers in the grocery store — I sometimes hear in response, “Oh, I didn’t like that one” or “But what about this scene? I hated it!” 

And it gives me pause. Why did I like it so much, and they didn’t? Am I not being critical enough? Am I reading it right? Did I read it too fast and miss all these things that others picked up on that I didn’t? Did I not get the book?

For months, I’ve been trying to figure out why exactly I seem to rate books higher than others and rave about them more often. It boils down to three things.

I Only Read What I am Pretty Sure I’ll Like

I’ve never once picked up a book to hate-read. I am not a big epic or high fantasy reader; I get a bit lost in learning about the worlds and find them hard for me to get into. So I know I’m not interested in books by Sarah J. Maas or Brandon Sanderson or any other mega popular fantasy writer. I’m sure they’re great — for the fans that like those books! But that’s not me, so I won’t try to pretend, and I won’t pick up books I’m not interested in. 

This prevents me from having those hate-read experiences or reading something just because I feel like I “should.” Recently I unshelved quite a few classics from my own TBR, and it felt great finally admitting they were not books I would enjoy or books I want to spend my time reading. 

I DNF Books

This has been a difficult habit to pick up and definitely takes practice, but after a few years of reluctantly DNFing only after trying very hard to like a book, I now have no qualms in moving on when I know a book isn’t right for me. 

Some people firmly believe in finishing all the books they pick up, but if that means they have to spend a week or two slogging through a book they hate, it’s a terrible experience. Instead of suffering, I put it down and try again — with a different book. This prevents me from dreading reading time, which no one ever wants to do. My reading time should be my most enjoyable time of my day, and if I’m not looking forward to that time because of a book I started and don’t like, putting the book aside is the best way to fix that problem.

I Don’t Let Outside Sources Influence My Picks

Big famous celeb book club? Sounds great! I’ll pick it up if the book itself interests me, but I won’t grab it just because so-and-so endorsed it or it’s all over TikTok. I know I like reading strange and offbeat books that usually aren’t popular choices, and that’s okay. Just because everyone else is reading it and discussing it doesn’t make me want to pick up a book — the description and the content are what I focus on.

So when I see everyone discussing the most popular book and many people talking about how they didn’t like it, I wonder, why do I always seem to like books if these people all hate the ones they’re reading? It’s may be partly because I don’t pick up a book simply because it’s popular or recommended by a celebrity. 

I also make a point of not reading reviews until after I’ve finished a book — I like going in without knowing anything. And I know I get enjoyment out of stories that way. Sometimes I don’t find out until after I’ve read a book that tons of people out there did not like it at all: this is when my second-guessing comes in about if I like books too much. But I’ve realized that by not letting someone choose my reading for me, I’m setting myself up for the best chance of me loving whatever I’m reading. 

I know these methods won’t be for everyone, but I’ll continue to rave all about my favorite books to anyone who will listen — and my favorite books are mostly everything I read. Because I do like books too much. But I’ve orchestrated it that way, and I wouldn’t change it at all. 

If you want to enjoy your reading more, learn how to hibernate for cozy reading.