Binge Reading vs Pacing Yourself

July 14, 2015 Discussion 66


There are two ways to read a book:

1. You sit down, open to the first page, and don’t stop reading until you close the cover.

2. You read it in pieces, slowly digesting it over a series of days or weeks or months.

Of course there a many variations to these but everyone seems to have a preference for one or the other. I much prefer to sit down and read books non stop. I’m a binge reader at heart. Nothing pleases me more than being able to marathon a series for days on end. But university has forced me to become a pacer and I think it might be starting to influence how I enjoy my books.

When I binge read I’m swept up in the story. I’m so caught up in the characters and the plot and the feels that I barely notice time passing. It’s a very emotional experience. All that matters is what happening in that moment. Binge reading is when I’m left with the biggest book hangovers. In a very short period of time I’ve been taken on a roller coaster of emotions and I love being left aching. 

Uni forces me to take breaks
. I can’t waste time reading 100 pages at a time because of study. This intermittent reading makes me hyper aware of the more problematic aspects of the story. The breaks give me time to stew and reflect on the annoying aspects of the story and overall it brings my rating down. I feel like it makes me less forgiving and more of a critical reader. Where as with binge reading my evaluation is purely emotional.

I think this distinction becomes obvious in some of the reviews I write. Sometimes I make a point that the book was still great despite the fact that I didn’t get to marathon it, or that reading it in pieces really wasn’t working. Though intermittent reading does make for more critical reviews. Binge reading reviews end up looking like


Are you a binge reader or a pacer?

Does your reading experience influence your rating?

66 Responses to “Binge Reading vs Pacing Yourself”

    • Bec

      That last sentence is slightly creepy haha.

      I’m starting to find myself more easily distracted nowadays too, but it’s still nice when I find a book that captures my attention entirely.

  1. Amanda @ Nellie and Co.

    Most of the time, I’m a marathoner, at least, I definitely was, but lately, I’ve been struggling, and that sucks. BUT, I do enjoy a good breeze through a book, it tends to be a time problem that stops me, but hey, who needs sleep. Sometimes, pacing allows me to find more things I liked and disliked abut the novel, and that’s good sometimes, sweeping through can hide faults. We’re all different, so you make a great point Bec, great topic and discussion!
    Amanda @ Nellie and Co. recently posted…Half Way To ’16! | Best Books I’ve Read During 2015 – So Far

    • Bec

      Every now and then we hit ruts where we just can’t read non stop no matter how much we want to. I’m stuck in one of those now.

      Sleep is for the weak and people that don’t blog :P Missing faults is probably the biggest problem with bingeing.

  2. Emily @ Loony Literate

    I have SUCH a short attention span, so I only binge-read books if they are SUPER DUPER AMAZING. Like I did recently with Paperweight by Meg Haston and One by Sarah Crossan (OH MY GOSH THOSE TWO BOOKS). Binge reading is great because you get all the emotion in one hit – it’s sometimes hard to get that feeling if you’re constantly having to pull yourself out of the moment.
    Emily @ Loony Literate recently posted…The Types of Fairytale Retellings

    • Bec

      Yessss bingeing is also an indication of good writing and/or plot! The lack of emotion and connection is my biggest frustration with pacing myself. I can think of a number of books I would have rated higher if I didn’t have to stop and start all the time.

    • Bec

      Hell yeah it is! I always re-marathon my favourite series every time a new book is released. It’s so much fun going back and spotting all the little hints and foreshadowing. Plus you remember the little details better.

  3. Carole @ Carole's Random Life

    I have to admit that I usually binge read. I can’t always sit down to read a book from cover to cover but I usually read about half the book when I get a chance to sit down and read. On the days that I have a little more free time, I do like to lose myself in a book and it isn’t that unusual for me to read the whole thing during the course of a day.
    Carole @ Carole’s Random Life recently posted…Review – Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

    • Bec

      Cover to cover was a bit of an exaggeration haha. Big chunks of the novel at one time is the idea. Right now I’m on holidays so you can bet I’ve been wasting entire days in books (when I’m not wasting time on the internet XD )

    • Bec

      I wish I could wait that long! But if I want to write a semi decent review I have to write it before starting my next read, and I can’t wait a week before starting a new book XD Usually it’s when reading other people’s reviews that I notice the problematic things.

  4. Jordin @ A Bottomless Book Bag

    Being able to binge read a book or not definitely affects how I rate a book. If I feel uncompelled to read a book in one sitting, or like there isn’t an extreme struggle to stop flipping pages, then I usually don’t enjoy the book as much. Sometimes I think this isn’t very fair to the book though, because I could just be in the wrong mood to binge and maybe I shouldn’t be blaming the book for it.
    Jordin @ A Bottomless Book Bag recently posted…Review: The Heir

    • Bec

      Forcing yourself to read never makes for a good reading experience. Oh yeah mood can definitely be a massive influence. Sometimes I put those books down until I’m in a better/more suitable mood to read them.

    • Bec

      It’s almost like eating chocolate. Why stop at one chapter when you can read it ALL AT ONCE.

    • Bec

      Having dreams about what you’ve read would be really cool! I wish I had such self control to take my time haha.

      Ugh long descriptive scenes can really drag. Those have to be skim read sometimes.

  5. Karen

    It depends on my schedule as well as my mood. I find it harder to get into the story the shorter my reading periods are. Then again sometimes marathoning just gives me brain overload. Somewhere in between is best for me.

    • Bec

      Short reading periods always make it hard to get into books because some part of your mind is always aware that you’ll have to stop soon, so you don’t want to risk being sucked in and not being able to emerge.

      It’s all about balance!

  6. ShootingStarsMag

    I definitely think how you experience a book can dictate what you ultimately think of it. I would love to binge read more often – it’s great to finish a book in just a day or two. I’m a bit of a slower reader (for the most part) so I tend to break it up over a timeline. Plus, I do have a lot going on in real life and binging is not always realistic.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

    • Bec

      Real life sucks for marathoning books. Real life and less time to read has also decreased my reading speed, which makes it even harder to find time to binge. They really do need to add another day to the week dedicated just to reading.

    • Bec

      “Professional bookworm” seriously needs to be a legitimate career.

      I’m in the same boat as you, but with study getting in the way. Most of my reading time is at night before I go to sleep. No time for marathoning when there’s study to be done.

  7. Alise

    I pace myself very rarely. As you know, I read pretty fast so it doesn’t take me long to get through a book regardless, so I pretty much binge read all of my books. If they don’t grab my attention and I put them down only to pick them back up a few days later I really struggle with getting back into it, partly because of my awful memory and partly because my motivation is gone by that time.

    • Bec

      Your reading speed is ridiculous. I am pretty jealous haha. Not of your memory though. That really does suck :P Maybe part of the reason I have such a good memory is because I have to pace myself so often haha.

  8. Kat Snark

    OMG, I think you totally hit the nail on the head. I am definitely a binge reader. However, I do see your point about how I read affects how I like it. When a book is taking forever, and you don’t like it, but have to read it, I find that binge reading makes it easier, despite the fact that you WANT to take breaks, but you can’t because then you’ll stop. There’s also the books that are so good that you binge read, and it just makes all the feels THAT much more intense (like you said) and THEN there are the books that while attempting to binge read (because its so good) you find yourself breaking to deal with the feels (Assassins Blade for me), because its so emotional. Totally dug your post, and I may make one like it for my own side! I will, of course, site your on yours first ;) Thanks!

    • Bec

      There’s times when you know if you stop you won’t pick the book up again for a long time. I’ve been doing this with the Game of Thrones books because they’re so big and slow and I’m distracted by other books.

      Haha the feels breaks hurt! I try to read through the tears but it’s a struggle.

      Let me know if you do write a post about it! I’d love to read it :)

  9. Sarah J.

    I used to be a binge reader, but I’ve found I have a love for giant books. The hulking ones like Outlander and Game of Thrones. Since I’ve started those I find myself pacing myself while reading and really digesting everything.
    Sarah J. recently posted…Aesthetically Reading #2

    • Bec

      Giant books require frequent breaks, especially monstrosities like those fantasy novels! There’s so many characters and details to absorb. It’s taking me forever to get through the Game of Thrones books because I keep getting distracted by smaller, faster books.

      • Sarah J.

        I definitely agree with the characters. I’m taking different sets of notes on GoT which is helping me read faster and know everything that’s going on. I have a piece of paper to outline the chapter with who’s POV it is, character deaths, and major events that happen. I’m also annotating the text which helps me breeze through. I read about 150 pages two days ago in a day because I was so caught up. Hope you can get into! Once you really commit, it’s hard to stop!
        Sarah J. recently posted…Aesthetically Reading #2

        • Bec

          Note taking is such a good idea! Yeah I’m taking forever to read them right now because I just haven’t felt like/ don’t have the time to sit down and reading big chunks. Other books are catching my attention first.

  10. Kezia

    i love binging a book but after I’ve finished it, I don’t like jumping straight to another book if you know what i mean. I like to do something else other than reading and I need to gather my thoughts before they all evaporate and are forgotten xD yes, taking breaks do make me a bit critical but I tend to not have any feels and it makes me wonder, would I have a better experience If I binge it instead? Loooove this topic and as usual, excellent choice of GIFs ;D
    Kezia recently posted…First attempt at book photography: The Find Me Tag!

    • Bec

      Those book hangovers XD Yeah I know what you mean. Normally I finish bingeing at night sometime, so by the time I wake up the next morning I’m ready for the next book. I also don’t like to start another book until after I’ve written my review because binge reading doesn’t always lead to a good memory of the events and my thoughts on the book haha.

      I am the gif master!

  11. Naban

    I used to be a huge-binge reader but school gets in the way and I suddenly don’t have the same attention span I used to. xD But then, if a book is diddly darn amazing, I’d probably sacrifice everything and marathon the series. I usually do this at night so I can take a much needed break and spend it on sleeping so I can get rest and get myself together. *nods*

    • Bec

      There has been many a book I’ve sacrificed exam study for just because I couldn’t put the book down. Those always end up being 5 star reads! Some books you just have to drop everything for.

  12. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I think that like you, if life was perfect I could sit and devour books in as few sittings as possible. Unfortunately, stuff like work and other real life obligations are, more than ever, forcing me to read at a measured pace. If the book is excellent, it won’t affect my enjoyment of it at all, since the quality will speak for itself. I do believe that taking time on less solid books causes you to mull over the details and focus on what is bothering you within the story…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Being critical about what we’re reading makes us better appreciated the true gems when we find them :) Awesome discussion topic Bec :)
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Stacking the Shelves *48*

    • Bec

      Bingeing vs pacing is definitely something that would influence the rating of a 2-4 star book. If a book is going to be 5 stars it will grab me and never let me go so I end up bingeing it anyway haha.

      Thanks :)

  13. Terri M., the Director

    Pacer. But what sucks is when you are like 30 pages from the end and you have to go to sleep or work or do something responsible like cook food for the people you live with and you can’t finish and when you do it ends in a cliffhanger and the next book doesn’t come out in like forever.

    Not that that happened to me recently like tonight or anything. Nope never.
    Terri M., the Director recently posted…Exclusive Alternate Scene from Traveler by Dennis W. Green

    • Bec

      Oh man that feeling. I know it well. Wouldn’t wish such situations on my worst enemy.

      Sometimes I just say “stuff sleep/other people” and finish it anyway. Other times I just can’t stay awake and wake up the next day to discover I HAD TWO CHAPTERS LEFT.

  14. Leigh @ Little Book Star

    I think I’m the 2nd type of reader, but I wish I was the 1st. I wish I can just binge read an entire series because
    a) It’s less likely for me to forget minor characters
    b) I won’t forget the details of the previous books
    and c) so I can say I finished a series!

    But I guess being the 2nd type of reader is okay too.
    Leigh @ Little Book Star recently posted…Make Me Read It Readathon

    • Bec

      Binge reading entire series is something I have to save until uni is completed for the year. There’s nothing wrong with being a pacer! That’s what uni forces me to be 90% of the time.

  15. Annie @ Indoor Sojourner

    Great post! I used to be a classic binge reader, but this year, I’ve started to read more and more slowly; It even took me about three months to read Jane Eyre. Part of it is because I’ve been busy, but even as my schedule has slowed down, I still prefer to read one or two chapters at a time. If I find a book/series I enjoy (or one that’s really short), I’ll go right back to those binge reading tendencies!
    Annie @ Indoor Sojourner recently posted…Pixar Book Tag

    • Bec

      Thanks! Life is probably the biggest thing that will change your reading tendencies. Though it can be influenced by the book as well. One of the best signs of a good book is that it makes you binge XD

    • Bec

      The complete opposite of me! I pace myself for most books because I have to, but leave the books I know I’ll love until I have time to binge. Thanks :)

  16. Lina

    Wow, I can definitely relate to this! There’s nothing I love more than binge-reading books, whether it’s a series or just a standalone. But entering college this year also forced me to slow down my reading pace, and I don’t know if I’ve truly been able to get back to the way I used to read anymore. In all honesty, I hardly read for pleasure at all during college, but the books I have read I just haven’t enjoyed as much or slowly start to bug me for little reasons, just like you noticed. I haven’t read enough books during college to confirm this (they might just have been bad books), but I’m a little frightened by it really! :/ I guess I just need to seek out the TRULY great books that won’t do this, then. Great post!
    Lina recently posted…Bookish Musings: Do you read early excerpts?

    • Bec

      Study sucks. It interrupts all reading plans. Most of my pleasure reading now is completed in study breaks.

      Usually over the holidays I start to get my old reading habits back, but just as I get into the swing of things I have to go back to uni.

      Thanks :)

    • Bec

      Life makes it really hard to binge read so it’s mostly something I save for holidays. It’s also incredibly difficult to stop binging once you start.

  17. Wattle

    I’m a pacer these days, simply because I read when I can (on lunch breaks, when I have a block of time on a weekend) but I used to binge read ALL the time when I was younger.

    Sometimes, when I’m on vacation (or staycation, rather) I still binge read, and I love it. But it’s rare, and I find myself getting interrupted by things a lot :(

    I do think if I had all the time in the world though, I’d still be a pacer, but I’d read multiple books at once to suit whatever mood I was in.
    Wattle recently posted…Showcase Sunday #29

    • Bec

      Life sucks, interrupting all our reading time :( Reading is still a nice break from things but I always wish I could read for an hour more than I have time for.

      I used to do that! Read 3-5 books at once and flip between them. Until one took over my life and I just had to binge.

  18. Wren

    I don’t typically binge read. I don’t have the time to. I have a busy life! I only read on my bus ride or after assignments or on my daily walks. And even then, it’s not guaranteed. I try to have an hour to read, but I’m not sure if that works.
    I end up pacing myself. Taking small bites. I read when I can. (A book is a fixture in my life.)
    But. I sometimes let go and just binge. It goes crazy. (Aka my life now since I discovered ‘Vampire Academy’.)
    Wren recently posted…Review: ‘Shadow Kiss’ by Richelle Mead

  19. Jackie

    For the most part I’m a pacer because I’m easily distracted. For example, I’m reading a book called the Carnival at Bray, which takes place in Ireland, so two chapters in, I took a break and ended up looking for pictures of Ireland on Instagram. Then I returned to the book, and once a county name was mentioned, I started looking of #countywicklow on instagram. Then I hit wikipedia to learn more about County Wicklow, and then I return to reading. The book also mentioned the Smashing Pumpkins, so of course I had to take a break and listen to them, right? Even though I am in love with this book, it’s taking me nearly two weeks to finish it. I wish I could be the binge reader who knocks out a book in a day or two!
    Jackie recently posted…Five Reasons Why Magical Cats are Awesome (and Five Reasons Why My Non-Magical Cat is Awesome)

    • Bec

      That’s research, not distractions ;) Such searches would make it so much easier to picture what’s happening in the book though! I always make a mental note to look things up when I finish because I want to keep reading, then inevitably forget when I do finish the book haha.

  20. Kelly

    I’m both, depending on what I’m reading. I’m actually binge reading the Paula Weston series at the moment, and are up to book four in only five days. I can’t remember the last time a series was worthy enough to binge read before this one. If a storyline has sucked me in, I like to try to finish it within two nights, those harder to read books that seem to drag, I find myself dozing off early in bed and are happy to forgo reading for sleep. Often I have two books going at once, especially with review copies. I often read one of my own books I’ve bought on Kindle in bed, and keep heavy paperbacks for lounge reading. Especially in winter where I can snuggle under the doona and my Kindle is far easier to manage.
    Kelly recently posted…Lorali by Laura Dockrill

    • Bec

      I’ve seen so much about that series in the last week or so. I need to read it!

      The book can make a whole lot of difference! Fast paced books suck you in and are easy to binge. Slower books with lots of descriptions that take more focus require more breaks.

      Kindles are the best for winter reading!

  21. Michelle

    I find that I am a little bit of both. I binge read on the weekends when I have more time to myself but during the week I pace myself and allocate page goals because I have work a lot of the time. I understand where you are coming from and I tend to agree that pacing makes me notice the flaws of a book more clearly. I wonder If I were to re-read the books I’ve binged in the past if I’d like them as much.
    Michelle recently posted…The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter

    • Bec

      Binge reading has become a thing I’ve had to reserve for weekends and holidays :( Uni means pacing is my thing and reading a chapter at a time is how I reward myself for study.

      Rereading books you’ve binged is always scary! Though the best thing is when you can’t help but binge them again XD

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge