Reading Bad Books… On Purpose

Posted July 21, 2017 / Discussions, Features / 28 Comments

Have you ever finished a few GREAT books and thought… okay, now I kind of need to read a bad book. I’ve read some really solid ones, somewhere between 4-5 stars, and now I need something not-so-great. I call these buffer books because they act as a buffer between allll of the good books. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m the only weird one, but let’s see. Where’s my logic in this? Let’s discuss.

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Cleansing the Palette

If I read a number of really good books in a row, I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I don’t like to read too many highly anticipated books one after another, just because I could end up ruining them with a book hangover (more on that later). I never want to bang out 5 great, anticipated reads in a row because JUST MAYBE the 6th one will get ruined. I think this often has to do with genre or certain tropes being used a lot. Either way, I like to read some great books and then “cleanse my reading palette” with one I know might be bad in one way or another. Sometimes it’ll be an author that writes ridiculous and addicting stories. Sometimes it’ll be a book I’m reading completely for nostalgia. Sometimes it’ll be an angsty NA that I know will annoy me but I’ve wanted to read for one reason or another. Either way, tossing a book I think will be “bad” in them middle of a few good ones helps cleanse my palette for more good books later.

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Eliminating Book Hangovers

The other reason I do this is because I KNOW certain books will lead to book hangovers. Why would I read a book I’m super excited for RIGHT after one that I was even more excited for and/or already have a hangover from? I like to spread out my bookish excitement to get rid of those hangovers and ensure that they don’t happen in the first place. (I have a similar post about this coming sometime soon I think!) Back in June, I read two five star books in a row. Both were highly anticipated newer releases. I didn’t want to ruin my third book, so I picked one that I knew would be… not so great… and really quick to read. The buffer book ended up getting the rating I expected, and I was able to fully enjoy the next book I read (which was another book I was super excited about).

Soooo, do you think I’m super weird?

28 responses to “Reading Bad Books… On Purpose

  1. LOL I do this because I hate when I have a lot of 4 & 5 star books in a row- I think it makes it look like I’m not a discerning reader or something. So I pick a book that I think will be okay (but hopefully better!). I don’t rate it low on purpose but it has a higher probability of getting a lower rating for me. So I guess it is like a buffer. And I know what you mean, I get burnt out on genres with too many in a row and sometimes it affects my reading!

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  2. Umm…yes, you are kind of weird. Haha. But I can understand what you’re saying. I kind of think of it as more spreading the wealth around a little. I don’t want to read too many books I’m super excited about in a row because I think it will make the eventual let down book even more disappointing. That’s kind of similar but not the same. I don’t plan bad books like you do, but maybe they do make me appreciate the great books a little bit more.

  3. Ooh, this is so interesting! I don’t do this, and I’ve never thought about reading this way before. It totally makes sense, though! I always feel guilty when I read a bunch of 4- and 5-star books in a row; even if I really enjoyed all of them, I feel like I’m not being a critical enough reader. I try to switch up the genre of the books I’m reading to cleanse my “reading palette,” so to speak.

  4. Oh my goodness, I definitely did not think that anyone else did this, but YESSSS I do it too! For a kind of different reason, but yes! So- if I read a couple REALLY good books in a row, I feel like the streak has to end sometime, you know? So if I read a book I am excited for, I am afraid I am dooming it to suck if I read it after a few other good books. So, I toss in a book that maybe I have to review, but I started to hear so-so things about or whatever, so that if it is disappointing… well, who cares, because my expectations weren’t high! Of course, this HAS backfired on me many times, so it’s not a perfect system 😉 LOVE this post!

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  5. This totally made me smile. One of my co-bloggers doesn’t necessarily read bad books for the reason you gave, but she does seek them out. I always found it odd, but you built a compelling argument up there. But what if you read really good books, then you read said bad book, and then the last one gets a little bit of an inflated rating, because after a bad book it seems better than it is. Hmmm…

  6. I don’t think you’re super weird 😛

    I do a similar thing but I wouldn’t say that I (intentionally) pick up books that I think are going to be “so-so”. But I definitely get the “fresh palette” approach. I often switch genres to give myself a bit of a break. Like if I’m on a high fantasy kick, I’ll read a YA contemporary before I pick up the next one. Do I rate them lower? Not necessarily but sometimes I do. But in the end, I get a refreshing taste and can move on!

  7. So I don’t necessarily target reading “bad” books but I definitely need to choose my next read carefully after I’ve read something super good/intense! I generally try to switch up genres so my book hangover doesn’t impact my enjoyment of the next book too much. I just finished The Hate U Give this morning actually and am definitely struggling with what to read next!

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  8. Hmmm…. I think you are a little weird, but we are all weird in our own ways! I am not sure I really try to read bad books because I feel like that will be a waste of my time. On the other hand, book hangovers do suck something fierce when they last too long so I don’t blame you for coming up with a way to handle that. I have yet to find a solution and instead I will avoid picking out a new book to read for like a week and that makes me sad. Maybe I am the weird one and you have found the solution! 😀

  9. I do the same thing! I agree that it feels necessary to have a palette cleanser between certain books! I also need to do so if I feel like I’m reading too many fantasy series in a row and the elements are all seeming too similar.

  10. Amy

    This is pretty genius! I can totally see where you’re coming from. I feel like I do this sometimes, but it’s not intentional. Usually any books I think might be “bad” I just won’t pick up at all. What an interesting discussion; great post!

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