Design

Do You Want to Try Binge-Reading? (Or Do You Already?)

Why We Should Start Binge-Reading Right Now

We’ve talked about what books we love reading, but now I’m curious: How do you read those books? For years, my evenings would go like this…

…head home from work, eat some quesadillas, play a card game with the boys, brush their teeth, tickle their backs, tell them no more talking, remind them no more talking, flop down on the sofa, chat with Alex, turn my brain off with a TV show (one winter, I watched the entire series of Frasier), maaaaaybe wash my face but probably not wash my face, put on pajamas, read a few pages of a book and pass out.

Although I love books, they were getting the last gasp of my attention. They were fun to read but not the most fun since nothing is the most fun when you are 99% asleep with your eyes open.

So, when my sister sent me the recent New York Times article Why You Should Start Binge-Reading Right Now by Ben Dolnick, I devoured it and wanted to share. Here’s what he wrote:


One night a couple of summers ago, the power went out and, unable to watch Netflix or engage in my customary internet fugue, I lit a candle and picked up a thriller by Ruth Rendell. For the first time in as long as I could remember, my sole source of entertainment for an evening was going to be a book.

And yes, yes, just as you’d expect, it was wonderful, it was cozy, the internet is terrible. But what struck me more than the night’s general delightfulness, was how much my experience of reading the book was influenced by the speed with which I was suddenly moving through it. To that point, I’d been reading the book the way I usually read books, which is to say in five- or 10-minute snatches before bed. And I’d been more or less enjoying it — watching Rendell’s criminal protagonist get out of prison, following along as he searched for his victim — but I’d been enjoying it the way a person enjoys hors d’oeuvres at a cocktail party. Those cheese puffs are delicious; I just wish I could sit down with a plate of them. Now, by reading for an hour or two straight, I’d found my way into the caterer’s tent. I could savor the particular tart flavor of the author’s voice. I could admire the elegance of the trap she was setting for her doomed criminal.”


Fascinating and true, don’t you think? Over the past couple months, I’ve also been changing my reading habits: getting into bed earlier (around 9:30 p.m.) and reading without distraction. I’ve gulped down There There and Conversations With Friends, and Caroline’s recent fave, Southern Lady Code, is next on my list. And I’ve been thinking about the characters all day, like they’re friends, and feeling a little bit like I live in their world, too.

Thoughts? How do you read books? Would (or do) you binge-read?

This is part of a series called “What We’re Reading” — featuring interesting articles on different topics we find during the week. We know many of you are big readers. Hope you like it!

P.S. Trying out slow parenting, and single-tasking is the new multi-tasking.

(Illustration by Gabriel Alcala for the New York Times.)

  1. Elizabeth George says...

    After reading this post, I read all the comments. ALL 331 OF THEM. A good way to find binge-worthy novels is to read the comments and pick a book. I Chose The Sound of Gravel. Finished it in two days. Started Southern Lady Code yesterday. Finished it this morning. Started Normal People. I’m a quarter way through. I also installed an app that tells me how much time I spend on various apps. I read for four hours today on my phone and spend upwards of an hour on WhatsApp, time I consider an absolute waste. Spending every snatch of time reading is what happens when you binge read. So rewarding. Thank you, CoJ

  2. Maranda says...

    I recently deleted Facebook off of my phone, so I no longer have easy access to unlimited mindless scrolling. I find myself reading a lot more on my Kindle app instead and I fly through books! I do need to get better about limiting TV watching time after work though. I will get suckered into hours of mindless reality TV when reading would be a much more productive use of my time.

  3. Nicola says...

    Wow I guess I’ve been binge reading my whole life! Didn’t even know it had a name, it’s just always been how I read! My friends are always amazed that I can read a 400 page book in like 2 days, but I always explain it’s cause I will sit there for actual hours in a row reading! (I should point out I do not have any small children so I’m guessing my available reading time is pretty ample) My mom is like that too, she always has a book with her and took me to the library as a little kid and would let me get as many books as the library would allow, not to mention the ton of books we had at home. And then we would just sit and read! Getting lost in a book is truly one of life’s greatest pleasures for me!

  4. Saya Hashimoto says...

    Massive binge reader here – 64 books so far this year! I keep track of them on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/127158

    I realised I used to read soooo much as a kid and then the internet happened…So I got rid of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and I don’t miss them a bit.

  5. Zoe says...

    Binge reader for life. As a kid my parent would often have to hide my books from me before an exam or they would find me hidden on a landing or tucked into the bathtub reading for hours on end. I recently had a relapse of this behavior right before an important professional exam. I picked up “Normal people” a few days before my exam and to the detriment of my study schedule there were no parents present to make me hand over the book. Five pages in and you couldn’t have paid me to put the book down before I was finished – no regrets!

    • Anna says...

      Omg I was exactly the same as a kid – my parents had to hide my books so I would read them too quickly.

      Now as an adult, if I love a book, I drive my husband nuts staying up til 3am reading it in one sitting. It’s the best though!

  6. lomagirl says...

    I read insatiably. I read when I should be doing other things, like working, or sleeping, or tending to my kids- or folding the laundry or doing the dishes. It is a terrible, wonderful addiction. I do not want to break it.
    However, I think I need to remove the kindle app from my phone so that I can maybe wean myself from this enticing teat of constant story.

  7. Julia says...

    I love reading a “good” book, but with my two boys and work, I hardly find peace for reading undisturbed. So, I started looking forward to those times, when one of my boys has his music lesson. Instead of rushing away to do some errands, I sit down in the waiting section with my book and read for 60 minutes. It is such a bliss for me (I recently read “Education”, it is incredible!).

    • Julia says...

      Sorry, it is “Educated” by Tara Westover

  8. Natalia says...

    For about 5 months now I’ve been binge-reading like crazy, and only checking out books from the library. So far this year, I’ve read 17 books. As a full-time college student who worked 25 hours a week this spring semester, I really believe there is always time! Getting in the “reading zone” more quickly, reading with speed, and comprehending/digesting what I read have all gotten easier with the practice. It’s easy for me now to read a few pages on the metro to work in the AM and pick right back up immediately on the commute home. And I try for about 15 minutes a day of reading in the evenings. It’s been great brain-training, and I’ve learned so much about the world through both fiction and non-fiction. Reading for work and school has gotten so much easier as a result!

    (Also, supporting my local library and not spending money on books has been great as well and I wish more people did so! Save the trees! And more money in your pocket for happy hours and new shoes)

  9. Lucy says...

    I know what you mean about thinking about the characters like their friends! Years ago the character in the book I was reading lived in Egypt and this was at the time when the Arab Spring had just started. I remember one day hearing about something major happening in Egypt and for a moment pausing to worry about the character!

  10. Carolyn says...

    I recently binge-read all the books by author Tana French. Over five or six months, I read all seven of her mysteries in the order in which she’d written them, one right after the other. Such an interesting way to get lost in a writer’s world. Feeling a bit lost now that it’s over!

    • J says...

      I did the same thing (LOVE Tana French!), and I’m on the hunt for a similar author/series to binge-read! Let me know if you’ve discovered one. :)

    • Twyla says...

      Carolyn – have you read the Maisie Dobbs series by Jaqueline Winspear? There are about 18 in the series…

  11. Renee says...

    My youth was spent binge reading and I often look back on that time longingly. By adult standards, I still binge read (my Goodreads challenge is 40 books this year and if I read 1.5 books a month for the rest of the year I will be there) but it’s nothing like the 10 hour reading binges I used to do. The feeling, for me, is drug-like and easily addictive.

    • Karen says...

      I used to be such a night owl reading late into the night but life brings changes and now nothing beats the luxury of waking early and getting back into bed with a coffee and a good book. Currently lost in Constellations by Sinead Gleeson. A beautiful series of essays that convey the joy and pain of life, especially womanhood. Highly, highly recommended!

  12. Allie says...

    I’ve been binge listening to audio books and it is so much fun! I used to always read an hour before bed and it was also lovely but its been down to 15 minutes or so with my schedule lately. The audiobook is a good compromise.

  13. Madelaine says...

    I have been using our “peak picks” section at our public library in Seattle. They are the current books everyone is talking/writing about and you can’t renew them so it forces faster reading. I have read so many more books this year already and get so absorbed in them I often will pick up the book instead of my phone when I have a spare minute.

  14. Yes! My friends want to know how I manage to read so much, being just as busy as they are with work and kids. This is my secret — I “go to bed” at 9ish then read until I fall asleep. I tell my husband I’m going to bed but he knows by now what I really mean by that, ha ha. My last all-nighter binge read was the Deborah Harkness series. So good. I’ve also gotten into the habit of carrying my Kindle in my purse, so I can read whenever I have a lull. I was totally reading at our school’s carnival tonight while my kids were in the bounce house.

  15. Sara says...

    I have only ever binge read books, and I thought there was something wrong with me! I can’t really get into a book reading for 10 minutes at a time , and I always felt like a failure or not a “book lover” because I wasn’t steadily working through a book.

    I read about 25 books a year, but they come in bursts, over breaks and holidays or when one really catches me and I don’t do anything else in my spare time but read that book for days. I’ll admit it here and now: I’m not a moderate consumer of books; I am an all-out, can’t do anything else, barely functioning, ignore the dirty dishes, binge reader! And I love it.

  16. Maggie S says...

    This is such interesting timing for me — I checked a book out of the library last Saturday, for the first time since the summer, and read it in two days. I’m one who usually takes the full three weeks to finish my library books, but I couldn’t get enough of this one and read whenever I’d normally play on my phone, while I nursed, while my husband drove.
    I hadn’t heard about binge reading, but I love it! Especially the part about living in the characters’ worlds. I actually told my husband as I was listening to the news that I almost expected to hear about the characters in my book!
    Nothing beats a good book!

    • margaret says...

      So . . . what was the book??? ( :

    • Mary Beth says...

      You must share the title of the book! 💕

  17. Christine says...

    I have a 30 minute commute to work and just started listening to books via Audible during my drive. I make a tea or coffee for the ride and just drive and listen. I look forward to it so much (I have a one year old and don’t get much “me” time) and it’s a really great way to set the tone for the day.

  18. Emily says...

    my sennior year of high school I was very lonely for a variety of reasons and I started doing “reading fridays” where friday afternoon on my way home from school I’d pick up a nice semi-luxurious snack (like a bar of dark chocolate,) and swing by the library for a new book or two if I needed it, then I’d read for 4-6 hours straight, basically from the time I got home until midnight. it always felt like a huge treat.

  19. Julie says...

    I binge read at my favourite book store. Just today, I sat and read almost 200 pages of Sally Rooney’s Normal People (highly recommend!)in 2 hours. I do end up buying the book most of the time and finishing it at home, although I read it in little snippets here and there. Something about being at the bookstore, kid- free, iced latte in hand, is so relaxiing to me. It recharges me to be so immersed in a story.

  20. Lee says...

    I read like breathing. It soothes me. No matter what kind of day I’ve had I know that an hour or two of peace await me and my mind each evening. It sustains me, it gives me pause, it fills me with emotion and helps me see the world more clearly. Without my nightly reading ritual, I would be a lesser person. Words are powerful and they form ideas which can turn into action. I like to make sure I’m feeding my mind a healthy diet so it keeps up with my body and the world around it.

  21. Gina Dwyer says...

    I like to read a little bit before bed, and for a half hour or so in the early am. I’m a huge reader, and sometimes have 2 on the go ;) I’ll read a memoir and a thriller at the same time…
    I’m a library girl and sometimes I’ve got to binge read a book to get it back on time! I’ll binge read when I can, nothing better than an afternoon when it’s raining and you’re cozied up on the couch with a great book, blankie and glass of wine!

  22. Francesca says...

    I definitely binge read. I will go a week or two without reading something and then I will pick up a book and obsessively read it until it’s done. I have and will stay up late to read a book, despite being a sleep deprived mom of 2. I think there’s a happy medium between not reading and binge reading, but with the exception of GOT, I prefer reading a book over watching tv.

  23. Rachel says...

    I’m a librarian, so it’s a hazard of the job to have a loooong to-be-read list. I’m a binge reader, but in a slightly different way. I’m generally reading two or more books at a time. My strategy is to differentiate my stories so I can keep them straight in my brain. One book is always in audio format, so I only listen to it in the car. One book is romance or light fiction, easy to pick up at any time: work breaks, waiting at kid sports practices, or at bedtime. Then, I layer in a more serious non-fiction read for couch time. And I always have an e-book on one of my reading apps to fill in all the other times. With this method, I usually read about 50 books a year.

    • Ashley s says...

      Same! Librarian life. Reading books any way you can get them! :)

    • Jess says...

      I’m a librarian too! I love how many new and interesting titles I get to see every day but it’s also overwhelming! My TBR list is so looong but I feel lucky… it keeps me going :)

  24. Jennifer says...

    I keep a list of all the books I read every year and always try to top the previous year. I also try to sneak in 20 minutes of daytime reading.

  25. erin says...

    This is how I read. Reading is as much an evening activity as watching TV or any other entertainment. It always happens on the couch . It’s usually watch a show or read my book, sometimes a combo of both. :)

  26. JS says...

    I rarely read books (shameful, I know!) and find that I often start and stop books, even if I’m really enjoying it. I’m in my 20s and most of my friends aren’t avid readers either, but we all talk about how much we wish we were, and make plans for book clubs but never carry them out.

    I know this series is for book lovers, which is wonderful, but I would love a post about how to become a more consistent reader, since it’s something I always intend to focus on but never seem to.

    • Gina Dwyer says...

      Curious – do you always read at the same time of day? Maybe try to start with that, if you haven’t already. I started back reading after a loooong absence from books in my 20’s ( too much dancing and clubbing to do ;), and then baby days….when I returned to work, to quiet my mind before sleep, I began to read again. You’ll be surprised how much you can read if you find the right time – maybe lunch time for you on your break? Good luck!

      g

    • JS says...

      Gina – Thank you so much for your reply! That’s a great tip, I realize now my most consistent reading time was when I had a long commute to work. I’ll definitely try reading at the same time each day and see how that works. Thanks so much!

  27. Kate says...

    I recently set a rule for myself that in order to buy a new book I want, I have to first read two books I already have that are unread – my home was filled with unread books! I’m accomplishing this by reading on my 1 hour train commute. It’s the only time that it’s easy to avoid distractions. The only problem is arriving at work, if the book is good, waiting through the workday to pick it up again! It’s also helpful to just take a book wherever you go and squeeze in a few pages before spin classes, dentist appointments, etc!

  28. Katie Peshek says...

    The thing that has helped me read more is checking out books from the library – the countdown of a due date helps keep me on track, and I am motivated to finish the book on time!

  29. Es says...

    This is the only way I knew to read! Open a book, wade into the story carefully and then leave it through the last sentence, emotionally exhausted a couple hours later.
    I am still getting used to reading in small bits whenever my baby allows and all I can say is that this is certainly not a good way of reading for someone who gets easily invested in whatever is happening in the book. Identifying strongly with characters is clearly not good for me when I’m pick-reading. My nightstand bears patiently a growing collection of unfinished novels with unhappy characters stuck on loveless marriages that I had to put aside since I was transferring their marital drama into my own life.

  30. Now that my son is 1.5 years old I am able to get up early to get ready for work and I usually have about 20 minutes to spare before he will also wake up. I take that time to read my book and snuggle with my doggo. It’s so lovely!!! I am also 25 weeks pregnant so I love soaking in these quiet mornings while I can!

  31. I love binge reading. We’re in the throes of newborn-hood with our second child, and reading for more than a few pages at a time is a rare treat at this phase of life. However, I picked up a book at the library earlier this week and couldn’t put it down. I read it in two days and the house was a wreck when I came out of my coma (the baby was, of course, fed). The book was The Sound of Gravel, a memoir about a woman who grew up in Mexico in a polygamist community. I went to another place while reading it, and the total immersion was such a good reminder of so many things: how good my life is even though it feels like total chaos right now, and how all things come to an end eventually, including, but not limited to: good books, and multiple middle-of-the-night feedings.

    • Kay says...

      I resonated with everything you said in this comment! I have a 3 week old , my firstborn, and I’m completely in love with him, but not loving those nightly feedings. I try to squeeze in an hour of reading in the morning when he’s sleeping in between his meals, but I miss those days when I could finish 5-6 books a month. I’m reading The Song of Achilles right and while it’s such a captivating story, I know it’s going to take about 2 -3 weeks for me to finish it.

    • Kay says...

      Also, congratulations on your baby!!

    • Lizzie says...

      I read this book after you recommended it. Thank you. Total immersion, like you said. What an inspiring story of fortitude!

  32. Em says...

    I seem to only be able to binge read. My family knows to not disturb me if I have a book in my hand, and I always need to know what happens next righteffingnow! I honestly didn’t realize that was abnormal until this article, finishing books in one or two sittings is the best! Except then you need a new book!

    • Michelle says...

      Same! Reading is good for my mental health similar to exercise (at least for me). I used to clock through a book a week before kids, and now it’s maybe one a month. But that one a month is still devoured in 1-3 days tops. When a book is good, I NEED to keep reading. (And if a book isn’t good, I put it down. Life is too short!)

    • Yulia says...

      Me too! I was reading the original article and wondering why reading long enough to get immersed in a book instead of in brief increments over time was described as “binge-reading.” But I get why the author uses that term to grab our attention. We get excited to binge-watch a TV show. It’s great to get excited to read for a sustained period of time too!

  33. Cass says...

    I just did this! I bought the Penguin cloth-covered edition of Dracula, which I haven’t read since my teens. Mainly because I loved the edition. And I am binging it. It reminded me that this is how I spent my childhood and teens, often staying up too late to finish something. So good!

  34. Same story for me! I usually give the last few minutes of attention to a book and it’s rarely very long (unless it’s an absolute thriller that I have to stay up until all hours to finish!). My compromise is that I now LISTEN to books in the car during all the hours I’m in there over the course of a day. If it’s something appropriate for children, I’ll even listen to it while they’re in there. They inevitably get caught up in the story as much as I do! I still read print books but the majority of my books are now devoured by listening.

  35. Emma says...

    I am a lifelong reader, but my reading pace slowed dramatically after the birth of my three kids. Then, a year ago, here on CoJ, Ashley Ford posted about romance novels. And it’s changed everything! In the last year I’ve read hundreds of romance novels and am reading non-stop. Once I allowed myself the freedom to read books that were easy to get into, fun to read and happy (I just don’t have the emotional fortitude for depressing or hard books at the moment), I can’t get enough. They are the kind of books that I can read in little snippets here and there throughout the day, without feeling obligated to commit to long periods of real attention. They provide a perfect escape from a busy, stressful life. Thanks to CoJ for giving me permission to read books I enjoy, even though they may not all be considered great literature (by whoever it is that makes such determinations).

    • CL says...

      I love this! Ever since I had my son two years ago, I can only read light-hearted beach reads. I became obsessed with Elin Hilderbrand and read everything of hers. My husband even read a series of hers because that’s all I talked about! I think it’s just the phase of life right now. Everything is so fragile and delicate, I can only handle beautiful Nantucket summers.

    • Kate says...

      Same same same. Thank you, Ashley, for the list of great romance novels that has been such a gateway to reading! I’ve devoured regency romance, contemporary romance, and binged almost every one. I didn’t know how much I needed the escape from reality!

  36. Melanie Steimle says...

    Just this week I read an entire YA mystery/thriller in one day, staying up past midnight because I just had to find out what really happened! It was really fun, although the lack of face washing and sleep is probably not something that should be a regular habit!

    In contrast, there are a few books I’ve finished within the past several months that I’ve read little by little and enjoyed, but I probably would have gotten more out of them had I read over a shorter period of time.

    • Lexi says...

      Ooh, which one?

  37. ErikaMC says...

    I love to read but don’t always put it first in my night-time chill time. Three weeks ago I checked out a book from the library and was determined to not have to renew it to finish it. I bring it with me to work and read during my lunch break. Open it while I’m stirring a pot of noodles, leave my phone in the other room and take it to the living room to read (and left the tv off) and I also read before bed even if I can only stay awake for a page or two. I did not miss looking at my phone at all and couldn’t wait to get to my next reading time. I also finished it before the due date! Summer is harder for me to find time with all the activities and nice weather but I’m going to attempt to do it again.

  38. I need to do this. I’ve found I’m reading more by listening to Audiobooks and reading something via the Kindle on my phone when I get a chance… but I’m having a hard time finding the time for good ol’ fashion books. I guess it’s just a matter of getting in a routine and putting the computer down….

    • Gemma says...

      I’m a binge reader and always have been. I can go months without picking up a book. And then can devour at least 6 in about 9 days.
      I know now that my binge reading is a survival mechanism when I’m feeling depressed. It usually takes me to book 4 to wake up and go, I’m struggling with something. But from that moment I’m much more aware of my feelings and I’m careful about what I eat, who I spend time with and what I say. It usually takes a few more books before I’ve subconsciously worked through what it is and I’m out the other side.
      The power of a familiar book and words!

  39. Elizabeth says...

    I am currently in grad school while working full time and sitting for my CPA. I don’t allow my self to read anything because I can’t NOT binge read! If I love a book, I won’t do anything until it’s finished. And I definitely enjoy books exponentially more when I have the ability to read uninterrupted. December is my favorite because it’s the only time I truly get to enjoy reading. I can’t wait to be done with all my responsibility so that I can read the ever growing stack of books in my reading room. (Not being able to read doesn’t stop me from buying all the books!)

  40. cindy says...

    I am CONSTANTLY reading….when I need a break at work, while waiting for appointments, sometimes even at stoplights…especially at bedtime and weekend mornings with cappuccinos. Aaaahhhh, my favorite pastime in this world. I am NEVER without my kindle and have hundreds of *actual* books waiting in the queue to be read…Plus I have an audiobook or two going while I drive, cook, clean, etc. I read over 115 books in 2018! Best.thing.ever.

  41. Part of the reason why I choose to breastfeed is so that I can use my pump breaks to read a book. With my oldest I continued to pump for about 2 months after the stress of keeping up supply was worth it, because I wasn’t willing to give up my reading breaks yet lol. Young kids aren’t really reading friendly and I miss getting lost in books. I have a 2 month old and am back to enjoying about an hours worth of reading daily.

    I am for sure a binge reader, when I get hooked in a good book, I will finish it in a day.

    • Kara says...

      I totally did this! Even when I pumped at home (baby wasn’t a good nursling) it was my way of having some time to myself and read!

  42. Nina says...

    I didn’t realize most people don’t read books this way. The only time I do it slowly is when it’s a self-help book and I force myself to read a chapter each day. Otherwise I usually finish a book in one sitting. Last weekend, I read 4.

  43. Roni Palmer says...

    Totally into binge reading, I just plowed through “The girl with 7 names” in two days! There are only a couple TV shows I like so I watch while I fold laundry and reading is how I get some me time in.

  44. Wendy D says...

    My husband and I dated at bookstores, back when they had big comfy chairs to chill in. We would have reading picnics on spring Saturdays. And when our first daughter was born (and old enough to read on her own) family reading nights – cozy quilts, candles, hot tea, cookies and books. After our 2nd was born (and started to get into reading later due to dyslexia) we started “library tourism.” Whenever we go somewhere new, we check out the libraries. There is something about the smell of a new book, the sound of being the first person to flip the pages and the binding creaks. And old books have that history of life built in that leads to making the story seem even more alive.

    Thanks for reminding me of those moments – and inspiring my weekend plans!

    • Liz says...

      Wendy, this whole comment is so dreamy!!!!

  45. Gaby says...

    I’m not a binge reader – makes me too sleepy. Wanted to take this opportunity to recommend some books! Gut is about the inner workings of our gut – you think you know, but you probably don’t. Solitary is about a man who spent about 40yrs in prison. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake – I listed to this on cd and loved it. While you’re all reading, The Reader is great, too. Happy reading!

    • elinor says...

      I also loved The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake!

  46. Maggie says...

    I love binge reading! I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction as I transition into a new role at work, and I pick my way through them slowly. When I need to cleanse my palate or quiet my mind, I pick up a fiction book and go deep. By reading on the bus, at lunch, and before bed, I can typically get through a novel in 2 days. Such a different experience than a spread out non-fiction read!

  47. I’ve loved to read since I was a child. For me, it depends on the book how fast or slowly I read it. Sometimes if I really enjoy a book, I will deliberately read it slowly, just to savor it before it’s over! That was the case with the Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell. Such wonderful books, it was a lovely way to escape reality — which after all, is one of the reasons I love to read in the first place. I was inspired to read them after watching The Durrells in Corfu (TV adaptations of the books).

    On a recent Saturday, I started The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It was a book club pick. I expected to like it, but I didn’t expect to get so wrapped up in it that I finished in just a couple of days! It was THAT good. I was completely engrossed for a whole weekend. I highly recommend it.

  48. Rachel says...

    As far as I’m concerned, “binge reading” is the only form of reading there is! Sometimes, I can slip in a short chapter on my lunch break, but I much prefer to read for an hour or more in the evening. Normally, I sit beside my husband while he watches hockey, but if the book gets too intense, I have to leave and go to a different room. Love, love, love reading :)

  49. Jess says...

    I was a big binge reader before I had my little girl 2 years ago.. and then I just read baby books! That was until 8 months ago when a couple of friends who are book lovers started a little book club. It has reignited my love of books and I’ll happily go to bed to read early or even wake up before my little one does to finish a book. I’m so grateful for the women in my book club for helping me find that part of me again. With baby number two nearly here I have promised myself to keep reading, and keep up with bookclub. Less scrolling, more page turning!

  50. Jess says...

    I can’t not binge-read! One of my clearest childhood memories is from the first time I binge-read a book in one sitting – I must’ve been about 8, and I started a new book as soon as I got home from school (some kind of old-fashioned mystery I think). The next thing I remember, is a feeling like waking up when I turned the last page, wondering when it got dark and how I suddenly came to be back in my own world instead of the one I’d spent the last few hours in. I honestly don’t understand how other people read a little bit at a time, or (gasp!) not at all. Binge-reading is (for me) deeply engaging with so many characters and ideas and places, and has definitely affected who I am today. I think it helps so much to develop empathy and understanding of other people and ideas and perspectives, to immerse yourself so deeply in someone else’s world.

  51. Ceridwen says...

    At my local library they have “red hot reads”. You can only have them for 1 week. So, I just have to devour the book and it’s a fun challenge. I read My Year or Rest and Relaxation as a red hot read and found it hypnotic. My kids love to see it I can meet the challenge too. They ask, what’s happening now…will you make it!? It spurs me on. Love it.

    • Janine says...

      My library does Red Hot Reads too! I’m often a couple of days late returning the books, but the challenge of finishing a book in a week is making me read a lot more! Maybe 25 novels last year – which is more than I’ve read in decades!

    • Julie says...

      Ooh I loved that book! I binged it too. I’m going to try another one of her books, “Eileen”, next.

  52. Rita Danta says...

    For me, sleeping with a partner and then with a baby was the main reason why I stopped reading so much at night, because the light was suddenly an issue.
    I eventually solved it with e-books on my phone or tablet, but the phone had too many other enticing apps, so what finally did it was a tablet with no other apps besides Google Play Books, Scribd (lots of great content, including audiobooks, I really recommend it) and a browser in case I really needed to check something out.
    I still prefer books on paper and sometimes manage to read them on weekends in spite of a toddler at home, but at least I am reading again…

  53. Kay says...

    Reading keeps me happy and fairly sane, of course I binge- read. x

  54. Even though I work in the film industry I find TV distracting, annoying and loud. So I got rid of our tv years ago and ‘binge read’ every night just like Ben Dolnick (minus the candles). After the kids one million questions and the general noise of the day, I love that quietness of reading. It makes me softer and less stressed heading into bed and Im sure I sleep better. Im a non fiction addict though. Cant seem to read made up stories.

  55. Sally says...

    I enjoy reading, and have been keeping track of all the books I’ve read, and scores I’ve given them, since 2010. Last year though, was my worst “reading year” on record, where I “only” managed 17 books (I usually average mid-20s).
    This year I decided to set myself the goal to read 10,000 pages. Which has turned out to be a bigger number than I originally thought! I’d first planned to read a certain number of books, but then I realised that it would discourage me from picking fatter books, because they’d take me longer. And I do love a fat book!
    I’m currently at nearly 5000 pages… So I’m on track!

    For me to really binge-read, I have to REALLY love a book. The best one I’ve read recently was ‘Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’. I loved it and gave it an extremely rare 10/10. A book has to be very, very special to get that score from me!
    My best, and most favourite way to binge-read, is to retreat to bed mid-afternoon, put the radio on quietly, and get in and read. It feels so indulgent, and I can get through loads of my book. :)

  56. Natalie Joy says...

    I normally start slow for the first 100 pages but I have a (good? bad?) habit of staying up to 2 am to finish the last 200 pages…When I was a child I made a “rule” that I couldn’t go to sleep if I had less than 100 pages to finish the book and it has been fantastic and also detrimental to my sleep at times haha. My favorite way to read a book is starting it on a slow Saturday morning and finishing it by bedtime :)

  57. Jessica says...

    It’s my preferred method of reading! I’ve tried to read for a few minutes each night before bed instead of looking at a screen, but I find it so much easier to disengage by playing a couple of levels of Candy Crush. I’d much rather have a whole evening or weekend to absorb myself into a good book! My book club’s most recent selection was finished in three sittings of a few hours each, and it was highly satisfying. I love CoJ’s book recs (one of our past book club picks was “My Sister, The Serial Killer”) so I will definitely be checking out your summer reading recs next!

  58. Ashley S says...

    Once a binge reader, always a binge reader. (or in my case more often now, binge audiobook listener). I’m a librarian, and people often think all we do is read all day. I wish! Last week I made the mistake of starting a book at 7:00pm, and wound up staying up past 2am, since I absolutely had to finish it. My husband knows not to bother me when reading, or else he gets “a look” haha

  59. Jen says...

    I binge-read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara a few months back. It was so wonderfully long that I lived in it for some time and felt like it was sort of my second life. I felt so connected to the characters and the author’s beautiful style that I actually had a hard time handing it over to the librarian when I returned it. We had a long, awkward moment with the book in both of our hands. I haven’t been able to pick up a book since because I’m still not ready to let my memories of it begin to fade. (If you are considering this book, it should be said there are some scenes that are unbelievably heartbreaking, and trigger warning- self-harm, abuse, suicide)

  60. Janine says...

    When I went on maternity leave, a fellow teacher’s advice was to READ because I might not get the chance again for a while. I binge-read 9 books in 7 weeks and it was heaven!

  61. Heather says...

    I do this! I don’t always get a chance to read at home, even though I do listen to books on audible while I’m working. On vacation I read, read, read books starting on the first flight. I just went on a weekend getaway and finished two but sometimes I take 5 just in case.

  62. Hannah says...

    Yesss, I’ve been doing this since I learned how to read!! Self-care at its finest. Still going strong!

  63. Jen says...

    Another interpretation of binge reading could perhaps be what happens to me sometimes when I read something that makes me want to immediately further immerse myself in a topic or to read more of an author’s work. For example, last summer I devoured ALL of Elizabeth Strout’s work after reading Olive Kitteridge…I couldn’t get enough of her voice. Or years ago, after reading the sublime Personal History by Katherine Graham, I was excited to then turn to Ben Bradlee’s autobiography A Good Life, and after that I then needed to revisit All the President’s Men. Right now I happen to be enjoying a binge on The New Yorker magazine (its founding, its various editors, its contributors and cartoonists), just because one book I happened to read and love (thank you, Roz Chast!) led to another. Bingeing on a topic or an author is one of my favorite ways to read.

  64. Katie says...

    I’m married with two little kids and I always tell my friends who feel like they never have time for books that I think about reading the same way I think about sex- if I always waited until the end of the day when I was ready to go to bed I would never do it. But I love reading in bed on the weekends or taking 20 mins out of my busy day to grab a book with my coffee or lunch. I also feel like it’s a habit once I read something good after a break it just makes me want to keep on reading and makes me excited for the next book.

  65. Maria says...

    I am by nature a binge book reader, apparently. I may read less books because of this fact, but I think I enjoy them far more immensely because of this fact too. I cannot imagine reading a book for 15 minutes or less at a time. I’d lose so much of the flow/continuity, getting lost in the story and words. I far rather read less books than read in tiny snippets and lose the story, in my opinion.

    Back when I had an office job and commuted 30 minutes by train daily, I’d read during my 30 minute lunch (and sure, eat too) and read during my morning commute (evening was dedicated to train buddy gossip). I probably went through a book a week back then, my most voracious reading period ever as I had swaths of uninterrupted time to read.

    When I do read as book nowadays I sit down for a good 30-90 minutes at a time to get engrossed and still blow through a book very quickly, I just don’t have the opportunity to do as often. However, if I read in snippets I find I lose the continuity and joy of the story, so it simply doesn’t work for me. We all have what works for us, and for me – quality of uninterrupted reading time is far superior than reading more books, but in small slots of time.

  66. Elise says...

    I guess binge reading is what I normally do… I read about 150 (mostly fiction) books in a year. I’m a pretty fast reader, but I also read any chance I get – in the morning when I get up / have coffee, sometimes as I’m getting ready (blow dryer in one hand, book in the other), during my lunch break, in the evenings before watching a show… and that’s if I’m working! Right now I’m in between things and basically read all day. It’s amazing.

  67. Louise says...

    I’ve been binge-reading for the longest time, and guess what? I do this not just with books, but also with Netflix. I watch an episode of a series, then move on to one episode of another series, and so on. It takes me forever to finish a series, to the annoyance of my best friend who wants to talk about the season with me! By the time I’ve finished the season, she’s completely moved on. But I like reading and watching at this kind of pace. I feel like I’m living several adventures at once, and it makes me happy. So I actually don’t care if the rest of the world has finished the series. If I don’t want spoilers, I just avoid social media. And I’m also the kind of person who doesn’t get fussed with spoilers, so it’s all good.

  68. Shannon says...

    If the phrase “internet fugue” made you chuckle in self-recognition, add M.T. Anderson’s classic, Feed, to your TBR pile. (Librarian and binge-reader!)

  69. Devon says...

    I’ve been having the worst insomnia issues (mainly due to anxiety) lately and I find myself lost in books which comforts me and distracts me from the things keeping me awake. For me, I like to stay in the world of the book and find it hard to stop and start! So, I’m all for the binge! It’s a fun way to read!

    • Stephany says...

      I have been having trouble sleeping too. It is so much undefined anxiety. I have been trying the breathing exercises Joanna posted about and they help so much.

  70. Sara says...

    Yes to this! I don’t always make the time to read this way but when I do it’s glorious. My usual reading is 20-25 minutes on the train in the morning and the same on the way home. I actually can’t read before bed, unless the book’s a bit slow, because I easily get wrapped up in a story and then am not able to put it down and will stay up way past my bedtime. This was a problem when I was little and would end up reading under the covers until all hours of the night (usually Nancy Drew or the Babysitter’s Club). These days, a leisurely afternoon on the sofa with a good book is heaven, and I don’t do it often enough.

    I think this is why so many of us love reading on vacation – because it allows you to really get absorbed in what you’re reading with no interruptions (except maybe a dip in the pool or a nice meal – and then back to it!) It’s also why I don’t mind flying – it’s a great excuse to read uninterrupted for a few hours!

    • shannon says...

      Sara, are you me!!? Meep, I could have written this exactly, down to the exact same time of train commute and identical book obsessions as a child!

      Quite thrilled to have found a kindred spirit in the COJ comments ☺️

    • Justine says...

      Sounds like we were similar readers as kids :) I spent many a late night with the BSC or Nancy Drew! I remember reading with a flashlight so my parents couldn’t see I was still awake.

  71. Kristian says...

    The the very first week of summer after my first year teaching, I spent deliberating and marvelously just reading books and drinking tea on my bed and enjoying puppies and sunlight. Mostly mystery series, as the tone and characters stayed the same (does anyone else get “book hangovers” and have to take a break between books to give breathing room for your mind?)

    I know have a two year old, but think of that week sometimes as the most deliciously indulgent thing.

  72. Jennifer says...

    Life-long binge reader right here!

  73. Milly says...

    I was an avid reader as a kid, but during grad school I stopped reading novels because whenever I read for fun, I felt guilty about not reading academic papers or textbooks. Like many CoJ readers, my New Year’s resolution was to read more! I actually was inspired by one of my friends who started a YouTube channel where he reads novels and analyzes them. (I think A Lost Lady by Willa Cather is the best one so far. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVgqGC2YfKQ&list=PLgMdlNdu04I9VyYU-jZifSrcgQK-RnN8i&index=2&t=0s)
    I started watching the videos to support my friend but realized that his nerdy enthusiasm for literature was infectious. I’ve read at least one novel a month in 2019. Looking forward to finding some new favorites among these great suggestions!

    • Jenna says...

      I thinkbone of the most insidious effects of grad school was taking all of life’s simple pleasures- reading a book for fun, taking a walk, hanging out with friends- and making me feel guilty for doing them because I was not working on grad school things. It has taken me years to reform the habit of pleasure because of grad school.

  74. Erica says...

    I love to read, so much so that I have not one but two degrees in literature…and yet I still fall into the Netflix rabbit hole of doom. When I’m in a reading rut I’ve learned that the best thing for me to do is find a highly entertaining and highly readable YA series to remind myself that I love the activity of reading as much as the content itself. Currently obsessed with the Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy by Sarah J. Maas – a recommendation from Sherry of Young House Love fame! A few weeks of sexy fairies or [insert slightly embarrassing construct here] and I can go back to my meaty literature with renewed attention span.

    • Catherine says...

      Because of this comment I checked out the book from my library on Friday. At first I couldn’t believe I was reading a book about human and Demi-god faerie love, but I couldn’t put it down. Finished it Saturday night at midnight and can’t wait to get the next one!!

  75. Jackie says...

    A Bestiary, by Lily Hoang. It’s a meditation on grief, love, self-loathing, fairy tale and myth. The best book I’ve read in a while (and I’m getting a PhD in English!)

  76. Jenny says...

    I get up EARLY (about 4:30 or 5:00!) most days. It’s a habit I can’t break because of my job. But on the day I’m not working, I love to grab the book I’m reading at that moment, make my coffee, and read while the rest of my household continues to sleep. I love those few quiet hours where I can be completely absorbed in the book. It’s my form of “treat yourself.”

  77. Daniela says...

    I can always rely on you and your team, Joanna, for page turner recommendations–thank you :). This year I have been compelling myself to pick up a book instead of my phone during leisure time. I keep a book or my kindle in my purse so I find myself in a waiting situation.

  78. Martini says...

    My husband used to check in on me periodically to be sure I was still breathing when I binged John Galsworthy’s “The Forsyte Saga” last year. Soames and Irene(y), unforgettable.
    One of the few books I would read over again. Time well spent.

  79. Sherry says...

    I have been binge reading the TLK by Bernard Cornwell, got into book 1 and now have all 12 books and have read them so what to do next, found TLK on Netflix so now I have both. Binge watching TLK and then rereading the books for the characters in the movie make the books come alive for me. Being a history nut as I love ancient history….perfect late evenings with a glass of wine and my dog beside me……perfect!

  80. Jennifer says...

    I’ve been a book binger ever since I could read. My dad used to have to restrict our reading hours in the summer time – no reading between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. – or we would never go outside to play! I’m 58, so that was pre-everything except TV, which we also couldn’t watch. My dad was kind of before his time! My 2 sisters and I still read all the time.
    Anyway, I still binge books when I can, to the detriment of my housework. In fact, a wonderful science fiction book is calling my name right now…

    • Lisa Saffer says...

      Yes, me too! (59 here) My parents had to force me not to bring books to the dinner table. Even at breakfast I would read the backs of cereal boxes until my mum made me stop. I contemplate what an advance directive would mean for me, and suspect it would be Keep Me Alive If I Can Still Read. And then I get all twirly thinking about what could constitute reading; Braille, books on tape, someone else reading to me…??????

    • MS says...

      Me too. My mum would limit the number of books I could sign out from the library. Not because she didn’t want me to read (she loves books and holds an MA in English Literature) but because I would often misplace them around the house and ring up too many library fines!

      Also, while this wasn’t pre-everything (I’m 36) it was still a while ago. My love of books persists…now I just ring up my own library fines :)

    • Mari says...

      Hahaha so me! I always binge-read, and I’m not one to watch TV… Like, ever. Sometimes I watch something with my husband, but it’s quite rare. I have my Kindle with me pretty much all the time. I cook with the Kindle by my side. I read while my husband watches TV, my feet on his lap. I read during meals, if I don’t have company (but sometimes my husband have to forgive me. I mean, if the book is ending… How can I not read it right now?). It normally takes me up to 3 days to read a book. And I have no idea how many books I read on a year. I’m 100% like my dad on this one.