Once upon a time, I was reading Half Lost. If you’ve read any of the Half Bad series, you know that things can get intense from time to time. During an intense scene, I realized that I was kind of skimming through it. That’s odd behavior, I thought. But I am odd in general, so I shrugged it off.

Then I was reading The Glittering Court. There was a point that made me nervous. So I basically read every fourth word until I knew what the outcome was. Then went back and reread it. Seriously, abnormal, my friend. Almost as abnormal as the self-analyzing conversation you’re having with your own head… 

I read basically the entirety of Crystal Crowned through my fingers, because I was in such a panicked state. What if tragedy befell someone? It was like I thought that by me not reading something bad, it would never happen? Which is, of course, completely asinine. 

But when I really thought about it, I realized something: I do this all the time. No really! I’ll use an example. Spoiler alert for the three people who didn’t read and/or watch Mockingjay! I glazed over Finnick’s death. Re-read it to comprehend. Seriously had no freaking clue that Prim died. Because I skimmed over the whole thing! I had to read several pages about four times until it finally sunk in. And then I was not happy.

So of course, I had to ask you guys to chime in! Is this a normal thing that rational readers go through? Is it really my anxiety messing with my head, or is this common? I don’t know! But I want to! SO, you should tell me! Also, I thought a fun quiz to see if you’re an anxious action reader would be in order!

So what say you? Do you have this ridiculous quirk too? If so, let me know so we can form a support group or something.

Posted July 27, 2016 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Discussion, Discussion Challenge / 32 Comments


32 responses to “Anxious Action Readers Unite!

  1. I thought I’m the only one doing this! xD I have tendencies to always skim read the parts that make me anxious, usually when there’s too much fighting or plot twist. And then I have to take a deep breath before re-read it again. My poor heart can’t handle the stress! xD Whenever my instinct says “something dreadful is going to happen” I’m going to skim read the whole part 😀

  2. I do this so often! I usually do this with books that I’m kiiiind of interested in, but it’s not hooking me in too well – I know I did the exact same with Mockingjay, and both Finnick and Prim’s death. I’m glad I’m not the only one who does it – because I’ve felt like a bad reader for years for doing it!

  3. Yup, Frighteningly Fearful. Accurate quiz IS ACCURATE.? I actually had NO IDEA Finnick died either when I read Mockingjay…I had to go back and re-read that part too.??? WHY ARE STRESSFUL BOOKS SO HARD?!!??? And like 99% of the reason I read The Raven King via audio is because I knew that I would skim if I was reading it myself. I was that anxious over it! ahhh hahahah #dead

  4. I’m fine with scenes of death and destruction, but I have noticed myself skimming intense rape or sexual abuse scenes. I don’t mind reading about these things, but I don’t like when they’re hugely graphic.

  5. I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE. I ALWAYS do it! If it’s a really intense scene and I’m worried about the outcome I’m like nope nopeity nope and my brain skims and then I have to read it again! XD

  6. Samantha D

    Reading Battle Royale gave me full blown panic attacks! My mom was like, “Stop reading that book!” and I’m all, “I can’t!! I need to see if Shu and gang can survive against Kazuo!!” The panic attacks were worth it!

  7. I do this a lot! The only exception being when I’m listening to audiobooks and even then I have to hold myself back so I don’t skip ahead and miss something that I actually want to know about.

  8. I do this thing where I zoom through an action scene because the Adrenalin is getting to me, then a character dies and I’m totally in denial. I’ll reread a scene three or four times because I cannot fathom the death. Then I’m stone cold until the end of the book because I’m still convinced he/she is still alive. Then I cry.

  9. Anna

    THIS IS SO ME!!! It’s so funny you would post this now… because just last week I noticed myself doing this… skimming the intense and/or action scenes because I am nervous!

  10. I think my comment got gobbled up. I was gonna say- I don’t usually do this but I have on occasion if something is really graphic or bad. Usually it’s shows though that do it- like game of Thrones will make me wince from time to time. Or when someone gets shot and they have to dig the bullet out- because that’s a thing now.

    Fun quiz!

  11. I usually glaze over them because I have a hard time imagining action sequences…like my brain just can’t process spatially what’s happening.

  12. You’re definitely not alone! I’ve done that millions of times, especially when things are getting pretty exciting. It makes me feel nervous so I just tend to skim those parts. >.< Book's I've been so excited for and have been waiting to be released since FOREVER make me nervous before reading as well, so I tend to skim-read them too. (Although I'm also afraid of finishing the book too early… especially when it's the last book!)

    Great post, Shannon!

  13. I got cool as a cucumber in your quiz which I don’t think describes me in real life lol but probably does describe my reading. I don’t think I get super anxious with books? I mean, if I’m really invested in the characters then yes I get really into the action scenes and worry that someone is going to die and stuff like that, but I don’t skim and go back. But I feel like you’re probably just doing the book version of when people hide behind their hands while watching movies, so maybe not that weird? I remember when I once watched a zombie movie as a teen in the middle of the night alone, and I’m not a horror movie person, and every time there was a scary zombie attack scene, literally what I did was jump back and forth between channels so that I would only see the zombies for a second, then some random commercial or whatever for a second, until the scene was over. So that’s kind of like your skimming lol.

  14. I sort of do this, but I do it with embarrassing scenes. If I reach a scene which leads me to suffer second hand embarrassment for a character or I can see something negative coming up then I sort of pause and have to read that scene quickly to get it over with. I don’t do it with action scenes but I guess it’s the same thing. I don’t know. I feel like I am first preparing myself then I treat it like ripping of a plaster and I just do it quick.

  15. I’m apparently cool as a cucumber. lol I WISH I WAS.
    I won’t do this with action scenes, but will definitely do with boring scenes that I don’t really care about. For example, if a book has multiple POVs or is written in 3rd person, showing many characters viewpoint, then I’ll likely skim-read the parts with the characters I don’t care about.
    Also, sometimes when I’m REALLY excited for the outcome of a fight scene or whatever, I’d try to quickly find where it ends and see the outcome, and only then I’d go back to read the whole scene.
    Amazing post!

  16. Every day Shannon. This happens to me every day. Sometimes I wish I could do this for life? Like skip over the bad parts then maybe go back to them later to process it. But it would be optional. AND I HATE second hand embarrassment. HATE IT. More so than when someone dies. I already get embarrassed enough in reality why do I have to encounter it in in a book. Wah.

  17. This is something I feel like I haven’t thought about at all. I guess I’m not really an anxious reader?? I DO read between my fingers or I’ll feel my heart racing in a really intense scene, but I don’t skim those parts. I think I actually pay more attention to them because I CAN’T MISS WHAT IS HAPPENING. Also scenes don’t really scare me? I get anxious sometimes, though, about those intense scenes. Okay now that I’ve taken the quiz: Cool as a cucumber. Which LOL I guess I am. This was so interesting to read and think about, though!

  18. I get more tripped up when there’s a lot of description and stuff. I’ll be reading along and then get to a boring point and start to skim, just waiting until I get to the good point. Then I’ll see something like, to use your example, a reference to Prim dying, and be like “Wait, WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN? WAS IT IN A BORING BIT?” and then I’ll go back and actually read. But the skimming ALWAYS starts with a boring bit, not a scary bit.

  19. This is really interesting because I tend to skim action scenes and then have to go back and reread them if someone died or something, but I never thought of the possibility that this might be anxiety over the outcome. I always just thought I got bored with action scenes. I actually still think this is more the case, but now I’ll have to take stock of my emotions when it’s happening. 🙂

  20. I do this with movies i’ve already seen. Whenever something tragic happens I often take a 5 or 10 minute break and read further. I can’t say i have this anxiety but oh do i have travel and public transportation anxiety

  21. YES. WE GET EACH OTHER. I am such an anxious reader/watcher. I hope you are familiar with Friends. But Joey will often keep books in the freezer when it gets too anxiety-inducing. I relate to that so much! Usually I have to pause or skim. When reading the fifth HP book when it released, I MISSED THE WHOLE SIRIUS DYING PART. It took me until the end to be all, wait, he’s still alive right?
    Even when watching TV shows or movies, if it gets really embarrassing (I get INTENSE second-hand embarrassment), I HAVE to pause the show. And then I’ll watch in minute increments until the embarrassing part is over. Lol, I’ve got such problems.

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