We in the bookish community talk about mood reading a lot, but what exactly does that term mean? It’s one of those things that doesn’t really have one specific definition, and sometimes I wonder how different or similar all our individual definitions are, and maybe there are some readers out there who keep seeing the term but have no clue what it means and need some clarification, so let’s talk about it!
My Definition of Mood Reading
For me, mood reading has nothing to do with actual emotional moods. My emotions probably do have an impact on what I feel like reading, but not in a specific way. I don’t read X type of book when I’m happy and Z type of book when I’m sad.
When I refer to mood reading, what I mean is that sometimes I feel like reading a certain type of book. Here’s a list of examples of things I might be in the mood to read at any given moment:
– A certain genre
– NOT a certain genre
– M/F romance
– M/M romance
– Menage romance
– No romance
– Family relationships
– Something funny
– Something dark
– Something light
– Something serious
– Something mysterious
– Something about a certain paranormal creature
– Something set in a certain time
– Something short
– A standalone
– A series
– Something about a certain topic or theme
– Something about a certain type of character
– Slow pace
– Fast pace
– Something super specific (e.g. one time I felt like reading a post-apoc in which completely different types of characters who normally wouldn’t associate or get along come together and become friends and there’s lots of struggles but also lots of touching moments)
Sometimes I’m in the mood for a combination of multiple things (e.g. once I wanted something NOT in the urban fantasy and that had no romance). Sometimes the thing I feel like reading isn’t even something I can put into words but more of a feeling. Sometimes a specific book will just jump out at me, and I’ll just know that THAT is the book I feel like. Sometimes though, I don’t know what I feel like, and that’s the worst.
And these moods, they change constantly. I might think, while I’m reading a book, that I’m going to want XYZ next. But then when I finish the book, oh, wait, no, my mood has changed, and now I actually want ABC. (Though, thankfully, I usually don’t switch moods during books.)
What causes these reading moods? Hell if I know. It’s a combination of everything, I guess—my emotions, my level of concentration, what types of books I’ve read recently (for example, I might get kinda burnt out on something and start craving the opposite, or I might find I’m loving something and want more of it), and who even knows what else. But books in series that I love tend to be immune to my reading moods—as in, I can usually read those as soon as I get my hands on them, regardless of my mood.
Other Possible Definitions
I suppose some people might be talking about emotional moods. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen people say they feel like certain types of books when they’re happy, certain types of books when they’re sad, etc.
Maybe some people’s mood reading is always general, like they only feel like a certain genre but it’s never more specific than that.
…I don’t know what other types of things people might mean when they say they’re mood readers? If you have a different meaning from me, explain it to me in the comments!
This wasn’t meant to be about pros and cons of mood reading since there are other posts about that, just what it means. So that’s pretty much it for my thoughts on the topic. You know my definition of the term “mood reading,” now I want to know yours!