Why Do We Hate-Read?

You might be wondering what “hate-reading” is, and/or feeling pretty sure you’ve never done it.

Returning to that racist uncle’s FaceBook posts over and over? Perusing articles from your opposing political views to stoke your rage about current issues? Yes, you’re hate-reading.

When it comes to hate-reading, the internet has us covered. But it kinda makes sense, right? On the internet, particularly social media, we can’t help reading things that make us furious. It’s in our faces, all the time.

So when we’re faced with this every day online, a person wouldn’t intentionally hate-read books, right?


My hate-reading generally starts out as annoyance. Maybe it’s a character who rubs me the wrong way, inconsistency in the plot, poor editing, or an unskilled audio book narrator (sometimes it’s combination of these things.) One of these relatively minor issues will start out as mild irritation, then become more and more so, until I’m foaming at the mouth about how much I hate this book.


So why do I keep reading? As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge proponent of quitting a book if I’m not “feeling it,” meaning if it’s boring,I can’t follow the plot, or simply dislike it. The difference with a hate-read is that it has potential. That’s what makes me so angry. Usually I’m thinking Surely this a-hole character is going to get his/her act together, or This has got to get better eventually.

There has to be at least one component of the book I like. Often it’s that the concept has potential to be awesome, then I’m super disappointed by how it falls short.

Here’s one thing that’s clear for me: Hate-reading is not about the author. There’s no author bashing involved. Writing is really, really hard. I admire anyone who commits to doing it and completes a book. (You guys, writing a book is so hard) Then to not only finish a book, but then get it published is incredible. So if a book sucks, and it gets published, that’s not all on the author. There are editors, agents, publishers, and a whole crew of other people who read that book, and gave it the green light.

And I recognize that not every book is for every person. That’s why I’m  not giving titles of books I’ve hate-read. Because I’ll say I hated a book, and other people will say they love it, and that is all true. There are times I’ll argue a books merit or lack-there-of, this just isn’t one of those posts.

One of my Top 5 favorite movies, The Love Guru, has been named by multiple sources as one of the worst movies of all time. I don’t care because it brings me joy every time I watch it.


If I hate-read a book, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. In fact, I’ve found they’re usually popular best-sellers!

Another reason I hate-read is motivation. As a writer, I’m always energized when I encounter writing that makes me think “Hey I could do better than that!” I’ll admit that seems a little mean, but again, I’m a writer – we usually take inspiration anywhere we can find it!

While I was researching for this post, I came across this article that explains the phenomenon of hate-reading much better than I can. The bottom line is lots of people do it, and no one really knows why for sure. I think my guesses are as good as any!

What about you? Have you ever had any experiences with hate-reading? (You don’t have to name titles!)


1 Comment

  1. Bethany

    March 7, 2018 at 8:14 am

    I try to keep my hate-reading to comment sections 🙂

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