Weekly Geeks: Blurry Book Disorder

This week’s Weekly Geeks questions are:

  • how do we avoid BBD (Blurry Book Disorder): When one can no longer keep characters and storylines straight? Often brought on by reading multiple books from the same genre in a short period of time.
  • and secondly how we avoid reading ruts.

If I’m not careful I do suffer from BBD – if I read one book after another too quickly without pausing between them. This is one reason I write at least a few words about the books I’ve read, as it does fix them in my mind a bit longer, and I can check back what I thought about it. But unless it’s an outstanding book the details of plots and characters don’t stay with me for very long.

I also find sometimes that I’m not sure whether I’ve read a book or not. This can be because I know the story from seeing a TV adaptation or a film as in the case of some of Dickens’s novels, like Oliver Twist. As for Crime and Punishment, I think I read it years ago, but then again maybe not, maybe I just started it and never finished it. This is another reason for keeping a list of the books I’ve read. The difficulty is that I only started to do this about ten years ago and then only spasmodically.

Books can become blurry when I’m looking at them in the library or in bookshops. It’s not so bad borrowing books I’ve already read but buying duplicates is bad. I have duplicate copies of a few books because I think I’d like to read them, buy them and then discover they’re already in the to-be-read piles.

As I read from a wide range of genres I rarely find myself in a reading rut and if I do I try to read something completely different. That usually works.

10 thoughts on “Weekly Geeks: Blurry Book Disorder

  1. Your comment: ‘unless it’s an outstanding book the details of plots and characters don’t stay with me for very long’.
    I think sums up literature. I am not bnad at remembering the novels I read but I have to my shame bought the same book twice (twice) and once I started reading realised I’d already read it and passed it on to a friend as a gift instead. :O)


  2. My solution is to read alternating genres. For instance, I’ll read a mystery, then nonfiction, then a memoir, then some other novel, and back to a mystery. It doesn’t always work out that way since I read what I’m in the mood for, but usually. I do need to start making a list of what I read, though, because I’ve bought books at book sales that I’ve already read.


    1. I try to mix up the genres a little and I find that does help, I also have a spreadsheet showing all the books that I should have in the house somewhere and whether I have had them passed on to me, or if I need to pass them on to someone else when I have finished with them. They all leave the house one way or another after I have read them, I never read a book twice.


  3. I was thinking about this topic just the other day. I’ve started a new reading process in which I have a main book going, and then when I’m finished I read a chapter or section of multiple books-in-progress that lend themselves to a slower read, that way I don’t rush from immersion to immersion and can more slowly savor some books.

    I definitely mix up my genres, trying not to read too much of the same in one time period.

    Glad to see your blog posts came back–I can’t imagine how frantic you must have felt when it seemed that all was lost!


  4. Finally a term for it! My first experience with BBD is vivid. I was 10 and on a biography binge. Consequently, in an oral book report (which I didn’t prepare in advance), I got confused between Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great. It was not a good time. Afterward, when I realized my mistake, I felt a humiliation that lasted for a very long time. If only I’d known it was just BBD and could happen to anyone.


  5. Hi Margaret,

    LOL! I love the concept of BBD, I never knew that my affliction had a ‘tag’.

    I never try to read more than one book at a time, that’s always fatal for me.

    I have to write down my thoughts as soon as I have finished a book, or it’s gone from memory in quite a short space of time. The trouble with that is that I am so keen to get on with the next read, that I tend to get behing on polishing up my blogs and posting them.

    I quite often buy the same book twice, but that is partly that my TBR mountain is far too high, and partly that publishers keep re-printing books with different cover art, sooo! annoying.

    Of course I may just forget people and plots so quickly because I am getting to the wrong side of middle age!!!!


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