Rethinking Reading Ethics

Hullo, world!

I am so excited about today’s post! Some of you may already know, but it’s been weighing heavily on my heart for some time now about a certain topic that is close to my heart…the art of reading. 

And not just reading, but reading ethics, specifically.

I know, I sound kind of bland when I say it like this, but ever since I reviewed my reading in this blog post, I’ve been extra conscious about how I read, what I read, and why I read. It’s probably going to be a bit controversial, and some people may disagree with what I’m going to say. But if you’ve ever felt like your reading has stagnated, or worse, deteriorated in some way, hang tight! 

Me reading last year.

Without further ado, I present to you: Rethinking Reading Ethics.


But first things first, what the deuce is Reading Ethics? Well, put it simply, this is what I call the 5W1H of Reading. 

5W1H is WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW. Ethics is about the heart of reading–what is truly deep and meaningful reading? Why do we read what we read? When are we more prone to read, and how can we align reading with our beliefs?

Those are what Reading Ethics are about. 


What is of wanting most when we think about Reading Ethics is “Why do we read?” One exercise I often do whenever I don’t understand the reason I did something or think the way I do is asking myself “Why?” five times. I applied this principle to the question of reading ethics and why I read:

  1. Why do I read?
    1. I inhale [when I read]
    2. Knowledge is power
    3. Stories give me power
    4. I am found [through stories]
    5. Books complete me

Wow. Starting from an abstract statement like “I inhale when I read”, I got myself to admit that reading books complete something inside me. Let’s take a look at my response to reading ethics.

  1. I want to rethink and reinvent my reading ethics.
    1. Quantity is never quality
    2. I only have so much time
    3. I want to focus  on what really matters in my life
    4. We are what we eat
    5. I want to focus on God’s design and truth for my life

I think I already sort of knew the whys for this question, but it was still good to sort out my thoughts and reasonings. If you’re curious about what you think about reading, take a moment right now to ask yourself, “Why do I read?” and “Why do I want to rethink/reinvent my reading ethics?” (Or if  you don’t think you need to, still ask yourself why you don’t need to rethink it.)


I also made a chart outlining what I was seeing in my reading ethics (specifically of 2020) and comparing it with what I wanted to see in 2021 or what it used to be like (circa 2019).

I read books that interested me or/and was on a reading list
My reading habit became inconsistent (ref. Reading Pie chart)
I will read in a rigorous way that takes into account my entire reading diet
It will improve imbalance and open new avenues and perspectives!
Quantity mattered more
Constructing a strong reading habit mattered, but quality fell away the more I read
Quality will matter more
What I put inside me is much more important than how much I have inside
I read to meet due dates and became stressed
I was  borrowing too many books and  not reading the books that mattered to me
I will only borrow books  once a month and return them before I borrow more
This will help with sorting out the books that really matter to me
Some books on my shelf be like:

From the above points, I realised that books had weight to them as grades did. Honours classes are much tougher than a normal class load, as do AP classes. Classics are much denser than YA. Specifically, Classic nonfiction is denser than classic fiction. Classic fiction dated after the 19th century is less dense than ones before that date. Scientific nonfiction is about as dense as Literary Fiction. 

Of course, these are my perspectives, and I know some people will disagree with me, but I came to realise I wanted to surround myself with books that were truly deep and meaningful. If you’re interested, take a look at my Weighted Book Chart.


So with these insights in my head, I came up with a new reading habit. I read not only because it’s fun and liberating, but because it’s my way of expanding horizons and becoming better equipped to serve God. 

  1. Omnibus 1 list*
  2. YA
  3. Omnibus 2
  4. Nonfiction
  5. Omnibus 3
  6. Japanese
  7. Omnibus 4
  8. Indie
  9. Onibus 5
  10. Fiction
  11. Omnibus 6
  12. Juvenile/Middle-grade

*Omnibus is a Veritas Press classical education program. This is the list if you’re interested 🙂

And that’s my rough reading list. I might change the order, but that’s what my current reading habits look like. As far as this month is going, I’m glad I made the switch since I feel much healthier in my reading diet reverting to more classics and books I don’t read as often. If I have more time in the month than what I have allotted, then I might read extra fiction or two. 

This is my way of Rethinking Reading Ethics. 

This is what reading ethics is all about!

What do you think? How can you rethink your reading ethics? Do you know why you read the book you read? What do the books you read tell about you? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

6 thoughts on “Rethinking Reading Ethics

  1. Thank you for putting together this post! It’s been quite thought-provoking.

    I definitely agree with you in observing that my old reading habits were more about quantity than quality…that has changed quite a bit as I’ve gotten older, since I don’t have as much time to read, so I’m not just reading whatever to fill time, I’m being more intentional about what I fill my time with.

    At the same time, I’m not sure I could stick to a strict monthly reading list that way. 🙂 Mood reading is the way I roll a lot of the time, and I’m okay with that as long as the books that I’m mood-reading are consistently high-quality. Having a list like that would probably spoil my enjoyment, I think. The Omnibus list looks really, really good, though!

    A lot of what I have figured out about my own reading ethics is about when I DNF books. I tend to feel a sense of obligation to books I start, and then not want to DNF them even if there’s content in them that I really don’t really want to read…so I’ve had to be a bit strict with myself about that. Still haven’t quite codified my standards in the way you’ve done with your reading list, but one of these days!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally get you! I mean, I happen to be one of those crazy type-A planners who go into shock if they don’t have super organised lists, so that might be my problem. 😉

      I like mood reading, too, so given I read an average of thirteen or more books a month, I try to give myself a breathing room by only planning 12. (I know, only planning 12…)

      Since I just started this, I might change things along the way, tho! And I also have a similar problem with DNFing books. I think it’s perfectly healthy to DNF if the book is making you read, not the other way around!


  2. […] Depth. Since my terrible reading year in 2020, I’ve become more sensitive to the kind of books I read. With the start of university last fall, I’ve had to read books I don’t necessarily a) enjoy b) agree with c) or would pick up, period, but it’s led me to realise I should not be only reading books I like. Which inevitably led me to re-examine my reading life. (Some of you will recall my Rethinking Reading Ethics post.)  […]


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