Higher, Faster, and Stronger: What are Your Reading Superpowers?

Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

As readers, we have talent. In some cases, those talents are useful. We can reference books in casual conversation, understand allusions in pop culture, or make book recommendations. In some cases, those talents are entirely useless. We might be able to walk while reading (useful for getting more books into one’s eyes, but not much else) or we might be able to remember exactly where on a page a specific phrase occurred (useful for when you need to look up that very specific phrase). Whether useful or not, these are reading superpowers, and they’re part of what makes us as readers uniquely who we are.

What are some of your reading superpowers? Perhaps they align with some of what fellow Rioters have listed among theirs. Maybe they’re entirely different. Whatever the case, drop your reading superpowers in the comments and collectively, we can become our own superhero team.

The following reading superpowers are anonymous because, well, some of them are better left unsigned.

Let's talk about our reading superpowers. What are the things you can do as a reader that you love? That you loathe? reading superpowers | reading habits | reading quirks | bookish habits | bookish quirks

Reading Superpowers

  • I can always figure out the twist in a YA psychological thriller by page 10.
  • I can remember what side of a book and what position on that side of the book an image or text box was located.
  • When choosing a book to read on a plane, I will choose a book that makes me cry in front of the flight attendant 90% of the time.
  • I’m the Reading Multi-Tasker. I can read while cooking, walking, watching TV, or holding a conversation.
  • I can read for any amount of time, anywhere. My signature move is reading one paragraph while on an elevator.
  • I read so slowly, my TBR pile has gained enough mass that it’s now sentient. I call it Charles.
  • I can read up to 10 books simultaneously without mixing up plots, characters, or story arcs.
  • I can guess which character is a double agent or is going to betray the others by the first third of a book.
  • I read War and Peace in 12 days (while working full time) and that will forever be the moment I decided I clearly have reading superpowers.
  • I can find specific quotes and details I want to revisit pretty easily because I remember how they are positioned in the book and on the page (in physical books).
  • I am great at forgetting the murderer’s identity in Agatha Christie books, so I can reread them and be surprised all over again!
  • I can speed read graphic novels and comic books, and I can nitpick easily about semantics like a “literature club” actually being a poetry club.
  • I can remember bits of text, especially dialogue, word-for-word for years. It happens even with books I’ve only read once. Sometimes I’ll struggle to track down a book I read as a kid because all I can remember about it is a single, very particular line that might or might not have any clues about what the rest of the book was like!
  • If a book mentions a specific date, I’ll probably coincidentally be reading it on that day. (Yes, I know this is probably just confirmation bias.)
  • I can cry at things in books that aren’t even a little bit sad.
  • I know where all my books are on my shelves even though there is no rhyme or reason to their organization—I just remember.
  • I have dyslexia, but I read 80 books last year: 16 books and 64 audiobooks.
  • I can read upside down and backwards.
  • I can read and knit provided the pattern isn’t super complex.
  • I have always been able to read extremely fast. In elementary school, I would read a 500 page book in a day.
  • Reading while walking to work without falling down, running into anything (unless sabotaged), or walking into the street.
  • Ignoring people who ask “What are you reading?” when I’m reading on the plane/train/park with headphones in.
  • Following all the twisty windy turns in surrealist maze-like novels.
  • I can tell if a book is written by a white man within 5-ish pages.
  • I’m very good at pretending I’ve read a book. It was a great skill to have in college, especially because I chose reading-heavy classes thinking I could totally do all the readings. (I could not.) So if the assignment is pp. 1-20, I’d read 1-10 if I’m desperate. If the next assignment is pp. 21-40, I skip 11-20 and go straight for 21-30.
  • I can tell characters’ text etiquette: do they leave you on “read?” Respond right away? Never message you first? I KNOW.
  • I made The Odyssey interesting to 18-year-olds.
  • I teach four-year-olds. When reading out loud, I can insert the student’s name who is not paying attention into just the right part in the book to make it sound like it is supposed to be there and also catch his or her attention.
  • I can balance the hold maximums at my libraries, without hitting the limit, nor falling lower than 5 from the maximum. And I almost never get fines for overdues.
  • I have, against all odds, figured out how to eat tacos and read at the same time—mind you, that doesn’t mean I should eat tacos and read at the same time.
  • If there is a love triangle, I will always be Team Whoever Doesn’t End Up Together. It never fails.
  • I’ve never missed my subway stop even while reading with earplugs in.
  • The spines of my paperback books are absolutely pristine. Pristine, I tell you.
  • I know exactly which page I am up to without a bookmark (mostly because my kids keep stealing my bookmarks).
  • I have been reading since I was 3yo. Solid novel reading, without assistance. The first complete book was The Hobbit. Primary School ‘readers’ were Hell’s Torment.
  • I’ve read every Newbery Award winner for fun and remember in detail each one (and can remember the year it won as well for many of the books). It was a project I completed when I was 10.
  • I know the exact % I’ve read on my Kindle every time I check to see where I’m at.
  • I know the twist/killer from looking at the cover of almost every recent psychological thriller.
  • I can watch TV and read a book at the same time and know exactly what is happening in both without missing anything.
  • I collect a certain series of books and I can spot their spines on a shelf in seconds.
  • I always catch typos in books. It never fails. It can be a major publisher and I will always find misspellings or grammatical errors that should not have been overlooked.
  • I read Game of Thrones.
  • Even if I stop an audiobook in the middle of a sentence, I can always remember exactly where I am and what’s happening within seconds when I start it up again.
  • I can make THE coziest reading spots. I have two little reading nooks in my home and could seriously start a reading-corner-creating business in classrooms.



    Looking for more shit book nerds do? We’ve got you covered. We’ve also talked about the weirdest things done in the name of books.