Now, mind you, this bookworm-turned-author has never stopped loving literature, but somewhere in between my reading for college and up until the past few weeks, while I’ve been in “maximum productivity” mode, I’ve turned too much of my reading into a duty. Even when reading for leisure, or for what’s supposed to be leisure, I’ve been extra concerned about how many pages I tend to get through in a sitting, about finishing a book before too long— in order to feel like I’ve productively accomplished something with my time.
So I’ve had to ask myself, “Wait, am I trying to ‘get through’ books efficiently to give myself an excuse to read for pleasure? Like unless I somehow turn reading into work, I don’t have a good enough reason to take a quality break from work to do it?” Hey, tracking my reading progress is great fun (much obliged, Goodreads), but why should I turn my reading into a chore? An enjoyable chore, but a chore, nonetheless?
The answer is: I shouldn’t.
I’m a reader. Reading has been my thing ever since I first learned how. Hence, I read. Sometimes, I reread. If a book is entertaining and meaningful enough, I may reread it yet again. And I don’t need an “excuse” to do so.
Fiction is my favorite. It’s done so much for me over the years, from bringing me joy to saving my life. (Seriously, I don’t know what I would’ve done through a horrific few days during my thirteenth year of life if I hadn’t had John Nielson Had a Daughter to keep me occupied so I wouldn’t lose it.) I grew up appreciating the feel and smell of library books, and to this day, bookstores are the only stores I’ve never felt like I’ve spent too many hours in. Yes indeed, all of that corny stuff that teachers and folks on children’s programs say about books opening up new worlds to you— it’s the truth, corny or not. Fiction, nonfiction, dramas, poetry, or whatever have you, is all a valuable part of our human experience.
Now, I may not be at liberty to disappear off into the distant hills to read the months away whenever I might have a fancy for it, but, goodness, if I curl up for an hour or two of evening or weekend reading (um, likely more than two on a weekend), I’m going to enjoy it because I enjoy it. And when I have to choose between dutifully hurrying on to the next novel to increase the quantity of books I’ve read and rereading a novel because it’s still the novel I want to read, I’m going to make my choice without excuses I don’t need.
Confession Number Two: I’m as much into re-watching episodes of the few television shows that I like (much obliged, DVD player) as I’m into rereading books, but that, ladies and gentlemen, is a whole other story.