I became an avid reader in late 2015, I was 26 years old. I’ll try to be short since i’ve mentioned it before. I grew up struggling with reading comprehension, not knowing I have aphantasia and was thinking differently than others, and being told I wasn’t allowed to read the things I did want to read, like Harry Potter, because “evil will send you to literal hell”. Thankfully I had Goosebumps and Fear Street from R L Stine to show me that reading could be fun! Even if I still struggled, I enjoyed it. So I have much gratitude to R.L. stine.
But after high school I didn’t read much, just a nonfiction book on paganism here and there as I wanted to learn something, that was it. Until 2015 when I realized I was being dumb thinking I was “too old” to read Harry Potter, that I had missed my shot, and read it. I loved it. Then I wondered what the hell i’d read next and I found booktube and it spiraled from there.
So i’ve made TBR lists and stuck to them (and hated it but couldn’t stop myself), finally changing them to POPs (pile of possibilities) but still … not quite where I need to be.
Readathons, popular in the queer book community, popular in the horror book community, buddy reads, group reads, etc. I’ve started a million (ok about 100, i’m serious) different series only to never continue them because I couldn’t make the time, no matter how much I loved that first book.
I’ve had so much fun and got so much out of the online book community, I am very grateful for it. And I think I did need that push and those experiences first, to kick start me on my journey and show me the awesomely wide world of books. But I think i’m moving past that now but I got to do it consciously. And it’s not as easy as it sounds.
I am not saying any way is better than another, everyone is different! Do what works for you and makes you happy. I am only talking about my personal reading journey, no one else’s.
I know I have a bunch of “reading goals” and challenges but i’m not going to be using those as “must do” things. I’m using them because the challenges on storygraph are fun and it can be fun to see how much I complete of them, without the goal of completing them. Also most of them don’t have a time limit anyway so I can finish them years from now if I want to. Also, I know i’m going to have a lot of times where I don’t know what I want to read, but I can look at them and go “nah, don’t feel like reading that at the moment”, “maybe”, “Oh, yes, that!”. Because I may not be able to think off the top of my head what I feel like reading but I can identify if a thing is a “no” or a “yes” once I see it. So i’m going to be using them as tools to help me decide what I am in the mood for reading, if that makes sense. I can always say fuck them if it doesn’t work out for some reason.
Next year, or starting now really, i’m only going to read when I want and what I want. I will game if I want. I will write if I want. I will draw if I want. I will do puzzles or watch tv or movies if I want. You get the picture, and yes, I do enjoy doing all those things. But rarely do I do most of them. And that makes me sad because I don’t have a good reason.
I will have a rule for myself of no readathons. I will not say ahead of time i’ll participate in a buddy or group read in case I don’t feel like it when the time comes. If when the time comes I feel like it, sure I can read it and chime in. There is one possible exception to my no readathons rule: Nonfiction November! I love nonfiction November but if I don’t feel like nonfiction in november (I pretty much always do though), then I won’t participate. But there is a strong chance I still will participate because i’ll want to. I won’t use the prompts at all though, i’ll just read whatever nonfiction books I want (since that’s all you have to do to participate, the prompts are optional).
And of course, no feeling like I “have” to do anything in regards to reading. If I start to feel that, I need to reevaluate what i’m doing wrong. I’m not in school and I am disabled and unable to work. I don’t have to read for any reason, I read because I want to. I should not be turning it into a chore.
I want to have pure joy at reading, no stress, only unbridled joy. I mean it’s fine if a story stresses me out if i’m enjoying the story, you know what I mean. I am one of those people that I love the really depressing stories … i’m already in therapy ok? (Seriously, I am in therapy) I just want the joy of going “I really want to read right now” and then figuring out what i’m in the mood for, and reading it. Not feeling like I have to, though I don’t quite know how to kick that feeling. Probably just takes practice. I’ll keep kicking it.
I mentioned earlier how i’m awful with series, I want to change that! I want to binge series and not feel like i’m doing something wrong by doing so. I mean, if I don’t change it, that’s fine to I guess but I think that will change as a consequence of doing this :).
I’ll be able to read at my own preference and pace. No “I have to read this much” or “read this book this fast” or “I must read this now, then this, then …”.
Also, I don’t want to feel bad if I want to reread books! Down with rereading shame! Seriously, there are many good reasons to reread, but even if there wasn’t, why the fuck not? Read what you want, you don’t need to justify that to others.
Thank you for listening to my rambling.