I didn’t technically make this year one devoted to reading, but it sure seems like it. Some unconscious resolution to come back to a hobby I have always loved? Maybe.
I don’t consider myself a classy reader or a qualified literary critic, so I’m not about to give book reviews today. I simply want to acknowledge the difference reading has made on my year, starting in December 2016.
As of today, I have read through 28 books. Definitely not the most or least, but for me, that’s an accomplishment. I guess I never tracked my books like I am now, writing down the titles and authors to reflect upon and tally up, but it certainly helps in this example.
One disclaimer to get out of the way: I don’t have a specific number in mind for how much I want to read. Obviously I don’t have any place marker to compare to, so I’m just going at my normal pace and seeing what happens. If I read another 28 books by this December, great. If not, no biggie. I don’t want to restrain or pressure myself in the confines of a number to strive for.
I also think just making the goal for a certain number of books read per year defeats the purpose of reading altogether. Reading like I am is for pleasure only. For getting lost in stories and hearing new narrators and their unique voices in my mind guiding me along. New characters to become emotionally attached to. New plot lines that consume lazy evenings rather than mindlessly watching TV reruns or refreshing social media feeds.
No, what I read isn’t necessarily more productive than those last two pastimes. It’s not like I pick up nonfiction, biographies of interesting people or in-depth history lessons or just useful topics. I just cannot get myself to hold my attention long enough to enjoy that type of literature. And you shouldn’t force yourself to read or do anything you don’t genuinely enjoy. What’s the point of a hobby if it’s not worth your time and energy?
So I say any reading, fiction or nonfiction, is better than nothing. Call me a nerd or whatever you want, but I don’t understand people who hate reading, who didn’t read assigned books in English classes and avoid paperbacks like the plague. Maybe it’s just the English major in me that could easily spend my days locked in a room if a stack of novels is beside me.
I have mentioned it before, but I took quite a long gap of time in there where I never read. I just had no clue what to read or the motivation to find out. I occupied my time mainly with binge-watching television instead, but I was still quite consumed by my own thoughts to really distract myself without looking at a screen. We all go through those phases of picking up different interests and returning to old ones. Especially if you have the attention span of a squirrel, always bouncing around to whatever sounds best to you at the given moment.
Reading was my go-to while abroad in Canada. I filled my extra moments that may have resulted in unease with an escape somewhere else. I haven’t stopped since, probably because I remember how much I missed it. How often I used to read years before, the typical Twilight and Hunger Games series that made me feel like I was a part of something even just sitting on my couch, eyes dancing across the pages. My eyes feel at home resting upon paper rather than a screen, something I’ve come to realize about myself.
Again, I didn’t mean to read as many books as I have, but once I start a good book, I have a hard time putting it down. And I’m not picky when it comes to finding my next read. Sure, I should get to picking up classic titles that are of a “read this before you die” status, but new releases and provoking cover art calls my name.
So if anybody is interested, I can keep you updated on how my reading goes. Let you in on whatever my next title is, what I think about the latest story, whatever else you’d like to hear. I’m by no means a professional critic. But trust me, if I have something from a book to rant about, you bet your bottom dollar I will.
But if anything, whether you enjoy reading or running or movies or rock-climbing or whatever else, make time to do the things you love. A little something every day. You deserve it.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie