Let’s face it, we bookworms tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves, when it comes to our reading, because we’re weird like that, but in a good way. And, the truth is that reading should always be fun. Guilt free. ALL THE FUN SO MUCH OF THE FUN BECAUSE WORDS ON PAGES *insert screech* You know what I’m talking about. So I thought that compiling a list of the reasons that bookworms feel guilty and why they should just stop would be a great idea
1. Not reaching our Goodreads challenge/lowering our goal for the year
In the past few years, the Goodreads challenge has become a staple of measuring achievement when it comes to reading. It has become insanely popular and it’s honestly such a good tool to keep track of everything you’re reading. But it also adds an immense amount of pressure. I’ve been there. When December rolls around and you see that you’re to the Goodreads challenge what Pluto is to being a planet in the Solar System (a.k.a. not even close; also VIVA LA PLUTO because Pluto deserved better smh), the panic sets in. You’re left with two options: lowering your goal or not finishing the challenge. Both make you feel like crap. But honestly, life makes us feel like crap far too many times, thank you very much, so let’s not let reading add to the ever growing pile of crap, am I right?
There’s no reason to feel guilty. If you read one book that year, you’re still a bookworm and it’s still a HUGE achievement. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t reach your challenge. It’s just a stupid tracking tool on the internet, it’s not something to measure your worth as a reader or as a person. You’re still awesome, even if you read just a page. Even one page counts. We’re busy, school and work get in the way 99% of the times. Unexpected life events occur. Shit happens. It’s normal and it’s expected, because life is fun and all that jazz.
Also, may I suggest a great idea: set your goal to one book for the year. Boom! Pressure off. You’ll still be able to see what books you read, how many pages and all that jazz, with the bonus that you don’t feel like hyperventilating every time you open your Goodreads account
2. Not finishing books (the dreaded DNF)
Let me tell you something right off the bat: life is too short to waste on books that you’re not enjoying. Yes, I know, if you’re like me, you die a little on the inside every time you are at that point where you want to scream at the book you’re reading: BUT WHY ARE YOU NOT GOOD WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME WHO DID I OFFEND IN A PREVIOUS LIFE FML FML. It’s a reality. But let’s face it: you’re not going to enjoy every single book you pick up. It’s just not written in the stars. Which is why it’s perfectly acceptable to just…stop reading it. Put it down. Hug a kitten. Contemplate the universe. Leave it be. Maybe pick it up at a later time, maybe not. But don’t feel guilty. You didn’t disappoint the book, yourself, the book gods or literature as a whole. It just wasn’t meant to be and you should never force yourself to read a book you’re not enjoying. In my case, every time I force myself to keep going with a book I’m not enjoying, I tent to end up in The-Thing-That-Should-Not-Be-Named a.k.a. the Book Slump™. Just…no.
3. Not reading classics
80% of the classics I’ve read have bored me to tears. I mean. I want me some dragons, magic and lost princesses. There are no such things in most classics (a huge oversight on the part of the writers, but I’m not pointing fingers). I’ve stumbled upon some that I really enjoyed, but too few to really make me actively pursue reading classics. The trouble is that a lot of people cringe so badly when you tell them that you don’t read classics.
“So yeah, I don’t really read or like classics”
“OMG HOW DARE YOU I AM OFFENDED”
“Um, I just..don’t really enjoy them/relate to the stories/want to live while I’m reading them”
“BLASPHEMY. SACRILEGE. BEGONE HEATHEN. SHAAAAME”
Whenever people react like this, it puts me off reading classics even more, because I hate judgy people. But I digress. My point is, the amount of classics that you read or don’t read doesn’t indicate how “good” of a reader you are (fyi, there are no good or bad readers imo). It’s just indicative of the genres you enjoy reading. That is all. People who read classics aren’t THE BEST BOOKWORMS™. They’re just people. Like you.
4. Rereading books
I will shout this from the rooftops: I LOVE REREADING BOOKS. It’s something so refreshing and comfortable to go back to a book universe you fell in love with. To revisit favourite characters and go on adventures with them again. I reread at least a few books every year. Last year, I actively tried to reread at least one book each month. It was so much fun!
Rereading books can get you out of The Slump™. Rereading books is an excellent alternative for when you can’t afford to buy new books because stupid life costs money booooo. Rereading can be so insightful, because you notice so many things you missed on your first (or second, or third or…you get my drift) read. Rereading can be a whole new experience years after reading that book for the first time. Rereading a certain book can be the best for you at a certain time, because everything is familiar and safe. Rereading is absolutely no reason to feel guilty – people usually say they’re wasting time when they’re rereading (um, no), missing out on new releases (they’ll still be there a week later when you finish rereading your favourite book thank you very much), they fear not liking it as much the second time around (fine, I’ll give you this, it’s a possibility, BUT I ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE). Long story short: reread more books 2k17.
5. Neglecting books because life
We’re bookworms, yes. But we’re also People Who Need To Live and Function in Society. What does this mean? That we sometimes don’t have that much time to read (I know, it’s just so rude). Days may pass when we don’t read at all. Weeks. Sometimes months. Years? (all my college years were spent reading almost academic books exclusively; it was a dark time in my life). But that’s okay. There’s no reason to feel guilty for doing our best to live out lives. Doing that sometimes implies giving up certain things, because we simply don’t have the time or energy to do them. That doesn’t make us bad people or bad readers. Your books will still be waiting for you when you have the time to devote them your full attention. Books don’t judge.
Surprisingly or not, this is just part one. I have many feelings about this particular topic, because I really really want people to read books guilt free. And live the bookworm life to the fullest
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these points. And if there was ever a time you felt guilty for something book related
Happy reading, bookish people <3