Reading shouldn’t be an obligation… (a discussion)

We all have that book (or…several books) that we’ve been wanting to read forever. Perhaps they’ve been sitting on our shelves for ages, or we’ve been meaning to borrow it from the library for a while now.

While TBRs are, of course, inevitable, lately I’ve been wondering if they’re contributing to this sort of obligation I’ve been developing towards reading. Reading has always been my greatest love, and my greatest escape, but recently it’s started to feel like a bit of a chore. I used to devour books, sometimes having to find a new one each day. Now, I find myself counting pages and growing impatient. There are many things that might be adding to this frustration: my reading goal, my desire to produce reviews at a consistent pace, my growing list of books I “need” to read…a lot of it stems from the pressure I put on myself to cycle through books. I’m beginning to wonder if this is affecting my reading, because now it seems like I read for quantity instead of enjoying a book to the fullest. Some of this might come from the label I’ve given myself: “reader”. As a reader, I must enjoy books, I must read a certain amount, then I must review them–or that part of my identity is false, it’s fabricated. I know this is not the case, but sometimes I can’t help feeling that way, especially since I’ve started blogging. I wanted this to be a cathartic experience, but sometimes it can be stressful because I feel that, to be a successful reader and book blogger, I can’t stop reading or posting–ever. 

Now I’ve realized: I need to give myself a little room to breathe. I’m not going to guilt myself over being 7 books behind on my Goodreads reading challenge. I’m not going to feel bad when it takes a couple weeks to read a book that would normally take me a couple days. It’s not healthy, and it’s not promoting this love that I’ve held for books my whole life. So, the books that have been sitting on my shelf can hold tight for a little bit, because I’ll get to them when I can. I want to crave reading like I used to, I want it to be a true release–not something I feel guilty about when I don’t feel like doing it.

41qhpu2riblWriting this down makes me realize that I have every right to focus on other aspects of my life and spend my free time doing other things. I think I’m going to relax my pace on my blog, and probably books as well. I won’t force myself to do it; I’m going to read when I feel the need and write when I feel the need. For anyone who’s read this far…I sincerely appreciate you tolerating my ramblings.
I’m going to start this new direction in my reading with something I recently picked up: Florence Welch’s Useless Magic. It’s a poetry book, which is a genre I’ve never really explored. It has a beautiful aesthetic with thick, creamy pages and gorgeous photographs. I’m going to take my time savoring it, and see if I can get a little of the reading bug to manifest itself meanwhile.

Happy reading,

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Discussion: Physical or E-Reader?

Hello everyone! I thought I’d break up the monotony of reviews I’ve been posting in favor of one of the most frequently debated topics of bookworms: do you prefer physical books, or eBooks? Like most people, I’d say there are pros and cons to both.

I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember, and until recently I was a staunch advocate of physical books. A project I was forced to do in my Language and Writing class forced me to take a look at both sides, and now I find myself (reluctantly) using my Kindle more often than usual. Here are my thoughts on the two formats.

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Just some pretty physical books I’d like to share 🙂

Physical books: pros and cons. So, I think this one has a lot of pros. It’s all about sensation–the weight of a book in your hands, the smell of the freshly printed ink and creamy paper. While researching, I found that this haptic connection we have with physical books actually helps us form deeper connections because we remember plot and sequences better when we can feel the pages shift from one side of the book to the other, which absolutely fascinates me. The format of books in a culture is directly tied to how we perceive the events that take place in it. How cool is that? Plus, who doesn’t love collecting, or browsing at a bookstore? It’s one of my favorite feelings to place a new book on my shelf…though this leads to some of the cons of physical books. The main issue I have is sustainability. It’s pretty clear that books use a lot of paper, and mass consumerism means that many more books are printed than are actually needed. And then what? They sit on our shelves, collecting dust, until we decide that we don’t need them anymore. Then they get donated and passed on to libraries, where they’re discarded when they aren’t presentable anymore. Yes, I’m sure some end up in recycling–that’s great. But how many more end up taking space in a landfill? Of course, there’s also the convenience factor. While I don’t think this is a big deal (I have spacious purses), this is one of the main reasons people have for liking eBooks better. What do you guys thing of this?

eBooks: pros and cons. It is with great reluctance that I admit that eBooks are very convenient. Not only are they cheaper, but they’re easily accessible from almost anywhere–no shipping or printing necessary. I can buy a new release on the midnight it comes out, right from the comfort of my home. I can borrow and return digital library books with the touch of a button. I can read on the bus, on the subway, while standing in line. I see the benefits for publishers as well, especially with ARCs–it’s a practically free way to publicize new novels. Of course, there’s also the lack of environmental footprint. While there is energy used to create and read eBooks, it’s almost nonexistent compared to physical books. So, there must be a trade-off for this seemingly magical way to read. That brings me to this question: what are we sacrificing for convenience? Are there connections we can make with a physical book that are impossible to forge with an eBook? What do you guys think about this? For me, the answer is absolutely. There’s something about real books that an eBook can never capture, and I think it comes down to a sense of ownership. In a way, when we buy or borrow a book, we become the masters of that story. We are holding it in our hands–the way we read and perceive it belongs solely to us. Each book feels different, just as all of the stories they contain are different.

I think there needs to be a balance between the old souls inside of us and our more practical, modern selves. For me, I’d say that balance needs to start with buying books that I know I’ll like. I’ve found that, for the most part, I agree with the general population of Goodreads. If a book has more than four stars, I’ll probably enjoy it enough to buy a physical copy. If it has bad reviews but I still think I’ll like it, I borrow it from the library. Anything that doesn’t fall under those categories will be found on the Kindle store, Kobo, or Netgalley. (You guys just witnessed me make a promise to myself. Hopefully this will help my wallet and cut down on my TBR of books that I own).

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you agree with me? Which format do you prefer, and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Quick side note: Thank you all for 150 followers! I know this may not seem like a lot to some bloggers out there, but I think this is a pretty hefty milestone. Huge gratitude to those who have followed since the beginning as well as those who have recently decided to join me on my journey. I was thinking about maybe hosting a giveaway when I reach 200 or 300 followers, so stay tuned :). I’m so glad that I’ve become a more active blogger, because I love this bookish corner of the internet. Everyone is super friendly, responsive, and informative! I’ve learned so much from everyone’s thoughts, opinions, and comments, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

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