Kernels of Nonsense, #30: Why I Don’t Read Every Day

Kernels of Nonsense (2)Kernels of Nonsense is a bimonthly discussion feature here on my blog where I discuss various book- and blogging-related topics. This week I want to talk about reading habits, specifically the fact that I don’t read every day.

This past few months I’ve noticed that I have been consistently reading seven books every month and even if I feel that I’m reading quite quickly, I still end up reading the same amount. This got me thinking about how often I don’t read.

There are some days where I just can’t focus (life why must you be so difficult!), when I’m not in the mood to read (I said it!), or sometimes I’m just too busy to even think about picking up a book. I also can’t read when I’m sick and I always hear how people spend time reading in bed because they have a bad cold, but I lack focus whenever I come down with something. I’m also prone to migraines which can sometimes make it impossible to do just about anything.

As book blogger I think there’s an assumption that whenever we have a bit of free time, we are reading and for me this just isn’t the case. In fact, I actually think I read a less now that I’ve gotten so much more into blogging because time I might otherwise devote to reading is spent writing posts or visiting other blogs. Blogging is hard work and at times it can take away from reading.

I’ve gotten into the habit of finishing a book and spending whatever free time I may have the next day (if I finish a book really late) writing a review and sometimes I don’t pick up a new book until the next night. I’ve also gotten into the habit of not reading very much on the weekends. I’m lucky if I spend some time on Saturday or Sunday reading and it’s unheard of for me to devote the entire weekend to reading a book. It isn’t that I don’t want to read (because I would love to spend an entire day reading from morning till night), but I’m always so busy with friends or family and I often don’t get a chance to focus on books. And when I do get a chance, after a hectic day, I sort of just want to veg with Netflix or just sleep. As I edit this I know I probably won’t have time to start a new book until tomorrow (Sunday) even though I finished my last book Friday night.

Which brings me to the issue of guilt. I can usually brush off a day of not reading, but when two or three days pass without me even reaching for a book, I feel a little guilty. It’s this form of blogging guilt where I feel that I should be reading, that I’ve made a commitment to review books and I can’t do this if I’m not reading. I also feel that I have somehow let myself down by not reading a certain amount of books every month, so if I feel like I am falling behind, I will stay up late finishing a book out of obligation. I worry so much about this that I’m consistently 5-8 books ahead on my Goodreads Reading Challenge because it’s unacceptable for me to fall behind at any point. (I’m the person who shows up early to everything, which might give you a clue about the kind of person I am.)

As an avid reader, I kind of need the written word to feel like myself. Reading provides relaxation, an escape from the noise of the world, and it’s just fun. I enjoy sitting down and falling into another world, I like the quiet that comes with reading in solitude. I can go a couple of days without reading, but when I reach that three-day mark I start to feel the absence of something important.

There is, however, the part of me that sees the benefit of taking a day or two off. I find that I spend a good six or seven days a month not reading, so when I do eventually reach for a new book, I find that I’m really eager to get started. Like the saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow founder.” I also notice that I don’t feel stressed to get a review done immediately because I don’t feel obligated to pick up my next read right away. I’ve never felt the need to commit to a rigorous reading schedule, so even though I read a lot, I don’t stress too much about not reading every day.

Do you read every day? Do you feel obligated to read because of blogging? How much does blogging take away from your reading time? How long can you go without feeling that you need to read? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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29 thoughts on “Kernels of Nonsense, #30: Why I Don’t Read Every Day

  1. I read most days, the days I don’t read are when they are very busy, I’m tired, stressed whatever. But also if I have just finished an amazing book, I find it difficult to get into the next one straight away, so sometimes after a really fantastic book, I will spend the next few days thinking about that one until I can get into my new one. I get what you say about blogging leaves less time for reading too, I spent a lot more time now reading other blogs when I could be reading books, but hey I enjoy them!
    Amanda.

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  2. “Blogging is hard work and at times it can take away from reading.” THIS. There have been so many times since i started blogging that I have felt this exact way. I feel like I need to read so I can make posts, or the time I could spend reading is used on blogging. I definitely go through spells where there are times I read a little everything and then other times where I do take breaks. And of course, there are always things going on in life to get in the way! I think that as long as you are happy doign whatever you do, everything is fine!

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  3. I don’t read every day, either. I do think I read more now that I’m blogging because of the pressure, and because I’ve taken to reading 2-3 books at a time while I used to stick with only 1. But I’m a writer, and that’s what really takes time away from reading — I feel like I have a max amount of “story” every day, and writing my own takes up most of it, leaving very little time for reading books!

    Also, I’m glad you mentioned reading while sick. I don’t know how other people do it, but I can’t!

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    • I used to think I was reading more because of blogging, but after taking a look at the numbers, I’m actually reading less, but I’m reading a better books, so I think reading less is worth it. Writing takes a lot of time, especially if you just can’t find the words. I count those who can read while they’re sick very lucky.

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  4. I feel the same with my GR challenge- I’m 7 books ahead, down from 13 and I feel like the pressure is on =P
    I’m not great at being a person who reads all the time either. I get through so many books because I’m such a fast reader, but I’m often distracted by the internet and messing about with stuff. I also tend to read more in the summer, because I have more time and like reading outside. I think I’m reading more than I used to with the combination of uni pressure and blogging, but still not as much as I’d like.

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    • Haha, I’m so glad I’m not the only crazy one when it comes to needing to be ahead in my Goodreads Challenge. I’m a pretty fast reader myself which helps when I don’t get a chance to pick up a book for a couple of days. It’s never enough when your TBR seems to multiply overnight!

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  5. I love that you accept your reading time and don’t get all hung up on it. Blogging is indeed a lot of work, and I felt the pressure to get something up on a regular basis. Also, I love visiting other blogs. I like seeing what other bookish people are reading and what they are talking about. I found that I wasn’t just reading less, but was reading less than I wanted to. I made some much needed adjustments. I do read everyday, but some days it is only a few pages. I am now reading as often and as much as I feel like reading.

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    • Blogging has a way of sucking you in and suddenly you’ve spent the entire night making posts or visiting other blogs. It’s good that you’ve found that balance, I think it’s really important so neither reading nor blogging feel like a terrible chore.

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  6. I get it! Im a reader, so I typically prefer to be reading on my off time but I go through cycles with it. I’ve noticed that from may-sept I tend to read a lot, then from oct-april it slows down a bunch. I hardly read at all from feb-april of this year. sometimes I get hooked on some other hobby like painting, or building, or a video game. Sometimes my brain just needs a break from intaking so much imagery from reading so I get into a several week long Netflix binge. Some weeks I get more serious about running and working out instead of reading. After just finishing the BookTubeAThon Im feeling a little bit of book exhaustion now. It might be time to start watching House, M.D. on netflix at night lol

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    • Netflix is a great way to sort of do something without actually having to do something. I think reading is such a stimulating activity, it is nice to give the ol’ brain a break once in a while. I’m super bad at making readathon commitments because I get so stressed and then something always seems to happen so I can never devote the kind of time I want to it.

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  7. Same here! I don’t spend every minute of my free time reading, like so many other readers out there. Some of it is spent with friends, some helping out my mom… and most of it is actually spent studying. Since I’m preparing for the Medical exams in my country, there’s a lot (and I mean a LOT) for me to learn and remember. It’s a lot to keep up with, and sometimes I feel like whenever I get free time, I should just go rest. I don’t want my love for reading to become like an obligation. Never.

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  8. I’m definitely feeling super busy at the minute, I’m juggling a lot, and I’m finding I’m not getting very long to read, maybe 20 minutes a night before bed, whereas before I could have read for an hour or two every other day. Blogging definitely takes away from reading time! Both writing posts and catching up on others’ blogs. I watch BookTube too, and I’ve started taking part on Twitter more lately. It’s a constant struggle I think, and if I don’t read for a while I feel guilty too, or restless, that’s probably a better description. I have a lot of blog posts I need to write, and a lot of reviews to catchup on for books I’ve already read. I could do with some blog maintenance and housekeeping this weekend… we picked a great hobby didn’t we?! Lol R x

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    • Oh yes, life and blogging can be hard things to juggle and even though I love blogging, there are so many things you got to do to keep up with everyone else. Restless sounds about right for me too, there’s just that itch that doesn’t quite feel right and you need reading to feel like yourself. Who knew blogging was this involved? Despite that, it’s so refreshing to be a part of a community with so many like-minded people.

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  9. I really like that you chose this topic for a discussion because I think you’re right- there’s an assumption that book bloggers are chronically reading, and to admit otherwise is almost a taboo. I have seen my reading increase since I started blogging (largely due to the fact that I’m exposed to many more titles now) but I find that sometimes I curb my reading time because the faster I read, the more the review-writing piles up. I will usually stop myself from starting a new book if I have 2 or 3 reviews waiting to be written so I don’t get too overwhelmed. I agree with you though, sometimes blogging definitely cuts into reading time!

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    • Yes, I’ve heard many book bloggers (not just on this platform but on tumblr too) express their shame when they don’t read, but I think it’s just a fact of life that reading can’t always take precedence. We love it, but sometimes other things are more important and blogging does not necessarily accompany reading, it’s something else we enjoy that enhances the reading experience and both require time commitments.

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  10. I read almost every day since I read primarily ebooks and my Kindle app is always with me on my smartphone. If I have to wait more than a couple minutes, my book is “open” and I’m reading it. And I try to always unwind every evening with 10-15 minutes of reading before I turn my light off. Fortunately, I don’t have insomnia issues so the backlit screen right before bed doesn’t mess with my ability to fall asleep. Though, if I’m reading a “real” book (physical book), that is usually my nightstand read.

    I read far MORE now that I have focused my blog primarily on books but I don’t feel guilty about it. I’m happy I now have an excuse to prioritize reading!

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    • Ebooks are a great way to always have a book with you. I prefer physical books and let me tell you, if I’m on the go and I happen to have a book in my bag, my shoulder gets awfully tired. I don’t think I read more because of blogging, but I now view reading as a major priority because of it.

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  11. I try to read at least an hour a day, but sometimes I’ll go a day or two without reading. I may try, but find I’m not in the mood and have trouble focusing. Like you said, when I’m not reading I do feel guilty sometimes. Like I should be since I blog. However, I don’t think I’m reading more than I’d would if I wasn’t blogging. Except for the books I request for review, the rest of the books I read & review because I want to. Usually when I need a break, it’s those books I’ll step away from.

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    • It’s good that you’ve stuck with reading what you want even though you blog. Blogging can sometimes add a bit of pressure to read what everyone else is talking about rather than what interests you. I also try to read everyday as well, but I can’t force myself because it’s more than likely that I’ll forget everything the next day if I’m really not into it.

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  12. Pingback: Monthly Wrap-Up: August ’15 | A Kernel of Nonsense

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