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!