Can you fall out of love with reading? It seems stupid to ask as I’m running a book blog but can you? Because for the last four years or so it feels like I have. How else can you explain the constant reading slumps, the nonexistent urge to read that used to be so strong, or just feeling meh about every. single. book. you pick up?
Or maybe it’s not that I no longer love books or reading, but I just don’t care enough. Or at least, not as much as I used to. When I was younger, according to my reading logs all my Language Arts teachers forced me to keep, I averaged around 150 books per year. I basically read every night.
These days reading 30 books in a single year is a struggle. That’s my goal this year and I’m already behind. That’s less than reading one book every week. What happened to the book dragon in me?
I guess you could say school? High school and college are more stressful and time-consuming than middle school and the lower grades. But if I’m being honest, they’re not really to blame. School is just the scapegoat; it’s the easy excuse. The one everyone accepts and the one I tricked myself into believing these last 5 years. But if school isn’t the culprit then what is?
Maybe it’s the fact that all the books published around 2010 – 2012 sound more or less the same. At least the dystopian ones felt like that. They all pretty much follow the same plot lines, have the same character types, and if we’re super unlucky, have same “twists”.
Or maybe it’s the fact that reading takes work. There’s a reason why you burn more calories from reading than watching tv. Your eyeballs have to move (you know, across the page) and comprehend what you’ve read. Then you have to flip pages (or drag/tap your finger on your ereader). To watch tv you just sit and stare at your television. Which is probably why I was more prone to watching shows than picking up books.
Or maybe it’s the fact that I read YA and everyone seems to look down on all of us that read it.
Or maybe it’s the fact that by nature I’m a mood reader. It’s very hard for me to get into a book, no matter how good and well written, if I’m not in the mood to read. (Though to be fair, getting into a book is the easy part, actually picking up one and starting it, well that’s a whole other story).
Those are all great and possible reasons. And I would be lying if I said none of them mattered. That being said, I think the blame for my dwindling love affair with reading rests mostly on the shoulders of one thing, and one thing alone.
The internet is the real culprit.
I may be considered a millennial (though technically I am a 90’s kid) and act like one, but I do remember a time when the internet was not woven into every aspect of my life like it is today. Back when reading was the only form of entertainment that existed. (That and board games – there was no cable in the house).
That’s why I blame the internet. It’s even more time consuming than school and everything associated with it. Case A, just look at this blog. I spent so much time and energy (not to mention money) on this thing. It all started when Hurricane Sandy hit my poor little state. I got a week off from school since half of the district and the homes in it had no power. Fortunately, my house was not affected. Normally, I would have spent the week reading. But nope. I started this blog instead. And from that point on, blogging was Priority #1, school was #2 (don’t tell my mom), and reading got dropped down the #3.
Throw social media into the mix and everything goes to hell. Social media is terrifyingly addictive. Especially Instagram, that cursed app I love so much (hey, did you know I have a bookstagram account?).
Okay, so maybe the internet isn’t to blame as much as I am. Because let’s face it, even though the internet has become more prevalent in my life, that doesn’t mean I have to spend all waking hours on it.
The internet just became a gateway that books were to me when I was younger. From YouTube videos and news articles, tv shows and books (hello, RivetedLit!) and social media, it seems like the internet has it all. I guess I just tend to forget that life also exists when the screens turn off.
This summer, I made it a point to turn off all electronics for a few hours every week. Those have become my reading days, ones filled with peace and imaginary friends. Ones that finally pulled me out of a reading slump that lasted for more than a quarter of my life.
I’ve made improvements but I still have a long way to go. I’m definitely way behind when it comes to most books that the bookish community is buzzing about.
What books should I read as soon as possible?