When the Order of the Phoenix came out all those years ago, I finished reading that log of a book in the span of 3 days. I’d barely slept at night because all I wanted was to know, what was going to happen to Harry Potter and his friends in this book? And as I was nearing the end of it, with emotions running high, I promptly went through the first four stages of grief in a span of two minutes when one of my absolute favourite characters, Sirius Black, was killed off in the final battle (I’ve still not forgiven Rowling for that, truth be told).
Still haunts me to this day. Seriously.
And now? Now I have a bookshelf filled with unread books collected in recent years, and very little desire to crack any of them open, but not for lack of trying. If trying means taking a book out and attempting to get past the first couple of pages, only to immediately fail in doing so. I’d name you all of the books that I own and haven’t read yet, but as a self-professed bookworm, it’s pretty embarrassing when someone asks you what you’re currently reading, and you can’t reply them because you haven’t actually been reading at all. Despite making wish lists for books and setting goal trackers for my lack of a reading habit, I can count the number of books I’ve read this year on the fingers of one of my hands.
How did this happen?
How did something that once brought me so much joy, and still does (when I can actually be bothered to sit down to enjoy it), become something that’s slowly resembling a chore?
Because make no mistake; I still love to read. Fictional realms seem to be infinitely better than the current reality we have and I’m a bit of an escapist at heart. I’m one of those girls whose ideal man can probably be found in a book or several somewhere. I have no specific genre that I’m drawn to; I’d pick anything up if the little blurb at the back of the book catches my attention and I’ve cash to spare. But it’s the idea of staying put in one spot for hours on end that puts me off.
Without me noticing, I’ve become so much of a serial multi-tasker that just paying attention to a single object of interest isn’t enough to tempt me anymore. Boredom comes far too easily and I get pretty anxious if I don’t switch up tasks in more than thirty minute intervals. This makes for a lot of disrupted reading and I hate going back to a story and having to start in the beginning again just because I’ve forgotten all about it. And it grates at me, that I was once that girl who would hide her novels underneath her skirts, and read them in class without the teacher noticing (to the slight detriment of my grades, ironically), and now I can’t even sit still for ten freaking minutes to read a YA novel.
But whenever I fall into this funk, I remind myself that it’s stupid to measure up to an imaginary standard held by others and be preemptively perceived as a failure of a bookworm. What right does anyone else have to my reading habits? Why do I feel like I’m being looked down upon if someone is surprised by the fact that I just don’t read as much anymore? Should I be attending Former Bookworms Anonymous?
Because let’s face it; I bought the books. I filled the space on my shelves. I read for my own gratification and satisfaction. If I ever do fall out of love with reading (which can happen but it’s a pretty high unlikelihood), that’s my prerogative.
If you’ve never even fallen in love with reading, that’s okay too. More for me, actually. Books are a source of joy to those who love them, not a way to distinguish and classify people according to preconceived notions of ill judgement.
So let’s stop the #bookshame, people.