Looking at my Goodreads challenge (yes, I’m still behind) made me think I’ve read awfully few books this year, and it made me wonder why. I still consider books my favorite pastime, and the “to be read list” is ever so growing. But I don’t read as much as I used to.
Of course, there’s been a lot of writing and editing this year on top of my day job, and I could say video games, movies or arts & crafts take up my free time, but then why would I pick them over books if I love reading so much? The question made me thinking, and I finally realized I don’t read books because… I’m scared.
You see, I don’t only love reading, but I’m also hopelessly addicted to words, and when I open a book—unless it’s for the ten minutes of waiting at the doctor or in a similar place—reading takes priority over my whole life. There’s no chores more important, sleep time to be observed or “just one chapter”. I can switch off the game or put away my crafts when I really have to do something else, and even if I watch a movie till the end instead of going to bed, doing so won’t leave me at 5 a.m. realizing I have to get up in 2 hours. And reading books have actually left me in such situations in the past.
In the end, for the fear of losing myself in a book, and neglecting chores and life in general, I only reach for them when I’m sure I don’t have to tear myself away from the pages. There’s also a matter of the binge-reading as finishing one book demands for another to be read, but let’s not delve on that deep stage of my addiction.
That’s why I’m happy when I travel, be it on the plane or on the train, because it means I’ll have several hours of uninterrupted reading time (especially now, when the airlines don’t force you to switch off the ebook readers for takeoff anymore) and nothing else I should be doing at that time, so there’s no feeling of guilt involved. Though I admit during intercontinental flights I also catch a bit of sleep.
I tried reading during my lunch breaks, letting eyes rest from staring at the screen by staring at some words on the e-reader instead, but an hour is just not enough, and coming back to work (sometimes in the best moments!) really makes me grumpy. Just like an addict who can get her literary fix.
Weekends are a bit safer, but there are always things to be caught up with, some writing to do and the editing too, not to mention house chores, because who needs clean dishes or trash taken out? And I know that if I sit down to read, I will not do anything until one of the two ends: the book or the weekend.
Of course in the end the book hunger takes over and I end up neglecting everything to finish that book I intended to “read just for an hour or two”. And the consequences remind me why I avoided reading in the first place.
So, in the end, I read much less than I’d like to. What about you? Can you read a book bit by bit and take a break whenever necessary? Do you have any tricks to fight the addiction when it’s time to put the book away?