As a little girl I was always fascinated with books. I just liked the feel of them in my hands, the beautiful words and pictures springing from the page. I was definitely one to judge a book by its cover though. But that never stopped me from loading my arms full of books from the free book bin in the children’s room at the library. I would go in scan the shelves while my mom was busy in the adult section, but my scanning wouldn’t last long. I would quickly sneak over to the treasure cove of free books that were just calling my name. “Rebecca, Rebecca, pick me!” Of course as a little girl, when something says free, that means go all in. So I would load all the good looking books, even the ones that were way above my level, and then snack past the librarian with my monstrous stack. I always felt like I was committing a crime with all the books I would take.
I read books for a while in my younger years, but then once reading became a required thing in school, marking down how many minutes you read each day for a homework grade, it was no longer something I enjoyed. I still took out books from the library, free and actually shelf books, but they would sadly sit whimpering in my book crate, unopened and unread. When life was simpler I would always find my mom sitting in her room with her nose in a novel engrossed for hours in a book. I would come and sit next to her on the bed and be amazed by how lost she could get in a book. To me reading someone else’s words seemed pointless. I always said,”Why read someone’s made up story when I could make one up myself and it could be even better. Reading is such a waste of time!”
I actually went through period in middle school where I loved to write. I would get notebooks from the store and sit for hours writing fiction stories (but never ended up finishing any). But that too soon stopped. Literature was just not my thing. Then in the summer before freshman year of high school we were required to read two books from a list they gave out. O how I dreaded it. I chose a book I had already read the year previous in school so I would only have to skim over it before the test they would give us in the beginning of the year. The other book I chose was Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson. I don’t know what happened, but that book changed my views on reading forever. I became so engrossed in that book and read it in record time. Two and a half days and I was done, but craving more. I asked my mom if she had any books I could read and she happily went in search of some of her old favorites as a teen. I loved the books she gave me. They were all very old, yellowed, and musty from the basement, but the words inside were what mattered to me. That summer I ended up reading 29 novels. Crazy! I was so proud of myself and so in love with my new hobby. That summer was also a difficult time for me so I think the books and reading were an escape. It was all I did. That was the start of me waking up before the sun, grabbing a cup of tea and ready for 3 hours until I fell asleep again. I owe it all to Laurie and her book Speak which now I find embarrassing as I would never pick up a young adult drama like that now. But that just goes to show you not to judge a book by its cover!
I continued reading everyday and every minute of my spare time. I even started volunteering every week at my local library because I loved just being around in the deserted stacks of books. I would become mesmerized in the silence and serenity of the library. Books surrounding me and so many great reads just waiting to be opened.
But then I discovered blogs. I only started out reading my 6-7 essential everyday reads so it wasn’t to time-consuming. But then I started drifting from my wonderful hobby and love of reading actual novels to quick easy fun blogger talk. And then I started my own last summer. Well once that happened and my scope of blog reading expanded 100-fold, reading books started falling to the way-side. For some reason the internet and social media are just so much more appealing to me now. I get sucked in on my computer or phone surfing the blog world, reading my 150+ Bloglovin’ feed everyday to zero, twittering, pinteresting, etc. I am even on hiatus from my volunteering work due to a “busy schedule”. And then I look and see my poor lonely novel sitting there before I go to bed, just crying out to be picked up and read. Most days I don’t read a single word from my book. Other days I force myself to get through a few chapters. But then reading for more than 30 minutes makes me so damn tired I end up falling asleep with very little progress made in my book. By this time in 2013 I would have already read at least 5 books. I am still on book #1 for 2014. The book my brother gave me on Christmas. I love the story, and the genre is everything I look for, but I just can’t find the time, the passion, the desire to read.
I look at my sad Goodreads page from time to time and see all the amazing books I have read over the years. I think back to those stories and how great it felt to get lost in them and feel like I was a part of that world. I also see my list of to-read books growing and growing (even though I stopped browsing for more recently) but with no hope now of ever getting read. I would always keep that list down to 50 or less but now it is growing with nothing getting checked off. I have so much to read, so many books I want to read. I have a whole shelf in my room of other books not on that list to read as well. I want the time to read, I want that feeling of escape and book love back in my life. Why has the internet stolen that? Why has my attention been cut so short? Why doesn’t reading give me the same gratification and sense of passion that it once did? I am so sad, upset, and even angry about it. My priorities are not in order. I am not spending my time wisely. Technology should not be this important in my life. But how to I step away and back into the pages of a book?
Maybe this is my anxiety has been through the roof lately, why my Trich came back full force (although I always found myself mindlessly touching my face while reading even back then). Maybe this is my mind and body crying out, telling me to slow down and realize that reading needs to be a part of my life again. I had time once before to read and cherish books, so why can’t I find the time now?
I need to find the time, I need to open a book, I need to lose myself in a story, I need to fall in love with reading again. I love books and I just hope they will forgive me and love me back once I rethink my priorities.
I am sorry, old-wonderful-life-changing-hobby. I miss you and I want you back!
So tell me:
Are you a reader? What book made you fall in love?
Do you feel like technology, life, “unnecessary busyness” has taken away something you used to love?
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