It’s time we’ve had this discussion.
A discussion about book guilt.
We’ve all had it, we all feel it, we all wish it didn’t hang over our heads like a dark, angry cloud or run through our minds like an annoying task on our mental to-do lists that doesn’t seem to get checked off.
How many times do you find yourself reading a book that you enjoy, yet you can’t help feeling like you just want to get it finished? So, you try to convince yourself that if you just finish said book in a certain amount of days or hours, that you’ll feel more accomplished as opposed to if you took your time and said “Screw it! I’ll finish it when I finish it!”.
Or maybe you’re talking books with a friend and they ask you what book you’re reading, and you reply with an over exaggerated reason why you’re enjoying it, but not really enjoying it because it’s actually killing you inside to finish it, making you a big, fat liar? I don’t know how many times I’ve beat myself up after telling people I enjoyed a book when I really didn’t. And the worst part is, usually when I do that, I’ll recommend the book to them. Almost as if to say “Here! Take this book that I told you I loved, but I actually hated and cannot stand to see ever again! Maybe you’ll have better luck with it than I did!”(I wish I could say this, because it would actually be the truth) Instead I light up my eyes and say, “I LOVED IT SO MUCH, you should read it!”
The truth is, it’s okay to not like a book you’re reading. It’s okay to put it down if it’s not pulling you in. Sometimes covers can be deceiving, much like our sometimes phony praise for the books we can’t seem to get through. If you’ve truly loved every book you’ve ever read, then congratulations, you’re a robot. It’s time we stopped putting ourselves down when we give up on a book. It’s all the more reason to find another we’ll actually enjoy!
Book guilt comes in many forms. Another form of book guilt I often find myself dealing with, is reading more than one book at a time. There’s nothing wrong with reading two books or three or ten books or even twenty! That’s great! Go you! Some readers have a difficult time putting their minds into more than one book, while others just crave a change of setting or tone and need to escape one book for another for a while.
What I’m trying to say is, book guilt is real and it’s everywhere and it’s OKAY and it’s not something to hide or feel ashamed about feeling.
From now on I’m going to pledge to not feel guilty if a book is taking me forty days and forty nights to read. If I’m enjoying it and my mind turns off all other things when reading it, that’s all that matters, really. And go ahead, read another book on the side, the other book won’t know, IT’S A BOOK! (This is also the only instance in life where cheating is deemed acceptable)
Good luck, and happy reading!