There are some thing in life that just make you feel alive. For me, books are one of those things. Like many people, I love books. Sometimes I feel drunk with excitement over all the books I'm dying to read. My Amazon Wishlist is always a mile long and I frequently make impromptu stops at bookstores to pick up a book I just have to have. It's not uncommon for me to hear about a book, look it up on the Internet to see where it's cheapest and by the end of the day to have either bought or ordered the book. Since moving to Portland Powell's has gotten a lot of my business (how can I resist a book for only $6.95?!).
As much as I love books, since at least college, I've had a consistent problem: I'm always reading like 5-10 books at once. This is how it happens: I start reading a book and then another one grabs my attention so I add it in, then another, and another, and another until before you know it I'm juggling too many books, feel stressed and stop reading any of them. Maybe I have reading ADD. The only exception to this is when I find a really, really, really good book and I shove all the others to the side and focus only on that one (usually fiction or a memoir).
My reading habits/problems have always kind of stressed me out, which is ridiculous because reading is supposed to be fun and beneficial and because it's completely self-induced. However, recently I realized something important - no matter how much I enjoy (or don't enjoy) a book while I'm reading it I usually forget most of what I read in a very short time. When a book is extremely enjoyable and makes a huge impression on me I remember more, but in general I just remember key ideas and perhaps a few very memorable phrases.
Therefore, why should I waste my time with books that don't grip my attention and thrill my mind? I think life is too short to force myself to read books I don't truly want to read. Experience has taught me that if I want to read something, I WILL read it. I will stay up all night. I will forgo movies and TV. I will carry it around in my purse so that I can read it any chance I get. You can't stop me from reading a book I desperately want to read. But those other books, the ones that make me feel like I'm back in school and I can't wait for the chapter to be over, but I feel guilty if I don't read them because it's supposed to be "such a good book"? Those books make me feel like I'm exercising or going to the dentist or mopping the floor - things I don't truly want to do, but feel like I should.
And that's stupid. From now on I think I will have a new rule: if a book doesn't interest me enough to keep me reading it, I'm not going to read it. If I put a book down after reading half of it or even three fourths of it and I'm just not that interested in picking it back up, I won't. There are a lot of books out there that I would like to read, but I think it's time to stop wasting my time and bogging myself down with the tedious ones.
I'm liberating myself to listen to my mind and truly enjoy reading!