Thoughts on reading and reclaiming the joy

Now that I have begun to read again (hallelujah!) I’ve been thinking of why I quit — or at least slowed down and what I can do to continue to read. It is not that I quit enjoying reading — it is more that I found other things to do instead including the Internet, playing games on my tablet, and enjoying that third glass of wine.

Another thing I did that did actually restrict my joy of reading was be too critical. At some point in the past 10 years I thought I needed to be on guard while reading and be as critical as possible. I no longer read for the sake of reading. I “needed” to be ready to either argue why I liked or disliked a character or scene or plot.

Reading like that takes energy and takes the fun out of reading. If I like something — great. If I don’t, then that’s fine. Did the story move me in some way? Yes? Good. No? Then move on. No need to be all critical — maybe the book that moved me didn’t move someone else and maybe the book that didn’t, did move someone else. No need to waste energy arguing the point.

So some of you wondered why I [really] decided to do the Read a Shelf project. The answer is because I’ve used many ways to relax all my life and reading was my favorite until I made it a burden by being critical. If I am reading I am not wasting my time on games or the Internet. (By wasting time I don’t mean reading blog posts or writing them — I also don’t mean meaningful FB interaction.)

Anyway — I should go now, I have some reading to do.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on reading and reclaiming the joy

  1. Schweet. I think I’ve stopped reading because I read for a living AND there’s way too much good TV. Still, I read 10–15 minutes before I go to sleep. It’s compulsive ritual.


  2. I love this. I stopped reading (or dramatically slowed down) because I was doing exactly what you said you were doing – the Internet, games on my tablet, and yes, possibly that third glass of wine too. Though reading on a tablet, when there are so many other distractions on the same device, is sometimes an exercise in self-control. I don’t think I was being critical, but I do think I was trying to read “worthy” books. And “worthy” so often meant “depressing.” So I wasn’t feeling enthusiastic about getting back to my books. But lately, I’ve rediscovered some of the joy of reading.

    Actually, your RAS project inspired me to try reading a little more. So far this year I’ve read 15 books (I’m tracking them on Goodreads) and I’m very pleased with myself. In fact, I’m off to do some reading right now. (I have a book I want to finish.)


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