This really isn’t a post about not reading, as I do read something every day, if only a few pages before I fall asleep. It’s more about my limits as a reader. As much as I love reading, there are times I just can’t do it, and I also feel like I’m one of the few book lovers out there who feels that way. For me, reading is sort of relaxing, but really, when I’m exhausted and stressed out and trying to unwind, a book doesn’t always help. I wish I were the kind of person who could read all the time, but I’m just not. I have very definite limits on when I can read and for how long.
I’ve been thinking about this lately partly because I’ve been so busy and have had less time and energy for reading, but also because of the recent read-a-thon where people read for 24 hours straight. I admire all you who can read for 24 hours straight, but there’s no way in the world I could ever do that. I couldn’t read for even half that time, and probably not even for a quarter of that time, or maybe even an eighth. I would go stir-crazy. I wouldn’t be able to sit still. I would feel as though I were maxing out on whatever book I was reading. It’s been forever since I read an entire book in a day, and I know I’ve never read two or three. I just don’t like to take in that much at once.
I’m wondering if my tendency to stay away from lighter forms of fiction, generally-speaking, has less to do with my desire to be reading serious stuff all the time, than my habit of reading slowly and wanting books that suit that habit. It’s not worth it to spend an entire week immersed in something forgettable. But I might be willing to read forgettable books if I liked breezing through them in a few hours. Then I might find books better for relaxing, too. If this is true, it would make me feel a little less like a book snob, and more like someone with particular reading habits that just happen to lead to reading particular kinds of books.
I’m not sure if any of that makes sense, but I wanted to say something about how sometimes in the evenings when I have plenty of time to read, I put off picking up a book in favor of staring at the wall or surfing aimlessly online. I feel bad sometimes for not using that time better, but, as with many things I feel bad about, there’s no good reason for it.