There used to be a time when a trip to the bookstore; Ottakers and later, Waterstones, would result in a silent drive home as I inevitably had my nose in my newly acquired book. I couldn’t even wait until I was home to delve into the new adventure, discover the newest characters and log out of reality for just a few hours – or until the last page is turned. Now, however, seems to be a somewhat different story, pun only slightly intended. I still go anywhere where it is possible for me to find a new book, with anticipation and excitement. And I still remain completely thrilled, excited and, yes, impatient to begin reading when I find that book; the one that makes me smile with the promise of promise, escapism, learning and new friends. The book that makes me want to throw it into the hands of everyone one else around me, and share with absolutely anyone who will listen. But I no longer, or at least very rarely, allow myself to begin reading as soon as I start the bus ride home. Instead, I find myself putting it off.
Books are a large and very important feature in my life, and I hope that that only continues to grow. As part of this, my appreciation for the value of a book has grown. Not only am I more aware of my spending and the monetary cost of a book, but also the work, time, expertise and effort that goes into giving them life. Authors pour their hearts and souls into each word, line, and punctuation choice. Publishers create the book, the design team the cover, marketers make sure it reaches the audience it deserves. So much goes into every novel, anthology, collection, e-book, and page that we read, and I want to be able to honour that by allowing the words to take the time they need.
What’s more, the first reading experience of a new book can never be replicated. This, as well as the aforementioned impact that my always-too-high TBR has on my bank account and the fact that I find myself feeling guilty about escaping for a chapter rather than working means that I put it off. I don’t want to waste that perfect read. If I want to read, I pick something else up; a title that’s been on my TBR longer, that I still want to read but am just that little less invested in, that I won’t mind so much if I needed to put down for a week or so.
As a result, I’ve started putting off the most exciting book purchases for that perfect moment; the treat at the end of a week when I feel like I deserve (and most likely, desperately need) the escapism. Usually, this will mean that I have finished an assignment, prepped for the week ahead, tidied my room, eaten dinner, showered, and am I bed for an early night. Or, that it is the holidays or weekends when I can go home and sit on the sofa, where the pressure to do uni work is lessened because I am not at university. Then, I shall allow myself to read the book. However, this placing it on a pedestal means that I have placed a very high level of expectation upon that one book and on the experience of reading it. Almost inevitably, therefore I’ll find myself disappointed. The book itself is very rarely at fault; I’ve placed expectations upon it which are impossible to reach.
I love that I have greater insight into the reading experience and the work needed to create a book than I did as a child. However, I really wish I could recapture my childlike enthusiasm, and keep it, rather than over thinking and talking myself out of picking up a certain book.
I am aware that this is somewhat self-inflicted. I am also not convinced this subject warranted an entire post, but I am intrigued: has anyone else found themselves doing this as life has gotten busier, and you’ve gotten older? How have you combatted this, have you? What are your views? Are there any books that resisted all over thinking and you couldn’t help but delve right in? Please let me know, I love hearing about other people’s reading experiences 😀
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