The Ominous Reading Slump and Why TBRs Don’t Work For Me

One of my year resolutions was to post a monthly wrap-up for every month. You might have noticed that it did not happen.

Today I want to discuss reading slumps and TBRs, trying to deconstruct the fear of the former, and unpack the idea of the latter. If you did not notice, I am in a reading slump. Actually, I think a more accurate term for it would be a “reading hangover”. I believe the cause of this is the fact that during  March and the first half of April I have read complex, adult, epic fantasy novels, and one of them – Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff – while it is brilliant, it is not a light read. This has led to me picking up book after book and leaving it half read, because I needed something light but could not decide what was “light enough” or what I was truly in the mood for.

When I first started reading as a child, and throughout my high school and teenage years, I have never felt pressured to read. Reading for me was an absolute pleasure, a way to escape the every day-real world-trap. Looking back, I now realise that I truly never forced myself to read anything. Ever since I can remember, I have always been a mood reader, structure-less, refusing to read what was ordered by teachers, nonetheless always reading huge amounts.

It was not until university, when I had to read to pass exams, that reading became more structured. However, even then my brain was split in two: on one side resided all the books I had to read and analyse for school, on the other all the books I read for pleasure. The former category required conscious and constant focus on my part. This meant that while I did enjoy the story, there was always a wall between me and the text. This meant that my critical thinking was gearing up, thus impeding me from developing an emotional attachment to the book. I am not saying that when I read for fun my analytical skills were hibernated, on the contrary. However, my brain is able to switch and enjoy the story for what it is.

University was also the time when I discovered BookTube, TBRs, Wrap-Ups, Read-a-thons etc. As I have already mentioned, I have never liked rules when it comes to reading. However, I was soon sucked in by all the excitement of counting the books you read, and I soon realised that this was a one-way ticket to rendering reading a chore rather than a pleasure. Unconsciously, I kept myself at a distance from most of those, but Wrap-Ups managed to creep their way into my life. I soon noticed that I was trying to read faster to finish more books in a month, and I really did not like that.

As a librarian and intern at a publishing house, I am required to read a lot for work. And I love it. But that does not mean that I have to beat myself up if a month I read less than 10 books (which is a hell of a lot anyway!).

Now, I do want to clarify a point. This post is absolutely NOT trying to undermine TBRs, Wrap-Ups, Read-a-thons etc. I would never suggest anything of the like, since I love watching videos of what people read and what challenges they set for themselves. I am just saying that this does not work for me, and that’s fine. I think my brain is not made to impose rules on how fast I read, or how much I read, because in my head it takes the fun out of it. But again, this is about me. I admire people who are able to have a more structured reading life. I also understand those who don’t. And to those, I want to say that it is okay not to be able to stick to TBRs and challenges: we are all different, and at the end of the day no one keeps tabs on how much you read. Do it your way, as long as you enjoy it.

Sorry for the rambling post. Let me know what you think.

Until next time,

Keky

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