The Guilt of Not Reading

Today I wanted to talk about something that’s been on my mind and heart lately, and that is the guilt I feel when I don’t read.

If you haven’t noticed I’ve been on kind of a hiatus for the last two months. I’ve done blog posts here and there, participated in events and all of that, but I’ve barely read anything and I’ve barely blogged outside of those events and such. I needed time away from the reading and blogging worlds for a while and that’s really because the book community has become kind of a scary place as of late. I mean, that’s a whole other topic in and of itself, but it needs to be said. I’m glad people are speaking their minds and everything, it’s just very tense in many places right now and I have enough of that in my personal life right now that I don’t want it to be in something that I’m so passionate about.

I’ve noticed other readers and bloggers have said the same thing when they take breaks: that they feel guilty – or would feel guilty – when/if they take a break from the reading/blogging world. As readers we’re reading almost everyday, trying to get in as many pages, books, genres, etc. as we can. We want to explore what the world has to offer and we want to explore the different kinds of books that are out in the world. We love reading and being able to share that love and those experiences with others.

So when we’re not reading, that guilt starts to set in.

For some people they don’t feel guilty and they can just go about their lives doing whatever they want, but for a few of us we feel like we have almost an obligation not only to our audience, but to ourselves to read all the time. I know I’ve been feeling this way, personally, and I’ve talked with a couple other people the last few weeks that said they’d probably feel the same, too.

Why is it that not reading makes us feel guilty? What about not blogging makes us feel like we’ve given up an obligation?

So let me tackle the two questions I presented above.

1. Why is it that not reading makes us feel guilty?

The obvious answer is that we’re readers! We read because we love it and it’s very hard for some of us to just stop and take breaks once in a while. There are some people who read over 100 books in a year, so reaching those goals means they’re reading constantly, while other people may only read a handful in a year, and for them that takes time that they might have to squeeze in somewhere in their schedule.

I think for me I’ve been comparing my life to what it was a year ago, when I had a lot more free time to myself and I was able to read to my heart’s content. A few months ago my husband and I moved back in with my parents for personal reasons and it’s been much harder for me to find that free time again. Emotional distress aside, I have a much longer drive home than I used to from work (I used to live only 10 minutes away, and now I’m 50 minutes away from work), so I’m usually exhausted at the end of the day because of that, and I have other obligations where it’s been leeching me of any motivation to read.

But since I’ve barely been reading (and I miss reading, trust me), I’ve been feeling the guilt set in, which leads me to the second question:

2. What about not blogging makes us feel like we’ve given up an obligation?

I personally feel like blogging is a second full time job for me. I’ve been faithfully blogging since the summer of 2014, and I’m just really happy doing it. I sincerely love it and it makes me so happy to have an audience who’s interested in my words and thoughts and opinions. So not really putting in much effort to blog these last few months has really been putting a strain on me, I think. I miss you all because I love you all and you rock. Feeling guilty for not reading leads to feeling guilty for not blogging for me because I’ve been doing this for so long and it’s such a fun job for me to do.

Of course it’s not a “job” and I’m not really “obligated” at all to be doing this. I could just up and quit one day and no one would probably notice. And that’s fine, but because I love doing this so much I don’t want to stop putting in the effort to blog or to read. It’s part of my life – a huge part of my life – and I don’t want to give it up anytime soon.

I do want to say, though, that so, so many of you are so supportive of me taking a break because, let’s be real, we all get burnt out from time to time and need that time to sit back, reflect, relax, and enjoy ourselves outside of something for a while. But I want to come back to this and I want to make an honest effort to do what I can each month.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Have you ever stopped reading/blogging for an extended period of time? How have you felt as a result? Did you find it easy to get back into it or was it harder than when you first started? Tell me all of your thoughts!

Buying Books and Feeling Guilty

This was a discussion topic that’s been floating around for a while, and I originally saw it on Raeleen’s channel of padfootandprongs07.

If you’re an avid reader and you love reading, then you’re most likely buying a lot of books. A lot more than you can read through in a given set period of time. Most often your TBR (to be read) pile will keep growing and growing and it’ll never get down. But when you see these books in videos or in the stores or online you just can’t help but want to read it because you’re interested in it, it sounds like a good read, and you have to have it now.

And then the guilt starts swirling in your stomach like a whirlpool. You start feeling as though everyone is watching you and judging you, even though they’re not (well, they might be, you never know). You know you have X amount of books waiting for you to read them on your shelf at home, but you just need to have the seven or twelve books you hold in your hands.

See now, the thing is, some people will stare at you in disbelief and question why you’re buying more books – again – when you have so many you haven’t read yet. Some will mock you, even be angry with you for buying more.

There’s just one little detail that they’re forgetting, and quite possibly you’re forgetting, too: you’re a reader. What you do is love to read, and even though you may have over 100 books on your TBR, or even 20 or less, you still love books. And it’s your money, so really, as long as you’re not doing anything illegal with it or going out of control, then who cares, right?

As a reader, you might feel compelled to buy a book here or there even though you know you won’t get to it for another month or two, or another year or two.

It’s okay.

If you know you’ll get to it eventually, then get them. You bought them for a reason, so don’t feel guilty about it.

I know that I’ve felt guilty over the past few months since joining BookTube and buying a crap ton of books. Seriously, my pile has grown massive in just a few short months. Did I feel the guilt wash over me? Oh yes, multiple times. Did I listen to the guilt? On occasion. Did I ever later regret buying a book? No, I don’t think so.

I know I’m going to get to all of the books on my shelves eventually. As a slow reader, who was quite busy this past year, I didn’t have a lot of time or energy to focus on reading and getting my TBR pile down. I have read almost 20 books this year, though, which was my goal for the year, so I am proud of myself for that.

But in all honesty, if you really want that book, then go for it. Yes, your tastes will change and you may not want to read it for a while, but you’ll get to it eventually.

One tip I loved from Raeleen’s video was removing books that you don’t want to read right then and there, pack them away, and then pull them out a few months later. It’ll be like receiving a present on your birthday – the excitement of it will wash away any guilty feelings you had before then because you probably won’t remember what you put in there. This is so you can free up space on your shelves and not stare at books all the time.

But if you like staring at your impressive collection, then leave them out. No one’s going to stop you; they’re your shelves, do with them as you please.

Remember: never feel guilty for buying a book. Books are meant to be read. So many people nowadays aren’t reading as much that for you to be picking up those books and producing revenue for book publishing companies and authors is a great way to keep the business going. Obviously, it’s not going to go out any time soon (we hope), but still you’re helping out, even in the smallest possible way.

Keep buying books without feeling guilty; you’ll feel much better in the long run. You’re not alone in this by a long shot.

Happy reading!

Accompanying video: Discussion | Buying Books and Feeling Guilty

Do you ever buy books and feel the guilt after? How do you cope? Let me know in the comments below!