I Want to Read Good Books Slowly

Earlier this month, something tragical happened to this reader. It was worse than a reading slump. O.o. This unhappy reader was spoiling endings for herself, reading ahead in a book even though she was enjoying it, and reading (and sometimes skimming) a ton of books she didn’t even like.

I just wasn’t enjoying reading.

After some thinking about it and talking with my mom, I came to two conclusions.

First, I needed reading glasses. Again. Weird story there, but two years ago I got reading glasses. They were such a low prescription, I felt like they were kinda optional until a few months ago when I lost one of the lenses and quit wearing them.

I didn’t realize it, but my eyes were actually skipping around on the page trying to focus on the oh-so-tiny words which was causing me a lot of fatigue. I mentally didn’t want to put a book down, but I’d start feeling inexplicably restless and read ahead. #oops #spoilers

We fixed that with a pair of cheapo grocery store reading glasses, and a few days later God actually helped me find the missing lens to my old glasses so now I have two pairs. πŸ˜€ (That’s actually a really cool story there, maybe I’ll tell it sometime.)

The other conclusion? I needed to read more slowly.

I was cramming books in so quickly, I didn’t have much time to think about or enjoy them. I think I might have fallen into the there’s-so-many-books-and-not-enough-time-to-read-them-but-I’ll-try-anyway pitfall readers encounter. But, quality over quantity, right? πŸ˜‰

The ballpark goal I’ve set for myself is one book a week with some reading in a longer book (the kind that takes several months to finish) on the weekends. So far this has been working really well and has given me time to process each book and sometimes even write a review in the same week.

When I spread out a book over a few days, I also have time to wonder and speculate about the story while I’m not reading. It’s really quite lovely.

Another cool thing? I’m not worried about finishing it quickly, so I can easily set it aside when I’m tired and know that when I want it again, it’s waiting for me.

And since my reading time is limited, I want to spend it on good books so I’m sending flat or problematic books back to the library unread more easily. πŸ˜‰

Now, of course, when I set goals or “rules” for myself I always have to remember that these are just temporary. Life will change again or I’ll get a better idea. Right now, I have some flexibility built into this for myself.

Sometimes, I’ll let two very short books count as one. If I read a book that just really has me down or was really not worth reading (like the two-star cringefest I finished earlier this week), I’ll let myself read an extra book that week that I know I’ll enjoy better, because after all, reading should be fun. πŸ˜‰

In a way, it’s funny to me that I’m thinking this hard about reading, but I think it has a lot to do with why I read. I read for pleasure, for relaxation, for imaginative play, and for empathetic growth. I don’t read to be stressed by the sheer number of books in the world or to count how many I’ve read even if I only liked half of them. So, I want to guard the quality of my reading time as the valuable gift it is to me.

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13 thoughts on “I Want to Read Good Books Slowly

  1. I lost the lens on my first pair of glasses ever when we were sledding in winter at the hill at the park. (I think that was a run on sentence, but I don’t feel like fixing it πŸ˜‚) I had wiped them on my shirt (snow got on it) and put them back on, but it was all weird. I eventually realized that a lens was missing. We searched all around where I was standing, in my snow pants and boots, and all around the park. I went home, and then my dad and I ended up going back there and retracing all my steps from that day, from sledding down the hill, to the park, to going home. It was intense. (We never did find that lense…)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is an excellent post, Kate. I especially like what you said here:
    “Now, of course, when I set goals or β€œrules” for myself I always have to remember that these are just temporary. Life will change again or I’ll get a better idea. Right now, I have some flexibility built into this for myself.”
    -because that is something I really need to remember myself. I struggle with setting goals for myself and then feeling horrible when it changes…but you’re right, they’re just temporary because life does change and other ideas do come along. You’ve given me some much needed food-for-thought, so thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting. Only recently have I been able to give myself permission to stop reading and NEVER finish a book I’m not enjoying instead of slogging through to the end. How about you, do you feel like you must finish reading books?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I always try to finish a book because I hold out hope that maybe it will get better, but I’m learning that I don’t have to put myself through a boring read just for the slim possibility. πŸ˜‰

      Like

  4. What an excellent post, Kate! This applies to me (the reading slowly part), so thank you. xP Love your blog format, by the way. πŸ™‚

    Lilian | greenteawithbooks.wordpress.com (I’d love it if you could check my blog out too, but no pressure!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve read more books this year that I think I’ve ever read in a year before, and there have been times when I’ve been so obsessed with wanting to read the next book, that I don’t fully enjoy the one I’m on. And *whispers* I’ve even neglected writing some. *ducks head with shame*
    However, if I’m reading a book that doesn’t interest me at the beginning, I’ll flip through it, and if I still don’t find it interesting, or if I find things I don’t like, I’ll skip it. There are too many GOOD books to bother reading the okay, or the not so good.
    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly what I was doing. πŸ˜‰ I’m learning that numbers don’t really matter–it’s the enjoyment and the journey of each book. Definitely! No need to sit through a bad book. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks, Rebekah!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Kate, this is such a good post. I remembered it and came back to read it again, cause I knew I needed it right now. πŸ™‚ Everything you said is so true, and I’m glad you’ve been able to make reading relaxing again, as it should be.

    Liked by 1 person

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