I’d like to think I’m a bookworm. I spent years in my early childhood walking down to the library after school every day and reading anything that caught my eye in the kids section. The librarians knew me, I loved how cosy the space was, and once or twice I even showed my friends around like I owned the place. But like many others I know, a love for reading gets really difficult to keep consistent. “Oh, I used to read when I was younger.” You’ll have those fond memories but it’s just setting the time to sit down and finish a book these days is one of the furthest things from your mind – it goes behind family, friends, school, homework, boys, girls, sports, gaming, doing stuff online etc. It’s never a priority because we just have less time now.
Even if I get to classify myself as a bookworm, I don’t exactly read far out of my comfort zone. Which in general, I guess I could call it “contemporary popular fiction.” I should be more open-minded to older classics and novels with a deeper meaning, but like my choices in television shows and movies, I steer towards light-hearted things instead.
So do I even learn anything from these shallow books? Moral lessons, a stronger appreciation for the world around us perhaps, or the meaning of life? Not really. I read stuff that makes me gasp when a twist in the storyline is revealed. I giggle when the protagonist falls into witty banter with a cute boy. My eyes tear up when the author kills off beloved characters unexpectedly. Believe me, I know there are amazing novels out there that tackle social, political, historical, and ethical issues – it’s just that I still feel like I can’t appreciate such critical thinking yet. I will in the future; I think I only want to stay young and naive a bit longer.
In 2015, I read 26 books. They were all read in the second half of the year and they were all borrowed from the library. So an average of one a week. I’d love to keep that up this year and I could say I’ll honestly try. It’s easy to get sucked into a compelling storyline and avoid sleeping, which is not really helping my new year’s resolution of going to bed earlier. Well, sacrifices have to be made sometimes, right?
I think this is a hobby I’m trying to hold onto because it gives me an escape from the real world. The same can obviously be said for movies and television and music and all sorts of other outlets, but to me, the act of sitting (or lying) down with a novel is different. I can’t multitask while reading. I watch TV and shop online in a second window and I listen to music while messaging people online, but I can’t do any of that when I’m absolutely captivated by a book. I can’t remember how many times I’ve gotten a new title and halfway through, rushed to the ending cause I was bursting with curiosity and needed the answers to my questions. Entire books get read in one day for that reason, which is nothing to brag about because it points to the fact that I have no life. You know, I should find myself a book club or something.
I don’t know, maybe in the future I’ll try to read James Joyce’s Ulysses. But for now, I’ll quietly stick to vaguely following bestsellers lists and whatever recommendations I get on Goodreads. And rereading the few books I actually own.