Reading Goals & Attitudes

So far this year, my reading has mostly centered on my yearly goals. Specifically, my IRL TBR and Diversity Reading goals. These goals have really forced me to re-examine my overall attitude towards reading.

My entire life, people (mostly non-readers) have kind of thrown books at me. They go "Hmmm a compilation of words- Brittany likes those." Who cares what the words are, right? I think the abundance of these books (which I am grateful for, as some have been great and I wouldn't have found them otherwise) have made me feel like I have to read everything I find. The thought of DNFing, or worse not even attempting to read a book, has made me cringe and feel guilty for years.

But the reality is- I change. I change from day to day, in tiny ways. But I certainly change from week to week, month to month, and year to year.

And it's okay for my reading tastes to change.

Until maybe six months ago, I had a big problem with the idea of DNFing (Do Not Finish- aka giving up on a book, typically because you just don't like it). But I'm hearing more and more people proclaim that they just don't care, and it's liberating. I forced myself to read many books this year just because they had somehow made it into my home. Or because it fit a criteria for my diversity reading project. And...sometimes it can suck.

I appreciate my willingness to read unusual or lesser known books, as some of them have been great. But there are some books I literally devour...and some that just feel like they get stuck in my throat. And sometimes when I dislike a book and don't want to read it, I just put off books altogether.

So, I am giving myself permission to quit books. 

This is a huge change for me, but at this point in my life I truly don't have time to waste on books that I don't enjoy. With this new change in my attitude, I decided to just avoid 3 books (2 books & a play, really) on my IRL TBR. I still count this as a win, because overall I have cleared out a ton of space on my bookshelves and that was the purpose of the project.

My Diversity Reading project has made me think about books more broadly- I am reading more into the relationships and attitudes we express about one another in writing.

While my list focused on several different things, the ones regarding race and immigration were the most interesting to me. I probably could have read more set outside the US, but reading about race and ethnicity from minorities has been helpful in the past year or two. My country is sadly allowing politicians to use fear-mongering to rile up emotions and create deadly animosity. Reading stories from "the other side" so to speak (because I am white/non-minority) has helped me see things from both sides and better understand all the different shades of gray.

No answers were provided, but a clearer context began to emerge.

It's something I highly recommend.

That being said, I'm also looking forward to reading just for reading's sake, rather than focusing on a goal. It will be nice to just look for interesting stories rather than stories that meet a certain criteria, and to finally check out stories I thought sounded great but put off because they didn't meet that criteria.

How have your reading goals & attitudes changed over the years?

1 comment

  1. Hooray! As someone who was not able to put a book down until recently, I do think liberating is the right word. I still finish most books, but I'm much more likely to quit library audio books (because they're free and because they're supposed to get me through the workday so if they don't, then it's not worth it) and it is awesome to put something down when it truly is providing no value.

    I was talking to someone just yesterday about how I think it's important to read other people's stories from different backgrounds because of how eye-opening it is. We were specifically talking about some of the brutality and oppression towards women in the middle east, but we've only got our one life and one viewpoint, so if we don't read, we'll never understand the multitude of other experiences out there.