For as long as I can remember, as a reader, I’ve been terrified of not finishing a book if I don’t like it. I always feel like I should finish it because I’ve started it and that if I don’t, I’m not a real reader. Especially if that book is one that has been sent to me by an author, PR company or a publisher. I shudder to think, how many hours I’ve sat forcing myself to read something that I really didn’t enjoy just because I felt like I was expected to finish it. Or that other people would judge me because I didn’t give the book enough of a chance. I actually used to do polls on instagram, to see if I’d given a book enough of a chance to be able to put it down. But not any more.
This year, I made myself a promise to do two things. The first being not to post on my blog or bookstagram unless I had something I wanted to post. I love reading and love the bookstagram community, but I am not a massively active social media user. My personal life doesn’t enable me to be online and posting every day, every second. I used to force myself to post everyday even if I had nothing to say or share, and I ended up posting rubbish. So now I post less, for my mental health. I’ve stopped comparing my accounts to others even if that means my engagement suffers. I don’t get paid for this, this is just for fun. So I’m keeping it fun for me. The second was to stop reading books that I didn’t enjoy. Because again, reading is my escape. I don’t watch TV like most people, I’m not a massive drinker or partier. My release is to read. To cause that release to be stressful by forcing myself to read something that I just don’t want to isn’t doing me any good. So I promised myself I would stop. Because what is the point of all of this, if it is a chore?
You may be asking even with proof’s and review requests? Yes even with those. I used to accept review requests for anything and everything. I always felt like I couldn’t say no, because I didn’t want to be ungrateful. But now I see it as, I’m only going to accept the review request if I actually think I will enjoy it. I will also only review it and finish the book if I am enjoying it once I have sat down to read it. Because if I force myself to carry on reading it I’m only going to post a bad review that book probably doesn’t deserve and I’m not getting my release of enjoying a good book that I so desperately need when I come home from a stressful shift.
I have a stressful job and on top of that I don’t have the best mental health. So reading to me is very important to keeping myself level. Some people play video games, others watch TV, some people like to run or go to the pub. I need to read. So this year, you will see me being harsher on what I do and don’t read. If I’m not feeling a book, I will DNF if and depending on why I’m DNF’ing it come back to it later.
I feel like this should be something we do more of and not be ashamed or guilty by it. If that book isn’t for you, put it down and try again. If you’re not in the mood come back to it later. There’s no shame in that, and lets get back to positive reading experiences!