On Reading, Time & Letting Go

I used to read a lot of books when I was younger. Between children’s books and my parents’ (albeit limited) library, I was always ready to devour my next treasure of words.

Then high school and college got in the way, and reading went from a true religion to something I remembered fondly.

The thing is, the less you read, the less you want to. And yet, I could never quite let go of the longing I’ve always associated with books: the way the page comes to life in my mind and makes the whole world fade away softly, the escape that lies with black letter printed on white paper–the one true irrefutable magic in this world.

So two years ago, I made the resolution to start reading more. I figured that if I read one book a month,  I would have read 120 books in ten years. Given how little I was reading at the time, it sounded rather amazing.

But then something truly amazing happened. Every time I put down a book, I craved another. So whenever time allowed, I picked up the next one. And the next one. And the next one.

(Libraries are the unsung heroes of our modern world.)

That first year alone, I ended up reading 45 books. This year, I’m already on my 53rd book. By the time 2013 rolls around, I will almost be at the 120 books goal I’d given myself 10 years to reach.

That’s taught me a few things:

RULE ONE: Never underestimate yourself.

If you do, that’s alright. You’ll prove yourself wrong.

In the last two years, it’s never felt like I had to find time in my day to read. I would just spend less time procrastinating online and instead read for one hour every night before bed. Before I knew it, it became a necessity in order to fall asleep.

RULE TWO: The more you do something you love, the more you want to do it.

For every book I finish, I add two more to my to-read list. (THANK GOD FOR GOODREADS.)

Reading more has not only made me happier, but it’s also renewed my love for storytelling and for specific genres. It’s made me discover wonderful authors and connect with people in ways I had forgotten possible. (Side note: Twitter helps.)

RULE THREE: There isn’t time for everything. And that’s okay.

While life sometimes seems like a neverending maze full of terrible, unexpected things, the truth is that your time is limited and you have to focus on what you love.

For one thing, you have to choose what you spend your time on. I love YA literature, so those are the books I read the most. I am perfectly happy with that. So what if some people dismiss the genre as hormonal clichés with no depth? Their loss. There are always going to be haters. Let them talk.

Two: sometimes it’s okay to let go. You have to accept that you won’t have time to do everything. There will inevitably be books you won’t have time to read. If you start a book and you still don’t like it by 50 pages, it’s okay to stop. Just like with relationships and people and places and all the other million things that aren’t good for you, or aren’t made for you, or that you might not be ready for.

Letting go is healthy. It clears up your head. It helps your heart see more clearly.

And I think we all need more of that.


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