Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reading should be fun, damn it!

As the 2011 is winding down, I was looking at my reading goals I set for myself and I failed miserably. Last year I said I wasn't going to really make any reading goals but I did somehow- they just seemed to evolve- and I didn't achieve them and I feel like I let myself down.

I was reading around on some book blogs and found a wonderful blog called Shelf Love. I have no idea how I've never discovered this blogger before but she writes and reviews like I want to when I grow up. There are some amazing things on here other than just book reviews. She blogs about what I think of as essay style posts, all things about reading, books, writers, book news or just stuff about the literary world. All that being said, i stumbled on a post about reading and goals and fun. This inspired me to write my own post because I completely agree with her!

Reading should be fun. Period. I have no idea why this strikes me in epiphany fashion but it does. I tell my students all the time that reading should be fun and that reading is fun. I tell them that even though they might have to read a novel or a book for class, they should find things to read that the like otherwise. I don't' care if they read fiction or non, magazines, newspapers, comics, graphic novels.... as long as they read something they like and it should be fun. So why in the world can't I follow my own advice and why did I have to read it on a random blog before I had my "Ah- HA!" moment?

Reading SHOULD be fun, damn it! And when I make reading goals for myself it's not fun. I just want to read for fun, regardless of how many books I read. Or what genres. Or what style. I just want to read for the sake of reading.

There are several book clubs online that I could join and I was thinking about it until I decided I didn't want to be locked into reading any specific. There's one that encourages readers to get through all their "I own these books" pile. I can't remember the specifics but the deal was to read nothing except the books you bought to help decrease that stack since most of us bibliophiles own more books than we can ever get through. Another book club is to concentrate on new release books, reading books that only come out in 2012. Another book club that appealed to me was the "read all the books I bought in 2011." I like both of these ideas but again, it puts some constraints on my reading which is going to turn it into a "job" rather than something for fun. Of course, there's the traditional way of having reading goals like targeting a certain number of books to read (which I've done before) or a certain number of a specific genre (which I've done before).

Last year I finally gave myself permission to not finish a book if I don't like it. I was usually invested in completing what i started and I just finally said, "Maggie, it's okay if you don't read the whole book if you hate it." It's really hard for me but I do now abandon a book if I don't like it. That doesn't happen very often but I average about 10 books a year that I don't finish. That's not so bad. So that was my first step in lessening my reading stress, and allowing myself to have fun- and I didn't even know it!

So this year my reading goal is to have fun. I guess I'm allowing 2 small goals: 1) the first is that I want to joining a Read-a- thon on April 21, 2012. I can read anything i want but the whole day is devoted to reading. I want to do this. And it's reading for charity! The other goal, #2, is that I'm going to continue my membership in my book club with my friend Photographer. I have the list of books we're reading in January, February, and March. I will attempt to read the book for book club each month but if I don't like it, I'll not read it and skip the meeting that month, or go and admit I didn't like it an why.

Other than those 2 LITTLE things, my reading goal for 2012 is to have FUN! Fun is defined differently for everyone. I often read stuff that my dad calls "smart people books"; I think that's a compliment. And to me that's fun reading. I'm also going to ready just about anything I want from cotton candy for the brain to chick lit to beach reads to the smart stuff. Anything I want to read and I'm not setting any goals. Even if I did read 117 books in 2010 and I feel I should be able to do that annually. But that is not going to sway me! No numbers! Just reading fun!



Bragger said...

Oh, I love the idea of a Read-a-thon. But I'm pretty sure April 21 will be an absolutely beautiful day here in Georgia for cycling. So I'll just have to host my own read-a-thon day sometime in February. What a cool idea! And you're right...reading should be FUN.

Curley said...

Well, it's about time that you came to that conclusion. Reading what you want, when you want and how much you want it the fun part. I could never set goals for reading. To me that wouldn't be fun at all.

Maggie said...

Bragger- you read my mind, sorta! I was thinking around that time here in Civilization it will be one of the first perfect spring days so I hated to commit and lose that. I was thinking what if I organized a Read a thon for charity in February or March? Between the two of us, think we should do it?

Curly- sometimes it takes me awhile to get there.... :)

Jimmie Earl said...

My reading goal for 2012 is to NOT blog about what I read. I tried to write about all the books I read this year, and am not caught up on my writing about the last two. It got to be a trial and seemed like I was becoming redundant in my reviewing. So, in 2012, I might mention a title but that's going to be it for the books. Even if it means not blogging as often.
I know what you mean about giving yourself permission to not read a book if you don't like it. Last summer a friend I saw at the library told me that "it's okay to give your self permission to not finish a book." She said that it was just wasting time that could be better spent reading something I could enjoy!

Mellodee said...

I've been a reader all my life. Except for the dreaded "book report" in school, I have never felt obligated in any way about my book clubs, or on-line reviews, or reading goals for me. I read to live! When I can't read, I feel thwarted and on edge. One of the best things about retirement is that I finally have ENOUGH time to read! Finish a book I don't like?? Why? If a book hasn't grabbed my attention (by about 50 pages or so) enough that I want to find out what happens next, I feel absolutely no compunction about putting it aside and never going back to it! After all, I don't like every song I hear, or every movie I've watched, or every painting I've seen....well, you get my drift! :)

Reading for anything except fun, seems too darn much like work!