I surprised myself the other day. For a long time, I’ve felt frustrated that I read so little. From childhood up until my early twenties, I devoured books. When I was ten or eleven, we had this reading challenge in my class. The challenge was to read at least five books during the fall semester. We had a list we needed to fill in every time we finished a book. When I handed my list in before Christmas, I think it had thirty odd books on it. As an introvert, I always preferred my own company and since I was a child and adolescent before smartphones and easy internet access I read, a lot.
Then I started university and reading became work. I had to read books like John Rawls, A theory of Justice, 560 pages of political philosophy and after a day of that I didn’t want to read another word.
Then I found fandom, and with that writing, also, tv-shows became really good. Like so many others, I have a hard time sitting down and doing just one thing, and it annoys the living hell out of me. To try and combat this inability to sit down with a book I got into audiobooks a few years back. That helped because I could “read” while cleaning or walking or hanging laundry.
But it’s still not quite the same, is it? I love “real” books, they’re beautiful, unique and magic. With audiobooks, despite the excellent performance of many of the narrators, I feel it takes away some of the magic, I lose my own interpretation. The person reading the story to me has already decided what the characters sound like or their speech pattern. I feel like they’re intruding on my interpretation of the characters.
I enjoy audiobooks, I do, but I wish I read more on my own. But, even more so, I wish I read more books: audiobooks, comics, paperbacks or hardcovers doesn’t matter. I wish I read more books, period.
However, I started a Goodreads page a while back, it’s HERE if you’re interested, and what surprised me was that I’ve read/listened to a lot more than I thought I had. Now, twenty-eight books are nothing compared to the number I used to get through in a year, and a lot of the books are re-reads. I’ve been feeling nostalgic and wanted to re-read some of my favorite fantasy books from when I was an adolescent/teenager. But, since I’ve read/listened cover to cover I still think it counts. It’s a lot more than I thought, it’s still over two books per month.
It’s interesting how different your perspectives can be. I have friends who’ll read a run-of-the-mill thriller or two while on a beach vacation, and they consider themselves readers. If I stay on track, I’ll hit thirty or so books this year, and to me, that’s kind of bad.
But, I’m going to be happy with my list. I don’t care that half are re-reads, and I don’t care that some are trade paperbacks of comics. I’m choosing to feel accomplished and happy with my little list.
How about you, do you prefer real books or audiobooks, or are you like me and enjoy a little of both? Maybe you’re a kindle/digital book kind of person, what’s that like?
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