Monday, July 27, 2015

A note on reading lists and books we feel we have to read when we really don't want to...

As I was creating a new reading list of the books that Rory Gilmore read or were mentioned in "Gilmore Girls" I started thinking about book lists. Now, I love book lists; they are fascinating, interesting, and allow us to find books we might not have encountered otherwise. We are being told on a constant basis what to read; the award winners, the Oprah Book Club, the books we should read to be considered well read, the books to read before you turn 25 or 30 or 40, and a myriad of other lists and books we feel we have to read even when we don't want to. I have lists and lists of books I have to read (or so I make myself belief). I peruse book lists on a constant basis and keep adding books to my already long 'tbr' list. I firmly believe in reading what you want. My point is - If you couldn't finish the 25 books you had to read before you turned 25 because of the 2 books on the list you just couldn't get through, it is okay. You shouldn't feel compelled to read a book because someone else told you to, you give it a chance and if you hate it, do not feel like you failed, maybe it is not the right time to read that particular book and if you pick it up in 5 years you will realize that you love it then, maybe it is a book you will cringe at even in 10 years from now and that is okay too. I have found that when I have reader's block it is the lack of reading freedom I give myself that is to blame. I go through my 'to read' lists with automatic precision at times. I now know that when I go through a phase such as this the best thing I can do is shed the lists and shed my expectations of my reading goals, I pick up a random book that catches my attention, I do no know if I will like it, I do not  know if I will hate it, it wasn't on my list, it wasn't a recommendation, I didn't read the reviews before I picked up, and I simply read it. It is a freedom we sometimes forget we have. As the quote that follows aptly puts it, read what you want. As a side not from me I remind you to not forget to read for yourself. 


"Read widely, and without apology. Read what you want to read, not what someone tells you you should read."
— Joyce Carol Oates.

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