2020 was a difficult year for a lot of people. From Coronavirus and quarantines, to economic downturns and lots of people losing their jobs, people have had to fight to keep a sense of stability in their lives.
But not every moment of the year was filled with stress or despair. There are still lots of moments that each of use has has throughout the year that made us happy, that pushed up to pursue new things, and that allowed us to grow as an individual.
For me, I started this blog, I read more books that I ever have in one year, and I was able to work really hard towards some of my personal goals. As I was sitting on my couch (coffee in hand, of course) I was thinking about how my reading life was really affected and changed over the course of the past year.
I read more books than I ever had, thanks to the lockdown.
When the country was first put in lockdown, lots of people were stressed and found it impossible to read. I felt the exact opposite. I felt like I finally had time to sit down and read as much as I wanted to – so I did. I read many books between March and August and I was hammering out reviews and interviews. Reading became something that was extremely important, front and center, and a staple in my day-to-day.
Reading slumps are the worst!
After my teaching job started back up, and my stress levels increased as well, I found myself reading less and less. I was trying to read books that I wasn’t into, setting goals that I couldn’t reach, and lost the joy of reading that had flourished only months before. I tried really hard to write and although my Spooky Short Story Countdown in October went well, it was followed with one book in the month of November and another for the majority of December.
TBR lists and monthly “to read” stacks do not work for me.
After battling with myself over how much I wasn’t reading and over how much I wasn’t enjoying the books I had set out to read, it finally occurred to me, with significant help from my SO, that setting up lists of books to read next only took away my enjoyment of the book I was currently reading.
I know these lists and stacks work really well for some people, but my mood towards the next read changes so dramatically that it was constantly leaving me disappointed because I wasn’t reading what I wanted to or I was trying to force myself to read a ton of books that my heart wasn’t in. Which brings me to my next point – a positive one.
It is always more valuable to read books that make you happy.
I used to worry about what my image would be if I wasn’t reading the “right” book. Would I be classified as a fantasy nerd? A lover of romance? A crime-junkie?
My love of books does stem across all those genres and I find myself going in waves of the books that I choose to read. But this doesn’t mean that I should read something so that I appear interesting or intelligent. If anything, those are reasons not to read something. If I am picking up a book with those intentions, than I am picking it up for the wrong reasons.
Reading is an independent journey.
Although I share about my reading life online with you, and others attend book clubs and discuss books with their friends, I really believe that reading will always be an independent journey. It takes us on the adventures that we need, gives us the information necessary to be successful, and the encouragement or distraction required to make it through something. Even though we share reading with others, how others feel about a book doesn’t matter as much as how it makes you feel.
Happy New Year and happy reading!