Today, I have a lovely guest post from my very good friend Peekaboo to share with you. I relate to this post SO HARD, and without further ado I’m going to let you get to reading it. I’ll post a few of my own thoughts at the end. Enjoy! ~Elley
ARC life (or why being a rabid book fan is actually really hard sometimes)
When did go from being a wonderful, leisurely pastime to taking over my entire freaking life?
The answer probably is “college” when I first got the inkling that I wanted to be a librarian, and I discovered GoodReads, and my GoodReads TBR pile quickly shot up to over 2,000 books.
Or possibly when I started working full time as a librarian, where I get bombarded by at least ten new books I want to read every single day.
Ooooor maybe it’s when I decided reading ARCs (or “advanced reader copies” for those of you not in the know) and suddenly not only was I reading on a deadline, I needed to write decent enough reviews so that people could make decisions about their own reading habits through them.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my job. I LOVE having free access to books all day long (be it through ARCs, or through the public library.) I love being in the know about what’s buzzing in the book world! But some days, like today, it does get overwhelming.
I now have weird guilt associated with reading anything that isn’t a) on my GoodReads currently-reading list (of which there are 8 books), or b) an ARC that is due. I have 40 physical books and 10 e-books checked out from the library, and can I even remotely read that much before they come due? Hell no! And don’t even get me started on the whole shelf of books I own that I haven’t read yet. Sometimes I lay awake at night, panicking about all the books I want to read that I will never have time to. (Did I mention I have severe anxiety?)
The reason I am writing this in truth is because I know I am not the only person to have such thoughts. Especially for people who dedicate good chunks of their lives, be it professional or hobby, to the world of books, it can get overwhelming sometimes, and that’s not a great feeling.
So here’s what I think.
I think we should give ourselves permission to read WHATEVER WE WANT, even if it’s not an ARC, or a best seller, or something that’s due.
I think we should focus more on the sheer enjoyment we get out of reading.
I think we should give ourselves permission to DNF a book if we don’t like it, because dude, not all books are gonna be good, or hold your interest, and there are SO MANY other good books out there waiting for you.
I am going to approach taking back reading like I need to approach self care and change. Focus on the now. Try not to panic so much. Remember it’s going to be okay, and also why I am doing this in the first place: because I love books!
Current recommendation: The Darwin Elevator by jason M Hough
Well that hits me right where in the feels. On top of the ARC guilt and the physical TBR guilt, I’ve also got Kindle Unlimited guilt… My mom gave me a a year’s subscription to Kindle Unlimited for Christmas last year, and so far I’ve read only about 4-5 books via KU (if even that). That ends up being $20-$25 per book – NOT GOOD, guys. So now on top of trying to plow through the 73 digital ARCs I have (I made a spreadsheet, not sure if that’s good or bad?), 10 physical ARCs, so many books on my physical TBR “shelf” it’s more like multiple bookcases that are taking over my bedroom and my husband is likely to disown me if I bring in any more books… Now I’m also trying to read ALL THE BOOKS on my KU TBR before December 31 when my KU subscription runs out so I make it “worth it” and don’t 1) ask for it for Christmas again and 2) get it for Christmas and don’t USE IT all year again. /sigh
I have started being gentler with myself about not always writing a review for EVERY SINGLE BOOK I read, especially books I’m kind of “meh” and don’t have very strong feelings about, and that’s helping some. It’s not so much that I can’t read them all, but then it takes a lot of time to write a GOOD review (more than just a line or two, something that will actually inform someone reading the review to help them decide if they want to read the book or not) and then posting to the blog – which people may or may not ever even read… It can feel like screaming into the void sometimes, and takes away from valuable time that could be spent chipping away at the book mountain. Add in to that the full time job and family and… Yeah, I’m never going to actually read all these books.
If I could choose one superpower, it would be to only need 4 hours of sleep each night, which would effectively give me more time each day to read!!