Reading - passion or pressure?

First Published - January 2019

I’ve decided that I needed to read more; and I don’t mean scrolling through Facebook and Instagram but actually read….books!

I know reading is important and we could wax lyrical all day about how important it really is, whatever age we are. However, as much as I enjoy reading, recently I’ve been “peer-pressured” into reading business books, entrepreneur books, self-help books and anything remotely similar.

I have read some inspirational ones and some that just don’t rock my boat. Don’t get me wrong, they are all great books and many times come highly recommended. I start with the best of intentions, the latest book is going to explain how to make more money, save more money, be less stressed, be more mindful, start a business, market on every social media platform out there and it all seems to be incredibly overwhelming.

Are these the books I'm supposed to be reading?

When I go on holiday, one of the first things I do is go to the hotel’s library (if they have one) and pick out all the books I want to read. Most of the time these are fictional stories that can whisk me away into another world. My record number of books on a holiday was 11 in an eight day beach break! Most of them were paper books and some of them were on my trusty Kindle on my iPad.

Reading by the pool......BLISS!

2018 was a non-starter as far as reading was concerned. I’d read loads of articles on the best books to read right now and had a wishlist as long as my arm of the books I should be reading.

But that was just it, I SHOULD be reading…but I wasn’t.

So with the New Year just beginning, I decided that it was time to step up my game. A friend had introduced me to GoodReads, a great app to record what I was reading, find reviews, write reviews and monitor just how many books I could read.

I’d read a recently circulated article that said everyone should be reading about 200 books per year. Warren Buffet had said that we needed to read at least 500 pages a day! There was no way I was going to manage that. However, I was not going to give up – I was going to read.

I signed up to Goodreads and set a goal of reading 24 books a year. I figured if I could get 2 books in a month that was better than nothing. Certainly better than last year!! To get that first book listed, I cheated and decided in order to get my momentum going, I was going to finish a book that I had started months ago but never finished. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert had been on my nightstand for weeks, it was a book that had inspired me to start this blog, the least I could do was finish the book!

Once that was finished, I knew it was time to find the next book. My bookshelf is loaded with books that I’ve bought over the past few months. Some books I’ve actually read a couple of times, some I’ve not even got past the first couple of pages.

Part of my growing bookshelf

I decided to have a look through my online library and see what inspired me. Again, I was feeling the need (read: requirement) to choose a self-help book of sorts. But I just wasn’t feeling it. I found one, downloaded it, started it but just didn’t have the motivation to finish it. So I deleted it!!

Maybe I was reading (pun intended!) too much into this reading business. I knew I enjoyed reading when the book was good, it whisked me off to a faraway fantasy land and I wanted to find that feeling again.

I had a look at my bookshelf again and discovered a Danielle Steel book that my mum had left when she was visiting last. I had read Danielle Steel books before but not this one. Against All Odds was a lovely book about a woman and her four grown children who are now forging lives of their own after their father’s untimely death.

I loved the book and the way it allowed me to dive into someone else’s life and story. I finished it pretty quickly and added it to my Goodreads Book List! Mission Accomplished; another book on my shelf!

Over the following couple of weeks I read a few other short story books, and loved it. I actually found myself not watching mindless television in the evenings, but sitting on my sofa and reading a good book. I had forgotten how good it was to read.

In the back of my mind, I still had this nagging thought about reading something more meaningful to my life, something entrepreneur-like, self-help-like or a book that would serve a higher purpose but I just wasn’t finding anything.

So for the moment, yes I am reading and yes I am reading wonderfully, indulgent fictional books with stories about other people and their lives.

Read to your hearts content, read because you want to not because you have to,
indulge in whatever your heart desires and when the time is right.