Hey y’all! If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me tweet out a little soul-crushing update: I don’t really read books anymore. I know! It’s wild, but this must be some symptom of the burnout that I was told I’d have if I went into a master’s program right out of undergrad. But here’s the thing – it’s not even that I’m too tired to read or don’t have the time. It’s that I’ve received so little joy from the things I’ve been reading lately that most books kind of repulse me. Thankfully, I think I might be on the mend and I’m ready to share my path to falling back in love with books again.
As I said earlier, I think most of my new found hatred – yes, I’ll call it a hatred – of reading came from the content that I mainly read. What did I read, you ask? Scholarly articles and scholarly books. And I’ll be honest, it’s not that I’ve never thoroughly enjoyed a book that I’ve read for class before (Matthew Desmond’s Evicted is a amazing as is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down), but the books that I’ve been reading for class just haven’t been doing it for me. They weren’t bad, but they didn’t really rock my world.
Moreover, I’ve spent the last month writing my thesis proposal, which made me simultaneously more and less excited about my actual thesis. On the one hand, I’m putting together a really good project, but on the other hand, reading up on the theory for it literally wrecked my life. I discovered that the “theory” genre of books is just not my jam. I don’t know if it’s because I had to read them so fast that I couldn’t savor the message or if it’s just because most theory books are written with an academic audience in mind (yeah, it’s definitely that last one), but I really was not vibing with it.
This wasn’t to say that I hated all of the theory and academic articles I read, but I stan an academic article that’s a bit more reader friendly. I want some research and theory that’s so engaging and readable that I could recommend it to y’all – which also isn’t to say that y’all can’t read and enjoy research, but that I want to share books that I love wholeheartedly as “Liv” and not books that I love as “Liv the master’s student.” And none of the texts I read fell into the former category, unfortunately.
So, yeah, school crushed my vibes, but I kept going with 3 things: Harry Potter, comics, and fanfiction. These were “light reads” for me, because they all built on what I had read before. I’m already familiar with Harry Potter and an avid fan of the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast, so an easy way to keep reading was to just pick up an episode and read the matching book chapter before listening. It’s super simple and very low commitment. Plus, I’ve read the books before, so I can focus less on world building and more on discovering new things I love in the text with my 22 year old brain!
As for comics, I’ve mentioned before that I’ve started reading the Ms. Marvel comics with Kamala Kahn. Comic books are short with a lot of pictures, so they’re a bit more readable to those with the book blues than a huge novel. For a similar reason, I’ve also been reading fanfiction. You can choose how long you want the story to be and, once again, you can skip a whole lot of world building, because everything (normally) takes place in a universe you already know!
Find What Excites You
Finally, I’ve progressed on to books. Even though I haven’t actually finished a book of my own choosing in a while, I still have thought about books. Whenever I hear about a book that’s good, I put it on my Amazon wishlist thinking, “I’ll buy it when I’m more up to reading again.” I haven’t bought any books recently, so that time has not come. What happened instead was that I went to the library to renew my card.
I live about 20 – 25 minutes out from my library, so it isn’t the quickest ride and I wanted to get a little extra out of my trip. So, I started looking through my list and seeing what really stood out to me. And low and behold, I still wasn’t feeling up to reading some of those books! But I did feel up to reading three of them. I chose three books and then wandered the shelves until I found one more.
I think a trip to the library was exactly what I needed. Number 1, if I truly can’t stand the book, I can give it back, no harm, no foul. Number 2, if I truly like the book, I’m on a time crunch to read it. I only have a few weeks! Moreover, I don’t actually have to commit to reading these books. I can just read them because I like them and want to enjoy this limited time with them. It’s literally just me and the book – and maybe a friend who is curious about if they should read it too)! And that’s just the way I like it!
What have you been reading lately?
Thanks for reading!
Until next time, have an awesome rest of your day and an amazing rest of your week!