As adults, we often feel guilty for not reading often enough. Work and other commitments often come in the way of our reading time. What we forget is that we live in the 'Age of Information'. Thus, we may not even realise that we are reading all the time - from the newspaper every morning to the messages that we receive on our phones.
Here is Lipi Mehta from The Reader to ease our guilt for not having read a book in some time.
Stop Thinking That If You Aren’t Reading Books, You Aren’t Reading At All
I grew up in a house with books.A house where my mother and sister’s library was pretty much open source. I was proud of how many books I read in a month. To many others, I used to say it didn’t matter how much I read, as long as I was reading at least one book... And everything was amazing. Until it wasn’t.
As time passed, I stopped reading as much. I moved to different, bigger cities where there was 'more' to do. Reading then wasn’t as effortless an activity as it used to be.
I used to still spend hours browsing in a bookshop, talking about what other readers were reading, discussing book covers and editions, scrolling through bookstagram accounts and feeling honest, real pain to be missing out on so many books.
Today, as I work as a social media editor at Youth Ki Awaaz not much has changed with my reading habits. There’s a lot of work to be done and I don’t find a lot of willingness to read (I won’t blame it on the time alone). For months, I have flopped on my bed at night only to look at my books and say, “Not tonight.”
In fact, I also reached a stage where I started feeling guilty whenever I looked at them. They were like broken promises staring at me every night from my table, and I felt worse each day. I tried everything — reading 10 pages a day, reading smaller books, reading once every two days, reading on the metro. And nothing worked. Because forced things don’t.
And then one day, I took a step back and said, “Leave it for a while.” Leave it all. It was then that I started looking at my day without the forced need of reading a book. And here’s how it sort of looked like: My day begins with checking what pieces a lot of people are engaging with on the platform (of Youth Ki Awaaz). Then, on the metro, I check analytics and take a look at Medium’s daily emailer and the Medium app, to see which articles catch my interest. It is usually a rewarding experience and I end up learning something new.
At work, I read the stories being published on the platform (of Youth Ki Awaaz), I read Facebook messages, I go through some drafts of what’s being published, I read stuff on other websites and my colleagues share amazing stories that we discuss. I go through my own Facebook and Twitter profiles and see if there’s anything interesting people have linked to that I can read (needless to say, there’s always something). On my way back, I am reading similar stuff on the metro or in a cab and making notes sometimes. So here’s what I have realised — I do read, I just don’t read enough physical copies of books.
Many of us go through a phase like this,where what’s usually in front of us takes a lot of mind space. It just takes time to recognise it, and it sure is difficult. But today, I am slowly trying to let go of the guilt.
And once I started facing the guilt, I realised that the reader inside me lives, but has taken another form. It doesn’t mean I will never read a book again. It doesn’t mean you will never read a book again. It just means that right now, you don’t have space for it, but you have it in you to go back to it once you find the space.
This year, in 8 months, I have read 5 books. That’s not even a book a month, but I refuse to believe that this will always be the way it is. Reading is a joyous activity, but if it feels exhausting today, try and take a step back. It really helps. But before anything else, fellow struggling reader — it is time to let go of the guilt.
Click here to read the full article.
In today's world, information surrounds us in all forms. We are reading a lot more than we realise. Once we have imbibed the life skill of reading, it becomes integral to our daily lives. Hence, we say that we must inculcate the habit of reading in children at an early age so that it becomes integral to their lives too.