If you are at all like me then your reading life has changed drastically in recent weeks. I’ve talked to friends who are proudly blowing through their TBR at a rate they never expected. I have friends who are reading in entirely new genres they previously thought they hated. I also have friends who can’t seem to find the mental energy to open a book and take in new content at all.
I am in the third group. I’ve picked my way through one or two comforting romances and re-reads in the past weeks but on the whole my reading has been at a snail’s pace compared to my usual rate. There are more books sitting unopened on my nightstand and in my e-reader than I care to admit. The new releases I purchased months ago are far from being the means of escape I planned for them to be in the evenings, not because they aren’t absolutely delightful, but because I am just not currently in the mental place to even start them.
Honestly, when my reading slump started, I felt a strange amount of shame. I mean here I was with more time on my hands than ever and yet I was finding myself mostly apathetic to the long list of books that I was just very excited to read just a month ago. Everyone else seemed to be diving head first into new worlds and series and I felt stuck at a stand still. I mean introverts like me should be living their best life and reading all the things now…right?
After a few weird evenings where I would play video games with my books sitting next to me, or go to bed early without even thinking about my current audiobook, I decided to let my guilt about reading go. Guilt is a tiresome thing to carry around. I made up my mind that with everything else going on, negative feelings surrounding my most beloved pastime were not a welcome burden.
Reading is a hobby that I love. I always have. It gives me an escape to new worlds when I need it. It gives me a place to focus my attention when I’m feeling overwhelmed. It gives me fictional romantic relationships I can be straight up obsessed with.
It’s also not the hobby that I’m turning to a whole lot right now and that’s okay.
Books are always going to be there for us. It’s part of the beauty of them. I think it’s even part of why we love them so much. In a world that is ever changing books simply are not. Whether you open that book on your shelf today, a week, or a month from now the story will remain the same. The beautiful covers will stay the same. You are not “missing out” on the book, you are giving your brain the space it needs to process right now and you should let it.
We react in unprecedented ways for unprecedented times and we shouldn’t carry guilt or comparisons into that. We’ve got enough on our plates. We should cheer on our friends who are tearing through those 2020 reading goals right now while also remembering that our personal book slump is not forever. It also doesn’t make anyone less of a bookworm to experience a lull. Especially not now.
I’m still happily supporting the authors I love knowing that I will be reading voraciously again sometime soon. In fact, I think I read the most when I am just coming out of a book slump and falling in love with reading again. I think it’s also important to note that just like books are always there for us when we need them, this is a time where we can choose to be there for their authors, book slump or no.
Bookworms under stress do not have to act in any one way. There is no checklist to prove your bookishness. You don’t have to be using this time to finally tackle those classics you have been meaning to get to. If you are loving baking right now then take joy in that banana bread. If you want to eat candy and play video games with every free moment available to you (Hi, it’s me!) then you crush at that Animal Crossing! Let yourself find peaceful moments where you can right now and let go of expectations on yourself. Books are true friends. They are always there to welcome us home when we are ready for them.