What happens when your stress reducer becomes your stress inducer?
That’s how my life has been lately. Usually, when things get stressful, I turn to reading. I shut myself off for a few minutes/hours/days and fall into a good book. But recently, my inability to find the book I want to fall into has been causing the stress I usually fix by reading. It’s been a vicious cycle! I’ve talked about reading slumps and book hangovers before, but this is different. Picking up a book has started to physically stress me out.
And because I’m not reading, I’m less inspired to blog about reading, for what I think are obvious reasons.
But the whole thing got me thinking, which usually leads to blogging, and here we are!
I have not finished a full book in about a month. That’s a long time for me. I’ve been stuttering around different books recommended to me by coworkers, my Other Half, and more. And for whatever reason, I just can’t get into anything. So what is it about reading right now that’s stressing me out to the point that I’m just throwing my hands up in defeat?
For one, I think it’s partly the challenge I set for myself this year. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to ensure that 60% of the books I read are “out of my comfort zone.” I’m trying really hard to make sure I’m reading books about different cultures, different issues, etc. But 60%! That’s a lot. And I’m not a person who simply reads because they have to. I WANT to read, all the time. I don’t want to feel like I’m forcing myself to read something that I’m not interested. It’s certainly been a struggle. It was certainly easy at first – my sister literally gifted me the perfect book for Christmas in Under the Udala Trees. But when buying for myself? It’s been hard! Because I feel like I’m forcing it. “Oh, this book looks like it doesn’t talk about white people,” is not how I want to be browsing for books. And I’m not quite sure how to reconcile that search in my mind. I know that the books are out there, but it’s harder than I thought to find them.
But I also think it’s partly because of anticipation (and guilt because of that anticipation) for some other books. Rick Riordan starts his newest Greek series in May, Sabaa Tahir’s sequel to An Ember in the Ashes comes out in August, and Renee Adhieh’s The Rose and The Dagger comes out soon as well. And those are the books I want to read! But they don’t exactly fit my challenge, and they’re all things that I read on a regular basis, hence the guilt.
It’s harder than I ever though to read outside of my comfort zone, that’s for sure.