Healing My Relationship With Reading & Learning To Love It Again

I was that child with their nose in a book. I became a girl lost in the between the pages; teetering between the choice to stay in my fictional worlds and face reality. Reading was my escape for my childhood, for my teenage years and it was my favourite hobby. I adored browsing libraries, bookshops and buying books was my second hobby. How many books is too many? Can you ever buy too many books? I yearned for a library like Belle’s in Beauty and the Beast. I loved books so much that I struggled to see who I was without my love of reading. It was such a huge part of my identity that I couldn’t imagine my life without books in it. I couldn’t imagine not being excited to read. Until it happened.

If you’d asked my younger self, if I could ever picture myself struggling to pick up books and feel excited to read, she’d stare at you confused. Reading was like breathing to me. It was a way of life. Most of my spare time was filled with reading. If I wasn’t reading, I was likely watching TV or doing something creative (e.g writing, drawing etc). Something important to mention here, I didn’t have access to the internet independently until I was about 13. My forms of entertainment as a child was TV, DVDs, books, my imagination and the DS.

Books truly were my crutch. The fictional characters became my friends. I found peace in the pages and I found myself too. It was only when I got older, around 17/18 that I could feel my relationship with this hobby changing. The escape I once had was fracturing as my brain began making me feel guilty for not being productive. Overwhelm threatened to suffocate me beneath the books that I kept buying because I wanted to read them one day. Only for that day to feel like it truly would never come, not even in a joking way.

Now the breakdown in my relationship with reading can be attributed to several things:

The first is this blog. Originally a book blog and I was putting pressure on myself to try and fit the mould. Post reviews and bookish content, however that meant I wasn’t fully immersing myself in the books like I usually did.

Second, the book community as a whole. Consuming the content that pushes the narrative to read more, to challenge yourself and you get the validation for the more you read.

Third, I was discovering other hobbies, which gave me the same happiness, reading gave me. I was exploring other things because I had the ability to do so once I got my own devices so I was no longer restricted to just my mum’s desktop computer.

Fourth, the narrative I was telling myself. That reading was somehow a waste of my time when I could be more productive.

I read 9 books in 2021.

The lowest amount of books I’ve ever read that I can remember. I felt so much shame and guilt at first because how could I call myself a reader, a ‘book’ blogger when I’d only read 9 books total. That was when I realised, truly realised how much damage I’d done to my love of reading, by telling myself ‘it was a waste of time’ and ‘I could be doing something productive’. Keep in mind, I could binge dramas and not feel guilty but for books I was consumed by guilt.

Thus began my healing process. At the end of my hiatus, I realised I still enjoyed reading, it still felt like home. The smell of a paperback, brings me so much comfort unlike any other scent. Reading was still my home. I just had to figure out how to balance it with the other hobbies I now have. I am still trying to find that balance.

Learning to love reading again, has been quite the adventure. One I never thought I’d have to go through but here we are. Here are some things that I’ve been keeping in my mind when I approach reading these days.

It’s ok if you devour it and it’s ok if it takes you half a year

Trying to feel less guilt when it takes me months to read a book. One of the ways I do this is to reframe it as ‘me savouring the book’, whilst I can still fly through a book in one sitting and thoroughly enjoy it. There’s something about taking my time with certain books, to fully process the prose, the world building and everything that I’ve grown to appreciate. Whether I inhale a book in one sitting or prolong my pain across multiple months – what matters most is that I am enjoying the book I’m reading. Not the pace at which I actually consume the material. At least, that’s something I’m trying to keep in mind.

Rest is just as important as productivity

Do I enjoy watching videos on YouTube as people have productive days? Yes. Am I going to suddenly check off all the things on my to do list in a single day? No. I just…do not have the energy for that most days. I’m grateful if I can get one thing done in a day. Rest is as important as being productive. Reading is rest, my brain can switch off and doesn’t have to think about anything other than what these fictional characters are doing. Retraining my brain’s voice to not bash me every time I decide to read is a challenge but we’re getting there slowly.

Reading =/= Content For The Blog

Just because I’m reading or in the mood to read, does not mean I need to read with the intention to post on the blog. I do make posts about some of the books and series I read, however I don’t put the pressure on myself to pick them up just because I’m in the mood to read. Those posts can and do get shuffled around because I refuse to feel guilty about them taking longer to be posted, when I want to enjoy reading or rereading those books. The point of the posts is to share my love of those books, which is harder to do when you force yourself to read to meet a self imposed deadline. Similarly with my rec posts, I try and recommend books I’ve read so I know what I’m recommending. It’s why a lot of the book related content takes longer to appear on my blog. I’m not rushing myself to read books in the name of posting consistently or posting content. I’ll post it in my own time, when I’m ready. I run this blog, the blog does not run me. Not anymore.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Have you had any rocky moments in your relationship with reading? How did you overcome them? Do you ever feel pressured to read to keep up with others? Let me know in the comments!


12 thoughts on “Healing My Relationship With Reading & Learning To Love It Again

  1. You’re not alone, Clo! I also grew up reading, and I was an English Lit major in college, it’s what I loved to do. But then I had my kids and stopped reading much of anything except a few nonfiction books a year–and children books, of course–for ten years! And it’s something I hear from other readers, but I have Twilight to thank for reigniting my love of reading. And when I started my blog three years ago, one of my first decisions was to only do what’s fun. To not stretch myself too much. Starting my blog did lead to more ARCs than I should have accepted, and it’s something I’m still trying to get a handle on. But I make it a point to read for enjoyment—with no review to post, as well. It’s so important to only do what makes us happy! And whether it’s one or 100 books a year, we’re still readers! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad Twilight was able to reignite your love for reading! Haha so far I have managed not to fall down an ARC hole, we’ll see if I manage to stay away from them still or if I eventually cave. I think at the end of the day one of the most important things is that we enjoy the things we do. Thank you so much for reading! 💜


  2. This feel like this post says a lot of things I needed to hear. Just like you I was a ferocious reader as a child, but growing up, finding other interests, and having a job that takes up a lot of my time has really changed the way I read. Telling myself reading is just as important as “being productive” is still something I’m struggling with.

    And while the past few years I’ve read more books than I ever have, I don’t feel like I’ve been as invested in them, or found that same joyful, memorable experience reading used to bring me. Back when I was 13 I could read a series and still be thinking about it for weeks, talking the ear off anyone who would listen to me about it. Now I finish a book and it’s just another one ticked off the list, and time to move on to the next one. I think if anything I’d like to make it a goal to read *less* books next year, with the aim of enjoying them more fully.

    Because a book should be a memorable experience! Not just another task ticked off a list. I think I really need to work on seeing reading as a hobby again, rather than a job. I should be doing this for fun! This is such a great discussion that I think will be helpful for so many readers who are in the same situation – thank you for sharing! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aw thank you so much for reading! Honestly I feel like so many of us readers who are on social media and choose to share our lobe of this hobby online, end up struggling with enjoying it because ‘well we could be doing something else that’s more productive’. It’s hard and there’s times I have to remind myself that I read to escape and enjoy myself.

      I feel that, when I was younger I was able to just pick up whatever piqued my interest based on the blurb/cover. Now I don’t do that as much but I do prefer knowing more or less if I’m going to like the book based on friends thoughts on it.

      Yep another one ticked off the list is probably one of the main problems I have with the book community. Just how it ends up fostering this need to check things off lists and before you know it you’re not reading for enjoyment but to check it off a list.

      I loved your comment so much Abi, I’m sorry for my late reply but once again thank you so much for reading! 💜


  3. I only had a rocky relationship with reading once. It was when I was trying to review every single book I read and I was reading faster than I could review. It made me read slower and lesser because I didn’t want to get behind on reviewing which eventually put me in a slump. I fortunately got over that mindset pretty quickly and haven’t had a problem with reading & content since then.

    I’m glad to hear that you’re finding your love for reading again and are slowly letting go of the guilt it came with!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooof I feel you on this, when I was just starting out blogging I felt the need to try and review everything or like back review things too. Purely for archival purposes so I could have it done and yeah, that was a whole mindset to unlearn that it’s ok to not review things to form a collection or things.

      Thank you so much for reading Sumedha!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad that you were able to have your healing journey ❤
    I used to be the same as you, I don't think I had independent access to the internet until 13 or 14 either which was when I got my tablet and launched into the world of Wattpad. Even then, I only got a Goodreads in 2018 and came on Instagram in the same year as well. Reading was the only thing I was doing in my spare time so obviously, I was excessive about it. I didn't count my books back then but I'm sure I read more than a hundred a year.
    But like I've said in some of my posts, things have been changing. I have a better social life, more friends, academics and other hobbies that I wish to prioritize. Like you, I'm trying to find the balance. I don't think I ever fell out of love with reading but I did struggle with the questions of being a book blogger ad the expectations of reading so many books. I'm doing much better now and I'm glad you are too 🙂
    Thank you for writing this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah thank you so much Charvi! 💜 Omg I love that we were similar ages before we had independent internet access. I was on Goodreads in 2014 I think? I went through a phase of using Facebook and Goodreads a lot socially and then it was Wattpad, it’s interesting how it’s evolved to be honest for which platform I use socially haha.

      A mood on it being excessive. Before blogging and Goodreads I’m sure I read like 40+ in a year easily because it was my favourite thing to do.

      Here’s to us both finding a balance which works for us! Thank you for reading my post love you! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really enjoyed this post, it was very relatable! I’m glad you got to a point where you can enjoy reading again.
    I was at a similar place in 2020 and 2021 as well. I read a lot of books, so I wasn’t in a slump, but I read for the wrong reasons. I spent time with books to escape reality, which is okay if it’s done moderately, but I went overboard, honestly. I also fell into the trap of reading a lot just because I was talking about books online, so I felt like I had to read a certain amount. But that changed at the end of 2021, and ever since then, I’m on my healing journey as well, and it feels like I more or less got back that childlike experience, when I just read whatever I wanted, and it doesn’t matter if I read one or ten books a month, as long as it’s for the right reason. I still have a way to go to achieve what I used to have as a kid, but it’s much better than 2-3 years ago.


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