My Panicky Reading Habit & Truth of Being a Bookworm… And Eventual Resignation

It would be a cliched, self-important, tone-deaf thing to say if I said that being a bookworm isn’t easy. Quite contrarily, it is one of the easiest things in the world. All you have to do is have a reading habit, no matter the genre or the frequency of the books you read, and you can be called a bookworm. Over the past 1.5 years or so, however, I’ve discovered a new dimension to my reading, to my existence as a bookworm, which probably says more about me as a person than about me as a bookworm. But since both are intricately linked and interwoven… That’s a whole conundrum in itself.

I made my social media accounts at various stages in my life and at first, they weren’t all about books. Facebook came in 2007 because of peer pressure; Twitter in 2009, because I just wanted to see what the hype was; Blog in 2013, which underwent a bunch of platform and name changes and ended up on WordPress; Instagram, first in November 2017, the second in July 2018; YouTube in February 2018. I used to read, but my variety was limited to a small pool of books I deemed important. I had no idea about the actual vast world of books out there, to the point where I wonder if I’ve always been a bookworm. But if I were to take my own advice from before, I was.

Photo by George Milton at Pexels

As I started being more on social media, I found books that I never knew existed before. My biggest rule of being a blogger/Booktuber/Bookstagrammer is: if you want to become one, you have to read. How will you share your thoughts about books otherwise? Improve your reading habit: read more, both in quantity and in diversity. And even though I have a long way to go in this sense, I can also see that I have come a long way since the time when all I knew were Ludlums and Macleans. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, though. I just mean to say that diversifying and reading more authors is always good.

So over the past five or more years of actively being on social media and talking about books, I have come to understand that my love for them isn’t one-dimensional. The past 1.5 years, especially, have shown me that it’s a multidimensional world that I live in, both literally and figuratively.

While earlier, my love for books was only intent on focusing on how much I depend on them and that not reading a book meant that something was wrong with me, I’ve come to realize that not reading a book on any particular day doesn’t mean that my love for them has died. It just means that life and being a human got in the way.

Earlier, I considered my love for books as having to read at least 10 books a month or it wasn’t a productive month. This was what I thought for myself while I told everyone else that it didn’t matter, that they shouldn’t beat themselves up if they weren’t able to. I wasn’t able to extend the same courtesy to myself. I wasn’t kind to myself. But now, I’ve come to realize that I need to say that to myself as well. And I’ve started doing that. While before, panic used to set in and turn me into a mess, now, I’ve taken to acknowledging it and moving on. I don’t need to be at 100% all the time.

Earlier, I considered my love for books, my reading habit, as doing the world’s worth of things related to the book – read, review, speak about it online, everything. But now, I’ve come to realize that there are some books that I want to keep to myself. These books are so personal, talking about them feels like a betrayal. And that’s okay, too. Because I’ve realized that I’ve put so much of myself out there on social media that there remained nothing for myself. How am I supposed to function when I’m constantly out of my own self?

Earlier, I considered my love for books as my whole personality. I mean there is a part of me that still does. But I know now that books enhance me. They help me improve myself. It is not fair for someone or something to carry the burden of a person’s whole personality on their shoulders. So now, I try to consciously choose other forms of media as well and even though I haven’t made the best progress, there is progress.

Books used to be my hobby, my passion, and my work. But now, I can say I’ve added a hobby to the microbial list: learning languages. I want to say that I’m fluent in 34729301 languages because of my love for it, but that’s sadly not the case. My introversion gets in the way and has been getting in the way and because of that, I only have an intermediate understanding of the language I’ve been learning and that too, only in writing. Speaking is still a bone of contention for me although I can understand it okay.

I digress, though.

My point is: my love for books and my reading habit have shifted and changed a lot over the past however many years I’ve been on social media. My love for books has become more accepting of other activities, other hobbies, and other things that a human can be. I like to think that it is for the better, because as long as you’re tolerant of things that are different from you, when they do nobody any harm, you’re good. My love for books has expanded and grown and I’ve come to accept that you needn’t always be with the things you love. Everything needs some time away, some space, or it will meet its saturation point and overwhelmed, might just end. We don’t want such a huge part of ourselves to end, do we?

I have come to accept it because I know that everything changes. And yet, sometimes, I feel pure panic at the thought of not doing more, of not reading more, of not knowing more about so many things, of doubting myself, of doubting my reading habit, of doubting my love for books, of doubting everything I do. There’s no rational explanation for any of it. How am I supposed to call myself a bookworm and answer the thousands of questions swarming my mind?

When I go on a reading spree, I do so pretty happily and enthusiastically. There are so many books I’m going to read! So many books I’m going to check off my TBR! So much progress! But then, suddenly, something happens. Like a switch being turned off, my whole motivation for reading goes away into some faraway void and I find myself doing anything and everything apart from it. My content creation, which hinges on books and the whole reading process, comes to a grinding halt as I turn away from reading. Instead, I watch TV shows, I watch random YouTube videos, I lie in bed listening to songs and watching reels – the whole shtick. And during this time, the panic becomes a noise in the background of my mind. It’s there, but I’m able to ignore it. During this time, I can’t concentrate on a book, no matter how easy it is to read or how much I love the author that’s written it. There’s no point talking to me about books during this time.

This period ends as suddenly as it starts, as if I’d been walking towards the void all along, suddenly reunited with my love for reading, and now, I’m hugging it to myself fiercely, for fear of losing it again. One day, I’m ignoring the 30 books on my bookshelf, the 12 books I’ve borrowed from the library, and the 127 other eBooks on my Kindle like they don’t exist. The next, I’m taking one book after the other off the shelf and flying through them in a crazy bid to reinstate my reading habit. It is during this time that I make plans for my online content, sometimes overenthusiastically and with a confidence that isn’t justified, no matter the circumstance. During this time, I’m feverishly making lists, borrowing books from the library, and feeling that panic I was talking about. That is, until the next spell of the doom and gloom.

What is this duality? I ask myself. But I’ve long since given up trying to understand it, because it’s extra work for my already overworked brain. I’ve come to accept this duality instead of trying to understand it. “Oh cool, I’m in my reading spree phase,” I say when I’m flying through books. And when that void looms, I say, “Oh, okay. It’s here again. I guess there’s nothing to be done about it except let it work the way it needs to work.” How normal this is, or if it is normal or not, I don’t know. I also don’t know if this is a sign of some deeper issue.

The bottom line to all this introspection is, I guess, the truth that books will always be there, my reading will shift and morph into different forms, and my love for books will always exist, irrespective of whether I panic about how I won’t be able to read as much as my heart wants to. Also that I’ve resigned myself to the fact that no matter the situation, panic and chaos will always be a part of me. They just choose to show themselves (or not) in different forms.

And I’m content with this knowledge. I’m okay with the fact that I’ll never be able to unearth the reasons for the panic, chaos, and shifting reading moods.

After all, what’s life if not for a little mystery? 😉

Do you relate to any of the things I’ve shared about myself in this post? If yes, which ones? If no, what are the best and worst things about being a bookworm? What reading habit do you follow without fail? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you! ❤

I’ll see you in the next blog post.

Until next time, keep reading, keep watching, and add melodrama to your life! ❤

2 thoughts on “My Panicky Reading Habit & Truth of Being a Bookworm… And Eventual Resignation

  1. I am in awe of how well you are able to articulate how you feel about reading books and I loved reading this post. I don’t think that social media has changed how I read or feel about reading although it has made me aware of far more books than I would have been which is absolutely brilliant. I certainly don’t share every book I read. I don’t like writing reviews particularly and generally only publish one or two at most. I guess that the times when your motivation for reading gets switched off is just the other side of the cycle. Enjoy the other things while you’re not reading ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my, thank you so so much for the kind words, Janette! You’ve made my day ❤️
      I agree about social media being a boon when it comes to spreading awareness about books. It’s the best part of being on there!
      The other side of the cycle, the other side of the moon, is absolutely right! It’s a constant process of trying ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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