Discussions & Chit-Chat

On not being "a reader" anymore

For the last four or five years– ever since I started graduate school and a full-time job– I’ve been finding it more difficult to focus on reading books. I start them, but don’t finish. I collect them, but they never move from the shelf. I borrow them from the library, but return them with spines still uncracked. Mostly, I don’t read like I used to (aka multiple books per week).
There’s a couple reasons for this. Being tired from grad school + work is one reason, though really that’s only half a reason because I’m not in grade school any more. Being busy trying to start my own business is a reason, and a pretty good one. Feeling un-enthusiastic about the books I’m reading is another, and a scary reason.
Honestly, I think it’s that last excuse that’s the biggest problem. I just don’t feel excited to read, not like I used to. Have I run out of things to read, or have I just become stagnant in my reading choices?
When I can’t find something in my preferred genre I no longer branch out into different genres like I used to. I just stop reading. I have a massive TBR, but all the titles have blurred together and I can’t remember why I added them on there in the first place.[1. I feel a little like the protagonist from The Phantom Tollbooth, when he can’t find anything to entertain himself because he’s bored with everything? But I can’t just wait for my own Tollbooth to show up; I’ll have to make one.]
Also! And this is super important: I don’t have my reading community anymore! I’ve abandoned Twitter, I’m not on Instagram, I deleted Goodreads, I don’t hang out in my RSS feed reading new posts.[2. I fragmented my online personality into: business, fandom/personal, and bookish. I can’t keep up with all 3, so bookish died. Maybe business should die instead, and fandom/personal should meld with bookish?] I don’t do reading challenges or readathons or any other fun community things. Part of the fun of reading was sharing that experience with my friends, and I totally let that part drop– from feeling guilty about not reading, or hanging out online.
So basically:

  1. Free time is now spent doing non-book things.
  2. Don’t want to make free time for books because I don’t want to read any of my TBR.
  3. TBR is TOO full.
  4. TBR is too similar?
  5. Don’t have book friends to encourage me to read.
  6. Don’t know where book friends went (many have also stopped posting).
  7. Don’t know how to find book friends if not on social media.

For a really long time, being known as “a reader” made me feel important and accomplished. Can I still call myself “a reader” if I’ve only finished like 3 books in 6 months? Is it really all that important to my self-worth to be “a reader”?
I’m afraid the answer is “yes.” Or at least, I miss how I felt when I knew myself to be “a reader.” Not being a reader for the last handful of years has made me feel horrible, to the point where I nearly deleted this blog at least twice. How can I be a book blogger if I don’t read any books?
Well, pooh to that. I AM still a reader, and I WILL get back into reading books, and I WILL find a book community, and I WILL post things on this blog and have FUN AGAIN, damnit!
The plan:

  • Join one (1) reading challenge or event.
  • Pick one (1) social media thing to join that doesn’t make me stress out. (Suggestions welcome.)
  • Post two (2) posts to the blog per week, to get back into the swing of things.
  • Leave three (3) comments on other book blogs per week, to forge community connections.

I deliberately did not put a specific # of books to read because I don’t want to force myself to finish something just to check that box. I DO want to write about what I’m reading, but I’m okay with it being more of a general “what I’m reading this week” kinda thing than a specific number of book reviews.
Well, what do you think? How have your reading habits changed over the years? Do you still consider yourself a reader, or has adult life intervened to the point where everything stinks?


  • charlotte Taylor

    I seem to always want to read books I don’t actually have, but when books I wanted come into the house, they don’t excite me any more. I do read lots still, but with less avid desire and more because I feel I have to. I also miss re-reading lots! It’s been years since I had no new books in the house, and wandered my own shelves…. I hope your plan to make reading a big part of your live again works.

    • Anastasia

      Thanks so much! I’m hoping that doing book blogging will help propel me forward into reading more…one reason I read SO MUCH years ago was to have something to blog about, so it might work again!

  • Alison @ Alison in Bookland (formerly The Cheap Reader)

    I’m glad to see you back in ‘reading world’! I did the same thing a few years back and basically abandoned the community. I’d say you’re a reader if you finish 1 book a year or 1 book a day. It’s the love of books that ties us together. Work and juggling adult life really put a damper on my reading. Audiobooks and graphic novels have been my saving grace these past few years.

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