Last week, nearly a dozen of my favorite bloggers posted lists of the favorite books they read in 2011 and/or posted lists of books they are planning to read in 2012. I wish I could post a similar list, but, unfortunately, for the last six months or longer, my desire to read has waned. Big time. I haven’t been to a book store in months. I can’t remember the last time I heard about or saw the cover of a book and thought, Oh, I would LOVE to read that. I’ve been trying to figure out why and what is the solution. Whether correct or not, I determined three possible reasons.
First, I have been a heavy reader for many years. (Hello, my name is Leslie and I’m a bookaholic. It’s been 7 months since my last…) When I first stumbled upon the doctrines of grace, and sound biblical doctrine in general, I wanted to read every single book, catechism, essay, etc. that I could get my hands on. I wanted to drink from the fire-hose. I’ve calmed down. Nowadays I’m content to savor an old book, not in any hurry to start the next one.
Second, I read way too many books targeted for Christian women. Tim apologized in advance when he first agreed to let me write reviews for Discerning Reader. He knew that I would mostly be reviewing books for Christian women, and the main topics for that particular audience are few: homemaking, hospitality, being a submissive wife, and parenting. He warned me about burn-out. But the prospect of reading the same (essentially) book over-and-over again didn’t deter me because I was famished, hungry to read about how my “new” understanding of theology, scripture, and doctrine informed my daily life.
I’m thankful for that season of reading and learning. But I’ve had enough; I’m full; I’m pushing away from the table. Most new books published for people like me will say the same thing because every single one of them uses the same verses to make their points. I have an obedience problem and, a lot of times, I lack the wisdom for knowing exactly how to apply God’s word to my situation. Reading another book isn’t going to fix that (as if a book could fix anything). Besides, trying to fit someone else’s life into mine never worked.
Third, I read too many books from a sense of duty rather than delight. A vast majority of the books I read and reviewed were ones I wanted to read. Many books, however, were ones that I did not want to read, but forced myself to anyway. I don’t want to do that anymore.
Though this began as a post about personal apathy toward reading, I am convinced that I’ve been rather unenthusiastic about a lot of things in my life. Nevertheless, I think those reasons, combined with various circumstances, events, and life-happenings, worked together to produce in me a real apathy toward books, book-ish things, and almost every subject in which I’ve ever shown an interest. I regret being such a bore in 2011.
So, what are some possible solutions? Dare I say, resolutions? Oh, I have a few. I will read only what interests me. I will try to read widely. I will endeavor to enjoy fiction again. I will not pressure myself to review every single thing I see, hear, or read. I will laugh more and make others laugh with me. I will go on adventures. I will try to get more sleep at night. I will delight in God himself and not books about him. Finally, and perhaps most daring, I will continue to cultivate a few close relationships with other women centered on life and our pursuit of Christ, not books, television, movies or other interests.
I am tempted to disallow comments on this post because I am sure it will not be received the right way by everyone as I’m sure I haven’t been as clear as I could be. I am neither sad nor depressed. I’m not even in a bad mood. I was only trying to think through why I didn’t want to do very much reading last year when it occurred to me that I haven’t really wanted to do much of anything. It has been a great help to write my thoughts, and I am looking forward to clicking the publish button. That’s a good sign, isn’t it? Thanks for reading.