I have been reading a lot. I have picked up various genres and authors in the previous few months and have moderately enjoyed all those experiences. But I never completed any of those books. The list is kind of long, it includes the House of mirth by Edith Wharton, Maine by J.C.Sullivan and many more. If you ask me, why I never finished them, I wouldn’t have a single reason to tell you why, nor am I in a reading slump (I have finished multiple other books in the that time frame). Then, why was I unable to finish any of these books?
It was the other day when I was reading the book, The Solitary Summer by Elizabeth von Arnim, that I came to find the answer. In the book, her character mentions how she picks up different authors off her shelf depending on what she is feeling or where she is seated in her house. She talks about leaving a book when its purpose has been served, and starting off a book right in the middle when she feels like it. That’s when it hit me. That is what I had been doing for the past few months. I was picking up books that I wanted to read in that moment and was even making progress, but for no reason at all would leave them once they didn’t appeal to me anymore.
This got me thinking, why didn’t I do this more? Why did I feel compelled to ‘finish’ books just so I can claim that yes, I read? In this online culture of constantly counting what you are reading, how much you are reading and where you are reading it, we have forgotten the very thing reading is not; a competition. I don’t think I should have to complete every single book to say I enjoyed it or didn’t. I don’t think you have to finish every book and mark it as read on your goodreads shelf to say that you read a book. Who is keeping score of how many books you read to completion anyway? We have to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves as a community and as humans. We have to make sure that the platforms that bring us together, don’t make us lose sight of why we are there in the first place. If a certain book appeals to you at a certain point and time, I encourage you to pick it up and enjoy it to the maximum. When it stops giving you pleasure, you can walk away, it’s okay to walk away. No one is keeping score.