Bookish Problems Of Our Own Making

A brand new year. A fresh start. A clean slate. So much optimism, bright eyes looking towards a future filled with promise.

And also the pressure to get it all right.

I’m not talking about the pressures to be a better you, to run more, eat less, be mindful, bold, live in the moment more, become purple or make friends with a Martian.

Although all of those pressures will inevitably set in when you realize Martians don’t want to be friends with humans no matter how many baked goods you bring.


I’m talking about the bookish pressure to get that one book read! To make a start on your challenges and cross books off any list you have going, to get that ‘1 Book Read!’ badge on the 50 Book Pledge and to see a % of progress on your Goodreads goal.

The pressure to choose a GREAT first book. To choose one that will be the measuring stick for all reads afterwards. To choose that one perfect book that will obviously set the tone for your magnificent reading year.

Is this just me?

I spent the entire first day of 2016 alternating between not moving in bed watching The Gilmore Girls and sticking my head down my toilet. So Day 1 was a write off. Day 2 I tucked into Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale but couldn’t seem to get very far. Day 3 I barely read at all. So now here we sit, a handful of days into the new year and I still haven’t read a single book.

will ferrell

The voice in my head.

I wasn’t actually even sure that I was going to like The Nightingale until last night. I’ve been told that I can’t read the last bit in public. So I brought a second book with me in case I get to that point on the bus. But I also REALLY want to have read at least one book this year. JUST ONE.

I cannot be starting my new reading year, alternating between two books and finishing neither.

It’s driving me completely insane and it’s a problem completely of my own making.

And now I’ve told you all about it.

You’re welcome.

30 thoughts on “Bookish Problems Of Our Own Making

  1. I’m with you, dear! I’m in the middle of three books and haven’t finished one. I think us bookish folk get so *excited* about so many things and chat them up so much that we make them seem way much more important than they really are. Reading is reading…it’s great, sometimes it can be crappy, and we all need to do it at our own pace. I’m excited for everyone who is 2, 5, 10 books into their reading year already and I’m excited for us because we’re floundering early just to get it out of the way 😉

    • It’s good to hear that I’m not the only one! It’s very much a case of the grass being greener on the other side. And I think you’re bang on that we tend to get so excited talking about the new year that we forget to just enjoy the process!
      Reading *is* reading. Definitely going to believe that we’re floundering now to get it out of the way.

  2. Ha! This made me laugh.
    I never used to feel any pressure about the first book of the year before blogging. It didn’t even cross my mind. Now it does, but I’m still okay with it, and I haven’t had a crisis yet. In fact, I usually end up reading a very god first book. Last year it was Us Conductors and this year it was The Road To Atlantis. I’ve only just read that one book, though, if that makes you feel any better.
    You wouldn’t want to end up reading such a great book that no others even come close. That wouldn’t be good either. 😉

    • It is definitely a problem that has manifested due to blogging. And being so much more active about sharing book love online. (Ha, look at me being active! hahahahah)
      I ended up finishing The Nightingale today and it was beautiful and devastating and a very excellent, memorable first book. Hopefully now the voice in my head will shut up.
      Hopefully other books are able to live up to it. Going with Maeve Binchy next. We all know how I love me some Maeve.

  3. I feel you..
    So at the end of the year, I decided to buy a couple of erotica (erotic novels? I don’t know) based on a Book Riot video. I was done my serious reading for the year. But I got a little behind and wasn’t done by Dec. 31 as I thought I’d be… and I could *stop* reading because it was actually pretty good!! Anyway I finished Jan 2 and now my first book of the year is called “Asking for It” lol. Good thing I’m on a social media break and didn’t have to so an instagram of shame.

  4. I’m in the same boat — alternating between two books, finishing neither, and silently yelling at myself to stop wasting time. Glad to hear I’m not alone!

  5. It’s funny how easy it is to be rational about someone else, but harbour some crazy irrational thoughts about your own situation. I would tell you not to put so much pressure on yourself but I do it too! We all do, so let’s at least all take comfort in knowing we are in it together, shall we ;)? I have a feeling you are on the path of a very very wonderful reading year!

    • That’s totally it! If someone else told me this was their issue I’d be like “dude, calm down.It’s fine.” But in my own head it’s full panic mode. I completely recognize that it’s crazy!
      I’m glad we’re in this together. I finished The Nightingale and somehow thought that a 500 page Maeve Binchy would be the best possible way to break my slow reading slump. It’s like I hit my head on NYE.

      • LOL! I actually laughed out loud there. I still think you’re a Reading Wonder Woman so 500 pages doesn’t seem so bad lol. Also, Maeve seems to be the perfect snowy read. Really need to try her sometime..

  6. I hear you! I was home with the kids for the first 4 days of the year, and I hardly got any reading done. It was so much fun to play with the Legos the kids got for Christmas, but in the back of my head, I kept wondering how much longer until I could go back to a reading routine. 🙂 Thankfully, I at least don’t expect my first book of the year to be the measuring stick for the rest of the year. I want it to be good of course, but I’m ok with it maybe not being great. I’m sure you get your reading mojo back on track in no time.

    • That sounds like such a great start to the year!
      It’s this weird superstitious thing I have about the first book of the year. If it’s bad, I feel like I will have a tough reading year – it happened to me once several years ago and it’s in my head as true.

  7. That is the screaming in my head too! No matter what else I get done, if my reading life is off I feel blah! Hope it starts looking up for you. I know you’ll find the jackpot regardless.

  8. My start to last year was horrible…I didn’t find a book I loved until early February…or maybe even mid-February. But, things turned around eventually. So, don’t fear!
    PS – I didn’t think The Nightingale was all that…good, yes, but didn’t match all the hype for me 🙂

  9. Haha awww. I totally get this. I haven’t finished a book yet this year either, and we’re almost a week into it! What??? At times like this we just have to remind ourselves that it’s okay to not read for a while if we’re not feeling it. (I have to remind myself of this several times a year.) You’ll get your reading groove back!

  10. I loved this! Not that you are struggling, but that I’m not alone in assigning such significance to the first book of the year. I had what I thought was a GREAT one, based on the first 20 pages and then it went so far off the rails I was furious. Since then I have been plagued by highs and lows so I’m reading, but I’m also DNFing more already than I did all of last year.

    Thankfully, Ready Player One is making me really happy right now. Good luck- it will get better.

    • My husband keeps telling me to read Ready Player One.
      I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one – was starting to think that maybe I was crazy!
      First book was The Nightingale which, when I finished it, I loved but the process wasn’t a smooth one. Then I read Scarlet Feather, which I really enjoyed but it’s not my favourite Maeve Binchy. Now I’m onto Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country and it’s been a slow slog. I need to think about this one a little more. But I’ve still only read 3 books and I’m losing my mind.
      I hope this all changes for me soon! Good luck with your reading – sounds like you have maybe made it onto an upswing!

  11. Pingback: A Non-Fiction Binge | The Paperback Princess

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