Good morning Everyone! Another early #JNGReads post here because I realized that I haven’t spoken to you all in such a long time. Summer is kicking off in Toronto, and so I’m constantly busy with different events, but at least I have these weekly entries to touch base and make sure that I’m reading and writing interesting content all the time.
The funny thing is, today’s quote again portrays remarkably and accurately how I’m feeling about reading at the moment. When I was in school, during my undergrad and at the hardest points in my MA, all I dreamed about was being free to read whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, without feeling bad for not doing homework or getting ahead on novels and assigned readings for my classes. I imagined going to work and then spending every other waking hour immersed in books and stories. And, for the most part, I find time to read and delve into fictional (or more recently non-fictional but unique) worlds at least once a day.
But sometimes, I have to be honest, I just don’t find the time to open up my book at all. These could be days when I’m absolutely exhausted after work, or when I’ve made plans to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time. I do fantasize about novels every single day – not a day goes by that I don’t fondly remember being curled up with Jane Eyre at Thornfield Hall, and just yesterday I was reminiscing about the first time I read Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley and fell hopelessly in love with all the characters. (Sidenote: Check my Twitter page to find out what quotes and what pieces of my favourite books are on my mind on any given day!) But that doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t choose real-life and real experience over words on pages.
And it’s all very conflicting! Reading is my all time favourite activity, but it’s still something that has always made me feel a little bit guilty. During school, I either felt guilty for reading things for leisure because they weren’t on my syllabus, or I felt guilty for spending entire days reading textbooks because I didn’t feel like I was really living at all. So, when I read this quote in Azar Nafisi’s memoir, I found that I agreed with her sentiment that being free from the academic environment allowed me to read with less guilt, but I still don’t think that finishing school has removed all the guilt I associate with reading.
“Now that I would have a great deal of time on my hands, I could read without any feelings of guilt.” – Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi
Basically, I don’t know if it is possible to find a good balance between living and reading. Even now, when I take a day long break from picking up a book, I start to feel anxious (especially since I started this blog), thinking that even though I’m reading entirely for ME and should be able to do so when and only for as long as I like, I should still be reading some words every single day. But all too often, there are things I need to do, or want to do, and my book sits on my shelf, untouched.
Is this something that should make me feel bad? Is it the scholar in me who is nervous about neglecting my book, even for such a short period of time…and will I ever shake her? And even if I do read all day, will I not still feel restless, wondering if I’m missing things in the world around me, like I did when I was in school? It’s so hard to say…and it’s so hard to be both a reader, a lover of literature, and a person in the real world. The true question is: do I have to choose between a life in fiction or a life in reality? Sometimes it feels so.
The person who can create a conflict out of absolutely anything,
Girl with a Green Heart