Thursday, January 26, 2017

Reading Guilt

I posted back in December about social justice reads because the world is terrifying and I want to learn all that I can. And that is still a goal and still something I want to focus on. But I also realized I need to make sure I don't burn myself out.
Burn out and become this cat
The other day I finished It's Up to the Women and was looking for the next book to read, going through my list of books I already own and I thought I'd start a book that is just for entertainment, John Dies at the End by David Wong. And then I started to feel guilty that I was reading something that didn't address notions of racism or sexism or classism*. It's not a social justice read, is what I'm saying and can I afford to just ignore this and put my head in the sand? Is that what I'm doing here?

Then I say to myself "shut up". I mean, I say it with love, but still. Reading a book for entertainment is fine and beating myself up over it is stupid and if I get too frustrated I'll end up not doing anything.

For whatever reason, I didn't feel this same guilt when it came to rereading (or in my case, relistening) to Harry Potter. Maybe because I listened to the first book with my mom during a car ride, so then it wasn't my choice. (Or I mean, it was, kinda. We chose it together when we were deciding what to listen to during the trip.) Of course, then I listened to the next book. And then started the third, and haven't felt any guilt over those. Maybe cos I'm listening instead of reading (audiobooks ftw!)? Or maybe because it's Harry Potter and it's about fighting their own battles? Or maybe because it's Harry Potter and I'm never going to feel guilty about rereading those? (Plus relistening to the Oh Witch Please episodes, of course).

So I'm going to continue to read social justice books. Obviously. And I'm going to read books that are just for entertainment. Especially if they are books that are already sitting on my shelves.
I realize I sort of answered my own concerns in this post. But writing this helped, if only to remind myself to calm down and not worry so much if I'm doing the right kind of reading.

How's your reading going so far?

*I should say that's not the overt purpose of the story, at least not from what I can see. Perhaps the concepts will be there in a more subtle form.