Off-Topic: The Day Books went away

There used to be a time when all my free moments were filled with reading trilogies, quintets and even septets of books. Whatever great new fantasy series came in sight, I got them. Alternatively, classics and poetry in German and English. On weekends, a book a day wasn’t a rare occasion. I’d get one-volume editions for everything too, monstrous tomes I’d carry around with me to Uni every day while commuting. Two thirds of the space in my student flea bag were taken up by whatever novel I was reading at the time – and don’t even try talking to me in the train or bus compartment!

I needed books, studied books, books were all around me. While I was living off cornflakes and instant noodles, I spent whatever money I had left after rent and food on collector’s editions and illustrated novels. I was (and am) cheap about almost every other expense in my life but never literature. There is inherent value in words put down for eternity.

I have barely read 10 books this entire year of 2015, I can’t even remember. Half of them must’ve been short story collections, too. The year before was even worse than that. I blame game-related activities such as blogging, podcasting and twitter taking over the past decade, yet it’s not like I am not also keeping up with other media like TV shows. And so I marvel – what ever has happened to me and books? My evergreens and favourites are still neatly arranged on many a shelf on my walls, so why is it so hard for new series to pique my interest? Why do I feel so burnt out and more of the same?

It’s like books take too much effort now, starting with how to pick one. Have I become one of those instant gratification kids that don’t have the attention span for literature anymore and only consume visual or narrated media?? What a dreadful thought!

Lovely wonderful books, I miss you…. :(

Now not so never-ending...

Now not so never-ending…

P.S. Yes, two off-topic posts in a row! I must be outgrowing game blogging now too! *panic*

8 comments

  1. This is so very relateable to me. But is has been a few years for me now since books sort of stepped down from their throne of dominance over my free time. My childhood, teens and younger twenties I easily got through a couple books a week when not too busy. I used to read in busses, trains, carrides, and even while walking (not bicycling thouh, that would likely have ended badly).
    When i got heavily into MMOs books took 2nd seat, but I still got through a few a month due to MMOs being a”while at home” activity for me.
    3-4 years ago i got an ipad… And that was sort of the end of the heavy book-reading. Didnt take long for blogs/random internet comics/sites for whatever mmo i played/forums/(and articles for uni) to become what i read on commutes (thats a word right?).
    Now adays it is mostly for vacations, or if i get one as a gift or something. They still catch me just as much as always, i just dont “seek” new books all the time to have something to read in my sparetime. I even have books on my shelf I havent read, something that was almost completely unthinkable 10 years ago.

    So if you are sad about not reading books anymore, make a conscious choice to read a few a month, or it will most likely fall even more into the “dark”.

    Shandren

  2. I can definitely relate. I love books like crazy, but somehow finding the time to read them between all the other things we do seem really difficult. Which is strange, because as you say – we do spend time on other things like TV shows and games, browsing the web etc.

    Whenever I do get around to reading a book, I still love it. And I vow that I won’t wait so long until I read another. Yet… I do. I don’t know what’s wrong, and it’s quite sad, really. Maybe I need to make a conscious effort to read more books again. Since my to-be-read pile is really quite large at this point!

  3. I also used to be a voracious reader as a child and then experienced a drastic decrease in my time spent reading once I got internet. Reading blogs, forums and the like just seems to compete for the same brain space.

    It’s gotten better for me in the past year though, because I read during my lunch breaks at work and while commuting. As someone without a smartphone there are no alternative distractions for me during that time. There’s also a book store just around the corner from my office… when’s the last time you’ve been to one? While Amazon is great for purchasing specific titles, I feel that nothing beats browsing actual bookshelves and allowing yourself to be lured in by an unusual title or cover, maybe even get lost in a whole different section of the store that you initially thought you weren’t even interested in…

    On the other hand, I gave up television a few years ago and rarely miss it, except when people tell me that so-and-so show is awesome and I have no idea what they’re even talking about.

  4. I know the feeling — I definitely read less than I used to. 2-3 books a weeks was my norm, now it’s more like 2-3 a month, and sometimes not even that many.

    I was reading a column by Orson Scott Card today though, and he dropped this gem into it that I wholeheartedly agree with: “Children who have not fallen asleep with their head on a book (or a book on their head) are not being raised properly.”

  5. Funny, I read as many–if not more–books now than I did as a kid, and I was a pretty voracious reader as a child. Pretty sure my Kindle budget nearly exceeds that of my video game budget now that I think about it. 2 – 3 books a week at 5.99 a piece, we’ll call that $60 a month. Definitely comparable.

    It probably helps that I’m kind of anti-social these days, and that I don’t watch any TV or Movies, so my media consumption habits don’t have that much active competition.

  6. Absolutely. I seem to be having a little crisis of priorities lately – this last month has been a sort of experimental rearranging of schedules and things I could be doing, which has contributed to a lack of blogging (in addition to running dry on topics.)

    One positive thing I have been playing around with is spending more time with ebooks and reading more longform stuff, after realizing I’ve accumulated an extremely alarming collection just from Humble Book Bundles alone.

    Tangible books are mostly making an exit for me, they just take up way too much space and dust. Still in the process of converting a really immense library though.

  7. I read a lot this year, but most of it was of the non-fiction variety. You know, the sort that you can actually put down and go to sleep.

    That’s the major reason why I’ve become increasingly more reluctant to pick up fiction: I’m not as able to recover in the morning when I’m up until 4 AM reading an arresting novel.

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