Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The W's of Reading: Reading Anxiety

I hate to admit it, but books have been causing me anxiety lately!  Tell me if any of these sound familiar to you:
  • There are so many good books coming out, that I feel like I can never die because of all the stories or sequels I'd miss.
  • My TBR (too be read) pile and "wishlists" on different sites have grown to the point where I feel stymied by all I NEED to read.
  • When I'm reading a book, I can stress myself out by anxiously looking at what page I'm on, over and over again.  A friend of mine in graduate school used sticky notes once to cover the page numbers in a book we were reading.  I've since thought that might be a good idea in some cases!
  • Work doesn't leave me enough time to read for several hours, only snippets here or there.
  • I see new books coming out, so I jump to reserve them at the library, only to get them and have to return them because I can't read them before they need to be returned!  Then, I'm back at the end of that monstrous wait list again. *sigh*
  • Sometimes I feel like there are books I "should" read, but I keep breaking off to read things I want to read, only because I deep down resent the "should" reads?  Yea, this one makes me feel really nuts.
  • If someone gifts me a book, it can take me up to a year to read it, only leaving me feeling guilty and needing to explain the whole TBR pile to them so they aren't hurt!
  • Since I read more than one book at once, sometimes I feel like it takes me forever to get through the books I'm reading (which is true).  My chunksters make me feel like the slowest reader on earth!
  • I carry a book around so that I can read at any given moment that might relinquish a few minutes to read, which never happens.  Then, when I DO need one, I don't have it with me!  Thank goodness for my Kindle application on my iPhone there, or this one would really drive me crazy.
  • I plan out books I'll read over vacations and holidays, knowing that there are certain books that just have to be read in one sitting and not over a number of days.
I'm sure I could go on.  You get the picture.  Maybe I need a bit of book therapy?  Actually, all I need is a couple of good hours a day of reading to help me feel less book/reading anxiety.  Is that too much to ask?  Am I alone in having a case of Reading Anxiety? Is there anything about reading that can cause you anxiety?


  1. I feel that way often but mostly when I have a few review ARCs scheduled for a blog tour. They hang over my head until I read them and write the reviews.
    I'm seriously considering making 2011 a year when 90% of my reading will be from my own shelves (actually, I could do that for the next 5 years and maybe clear the shelves).
    I don't even look at my TBR list on Goodreads. I just add to the list and keep reading.
    I think I have 3 more review ARCs to take care of and then I plan to do a lot of easy, relaxing reading going into the holiday season.

  2. All of the above. So stressful! I think we alll need book therapy!

  3. I used to have this problem, but then I donated 1/2 of my TBR pile to the library and that really helped.

    The should reads drive me CRAZY. Especially now that I have things I have to read for school, I don't want to waste "fun reading time" (as I like to think of it) on stuff I kind of but not really want to read.

  4. And let's be honest: when reading is a huge chunk of your job requirement, sometimes it's difficult to read for extended periods of time during the week. I read every night before I go to sleep, but sometimes I'm so tired that I only make it through a few pages before I crash.

    Don't worry! I hope this phase passes quickly for you. And just think...Thanksgiving is only a month away...

  5. YES!! I have reading anxiety too! And it's all funny and we joke about it... but it's actually serious too! I hate those feelings. I pared down my TBR to about maybe 300 about 6 months ago and that was a SLIGHT relief, but then I rarely get to read from my actual TBR because I always have more coming in so it only ended up helping a little!

  6. Yep, sounds like my life too. It's insane what we do to ourselves!

  7. Okay -- I have been giving this a lot of thought as of late --- I think high school English teachers should be allowed the same sabbatical breaks as college professors (goodness knows we grade enough). I think that would allow us to fill our empty literary tanks and allow us to be more productive in the classroom. What do you think?!

  8. I can relate to far too many of these.....

  9. I can especially relate to the library one!

  10. I have to agree with several of these.

    My ever increasing TBR shelves, expanding even more since blogging and following book forums!

    I feel the most pressure from the printed receipt inside the cover of my latest library read that tells me the due date! This happens quite often with my library read as I reserve popular new books that usually have a queue of readers behind me looking over my shoulder! :)


  11. All of those totally are the same with me. I thought I was the only one that read more then one book at once. I'm glad I'm not!

  12. I'm late to the camp here (I was grading....and reading?!?!)

    Thanks for putting all your thoughts down into words. You really summed up a lot of my thoughts so well. But the other reason my TBR pile is so dang long is because of all of the great book recommendations I find when blogging!! Ack!! A double edged sword, that's for sure.

    I want to read what others are reading so we can share and increase the conversations with each other. That's what's so fun about this whole bloggin thing. I just have to be happy with my priorities and keep myself to the 50 page rule-- if I don't like it, cast it aside. There's no time left for waiting to see if a book will get better. There's just too much out there waiting to be read.

    Thanks for a great post!! Get better soon!

  13. I love these responses! It's good to know I'm not alone, and have to say that you all gave me a few I had never thought of before. :)

    Sorry it took me so long to respond. With the surgery and all, I got sidetracked there for about a week. It's so nice to get caught up again and to see so many other readers feeling anxious about all those great books like I am!