I love reading! It’s my “go to thing” at times of stress, when I want to escape, I read before I go to bed,  I read in the evenings, I read whenever I get a spare five minutes – it takes me somewhere else, I switch off and relax even if it’s just grabbing 5 minutes, so I feel I can write this post with a certain amount of authority!

Can you remember when you were at school and did what we called English comprehension? Even when you first started reading and were given reading books, you were told to read it from start to finish, you had no choice, you were either tested on the book once it had been finished or when you were younger you read it aloud to someone else, either way any book you started had to be completed.

What age do you think you were when you realised that you didn’t actually have to finish the book anymore because you were no longer at school, that YOU had chosen the book yourself, often your money and therefore YOU could choose if you wanted to finish it? How did you feel? Guilty? I think I was probably in my early 20s before I realised (perhaps that’s the wrong word) that I didn’t actually have to read a book if I didn’t like it and even then it almost felt like I’d failed if I hadn’t managed to get through it. But it’s no surprise is it really as it’s from a very early age we are taught if you start a book, you always finish it?

So over the years I have learned that if I’m not enjoying the book I’m reading, it’s okay to put it down, to start another one, I don’t have the battle on with something I’m not enjoying.

However… recently I noticed that I had a whole shelf on my bookshelves of books that I hadn’t read “what a delicious find” I thought to myself, “look at all of these that I have to look forward to.” But I have to be honest, having had a closer look, I realised that many of them had been sat there for quite a long time, many of them had been recommended by other people and yes, I admit, they had been bought on impulse and then sat there staring at me from said bookshelves!

I went through each book one by one reading the back and checking in with myself whether I had any feeling of interest or excitement about reading these books? I realised that about half of them gave me no spark of joy, I wasn’t excited to read them. I created a pile of books that I decided to give to the local charity shop, left the pile propped up against the wall and went off and did something else. A little later on I walked back past the pile (and this bit will make you laugh) felt incredibly guilty for having wasted money on books I wasn’t going to read so popped them all back on the bookshelf!

The next day I had a quiet word with myself in a life coaching type of way, removed the books that “don’t spark joy” from the bookshelf AGAIN and hustled them down to the nearest charity shop as quickly as possible. What was the point in feeling guilty?

It was so interesting to me that this ingrained belief from childhood was still so much a part of me at 53 years of age, that I still struggled to give up a book that didn’t give me joy.

So now I have decided that before I purchase any book, I’m going to read a few more reviews, take a little more time before I make the purchase – I’m going to ask myself the question “do I like this authors writing?” and “does this sound like it will bring me joy?” and if I can honestly answer yes, then I will add to my rather large book collection. There are so many books out there to be loved and read why waste time on those that don’t bring you joy? I’m a grown up now (allegedly) so I can read whatever I want!