My mother is a great reader and always has been. I've always admired that about her. She taught me a love of words that I tried hard to live up to. I found over and over again, however, that I left books unfinished. That or sped through them in a week, though this was far less frequent. It seemed as though if I wasn't totally in love with a narrative, I was unable to finish the book. I reread books I already knew well but this never seemed “good enough” to me. I “should” be able to read book after book, just like Mom.
Then, one day, I shrugged to myself and more or less accepted that this would be the way things were. I wasn't a true reader and that was that. None of us can force ourselves to do things that are against our true natures, I thought to myself. No shame in that.
Recently my mom and sister had been talking about this app, OverDrive. It gives you access to your local library’s collection of ebooks and audiobooks. You borrow them, just like the physical library, and download the audio or text to the app so you have access to them, even offline.
I downloaded the app thinking I'd use it primarily for audiobooks, possibly for authors I already knew but didn't own a full collection. Boy was I surprised. The app has turned my reading life around.
I now have the ability to read whenever I want, in those odd in-between moments in life when my ADHD gets bored waiting for anything, even for a few minutes. I've come to love long lines because that means I get to read and I don't have to worry about the book being damaged as I drag it around with me.
I also discovered something else about myself and another prejudicial thought I was holding about myself. I always felt, though I didn't realize it until recently, that reading a book because you liked the movie was “cheating”. If I really liked a book, I told myself, I “should” be able to enjoy it alone, without the movie. The thing I neglected to take into consideration was the fact that I am very visual, but I have a difficult time with my mind’s eye and imagination. So when I read, others see the Lonely Mountain, Hogwarts Castle, the house with its green gables, but I struggle to see blurs. If I've seen the movie a book is based on, I can then call those images to mind as I read, giving me that visual experience.
If we allow judgments of ourselves to stand, we cut ourselves off from experiences. I strive every day to tear down those judgments. Self-forgiveness will very likely make forgiving others easier as well. Who cares if that person “only” reads comic books? Or doesn't read at all? Or only reads classics? Those judgments only harm.
What is your reading style?