Brain on Books

Read Eat Sleep

Reading books takes a lot of brain power and energy. But if a book tells a good story, we often don’t mind the work and prefer to think of it as “fun” and “enjoyable.” But books do more than help us pass the time and take us to new worlds. Books, the brain ink of others, can leave long lasting impressions and become inspiration for our very own brain ink.

However, picking up a book, even for an avid reader, can be fraught with challenges. And it’s not always because there’s a bajillion books you want to read, but you don’t know where to start or where you’ll find the time.

Sometimes, there just isn’t enough energy in your brain.

Growing up, I never had trouble finding books to read. And I always had the time and motivation to read them. A trip to the library was exciting. I could sit on the floor and look over my choices for hours. And when I finally left, toting an armful of books on the walk home would be my exercise for the day.

My nose was always stuck in a book. Even when I walked. My peripheral vision was wicked sweet, and I could tune out EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. Frustrated teacher trying to tell me D.E.A.R. time was over? Never heard her.

I had book reading super powers.

All of which I lost when I went to college. Which, okay fine. Reading in a noisy room is a convenient skill and a cool thing to boast about, but not a game ruiner, right? And finding time to read is a common struggle, one that’s usually not too hard to get around.

But not having the energy or motivation to do so when there is time? Yikes. In college, there was a soul-wrenching moment when I, an avid reader, admitted to myself that I’d rather just mindlessly watch TV than read a book…

I know! What blasphemy. But it was necessary for my poor, beaten up brain.

Even though I did plenty of reading for class and my senior project, I lost touch with my personal connection to books and reading for fun. And truth be told, I lost touch with a part of myself.

Thankfully, it came back. But after a four-year hiatus, I had no idea what to read. The books I read in high school were too young for me, I never knew where to begin looking in the adult section, and there were books I knew I “needed” to read but was not ready for yet.

I often felt pressured to read “smart,” “intellectual” books. What that means, exactly, I don’t know. Classics? 2019-me rereading this: Yeah bud, I don’t know either. I just know ’em when I see ’em. Books I’m-not-afraid-to-admit-I-read[past-tense]-to-my-intellectual-peers? A.K.A. not-Twilight? LOL. Be nice. 

Brain Meme

In my personal opinion, I don’t think you should read for anyone but yourself. Read what you like to read. Read what you want to read. It’s for your personal enjoyment and edification, right? So don’t let others’ opinions dictate what book you should and shouldn’t pick up. I need to take 2015-me’s advice. 

Needless to say, I am much less concerned now about what other people think about my reading choices. Sigh. If only.

However, there is no harm in asking and giving recommendations! and being member of a long distance book club has really helped me rediscover what I used to read and find what I enjoy reading now. This month for book club, we are reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. And then we’ll read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee for June and July. 2019-me giving 2015-me side-eye. This sounds suspiciously a lot like reading what I feel pressured to read. On my own, I’m going to work on Ken Follet’s Pillars of the EarthLOL. NEVER HAPPENED. Maybe one day though. Instead I think I read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon! The dialogue, the hero/heroine interactions, the romance *SWOON.* I love emotionally intelligent characters, but I digress. 


If you are an avid reader but are not on Goodreads, you should really consider checking it out! Also, if you have any long distance friends you want to keep in touch with, who love books as much as you do, consider starting a long distance book club. With the advent of video chatting, you totally can making this work. And it’s fun. Yay, technology!

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