Since starting Sixth Form, I have found myself with far less time to blog than I would like – if I’m lucky, I’ll have up to an hour before I go to bed for free time. And then it becomes a choice between blogging or reading, because there’s honestly no time for me to do both and get a decent night’s sleep. Since I’m taking English Literature A Level, and want to do lots of extra reading for this subject, this means I’ve had to change my reading patterns quite a bit over the last month or so.
I have talked a bit about the classics I’ve been reading over the past few months on this blog, but I haven’t talked much about how I’ve balanced it with my other reading – until recently, I read almost exclusively YA, so this was quite a change. I know that a lot of people drift away from YA when ‘expand’ their reading, but I’ve never felt the need to choose between the two.
I think the most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to finish a book, even if it’s a classic. If I’m reading a YA novel, and not enjoying it at all, I won’t view it as a failure (even though I personally prefer to finish books), but I’d got into the habit of feeling inadequate whenever I struggled with a classic. The books we call ‘classics’ span hundreds of years, and the writing styles and themes ranges so much between different eras. I spent two weeks wading my way through the first fifty pages of A Tale of Two Cities before realising that there are plenty more books I would have loved to been reading. Not enjoying one classic doesn’t mean they’re ‘not for me’ – I couldn’t put down Pride and Prejudice, and I finished A Room With a Room in a day. It would be the same as hating a YA novel, and from then on deciding YA isn’t my thing. I think this puts a lot of people off of reading classics, and for me, it’s been something I’ve had to overcome! A way to give yourself a huge chunk of time for reading is to hold your own mini readathon. It could be a day, a few days, a whole week – just fit it around your schedule, and find some time to turn off your phone (shock horror, I know) and focus on reading. I had planned to do this over half term, but ended up being too busy; I am definitely planning to have a little readathon before the end of the year!
As much as I love Goodreads goals, I don’t know if I’ll be setting one next year; if I do, it’ll be much lower than it usually is. I’m five books behind at the moment, and I think that if you’ve got lots on and have less time for reading, goals can just cause unnecessary stress. It’s so important not to become too caught up in the way you read – if you don’t like what you’re reading, try something new. Read in the little pockets of time you can find during your week, or just enjoy those long hours of reading when you eventually get a break from your busy life, but don’t worry the rest of the time. I think I say this quite often, but reading is a hobby, not a chore, so treat it that way!