What would you like to be different about your reading life? When Anne Bogel asks her guests this question on her podcast What Should I Read Next, lots of people say they want more time for reading. Or that they want to read a wider variety of genres. Or that they really need more page turners. I agree with these wishes, but I have a much more pressing reading habit I’d like to crack.
Do you have any bad reading habits? Mine is that I read too much Harry Potter. Let me explain.
I tend to gravitate towards murder mysteries, psychological thrillers, or non fiction about personality psychology/human nature. I love these books, but sometimes when the news is bad and life is messy and I feel overwhelmed and heavy, it’s hard to read about dark subjects. Or straight forward non fiction.
The logical thing to do would be to pick up something new to me that’s cheery and lighthearted. But when I’m feeling overwhelmed I crave familiarity, and I still want an engaging and mysterious story. So Harry Potter it is.
Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE reading Harry Potter. I think the writing is spectacular and the stories hold my attention at every page even though I’ve read each book dozens of times. They’re mysterious and sometimes kind of spooky but always fun. You know good is going to win, no matter how bad things may seem. And things never get bad enough to leave me with nightmares.
I think Harry gives me the mystery and good vs evil that I need in a story while being familiar and always having a (mostly) happy ending. It’s the balance that satisfies my reading taste even when I can’t handle the murderous villains or conniving girlfriends in my current read.
The problem is that, although I try to read just one chapter, I end up reading two or three Harry Potter books while a stack of unread books sits on my nightstand. With so many new books to read, I feel guilty rereading books I practically have memorized.
I’m going to take a new approach in my reading and make an effort to read more children’s literature. I like kid lit, but don’t read it as much as I should. I think it will help me find the balance I’m searching for in my reading life - engaging but not fluffy, familiar but not predictable. Since I can’t go back and read Harry Potter for the first time again, I think this is a good compromise!
Even though I read a ton as a kid, I realized my list is missing some classics. I can’t wait to read A Wrinkle in Time, The Tale of Despereaux, and Anne of Green Gables. What else should I add to this list? I’d love to know your picks for my kid lit list. Thanks for helping me kick my bad reading habit!
(Don’t worry. I’ll always make time for Harry, too!)
Questions: What would you like to change about your reading life? Do you like to reread books? What children’s books should I read this season?