Why So Serious?
|Thank you, Google!|
I couldn't help it. Every time I hear that phrase, I think of that line in the movie.
This is a question I've been asking myself fairly continually over the past day. It all started when I happened to pick up Judging a Book by Its Lover by Lauren Leto. The book has been on my shelves for a while. I think because when I read the back cover, I didn't exactly understand what the book was about and the title and its subtitle didn't really clear things up for me. For whatever reason, I decided to dive in last night. And I read about half of the book right there. I am so glad I did. I haven't finished yet. But I needed to write up some thoughts about the book.
Somewhere along the line of my reading career, I started taking it seriously. Very seriously. Too seriously. My reading life became about all of these books that I "needed" to read in order to...something. Be a good English major? Be a well-rounded person? Be an intelligent person? I don't know what I was wanting. In the end, it really doesn't matter. Sometime after I started taking reading too seriously, it stopped being as much fun. I mean, occasionally, I was able to lose myself in a book and have a purely blissful experience. But there were long droughts in between where I pressured myself into picking a book because of the message it sent to whomever I thought I was sending a message to.
Then I finally started reading Leto's book. She was a serious reader too. Yet she found a way to have fun with her reading. She feeds her mind a steady diet of fun books and serious books and thrives. The way she writes about books and the book industry is just fun. She doesn't take it too seriously. And I love that.
We still have over a month left in the year, but I'd say that my New Year's resolution is to start having more fun with my reading and writing about reading. I don't need to put so much pressure on myself to read this or that or think this or that way about the book. I can sit back and have fun with it. I should sit back and have fun with it. And that's exactly what I am going to do.
I'm not going to become a total jerkoff with my reading. I don't think I could just read fluff. Like Leto points out early on--it all begins to run together at a point and your mind becomes lazy. Still, I don't want to act as though I have sand in my readerly lady parts about it either. There is no need to be so sensitive and uptight about something that is supposed to be fun. Sometimes you need that weekend off from responsibility to cut loose. No one likes being around the jerkoff and no one likes being around the way too sensitive person. (Coincidentally, literally no one likes to be around the overly sensitive jerkoff--I know from experience)
Back to books...I still want to read the classics because I think that they are interesting studies of humanity, history, and culture. Also I own a ton of them already and would like to actually read them. However, there are a lot of recent releases that are worth exploring as well. Some of them may be destined to make the literary canon and others may just sort of fall by the wayside. Nothing wrong with reading both kinds of fiction. That doesn't even mention all of the really good non-fiction out there.
I also want to tweak my writing about books. I really hate writing formal reviews. There are four books I've finished since this summer that I keep putting off reviewing because I just don't want to write a formal review. I have no problems with the idea of writing about the books--why have a book-related blog if I did--but formal reviews feel kind of stuffy. I'll probably do mini reviews of the four books at some point and then work out a different style for writing about books in the future. I love talking about books. I don't feel like I get to do that enough in my real life. There will be tweaking in the near future--fair warning.
I am so beyond ready to not be serious about my reading. I've had so much more fun in every aspect of my life since things stopped being so serious. There is so much more enjoyment and appreciate in life when you're just out to have fun and not prove a point or maintain some kind of composure.