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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Kamalani Akeo talks with members of the womens volleyball coaching staff in 2021.
Kamalani Akeo: An unsung hero contributing to the success of Pitt volleyball
By Matthew Scabilloni, Senior Staff Writer • 10:10 am

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Kamalani Akeo talks with members of the womens volleyball coaching staff in 2021.
Kamalani Akeo: An unsung hero contributing to the success of Pitt volleyball
By Matthew Scabilloni, Senior Staff Writer • 10:10 am

Fully Booked | Sometimes I hate reading

Fully Booked is a biweekly blog that dives into the world of all things books, including recommendations, to-be-read lists and the benefits of reading.
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Carrington Bryan | Staff Illustrator

I wish I could say I love reading without any exceptions, but I don’t know if that’s actually true of anyone. The fact that reading can sometimes be really painful for me has been on my mind the past couple of weeks as I was reading “Fledgling” by Octavia E. Butler for my Women and Literature class. I was genuinely looking forward to starting this book, and I didn’t think I would struggle to get through it, but it turns out that was because I had no idea what it was about until I got through the first few chapters. 

What’s interesting to me about this is that I genuinely enjoyed the writing style, just not the plot. This book showed me that reading vampire stories might not be for me, but that didn’t change the fact that I still had to read this book for the class. For those two weeks, I didn’t look forward to reading at all. I procrastinated reading the required chapters until the night before the next class meeting, and it made me wonder if I was a hypocrite for saying that I love reading, especially because several people in my class admitted to loving the book. I guess I just can’t avoid the fact that sometimes I hate reading. 

This isn’t the first time that reading a book required for a class has made me dread reading. When I was a junior in high school, I had to read “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer and, even though I had read it before, I figured I should reread it to make sure I remembered exactly what happens in the book. The first time I read it, I liked it. The second time, I dreaded opening it. It’s become quite obvious to me that I don’t enjoy being told what to read — I like to read the books I choose for myself.

I wonder if my favorite books would be my favorite books if it wasn’t my choice to read them. I also wonder if people who say they hate reading haven’t done much reading outside of school or other settings where reading was required. I don’t think that reading has to feel like a chore. It’s no secret that it can, which is why I’ve stopped forcing myself to finish books I don’t have to read if I’m not looking forward to reading them. If I pushed myself to finish every single book I ever started but didn’t like, I’m sure I wouldn’t have found my favorite books and authors because I’d still be slowly trudging through a book that I didn’t enjoy. 

Reading under a time constraint can also make it harder to enjoy a book. If I read less one day, I know I’ll have to read a lot more the next day to catch up. The stress that can come with that makes reading feel like even more of a chore. When I’m reading a book in my free time, I know that I don’t have to complete a certain number of pages or chapters, and I can read at my own pace. This is what makes reading a hobby for me. I get to choose when, what and how much I read. Associating reading with school, tests and deadlines can make it difficult to turn it into a hobby, but I think everyone should at least try to read outside of what they’re required to for school or work. You might be surprised when you find yourself reaching for a book instead of your phone in your free time.

The day after I finished “Fledgling,” I began reading Joan Didion’s “Play It as It Lays,” which I got through in only a few days and was always excited to pick up. After spending two weeks dreading reading, I was almost immediately enjoying it again because it was a choice. 

So, just as I don’t always love reading, I have an inkling that some people wouldn’t always hate reading if they gave it a chance to be their choice.