My Own Worst (Book) Critic

The Buzz Bin

I've always loved reading. Throughout childhood, I devoured books in rapid succession, eager to get to the end and move on to the next title on my shelf. Time was nearly limitless, and books were a consistent answer to boredom and loneliness as a kid living in a rural area.

Back then, I read endlessly without much judgement, while sticking to genres I'd grown fond of early on. I don't distinctly recall deeply disliking any books I read.

Not anymore.

Now, I'm lucky if I read more than two books in a month. (The average American reads 12 a year, according to Pew). My reading list perpetually grows, but between other interests and the responsibilities of adulthood, time to get lost in another world is scarce. As such, I now choose titles carefully, reading reviews, talking to friends and sticking to authors whose work I know.

But even this rigorous vetting has proven itself unreliable in many instances. (It's the same with films, TV, games and other forms of consumable entertainment.)

When, and why, did I become so picky? Am I really a book snob? Or just a well-read adult with more discerning tastes?

While I never before would have thought of setting down a book until the last word of the last page, I've done so several times lately, even returning a briefly-started ebook on my Kindle. The act makes me feel guilty — like I didn't give an author enough of a chance to hook me, or that I wasn't opening my mind enough to want to read something outside of my fall-back genres.

Now I find "book-quitting" a thing of freedom. I accept that it's not me being a literary "snob," or a bad friend if I don't like a book someone told me they thought I would. Everyone has different tastes, and criteria for their time's value.

I recently read an article published last year on Literary Hub headlined "How Many Books Will You Read Before You Die?" According to this, as a 30-year-old female with a self-proclaimed "voracious" reading level, I'll read approximately 2,800 more books in my remaining projected lifespan.

See? There's little time left — certainly not enough to waste it reading something I don't enjoy. ♦

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About The Author

Chey Scott is the Inlander's food and listings editor. She compiles the weekly events calendar for the print and online editions of the Inlander, manages and edits the food section, and also writes about local arts and culture. Chey (pronounced Shay) is a lifelong Spokanite and a graduate of Washington State University...