Why Not Finishing and Un-Hauling Books Has Made Me Feel Better About Reading

When I was young and little naive, I made the absurd goal of wanting to read every book published that I was interested in. I know now how ridiculous this goal was, but I still look back on it as a motivator to read more, and books that I actually enjoy.

I sometimes ask myself why is it that people are so determined to power through a book even though they hate it, or keep a book that they never liked or never will get to on their shelf. Recently, I’ve embraced the power of the unhaul, and the quick ripping-off-the-bandage that is DNFing a book, (DNF=Did Not Finish).

I have a book-buying problem, as most people in the book community probably do as well. I’ve broken my book-buying ban several times; sometimes the temptation is too great. What comes along with acquring books is having more and more to read.  If you don’t immediately read the books you buy, they end up just piling on your shelf, to add to your TBR (TBR=To Be Read) pile and it can get stupidly overwhelming. Especially if the cycle keeps repeating. I have probably over a hundred books on my shelf that I have yet to read. It’s stupid and I’m ashamed of it.

One thing that I’ve found helpful when trying to power through my TBR pile, and it’s definitely not an ideal thing, is if I’m reading a book that I own that I need to read to reduce my TBR pile, and I’m not liking it after around a hundred pages, I DNF and unhaul it. Unhauling books is probably just as controversial as DNFing them, it basically means taking books out of your collection. As a booktuber, I call this unhauling because it’s the opposite of hauling books, or adding them to your collection.

I’ve noticed people tend to be huge DNFers/Unhaulers or power through and keep everything that they own. There is not really an inbetween. I can understand why people power through and keep the books they own, they probably bought and paid for them with their own money or for sentimental reasons they’ve kept the book because they got it as a gift from someone special.

I tend to be the type of person that is ruthless. If an item that I own is not useful to me, it doesn’t make me happy, or it won’t continually make me happy, I get rid of it. Someone else might gain happiness from this item or book, more than I ever will. I’m not completely heartless, I do feel guilty when I give away books or not finish them when I bought them with my own money. That feeling of guilt however, doesn’t compare to the weight I feel lifted off of me when I do give the book away. It’s like a release of anxiety almost.

Reducing the amount of books on my shelf, like I did with my most recent unhaul video, makes me feel better about reading. It makes reading a not impossible task, not a chore, not anything other than enjoyable because I’m surrounded with books that I actually want to read or keep reading again and again.

I do still feel guilty sometimes, especially when I’ve unhauled a book I’ve never actually read. When I feel this way, I tell myself that if you really wanted to read that book, you’ve would have read it already and if you don’t want to read it now, why bother? I also tell myself if I find that I do want to read that book again I can always use my local library and take out the book.

I guess what I’m trying to get across in this post is that you can’t read all the books ever published that you may be interested in. In the entireity of your life, you may not ever get to every book, because more and more are being published every day. Why waste the time, the effort, or the space in your home for the books you’re not interested in? Keep and read the books you love and enjoy.

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Don’t Mind Me; Just Haven’t Been Here in a While…

It has been months since I last posted. I do sincerely apologise, however, there was many projects and achievements to accomplish.

Firstly, I became a non-official college graduate in April, for a diploma in Library and Information Technician.

That same month I did what I had planned to do for months. I officially launched a YouTube channel, called ReadingArsenal, devoted to books and reading. I made this channel because I felt like I needed to express my love of reading even more and achieve something that makes me feel good, sharing my love of books. I don’t make videos for fame, I make videos to keep people informed, to discuss, and to make strong connections in the “Booktube” community.

I have such a small following, but as time goes on I’m gaining so much more valued communication and information from my fellow booktubers.

I didn’t realise there are so many people on the internet who had the same interests that I had. Whose voices were loud enough and confident enough to also express their love of reading. I didn’t think I was the only one, surely I wasn’t, but it amazed me all the same.

I was always interested in starting up a channel, but never quite found my niche. I tried the whole gaming thing (I thought I was a gamer, everyone was doing game commentaries), but I just found out I sucked at video games and was a cringeworthy channel.

For six months or more, I sat on this failure of a YouTube channel thinking “is there nothing, really that I’m good at?” Then one night, I was having my many racing thoughts as I was trying to go to sleep and thought offhand, “maybe I should just start a channel, just show my face and talk about books.”

Books! Now that was the key. I was graduating soon, so I asked for a camera and tripod for my graduation gift. Graduating college is a big step; I at least wanted something for my fifteen years plus of schooling, even if it wasn’t gonna work out or I find out I hated it, I could at least practice.

It turned out, I did enjoy it. A LOT. I wasn’t a pro at editing, I was shy in front of the camera, and I had to keep to a script so I wouldn’t film myself not talking, wide-eyed like a deer in headlights. Now I tend to ad lib more; I just cut around the bits of filler words, which probably the list of them is as long as my arm. I’ve learned that my hands don’t need to be flying all over the place to get my point across. I learned, that sitting down, and just talking, I can accomplish just as well with less distraction.

It wasn’t always a bright, shining meadow with a bubbling brook. Sometimes it was cloudy, the water was murky, or not even there at all. Basically, with all the metaphor I’m getting at, things turned bad at certain points. My trusty laptop, been with me throughout my college life (which was four semesters, but come on, that thing was like family) had overheated and died. I think it was partially my fault. I did leave it on in my backpack in the unforgiving Ottawa summer weather, alas, I killed the beast! RIP!

C’mon. It was going to die anyway; I needed a new, faster one for school anyways.

“But, Ceara! You said you graduated and you had already had fifteen years of school! Why would you choose to ever go back?” Well, a question I just made up, I did say that. I guess you could say I was a little like a toddler, not wanting to leave her mom on the first day of school, (but in this case the toddler wants to stay at school forever).20170111_084711.png

So, yes, I applied for a graduate certificate at my same college while my former classmates were skipping off to do whatever their hearts desired. The program was called “Interactive Media Management” and it was just that. There were so many types of classes that it made my head spin; all mandatory to graduate, all starting at lightning speed. There was video courses, photography courses, website courses, everything.

How did this all fit into what I already graduated from, Library and Information Technician? Well, I kept telling myself, “hey, libraries are getting more technologically advanced, wouldn’t I gain an edge over other candidates?” Sure, past Ceara. SURE.

Now, I’m not bashing this course at all. In the end, it just wasn’t for me. I was not prepared for the amount of work it entailed, and it wasn’t making me happy. I was sweating through it, but not smiling, only tears. I met some great people, amazing creators, through this course and I still keep in contact with them after I quit. Not necessarily a “hello there!”, but a like here, and a favourite there. That kind of thing. They might actually see this post. Hello!

Continuing with school wasn’t my thing, but what was? I was still getting into the groove of posting videos. I had that spanking new laptop to use and definitely more time on my hands, so why not? But, nothing comes cheap. If I wanted to actually not go crazy, I had to earn some extra coin.

I mean, I tried that before. Even though I didn’t have that much of a following, I made a Patreon. It was more of an experiment, I guess, than anything else. I told myself, “other people do it and are super successful!” Yes, past Ceara, but people won’t give you money. Especially if you don’t have a following to back yourself up. So, that idea was trash.

Off to the workforce then! I had one past paid work experience as a cashier at a pretty popular department store (they sell balls I think) and I wasn’t working there again! No sirree, having mental breakdowns because of work was enough for me. I also had volunteer experience, at libraries! I hounded the usual online job board fare, your Indeed, your Kijiji, that kind of thing. As September turned to October I lowered my standards with each passing day.

I wanted a library job; that was my one-way ticket, my opening door to a career. And I scoured every official site. If there was something even remotely in my field, I sniffed it out. I was in it to win it. I got a few interviews, none that panned out and none that were what I really wanted, the coveted library technician position. I applied so much I can’t even remember how many jobs I applied to. I probably drove my references crazy for the amount of time I asked for their support in an application.

I then applied for a library technician job at an English college in Quebec. I got a callback. Finally something! It was a far trek, but I had to see. I had to see if I was worth it. I had to suddenly prove myself. Did I actually go to college, or was it just a blur of profs, assignments, and tests? And also money?

I very nervously went in for French and Library standards testing. I managed to fill up most of everything, Library of Congress is what I failed to complete. I still felt good about it. As I decided, plucky and innocent as I was to go through with this, reality reared its ugly head. I had no full driver’s license, I had to take the bus. It would take two hours, minimum, to get there by bus. That depended on the day, and how early they wanted me. I was definitely not ready to move out on my own. Uh oh.

Another big whomp, a former friend from college worked at that same library, who I used be very good friends with, seemed to suddenly vehemently, hate me, for reasons that still escape me to this day. That was the final nail in my otherwise good intention, library job hopes for that place. I did end up getting a final callback, but I refused it.

I just wanted to see if I could do it. That’s what I told myself.

Then one day, I get a call. From that department store that I mentioned earlier. They want me to do an interview. I do it, then weeks later I get a job offer for the Photo Lab Technician position.

At least I’m a third of the way there. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


This post wasn’t meant to be this long, but I got carried away. I hope you enjoyed a little insight into my life, and I sincerely hope you do check out my YouTube channel, ReadingArsenal (not the football teams). It needs some love. I post videos every Tuesday and Friday. See you there.

// Ceara Heffernan, “ReadingArsenal”

PS. This website deserves a name change, doesn’t it? And maybe a little revamping? Probably. It has been the same thing for years.