Confessions of an Addict [43]: Guilt

In a world full of books, a reader can feel incredibly guilty about a lot of things:

  • Guilt for reading books that are more “brain-candy” than “brain-food”.
  • Guilt for falling in love with a character that you would, in normal circumstances, abhor ten-folds.
  • Guilt for completely missing the deeper message about the book because you were more focused on the smoldering eyes of a man who looked fantastic in an Armani suit.
  • Guilt for comparing your sex life with those of the characters’ on any given Erotica book (Oh don’t judge. I’m sure we’ve all been there, too).
  • Guilt for not being sympathetic to a character’s plight because of your inability to empathize with their situation (just what kind of monster are you?!).
  • Guilt for not fully appreciating an author’s world-building skills because you simply don’t get the Fantasy genre or the sterile environment of a Sci-Fi space odyssey.
  • Guilt for feeling jealous because someone had written the story you wished you had written.
  • Guilt for whenever you share the popular opinion over a book is another step towards obsolescence (to quote Murakami, “If you only read the book that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone is thinking.”).
  • Guilt for writing a bad review on a book that was sent to you by the author/publisher/publicist (this one is a doozy).
  • Guilt for not reading fast enough (fuck the TBR shelf!).

And these are just some of the many guilt that burdens us, readers. Let’s not even talk about the guilt we all feel as bloggers. Lordy. That will probably require a two-part post.  I’m a Catholic. The very foundation of our religion is based on guilt. We’re taught that if we don’t follow the Holy Rules, we’re doomed to eternal hell. We’re taught that if we don’t love our brethren as God love us all, we’ll never see the Gates of Heaven. So you see? I know a thing or two about guilt.

But how do you deal with all these feelings?

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Not a damn thing.

Unless you want to hate blogging and the very reason why you started blogging altogether (BOOKS, man. Books), you’re gonna want to check that guilt by the door. Because life is too damn short to care about what others will think about you. Honesty and credibility are important traits to have before you go on and decide to be a keyboard warrior. We are our own persons. Who cares if you like popular fiction? Who cares if pirates and ladies with heaving bosoms are the kind of kink you adore? Trust me when I say, guilt is what will suck the life out of the very thing you love. So go on, child. 

Don’t sell yourself out.
Don’t sell yourself short.

Be the best version of yourself without lying through your teeth.

Because the most important thing is that you don’t change the way you are just to please everybody else.

Source: FEELINGS

  • My sisters both read all the latest and best books, the critically acclaimed, and then there is me and my romances and paranormal books-not to mention the YA books. They just don’t understand why I read what I do. But I love it so… Great post!

  • Amen, sister!! 🙂 Such a fantastic, honest, funny and thoughtful post – thanks for putting it all out there where many of us know and feel at times all this. Guilt is a bitch, and she finds her way in the door so easily if we let her. Thanks for reminding me that it’s okay to kick her ass out again 🙂

  • Nicole Hewitt

    So true! We manage to find all sorts of things to feel guilty about, don’t we. For me, the biggest one is letting other bloggers down in one way or another – like that challenge that I MEANT to participate in because I really wanted to support so-and-so or that comment that I never got to replying to (or commenting back for). It can drive you insane if you let it! (I try really hard not to let it – sometimes I fail.)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  • Rachel

    I LOVE this and I lol’d at the Catholic guilt, I feel ya sister! R xx

  • JOY WOW this post was pretty powerful! I completely agree, when it comes to blogging, reading, who gives a fuck what others think of you as long as you are enjoying yourself and staying honest with yourself, that’s the main thing!

  • I love this post so much! I’m a Catholic too! I chuckled at the guilt thing haha. “Guilt for reading books that are more “brain-candy” than “brain-food” that is like my guilt every day. All my friends reading Orwell and Tolkien, and I’m in the YA section having the time of my life haha. #noshame

  • This post is awesome. <3 Hugs. Thank you for sharing Joy 😀 You are AWESOME. And ugh, yess. I agree with a lot of this. Especially the last two. Feeling guilty is the worst. But it happens often, sigh. You are the best 🙂

  • Hahaha oh man, LOVE THIS.

  • shootingstarsmag

    Fantastic post! Loved your note on Catholics and guilt. Went to a Catholic school all the way until College so yeah, guilt is your whole life. haha But it’s very true that you need to do what makes you happy – in life and in blogging!

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

  • This!!! Everything about this! I’m agnostic, but my family is *very* Catholic. That kind of guilt gives me deep knowledge of the topic, lol.
    The vast majority of what I read is brain candy. I read for fun, and hey, book candy doesn’t have the side effects of the real deal. Go with it. :p Totally get the falling madly for a character you’d normally hate thing. That happened with my last book!
    I often read books and just don’t sympathize with the character. My thoughts bounce between “would you shut up and suck it up?!” to “wow. I am some kind of asshole. ” Great post!

    • I am Catholic. But I’m a practicing follower of Humanity. I know what’s fair, what’s right, and In the same token that they can’t tell me how to live mine, I respect how other people live their own lives.

  • Catholics gets such a bad rep here in the States, oddly enough, being Catholic made me progressive and open-minded and not because being raised Catholic showed me what not to do, it’s the history of Catholicism that led to me liberal mindedness.

    If I wrote this post, mine would be titled ENVY. Envy the sex lives of those peeps in erotica! Darn it! To keep banging with no fear of getting STI or even UTI. YES! Handsome, RICH stranger who plays for keeps? YES! Spank me, daddy!

    • Lmao! I have learned way too much about you with this comment, Braine.

  • I feel guilt cos I have not read today, but then, whatever I baked instead

    • I feel guilty because I have not read a single book this week. *sad panda face*

  • Definitely the first two for me. Thank you for this post. I think we all needed it!

  • Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I’ve been guilty of all these things, guilty, guilty, guilty. And I can’t get rid of it. But I’m slowly learning to just let it go. So what if I have a master’s in lit and I mainly read M/M romance fiction? Who the heck cares? I’ve read my fair share of loooong classics or I wouldn’t have the degree. I deserve to read whatever the heck I want. Right? *feels guilty again*

  • I LOVE this!!! Yes!! We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about any of these things. I read what I want and enjoy the genres I enjoy and screw what people think. Life is way too short to worry about the opinions of others. Do your thang! Love it.

    • That’s all I’m saying. We need to just do what we love and love what we do. 🙂

  • Guilt for not loving the book everyone else does, especially if you tank it. Gah its the worse. I shouldn’t you know, since well, everyone’s taste, mood, is different, but man, oh man

    • Exactly! Don’t sweat it. Nobody expects you to love everything!

  • I definitely got a good laugh in with this post. You balance humor with serious topics so well. As for TBRs, well, you know I’m struggling with mine right now. I don’t know if it’s guilt in my case so much as panic though. Although there is a lot of ‘should’ thinking going on. I ‘should’ read outside of YA. I ‘should’ read more great books. I ‘should’ read faster, better, etc. And of course… I ‘should’ get more pageviews. BUT, as someone very wise once told me, “Don’t should on yourself.”

    • I used to be so obsessed about getting more followers or comments on my blog. But I stopped caring about it a long time ago. Funny how when i stopped doing it, the more I seem to have gained the motivation to blog. Weird, huh?

  • kindlemom1

    It’s so funny because I fall in love with a lot of guys in books that I know if I met in person I would think they were a total arse so it makes no sense at all.

    I never feel guilty for what I read though, I do it for fun so hey, that’s all that matters to me and I’m not hurting anyone or anything so there could be worse things one can do with their time than read.

    • Sometimes, I need to slap myself silly and remind myself why I’m blogging. So this post was about that. 🙂

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    Love this post Joy! I think a lot of us who have been blogging for years are at the “fuck it” stage as Nick so beautifully stated below, all the things you mentioned (plus all the blogger guilt that would DEFINITELY take two posts to list out) building up until we have no choice but to decide we give no fucks or quit blogging. I’m not ready to quit, so like you said, I’m going to keep reading and reviewing what makes me happy, and not let that dwindling follower number give me an eye tic as a result 😉

    • I am not ready to quit either. I think this post was more about affirmation than anything. 🙂

  • Nick(Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite

    Ah guilt. What a nasty little thing it is. I used to feel guilty at everything too, but I’m all fuck it at this point. Life is too short to be feel guilty about a hobby!

    • Too right. It is after all, only a hobby!

  • I love this post. I love that I read the books that I want to read. I only request reviews for books that I want to read. I don’t go crazy on NetGalley, so that I don’t get over my head and feel guilty. I am very determined to keep this a hobby and fun. Great post!!!

    • Thanks, Melanie. 🙂 I don’t go crazy on Net Galley as well, because I know I’m not going to be able to keep up. As well, I don’t do too many book tours. I think it helps if you’re aware of your limits.

  • Oh the guilt! But… I just don’t even acknowledge it anymore. To hell, with guilt. I was stressed and depressed because I felt guilty about something I couldn’t control. I just do me and that is enough. At least I don’t feel guilty about my erotic reads anymore. By man loves (and knows) when I’ve been reading some naughtiness. *winks*

    • Ha! Don’t we all? But sometimes, those naughty reads are the ones that sparks my reading interest in a heart beat!

  • Great post. I love this!! When I go to the Book Riot website and all these people are talking about these amazingly brilliant adult books they are reading, I feel incredibly guilty for reading YA books that aren’t necessarily as brilliant. Some are, for sure, so I think I feel guilty reading YA at 35 years old. And I feel guilty because I just can’t make myself read the classics. Some of the classics I like and some I hate. Sorry, but they are boring to me. Oh what I wouldn’t give to get rid of some of this guilt. I’m working on it, but it’s a process.

    • I felt the same way when i was just starting to discover the wonderful world of YA books. Don’t worry, this too, shall come to pass.


  • Guilt for feeling jealous because someone had written the story you wished you had written.” Guilt for not reading fast enough… some days those are SO ME. And when it comes to blogging I have had a lot of guilt lately because I have been neglecting These Writerly and am pretty inactive on my social media (with the exception of instagram.)
    But you’re right, we can’t let guilt stop us from doing what we love or hold us back. I am just going to have t work on getting over it ^.^

    • That’s right. Don’t feel like you’re a disappointment to the world simply because you have a life to live! <3