Part Two’s are fun, okay? And my first YA Psychologist was a hit… so this is another one. All you bookworms out there better appreciate it *narrows eyes* I certainly need this advice in my life… every now and then when I’m collapsed on the floor moaning about what to read next.
Patient #1: The Cover Purchaser
Patient: I have a problem. I buy books all the time, just because of the cover. I feel very worried that my Instagram isn’t good enough or that my shelf needs spicing up and, well, I don’t want to discriminate against green books, do I? As a result, I a) am poorer and b) have a lot of books I don’t want to read, including a memoir about someone’s love of cacti, a two-volume epic of British slang and an illustrated guide to Russian beetles.
Psychologist: Oh, we’ve all fallen into the cover trap a lot of times, dear. There are several solutions. 1) takes someone book buying with you. Give them a list of questions (for example: how interested are you in reading this book? Can you afford this book? Why are you buying this book? Is the cover worth the price et cetera) and get them to interrogate you before purchases. Or skip the social interaction and do this on your own. 2). Read those books. You might learn something interesting, and then you won’t have wasted your money. 3) Give those books away. Is there an amateur linguist in your life? Or perhaps a desert specialising zoologist? Or even a library? They will appreciate those books more than you will, and books deserve to be loved. 4) Just keep them. They can spice up your Instagram feed, and you really shouldn’t discriminate green books.
Patient#2: The ‘I don’t have enough space in my pocket/bag/shelf/house/life for all my books’
Patient: I like books. I really like books. Sometimes publishers send me books. I buy a lot of books. People give me books for Christmas. I read most of these books, but my shelf is filling rapidly and I really need less books.
Psychologist: Books are great, I completely agree. But sometimes your love for something can go too far. Just ask yourself: are the books I have putting me in danger? Of concussion, perhaps, or not finishing your homework? If that is the case, then you may not have a problem, but you do need to deal with the books. You can get more shelves, or maybe give some books away. Or you could get an e-reader. There, there. You love books. You should treat them well. Oh, I know you didn’t mean to tread on that one book that one time. It’s okay. Here’s a tissue. Just be nice to the books, yeah?
Patient #3 The ‘reading is impairing my ability to go to school/work/have a social life’
Patient: So, um, I have this wee problem where I read a book and then all I can think about are those characters. So instead of writing an essay analysing Winston’s response to Big Brother, I’m instead talking about Lara Jean and Peter and how cute they are. The other day, someone asked me what the integral of x2 + 17sin(x) was, and I said that the answer was OTP. I was distracted. And somedays I don’t talk to my friends because I feel like my book-friends are more important.
Psychologist: Oh, it sounds like you’ve been having a really tough time. I suggest you meditate for several minutes a day—yes, without a book or audiobook or whatever nearby—about the things in your life that aren’t books. You can tell your own story! Be your own hero! Conquer the integrals and the essays and the conversations! Because if the reason you read is to become part of another person’s story, then think of it this way: if you sometimes, just sometimes, do things that aren’t reading, you’ll have your own stories to tell. Even if those stories are just about how your psychologist projected her feelings about the horror of calculus onto you or how much fun it was that one time you hit someone with the book you were carrying—entirely by mistake, of course. You wouldn’t read if you didn’t love stories, so go find some stories to tell!
Patient #4: The Waiter
Patient: I have this problem where all the books I want to read aren’t going to be published for aaaaages. I’m addicted to the author’s twitter feed, where they post snippets once in a blue moon. I need the next book in that series, oh and that one as well, and I really have to read that debut that comes out in *sobs* eighteen months. Publishers Weekly is out to taunt me. In the long cold night of my despair, there are occasional bright spots, like cover reveals, but those are so few and far between that I’m beginning to give up hope.
Psychologist: Oh dear, I’m awfully troubled to hear of your affliction. You need to seek comfort in the arms of another book. All the waiting WILL be worthwhile—that time goes into making a book that’s going to be really good, but it’s painful. There are thousands of already published books out there, and slavering after the ones you can’t have will only cause you heartache. There are a lot of good books out there—if you want recommendations, just tell me. Read something that will make you happy and calm. Immerse yourself in some other story for a few hours. And step by step, minute by minute, book by book, you will get to release date. You can do it. I have faith in you.