The Netflix Curse

I have over six hundred books on my reading list, most of which I own. Some of them I’ve never read before, others I want to reread. They weigh on my mind and clutter up my room. Some I want to read so I can review them for my blog, Lover’s Quarrel, and others just look like fun. Everywhere I turn in my house, there are stacks of books to be read. I have four reading apps on my phone as well.

But too often I turn to Netflix when I have some free time. I love Netflix. With all of its shows and movies perfect for binge-watching, I find myself looking forward to marathoning That 70’s Show (again) instead of wanting to read Voyager by Diana Gabaldon for a couple of hours. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading. And there have been plenty of times in my life when I preferred reading to watching TV. But after starting college and then taking on landscaping as a summer job, I must confess that my reading habits have seriously diminished. I even had to take a brief hiatus from Lover’s Quarrel because I didn’t have any more books to review and couldn’t find the will to read any more.

Ironically, Netflix became my free time activity of choice for the same reason I prefer books to TV: it takes less imagination and energy. All of the sights and sounds are provided for me so I don’t have to spend precious mental energy and imagination, which gets seriously depleted during the school year.

But Netflix quickly becomes a vicious cycle. It’s too tempting to watch it when I have the energy to read, or even when I should be working. Luckily, there are ways to get me away from Netflix and back to reading, apart from unsubscribing to Netflix (let’s not get too crazy).

Listening to music or white noise has helped a lot. It gives me the same stimulation as the audio on a TV show, so it keeps my reading distraction-free. I have a white noise app that I like, and I’ve found some really good “Music for Reading” videos on YouTube. Audiobooks also bring me away from Netflix because I can knit or clean while listening to them.

However, the most effective thing I’ve found to get me away from Netflix is to keep binge-watching. No, seriously. Once I’ve found an amazing show and I get a huge obsession over it, I can’t stop watching it until I run out of episodes. And after I’ve run out of episodes, other TV shows are ruined for me for awhile. That happened with Stranger Things and I’m sure it’ll happen once I hit season 8 of That 70’s Show. Since all TV is ruined for me anyway, the best thing I can do is find a book that I know will be as addictive as a good television series. And that will take me away from Netflix. In the meantime, I’ll have to make myself read while I ride out my television craze.