Wednesday, November 16, 2016

On Reading Too Much

Is it possible to read too much?


Last month in October, I managed to read and finish fifteen books. That's one book every other day. Needless to say, that's a lot of reading. I thought I would feel great after this accomplishment but I actually just felt burnt out. Upon reflecting on my reading in October, I realized that it wasn't fun. I pounded through book after book, trying to read as much as possible without really enjoying what I was reading (mostly because I was just trying to reduce my TBR as quickly as possible).

I think there is a stigma in the book world today (on BookTube and on Goodreads) that you need to read a certain number of books per month or per year to be considered a "real" reader, and if you're not meeting that goal then people will be disappointed with you. But that's not the case. You should not be reading for anybody but yourself. You are accountable to literally no one but yourself for how much you read. And even if you're not meeting your personal goal, that is okay. The moment that reading stops being fun and starts becoming a chore, you're doing it wrong.

Some people can handle reading fifteen books per month, but I realized I am not one of those people. I usually read about eight books per month, and that seems to be a more realistic goal for me. Whatever you're reading is good for you. Maybe you manage to read one book a month, or one book a year, and that is okay. That does not make you any less of a reader, and you should not feel bad about your personal reading habits. You should also not feel bad if you choose to not read at all. Every reader has more hobbies than just reading, and it is completely acceptable to explore your other hobbies. Maybe you watched movies all month, or maybe you painted pictures all month, or maybe you hiked mountains all month, and you didn't get any reading done. That is okay. You should never feel guilty for not reading or for reading the "wrong" thing.

Read whatever you want whenever you want.

My reflections on my October reading habits have led me to a new personal goal to read only books I want to read and not read a book simply because it's popular, because it was recommended to me, because I feel obligated to read it, or even because I own it. None of those conditions matter. I have realized that when I am reading a book for any reason other than because I simply want to, I never enjoy it. My heart isn't in it, and I usually have no desire to finish it.

So here's to reading only books I want to read and not being so hard on myself if I don't read.

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