THE PRESSURE TO READ MORE.
Are you well?
In this current time, I hope you are well.
I don’t often like to make super serious posts, as I often don’t have such a strong opinion that I feel the need to yell about it. But sometimes I do, and today is one of those days.
First, I want to say that no one has ever made me feel this way, instead of when I talk about bookstagram, I mean it in the most general of senses. But just like with every fandom, there are always negatives that hide underneath the positives. One of them is the pressure to read.
I know. You’d think we ALL want to read, and we do. But what I mean by the pressure to read, is the pressure to read A LOT, and FAST. There is the idea that if you’re not reading 8 or more books a month, you aren’t reading ENOUGH. This is often seen because if you read more, you have more to post about, and then, in turn, gain more followers. Not to mention if you work with publishers, you might have a stack to get through from them too. Add these two pressures together, and it can often feel like you’re never doing enough.
In 2017, I read 134 books. That worked out to 2.5 books a week. And for some reason, because I did it ONCE. for one year, when I was new to reading and didn’t have much on my plate, I kept thinking I could do it again. I was proud of this amount because it was well over 100 and that made me feel like a READING MACHINE. But I didn’t really have a life outside of being homeschooled for high school, and walking a dog. That was literally all I did.
Now I read maybe 90 in a year. In 2018 and 2019 that’s roughly what I hit, and it’s what I’m on the road to hit this year. Which you might be thinking, hang on, that’s actually a lot! and in the grand scheme of things it is. It works out to 1.7 books a week. I’ve gone down around 40 books a year, because I have a lot more on my plate, and I still feel guilty for it.
I mean, how often have you gone, how fast can I read this book? Could I read it in a day? A book came in the mail today, totalling at 260 pages and my first thought was huh, I might be able to finish this in a day. But why should I? Why should we rush the process of reading? Just to have a big wrap-up each month? To end the year off and be smug about how much we read? What’s the point?
I’m not saying we shouldn’t read a lot, if you enjoy it, please keep doing it! Don’t give up a hobby you love. But also, don’t look at other peoples wrap-ups desparingly. Don’t ever think you don’t read enough. One book a year or 1,000, we are all readers and we all love this hobby. Stressing yourself out, and putting yourself in a reading slump over the numbers, is never worth it.
This isn’t a woe is me piece, or a look at me I’m so smart thing. It’s more of a, hey, sit down and think about your reading goal, does it make you happy? Are you stressed because you don’t feel like reading enough? If you said yes, I understand you, but maybe it’s time to put yourself first and stop stressing yourself out over something that is meant to bring you joy.
Make peace with the speed you read at. Because any speed is good enough.