“Do I read enough ?”
I have this thought every year and every year the obvious answer is ‘No’, but, when I look at my book total, there’s also another obvious answer which is ‘I could have read less than that’. And by thinking that, I allow myself to put things into perspective. I tend to get a bit overwhelmed with my day-to-day life, and by the end of the day, I often find myself completely exhausted : physically, psychologically and emotionally.
Maybe the term “fast reader” isn’t quite appropriate here, because when I am reading, I read at a normal speed, I’m not spending ten minutes to finish a page, and once I’m into the story and know that I have time, I can totally read one hundred, two hundred pages without realizing what happened. My problem is time.
So, I know that some people manage to do all that (and then more) and still keep up a good reading rhythm, but for some reason, I find this completely impossible to do, or at least, impossible to keep up regularly. I’ll have bouts of reading fever, but I know I can also spend months without opening a book.
When I think that at some point in my life I used to read a book in one or two weeks tops. I would queue up my books like playlists. I would buy new books every two months or so. It still wasn’t as much as some people manage to do but it was still considerably more than what I’m managing now. Of course, I had a different lifestyle. I had only college to worry about, and the books I was forced to read for my classes only made me want to read my own choices even more. Living on your own is definitely life-changing, but it doesn’t explain how other people do it. Seriously, what’s your secret ? What am I missing ?
And every year you see people sharing their reading results and I can’t help but compare them to my own. Every year, people set up reading goals that I know I’ll never be able to achieve, at least not if I want to do other things other than reading day and night without pause or rest (food and sleep are important, you know). And you see people reading several books at the same time, multi-tasking like bosses !
All of that made me feel like I wasn’t good enough, made me feel like, maybe, I wasn’t passionate enough, obviously, since I didn’t devote every minute of every day to books. And it took me a while to accept that slow reading is cool too.
Yes, you don’t go through your To-Read list quite as fast as some people, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t appreciate the books you’re reading. Taking your time can be good. Personally, it also makes me a little pickier when it comes to choosing which books I’m going to read. If I only end up reading a certain number of books per year, then I want to make every book I read count. I’m not impervious to disappointments with this method, but at least I know that every book I pick is thoroughly chosen. It’s not just “Oh okay, why not ?”, but a solid “Yes, I want to read this book !” (I might also apply that kind of thought-process to a lot of things in my life).
The key word here, if you are in this situation too, is : don’t compare yourself. There’s nothing wrong with doing what works for you. If reading makes you happy, then it doesn’t matter how many books you read, it’s enough that you pick one.