For the longest part of my life, I never paid attention to the books I was reading, meaning that I read what I wanted when I could and I purchased new books once in a while (the perks of not living close to a library). I knew about Goodreads but being an “all or nothing” kind of person I wanted to record every single book in my bookcase before actually using it and it was just too much work.
Then, in 2014, when I started this blog, I discovered a whole new community of bibliophiles online and I got hooked into the book blogging and bookstagram world. I was impressed to see people religiously keeping lists of books read, sharing monthly TBR (to-be-read lists) and wrap-ups, participating in monthly and yearly challenges and so on. For a book lover like me, it was like an amusement park. I decided I wanted to be part of all this.
I started blogging about books and I even switched to a bookish theme on my personal Instagram account for a year or so. However, being a full-time University student was hard, very hard. I don’t know how universities work abroad, but here, as a cultural heritage student, my exams consisted of oral interviews with our professors, meaning that I had hundred pages books to learn by heart in order to be able to reply to the questions they would ask me. No papers to write, no midterm exams or things like that. So my life was spent on books and notes all the time. The last thing I wanted to do was to spend additional time reading.
I quickly started feeling guilty because I couldn’t even finish a single book each month and I kept seeing bloggers and bookstagrammers with huge bookcases who managed to finish more than 10 books per month even if they worked full time. I started to feel like there was something wrong with me and I couldn’t get why it took me so long to read books!
Then I discovered that people have different reading speeds, it’s something you have in your DNA and you can’t change it. Sure, you can try to improve it but does it really matter? Is being able to read 10 books a month versus 2 a better thing? In my opinion, there is no right or wrong answer.
During the last few years I’ve seen so many blog posts and articles giving advice on how to read more and I kept reading them because I really wanted to double my reading list. Somehow it worked because, according to Goodreads, my list of read books has organically grown during the years:
- 2015: 23 books
- 2016: 26 books
- 2017: 29 books
- 2018: 33 books
The truth is that I was running a race. I was competing with other bookstagrammers and bloggers I saw every day on the internet. My reading life had become a chore, something I did for numbers and stats, not just for pleasure anymore. And the worst thing is that I started reading what was popular on the internet, rather than what I actually wanted to read.
The slow living movement is kind of a trend right now so, please, don’t roll your eyes when you’ll read this but I’ve recently started reading slower. This means that I’ve been rereading my favorite books (mostly by Tolkien), read new (to me) books that aren’t popular online and, most importantly, I stopped counting them. I want to arrive at the end of 2019 without knowing how many books I’ve read this year. Maybe I’ll write a list just to remember the titles but it isn’t a priority for me anymore. And you know what? It feels amazing. I don’t care if it takes me 1 or 2 months to finish a book or just 2 weeks. I don’t share monthly TBR and wrap-ups. The only thing I’m keeping track of right now is the series I’m reading because I want to read the books in order without skipping them. I still log some books on Goodreads if I really enjoyed them but, for the most part, I don’t. Also, I regularly add the books I want to read to my Amazon wish list because I can easily check the prize and purchase them directly from my Kindle.