Every time a year ends, I look at my Goodreads challenge, the only reading challenge I’m actually participating in every year actively, and check out the number of books I’ve read this year.
As I’m writing this, I read 72 books so far in 2019. Part of me is hoping to reach 75 at least, wanting more, more and more until that December 31st ends. Another part of me is really really happy and, for once, kind of proud that I managed to read so much already.
The thing is, I’ve always loved reading and always read a lot, but book blogging made me want to read more. Book blogging made me want to rush through all the books to read them all, too.
Sometimes, reading feels like rushing to catch a train, making sure you manage to hop on it before it disappears.
How did reading become a race?
Honestly, I’ve been asking myself that question on and off for the past years, looking at my towering TBR, at my most anticipated lists growing, growing, growing, at the books I’ve been meaning to read for ages, at my goodreads challenge moving up, up, at other bloggers’ reading challenges growing as they swallow words more quickly than I’ll ever understand.
How did reading become so stressful?
Yes, I said it. Sometimes, I’m stressed out because I feel like I HAVE to read. I know. No one is forcing me to get through all the books. No one is telling me I need to read a book a day, a hundred books a year to be valid as a book blogger.
Yet, some days, my anxious mind is like this:
It comes from the environnment. It comes from being around incredible book bloggers and readers, getting through 200+ books a year.
It comes from the new releases, rushing towards you and ready to hit you with their awesomeness, making you feel like you’re missing out if you don’t take them right away and devour them.
It comes from loving books so much and getting excited about them so much your chest hurts when you feel like you want to read them all, yet can’t because you’re not a robot.
Sometimes, we’re not reading books anymore. We’re rushing through them, turning the pages before really imprinting the words on our minds. Because we have to reach that goal, strike that reading challenge, be like these people reading so much it’s so incredible and we want that, too.
Sometimes, when we’re rushing, we forget to read. We forget to enjoy it. This is how reading slumps come and take you away and oh, no, we don’t want that.
How to better pace yourself to love reading again – and keep on loving it
Every now and then, this overwhelming feeling gets to me. That I need to hurry or I’m going to be very late, even though books aren’t moving creatures and they will be waiting for me.
📚 Know where you stand with reading challenges
Reading challenges are all the rage in the bookish community. They’re on book blogs and on goodreads, on bookstagram and on twitter. There are bingos and fun prompts to do, there are incredible challenges and motivating ones. They feel like fun, they feel like being part of the community, too.
Some people can handle participating in reading challenges. Lots of them. Some people love them, they’re motivating them, making them want to read, making them love reading even more.
Some people can’t handle it because it makes them feel stressed out, anxious, rushed and feel like they have to do too much when they can’t. I fall into that category and I know it. So I stay clear of reading challenges, except for the goodreads one and, this year, the Year of the Asian one since it’s an easy one.
Know where you stand. Try out challenges if you don’t know where you stand, just yet, and see how you can handle it before signing up for everything, feeling overwhelmed and losing your motivation for it all.
📚 Know your own reading rhythm and what you can really do
We’re all different. Even if we’re all here, screaming about books because we love them, we’re all different. We have different lives. Some people are in school, in college, have homework and assignments and midterms and extracurriculars. Some people are staying at home, working full time, part time, 10, 20, 40+ hours a week. Some people have a filled-up social calendar, some people are writers, handling multiple jobs, unemployed, have kids and so on.
We don’t have the same lives, yet we keep on expecting to be at the same rhythm. Seeing people reading 100+ books a year and wondering why we can’t do the same.
Some people read faster than others, too. It’s only natural that they are able to read more books than I do. Yet, sometimes, I forget about that. I know I can read on my commute, on my lunch break, at home.
Know when you can find the time to read, realistically, without missing out work and assignments and real life which, unfortunately, can’t be forgotten when all you want is to read. It’s all a matter of getting organized, with your own time.
🔍 Related blog post: How to organize your reading life as a book blogger
📚 Pace yourself with new releases and ARCs
I’ve talked about this before. It’s easy to lose yourself, oh so easy to fall into the new releases trap and never ever get out of it. With ARCs being a thing and sometimes getting a chance to read incredible books early, with new books and hyped books we have to read right this very second to be in the loop…. it’s just so easy NOT to pace yourself. To request all the books, to pre order, request at your local library, add to your wishlist and so on.
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with everything you have to read to be “in”.
Take your time before requesting a book. Take your time before requesting, preordering, joining into the hype. It’s not because everyone somehow rushed and got their books and read it and are screaming about it that you’re missing out.
OKAY. Maybe you are. But you’ll get there. If you have other books you’d rather be reading, can’t get to the book right now, just want to take your time, you can. It’s okay. Better to wait than to rush to a book and be disappointed, devour words that end up meaning nothing just to join in on a hype you might not get.
🔍 Related blog post:Do I really want to read this book, or does the hype make me want to?
📚 Pay attention to the backlist and your TBR already waiting for you
This might be a personal thing, but having an overwhelming amount of books to read makes me feel stressed. It makes me feel like I SHOULD rush to get to all the books. Right now, my physical TBR has maybe 10 books and, if for some people that’s nothing, for me, that’s a lot already.
Thing is: I have these books because I was excited to read them. I still am. Most of them are backlist titles no one’s talking about and, sometimes, it makes me feel like I should rush to read them to focus on the other books that everyone is talking about.
It’s a silly feeling, I know, but it’s there. Yet, I wanted to read all these books.
I still do.
So, I’m going to pick up a backlist title I’m very excited for and I’m going to READ. Not rush, not think about the amount of books waiting for me, the ones I should be reading, the hyped ones, the ones that would be quicker for me to get a higher number at my goodreads challenge at the end of the year.
Some days, reading feels like rushing. But there will be another train to catch later on and I’m learning to enjoy the now. To enjoy the words, at my own rhythm and the worlds writers can create.
I’m thrilled that I read so much this year and, even if part of me will always reach for more and want to read more, I’m also learning to be happy with the quality of the books I got through and the favorites I’ll keep in my heart always.
Do you sometimes feel like you have to read more, to rush through all the books?
Do reading challenges stress you out, too? What do you do when you feel like you should read more… read less? I’d love to know your advice in comments!