LEARNING TO READ LESS AND WHY IT MATTERS

So the end of the year is fast approaching and we bookworms are beginning to panic over our unread ARCs, lagging behind on our TBRs, or over the dozen of notifications saying we’ve been tagged in yet another book Christmas tree.

With December here I’ve been thinking about how my reading habits have changed since I started this blog and moved back home for my thesis. I’m happy to say that I’ve surpassed my reading goal of 50 books for the year and have branched out into several genres. While I am happy with the progress I’ve made, I must also admit that I am concerned about the amount of time I spend reading.

You must be thinking I’m crazy. Why would I worry over something every bookworm dreams of?

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Yes, I do love the peace and hours spent curled up with a book, but after months, frankly, I realize how I’ve neglected other aspects of my life.

I no longer journal or play the guitar, I’ve kept aside my secondhand books in order to complete ARCs, while reading I constantly wonder about the review I’ll write, my statistics on social media, and I have found myself giving into book hypes. Looking at the books I’ve recently added to my collection I’ve come to realize that many of them are books that don’t genuinely interest me. I realized I added books because everyone was raving about them and not because I wanted to read them.

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Initially it was about exploring; I told myself there’s no harm in going through a few uninteresting books (for me, at least) if I could just find one that I could love. This kind of thinking was, uh, far more detrimental than helpful. At the end of it all I found myself overwhelmed, burned out, and unable to catch up. And keeping myself away just to read was no help at all! What I once sought out as a sanctuary had now become a burden for me.

As much as I love reading, I don’t want it to be the end all of me.

I have a story I want published, two instruments to be tuned and sung to, and a shelf full of dusty books that I need to apologize to.

Book blogging is one of the wonderful things that has happened to me this year but I allowed myself to get caught up with a competitive streak. Blogging is supposed to be my platform to show off my work ethic, to meet new people, and to have fun; it was meant as a way for me to read more diversely, to share my struggles with mental illness, to inspire people, to support fellow bloggers, to understand the industry, and to hopefully someday break into it.

With these in mind, I decided it would work better for me to take a step back from my voracious reading.

I haven’t set a proper plan yet but I do know that I want to perhaps set a certain amount of hours for reading in a day. I also want to stop reading too late into the night so I’ll be able to sleep properly. Secondly, I want to spend a good amount of time everyday connecting with people and reading others’ blog posts. There’s more things I want to put time into for my mental health like getting back into yoga as well as starting meditation.

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Also, I don’t think that people who read a lot or are content to read all day are wrong in what they’re doing. Personally, it’s not something that would benefit me and while I honestly worry about how it may affect my blog, at the end of the day, we read to be happy and not for the fleeting joy of statistics.

You can choose to read because it fills your life with passion or you can choose not to if your passion lays elsewhere. There is no wrong choice.

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Do you feel you spend too much time reading? Can reading be something negative?

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15 thoughts on “LEARNING TO READ LESS AND WHY IT MATTERS

  1. I definitely see where you’re coming from in this, although I don’t have the same problem myself.
    It’s definitely a good thing that you realize all these things and want to change them. I’d say setting some completely different goals for the new year is a good second step – since you already took the biggest first step by admitting all this!

    As for the actual reading: Maybe just set yourself a goal / balance of reading x ARC’s and x owned books a month. It can already be a huge help! For myself, I decided a while back to switch between my own books and eARC’s. It helps to balance the two and avoid feeling guilty towards my owned TBR, haha.
    I would never succeed at setting myself a fixed amount of reading hours, though. Personally, I’d rather go with setting a fixed amount of those other things – like playing an instrument, like you mentioned. But that really is something personal. 🙂

    I hope you figure out how you’ll be trying to find the right balance in your life!
    It is, after all, an important thing to be happy. 🙂

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  2. I agree with you! I have stopped accepting ARCs for the same reason. I don’t want to be pressurized to like a certain book or pressurized to post a book review on time. I know this is what happens in book blogging but I don’t want to make it a chore or something that I know I no longer enjoy but just doing it for the purpose of publishing ‘anything’. It’s a hobby that I love doing because it connects me with other people and I wanna keep it that way!
    Great post! 🙂
    Zainab @ A Bibliophile’s Obsession

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  3. This is such a great post and I can relate to it a bit. I think blogging revealed in me sort of a competitive strike at a time, as well. Read moe books, do more, more and more, but… it was never enough. You’re so right to take care of yourself first, that’s what matters, and not the amount of books you read. I hope you will manage to find the right schedule that works for you! ❤

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  4. Book Christmas tree? Evidence of me not ever being tagged in one, cause I don’t know what it is 😀 also, I absolutely agree with you. I think I will be setting my Goodreads goal much lower next year, although I’ve gone over this year’s one – but that’s the thing, for most of the year I was constantly thinking “late late late” and I just don’t want that anymore. Plus, the funny thing! I can’t even blog them all 😀 cause I want less reviews on my blog now, and more lists and discussions. So next year I will be reading less. As for coming back to other aspects of your life? I also agree. But for me it’s like… I’ve always known I will and will want to, sooner or later, but not yet 🙂 I feel like it’s a phase. I just have to get enough of blogging and have these goals, and then sooner or later I will move on again 🙂

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  5. This is a great discussion, I’m definitely experiencing the same end-of-year panic, trying to complete my GR goal, read all my ARCs and blog. And somehow the year only has two (or three?) weeks left! That’s crazy! But hopefully I can pull it off somehow. As a full-time student, I don’t exactly have to cut down on reading, since it seems like I never have ANY time to read. I can definitely understand where you’re coming from though, because it’s important to attend to othe hobbies we love in addition to reading!

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  6. This is precisely why I don’t understand the competitive atmosphere I sometimes see around reading. I have other interests. I want to pursue them, too. That means less time for reading, but that’s not inherently bad.

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  7. It sounds like it’s not so much that you think reading a lot is a bad thing, as that you want to make sure to carve out time for other things that are important, like sleep and interacting with people. It seems like an impulse to create balance in your life. Everyone’s balance will be different, so there are no hard and fast rules, but I think it’s a healthy goal for all us. Good luck!

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