Books consume a huge part of my life. This certainly isn’t a bad thing, but for me, sometimes I feel that my life can get too consumed by books, and sometimes I don’t always want that. Being part of the bookish community means people are always talking about how to read more during school time, when you’re tired, when you’ve been in a slump, when you’re with people, when you have a social life... just how to read more in general. And although these tips can be extremely helpful for some, I find them to be counter-productive, and sometimes even damaging.
Before I say any more on this topic, I have to admit where I got the inspiration for this post from! I was actually writing a blog post about my tips on how to read more (I know, ironic given the title of this post!), but I could only come up with one piece of advice: read less. After writing about 3 paragraphs just explaining that one piece of advice, I thought I’d justify my opinion in a whole blog post, mainly for myself, but also to try to reassure you that it's okay not to read.
Everyone reading this post loves books. (If not, seriously, why are you reading my blog? What are you actually here for?). But do we need to read constantly, or at least once a day, to class ourselves as book lovers? I say definitely not. I love books with all of my heart, but even if I don’t pick up a book for a whole week, it doesn’t make me love books any less than someone who reads 3 books a day. I’m not in a reading slump, I’m just doing something else, other than reading. It’s nothing to be upset or ashamed about.
You don’t need to feel the pressure to read all the time. It can be hard, if you’re talking about books for the majority of your day, but by not reading, you can get ready to be engrossed in a book when you really feel like doing so.
One of the ways I initially brainstormed for what this post was originally going to be was to force yourself to read, and set page goals. I then completely scrapped that idea. Although if you really just need to get something read, that method can be helpful, I don’t think we should be doing that. I’m a mood reader, so I read what I want, when I want. We shouldn’t be forcing ourselves into reading, because it can take the magic away.
You don’t have to read all the time to be a valid member of the community. We all love books - there shouldn’t be any competition for who loves books the most. You can take a couple days break from your book for any reason, or no reason at all, and that’s completely okay! Reading doesn’t have to be all consuming, even though sometimes a really good book can be. For me, different books change my reading habits, which is perfectly okay too. I don’t expect to read every book in a few days, and to be completely addicted to it. You shouldn’t go into books expecting to be fully addicted, because it’s just not realistic.
You are your own person. You don’t need to be like everyone else on Twitter or Instagram. I know it can be toxic or disheartening when your favourite booktubers say they read 20 books a month, but if that’s not you, then you don’t need to aspire to be that way. It’s not about reading all the books - in the case of reading, the quality of the books you read comes over the quantity you read.
You don’t need to push yourself to read books you don’t really want to read, or when you don’t feel like reading. I’d much rather read 2 or 3 books I absolutely adored, in a month, than 10 that were just mediocre. I love reading books. For me, that statement means I love to read good books, and I enjoy reading; not that I love reading loads of books, and not that I read lots of books I enjoy. It doesn’t mean you’re any less of a reader.