Chasing Reading Goals
Looking at the Goodreads reading challenges among my friends, many of us, including me, aim to read a hundred books a year. In order to reach that goal, we need to read an average of eight to nine books per month. That means reading at least an hour everyday, save for speed readers who manage to devour tomes in two hours. For the rest of us, reading that many books a year requires that we invest a fair bit of time.
On Reading Slumps
Some have the stamina to read all year round. I don’t. Yes, I always have a book in my bag. I’m always in the midst of a book but while I occasionally finish one in a day, it can also take me three weeks to finish a book of 300 pages. There are days I read a mere 10 pages, and other days, I don’t even read at all. I’m distracted, would rather do other things, or am simply unable to focus.
When that happens, many bloggers refer to reading slumps. I don’t like that term. It sounds negative; as though someone’s failing to be a bibliophile.
Rest Your Mind
Breaks from activities are necessary — they’re not slumps. Athletes go through seasons. In between seasons, they take a break. They have lighter training routines or change their paces with different sports. Off-season periods are a time to recuperate not only the body but also the mind.
Our minds need variety. Bibliophiles aren’t only bibliophiles. We have family and friends with whom we love to spend time. We have other personal interests. I’m an active athlete in my local sports league. I love to experiment in the kitchen. I am fascinated by photography. When I’m not reading, I pursue those other interests. That doesn’t make me less of a bibliophile.
Bibliophile on a Break
I have a stack of books on my nightstand. Normally, the books in that pile are the ones I’m currently reading. Right now, those books are the ones I’d like to start soon. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab has been there since June, Release by Patrick Ness since May, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas since last December. These are all books I’m excited about but right now, I need a break.
This month, I’ve hardly flipped a page. During my free time, I’ve been retreating to the kitchen instead and been whipping up meals for the family. Just because I’ve slowed down, I’ve not stopped being a bibliophile.
It’s Okay to Slow Down
If you’ve found yourself reading less, don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay to slow down and take a break from reading. Of course, the hype around new releases can make us feel like we’re missing out but really? Those books will still be there tomorrow when we’re ready to continue reading.
Ever since the birth of my daughter 3 years ago, I haven’t had the same amount of time to read as before. I used to feel so guilty about not being able to complete any reading goal I have set myself for the year. But then, once in a while I get to read something that gets me so excited about reading. It feels great and it helps with all those times I couldn’t get myself to read anything at all. :)
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Alyssa Marie says
This post seriously made me feel better about struggling through my latest read! I’m super excited to be reading it, but I just can’t seem to sit still and devour it. Maybe taking a short break is what I need to come back refreshed. Thanks a bunch!
Shelumiel @ Bookish and Awesome says
AMEN. I love how you never romanticize the reading life, Jo. You take all the time you need, dear. And maybe bake me a batch of croissants? :)
PS. How’s Lit Treat doing?
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Helia @ Rose Quartz Reads says
Thank you for this post! Ever since I started blogging I’ve felt a pressure to be constantly reading, as well as constantly producing content for my blog. But it can get too much, and I have to learn to be okay and not consider myself to be under achieving. I set myself goals that are two big hoping I get at least half way and ultimately reading even less than that. But you’re totally right – how much we read doesn’t define us as bibliophiles. Great topic 😊
Helia @ Rose Quartz Reads recently posted Book Review // Release by Patrick Ness
I agree! I haven’t been reading like how I was before (75-100 books per year) since 2015 but between thesis, graduating, and now having a full-time job and preparing for board exams, I’ve allowed myself to slow down on reading, bookstagram and blogging. I really miss reading and the community but I need this break to myself.
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Cristina @ Girl in the Pages says
I love this post! I haven’t felt like I’ve needed a break from reading lately, but I’ve actually felt this way about blogging- thinking up creative, engaging content to post has felt exhausting lately, but there’s always the fear of becoming irrelevant if you’re not posting constantly.
I couldn’t agree more! I have very varied reading speeds depending on my mood and the book I’m reading – yesterday I read a whole book in a day for example, but before that I was reading the same book for two weeks – and I try not to pressure myself to read if I don’t feel like it. Bookworms need breaks too, and I have a lot of other hobbies and things that I do.
Great post! :)
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Geraldine @ Corralling Books says
When I was younger, it was so easy to devote time to reading, especially since I just ‘got’ concepts really easily at school. I used to think 100 books, no, 150 books was easy!
But growing up , life commitments do get in the way, and it does get a lot harder. I fall into reading slumps – the worst one is the one I’m in right now! I haven’t really read a book, except one, in the past 6 months… :/
I’m definitely not beating myself up though – like you said, we have lives and commitments :)
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Yes!!! I was so hard on myself last year for not reading as much as I used to but I’ve gone easier on myself this year & not only am I enjoying the books that I do read a lot more, but I’m also happier because I’m not feeling guilty about pursuing my other interests as well :)