I haven’t been a part of the book blogging community for very long. Only a couple of months in fact. But in this short time I’ve noticed a couple of things.
My TBR pile has dramatically increased. To the point that I feel slightly suffocated by it and it’s making me anxious.
Also during the last few months I haven’t read anything that I absolutely loved. And even when I am enjoying a book I am worrying about what to read next.
I’m feeling a lot of pressure to have read all the ‘classics’/popular books in my chosen genres of ‘expertise’. I’m talking your Sarah J Maas’ and Cassandra Clares etc. At the same time as keeping on top of all the new releases that are being churned out each month.
As a slow reader the whole thing just feels impossible. Too many books too little time and all that jazz.
And I got to thinking.
Surely I cannot be the only reader who is feeling this way? Who feels like a ‘bad reader’ because I haven’t read every book that everyone else has read? Who feels pressure to keep on top of current releases whilst also being an expert in the cult classics?
Is reading becoming a competitive sport within our community?
I sure hope not. I hate sports.
But maybe this is why I haven’t been enjoying books so much as of late. Either because I’m rushing to get to the next book that ‘I need to have read’ or because my choice is limited to what I feel I should have read, as opposed to what I really want to read.
I also feel EXTRA pressure because I am brand spanking new within this community. I have been here for two months and only have a small following. I feel like I need to catch up to the people who have been doing it for years and have larger followings. Which is silly because it would be impossible to gather that much momentum in such a short amount of time.
It’s silly really, because no one is out there judging you on what you have or haven’t read. Well, nobody decent at least. These are all expectations we place upon ourselves. We’re all trying to run a race against each other that has no end and no winners.
There must be other book lovers out there who feel the same. I think it is something we should all be aware of. We mustn’t turn something we love to do into something that causes an undercurrent of stress in our lives.
SO, let’s not talk about a problem if we aren’t also going to talk about solutions.
I have some ideas for reading ground rules that I am going to try to implement into my reading life, and I invite anyone to take these ideas and do the same.
1.) I purposefully set an easy reading challenge goal on Goodreads, one that I know I’ll achieve. That way when I exceed it, it is something to feel great about. I think it is better to use it as a ‘minimum’ goal than a maximum. That way you can keep your reading on track without adding unnecessary pressure on yourself to excel. (Also means you can stop reading those crappy 100-200 page books that you don’t really want to read but you do, so you can up your tally).
2.) Take part in Readathons that are more ‘theme’ orientated than ‘goal’ orientated. Ones that encourage you to pick up books you wouldn’t normally pick up, as opposed to READ 50 BOOKS IN A WEEK OR YOU’RE RUBBISH. A fantastic one I’ve seen lately is the lovely G @book_roast who is doing a Harry Potter themed O.W.L readathon, in which you pick the Hogwarts subjects you want to partake in and read books based around your selection. What a fantastic idea. I will link her channel at the bottom of this post.
3.) If everyone is raving about a book or series that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, ignore the pressure to read it. We all have our personal tastes, so there’s no point wasting your time on a book that you are confident you won’t enjoy so much. No one knows your reading tastes as well as you and we shouldn’t let what other people are screaming about make us doubt it. It’s okay to admit that a book doesn’t fulfil your personal interests – it doesn’t mean you think it’s a bad book.
4.) Remembering that there is a right time for each book. This especially applies to books that become favourites. When we find a book we fall in love with, we always say ‘Oh golly, I wish I had found this book sooner!’ But I strongly believe that our favourite books find us at the right moments. If you had read that beloved book at a different time it may not have struck you in the same way. So follow your gut when choosing your next read. If a book has been winking at you, but somehow you don’t feel its the right time yet then don’t force yourself to get to it. It’ll come when when you’re supposed to read it.
5.) Although we love being a part of this bookish community and writing our blogs. We love reading even more. Books will always be there for us and that is something not to forget.
It isn’t logical. We are creatures of habit who just want to been seen as succeeding. (I think some people would prefer to be seen as succeeding over actually succeeding). Let’s try to break bad habits.
I hope this post will help you put any reading stresses you have into perspective. I know it has helped me sound everything out and order my brain. Let’s not forget why we do this.
Book Roast’s Channel: