After years of cramming in as many books as possible, reading physical books, audio books on the go and bringing e-books everywhere, trying to hit that 100 books a year mark while also being a single working mom, having a social life and taking my masters – it was time to read less.
There were 5 reasons why I felt I had to change my reading habits:
1. I wasn’t enjoying the books I was reading. It was mostly about reading the hype, trends and lists. I had to hit goal marks and became obsessed with it. Listening to books in double speed, skimming and rushing to the finish line to start the next book.
2. I wasn’t retaining the story. Large parts of the stories I read, I forgot almost instantly. They blended into each other and became forgettable. If I read several books at once I could confuse them for each other. I once read a book twice simply because I forgot I had read it – I only remembered when I got to the reveal at the end.
3. I wasn’t choosing the right books. I fell for the booktoks, bookstgrams, the bestseller lists, the book club picks and book prizes. I wanted to read them ALL! It didn’t matter what it was about, if it was nominated for something, I wanted to read it.
4. It was taking up too much time. Reading books should be an enjoyable escape and not a pressure cooker that adds stress to your life. Too often I felt like I HAD to read more than I wanted to read. Squeezing in reading time anywhere. Trying to multitask reading with other activities like WORK! Ha!
5. Book burnout. I see readers on instagram talking about readers drought like it’s past their control. And while I don’t think they want the reading struggle, I think the reason for it is stress. Reading requires effort, and if you try to read too much, you’ll end up with burnout and in a drought. No book will satisfy you or pull you in. Everything is exhausting to read and nothing sticks. I’ve started over 30 books this way until I deduced that it must be me and not all the books that are bad!
After setting my reading goal on Goodreads to 52 (a book a week) and reading 40 books books within the first quarter, I upped my goal to 100! Let’s gooooo, and then I had 8 books in a row fall flat. No enjoyment, just chores. Then I picked up a book that forced me to read slow and it was good. I changed my goal back down to 52 and noticed that the average goal is set to 47! I’m a book blogger who obsessed about books and I’m just around the average mark?
So the goal is now this: read less books! And I have 3 steps to follow in doing so:
1. A book a month! The average book club does a book a month and anything more than that should be a bonus but not a goal. Do not push yourself or force your numbers up. It’s about quality, not quantity!
2. Choose more wisely! Get to know your own taste and choose accordingly, don’t jump on a book just because it’s popular if you know it’s not in your genre. (Unless you’re looking to move out of genre!) I know I don’t like satire or magical realism. It confuses and bores me every single time! Im done reading the fad books in certain genres.
3. Read slower. Improve comprehension and enjoy the text. Annotate. Underline. Donkey ear. (Yes! Im one of those!) Not all books need to be read slow, but not one single book needs to be rushed through. You’ll enjoy it much more if you slow it down, also, it will be relaxing and therapeutic rather than stressful and nagging.
I know I am enjoying my reading journeys much more now, than I was when I tried to push a book per day. If you’re feeling the book burnout, then this might be worth trying!