For the past few years, I've read at least 50 books a year. I love reading.
I wouldn't ever think about reading less - it's something I'm incredibly passionate about. The books I've read have transformed who I am, how I think, and have given me a great community to rally around.
I've always had the irrational (or is it?) fear and knowledge that I will never get to read everything ever written. I inherently understand that I won't want to read everything ever written, but it hurts my heart all the same.
Here are a few of the good things about reading so much; I don't want to start out with all of the bummers.
- I get to read a lot of what I actually want to read. I'm past the phase of having to read books because they're assigned reading (though I have gone back to fill in the gaps of "classics" I never read).
- If I read a bad book, it doesn't matter as much because it usually just fades into the background. I can figure out why I didn't like something, and keep it as a "filter" for the next time.
- I get to read from a lot of different authors and genres because I need to change things up after reading similar things back to back.
- I've gotten skilled (still debating if this is a good thing, see below) at switching back and forth between books.
- The stories I've read have shaped my thought process because I'm forced to consistently put myself in someone else's shoes.
This posts’ title may look a bit clickbait-y, but I promise that there are quite a few downfalls of reading so much. (I don’t mean for any of this to sound like I’m bragging – I just want to be honest with you (and myself)).
People ask me a lot which book is my favorite, or which book I’d recommend (those questions are definitely not the problem – keep asking, I love hearing from y’all), and I typically just look at the person dumbfounded. I rarely remember the books I’ve read. I usually have to pull out Goodreads to see what I’ve read and have to rely on sheer memory to put things together. If I don’t mark a star rating on Goodreads, I may never remember (which sounds ultra dramatic but is true). The ones that really make a lasting impact can (usually) be remembered with a synopsis jogging my memory, while the others fall through the cracks.
It can also become all about the number. Reading this much is something I take pride in. I usually tell people with a smile on my face because people are usually impressed. It’s a pretty gross thing to admit to, but I feel like you, dear reader, deserves the truth. I love to read, but it’s also become part of who I am.
I’ve struggled with actually sitting down and reading. While a lot of this can easily be attributed to our culture’s decreasing attention span because of various stimuli, some of it can be linked to how many books I have at my disposal. I find myself jumping from book to book (in one sitting) because I find myself getting bored with what I’m reading. Maybe I’m trying to fill some void with reading? That’s for another day.
I compare a lot of books to each other, usually to the detriment of what I’m currently reading. I tend to idolize a few books, and all others will fall short. I rarely can have an “ignorance is bliss” moment and just enjoy what I’m currently reading because I’m analyzing. You’d think that because I just mentioned that I’ve got a bad memory of books that I would have trouble with this, but apparently my subconscious remembers more than I think. An additional problem is that because I hate to re-read things, the book I idolize may fall short of the standards it set just because of when/where I read it.
Books are expensive. While I love the library and thrifting for books, I love going to the store to support an author I love when a book drops. Or I go to the book festival and pick up a book I’ve already read (from the library) so that an author can sign. Sometimes it is just so easy to convince myself to add another book to the pile, which just stresses me, my bookshelf, and my wallet out.
Overall, it sounds like I’m making the case that I shouldn’t read as much as I do. Spoiler alert – I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Yes, I’m judgy and hypocritical and these are bad things but I’m also loving the opportunity to hear from all different types of people. In the past few years I’ve tried to read more from diverse authors, read about people different than me, and try to escape my worldview. I’ve been able to hear (and yearn for) lands I never knew existed.
While there are many downfalls to reading a book or more a week, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Here’s to even more books in 2019!
Do you have any more recommendations for me? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!