Friday, March 22, 2013

Reigniting Ravenous Reading


A love of reading is why we bloggers are here. We would not have started entire websites devoted to something we hate.

A love of reading is what brings us together. As much as we all love the friends we know in person, we know they often do not understand our bookish sides the way fellow bloggers do.

A love of reading is what keeps us going. I blog because I adore books and want to interact with others who do too. Without that passion, any respectable blogger would be lost.

Obviously, the YA book blogging community centers around a love of reading; it is our central axis that keeps everything else in precise orbit, stopping us from spiraling into our own sections of cyberspace. But yet, it often seems that blogging can deteriorate that passion, eat away at it until all that is left is an atavistic desire to simply cram as many books into our brains as we can. And that is so incredibly sad.

This behavioral pattern makes no sense, and I am sure you know that. But still, I often feel pressured to make the number in parentheses next to my "read" shelve on Goodreads as large as possible, and I know many of you do the same thing. It is time to stop making these excuses, and I am here to tell you why.

Common Comment #1: "But that blogger reads 20 books per month! How does she do it? How is that possible? I need to be just like her!"
Reality Check: Some people read faster than others. Some people have more time to read than others. If you are not part of either of these groups, that is completely okay and you should not hold yourself up to impossible standards. As redundant as saying this may be, blogging is not a competition because we are all a team working together to promote and discuss novels. Comparing book counts is as poisonous as comparing follower counts and will only lead to jealousy. Striving to be like your favorite bloggers is great, but only you can be a role model for your reading rate because no one else's schedule is like yours.

Common Comment #2: "I have so many books that were sent to me for review. I need to read them all before their release date and aaaaah!"
Reality Check: First of all, as tempting as it may be, please do not accept review requests unless you are genuinely interested in the book being pitched. If your TBR pile is already teetering, you do not need pressure yourself to review everything before it comes out, because you have a life and no author or publisher should hold such stringent deadlines over your heads. Don't do it to yourself.

Common Comment #3: "Life is crazy so when I have a free night I need to read as much as possible."
Reality Check: Life being insane is precisely the reason why you need to relax! Reading is one way to do that, but not if you make it a chore. Create time for other fun things and bask in the glory of the enjoyment you get when you really savor a story rather than shove it down. Try not looking at the number of pages the book you are reading contains and stop mentally calculating the number you have left; it sucks the fun out of getting caught up in the plot, so this is a bad habit I too am trying to break.

I know I can relate to these arguments (well, at least numbers one and three), but I am doing my best to overcome such misguided paradigms. In simpler terms, I offer this advice: above all else, read what you love and love what you read. And do not let blogging be the omnipotent dictator of your TBR list.

5 comments:

  1. This is great! I know that I constantly find myself reminding myself to slow down and just enjoy a book. Too often, I act like it's a competition against myself - can I read more books this year than last year? This completely takes out the pleasure of just reading which I miss.

    I set my Goodreads goal this year for 150 books, and so far, I'm waay behind. I don't think I'll be catching up, just because I think there's a sense of freedom when you can just read as you please, without worrying about the numbers. I'm excited to get back into that. :)

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  2. So true, Em! I feel like since blogging I've learned about a lot of books and I'm really happy, but sometimes I wonder what it's like to read without reviewing.... Who knows? :)

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  3. I love this post, Emily! I have all these problems (I finally fixed #2 by avoiding NetGalley, but I really need to start doing the same to the library...I mutter "self control" every time I go in there). Great alliteration too, I think that deserves bonus points!

    ^ I typed this comment then actually forgot to press "publish" due to...you guessed it! Blogger time issues! I will be rereading the reality checks quite a bit.

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  4. I think I have these to a certain degree. But then I just stop and remind myself of why I blog - it's not to be long anyone else or to make my favourite hobby into a chore - it's for me. That keeps my worries over 1 and 3 in check. Thankfully 2 has never been all that much of an issue for me.

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  5. Yes, I think it's sad that blogging can sometimes make reading stressful; I mean, it's supposed to be the thing we enjoy the most! I sometimes wish I could read more books in a year, but I can usually only do about 90 or 100. Thank you for the thoughtful post. :)

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