I’ve been using Goodreads for years now, keeping track of the books I’ve read and the ever-growing list of books I want to read. And for the last few years, I’ve been setting reading goals for myself. It’s never much; I usually stick to somewhere around 20 and 30 books per year for my goal. But a lot of of the time, I don’t even read that many books. And it makes me feel guilty, ashamed, like I’m not able to truly call myself a bookworm because I can’t even read 30 books a year.
And above all, it makes me stressed beyond belief.
I’ve been trying so hard to cram reading time in when I barely have time to keep up with work and health and friends and family and everything else that needs attention. I hate that I don’t have more time to read, but right now, that’s the way it is. And if I don’t have the time, why am I forcing it on myself?
I’ve realized that with the rising popularity of bookstagramming, there’s this sort of expectations for everyone in the community to be reading books all the time and setting insane reading goals for themselves and essentially revolving their lives around books, which I LOVE, but where do these people find the time?? Funny thing is, a lot of them find it by cutting out face-to-face time with friends and becoming completely involved in the internet community of book-lovers.
And sure, if you are able to spend that much time bookstagramming and interacting with other bookstagrammers and reading piles and piles of books each month, by all means, go for it! But I feel like most of us are pressured into reading more than we can take on just to keep up with and fit in with this community.
But that’s not what it’s meant to be. It’s not supposed to be a stressful community. It’s supposed to be a place where book-lovers can meet and talk to other book-lovers, find friends with similar interests, get updates on the latest book series coming out, and be a part of a community that appreciates books of all genres, and in any format.
But that reading goal is a killer. For me, at least.
Today, I deleted the Goodreads app off my phone. Since I started using the app, I thought I loved chasing after that goal each year. But I realized I haven’t really read for fun in years. I read to beat my goal. And that’s not a good reason to read.
I miss reading for enjoyment. I miss getting lost in stories, rather than wasting my time on books I’m not interested in just because “well, I already started it, so I might as well push through so I can count it towards my goal.” NOOOOOO NO no no. I’m done with that.
From now on, I’m not keeping track of the books I read. I’m not going to stress myself over reading more books than I have time for, or trying to finish books I’m not enjoying just for the purpose of reaching that goal.
Instead, I’m going to read books that make me feel. I’m going to spend my time—however long that is—with stories that will stay with me, stories that pull me in, stories that fill me with magic and remind me of why I was drawn to books in the first place. I’m going to read books worth my time.