Being A Slow Reader in the Book Blogging Community

21/11/2018 Blogging, Discussions, Reading 31

Being A Slow Reader in the Book Blogging CommunityUntil last year, I had never taken part in the Goodreads Challenge, and therefore had absolutely no idea how many books I read in a year. I was completely oblivious, bumbling my way through book after book, and never counting how many I was actually finishing in a week, a month, a year…

However, last year I finally decided to take part in the Goodreads Challenge, and I actually really enjoyed it! I feel like it encouraged me to read more, and I liked having that record of everything I’d read in the year, as opposed to completely forgetting everything when it came time to write my reviews.

But one thing it did bring up for me, is the fact that actually, I’m not as fast of a reader as I always thought I was. Because I’ve always been super obsessed with books, and always read more than anyone in my real life, I always thought I was pretty fast, and read loads of books.

Then I started adding other book bloggers on Goodreads…and wow! Whilst I set my first Goodreads target at 50 books, and managed to read 60, other bloggers were setting their targets at 100, 150, 200 books, and in a lot of cases smashing that target!

Now I know that reading isn’t a race, and that it doesn’t actually matter how many books you read, as long as you enjoy them, but it was still a surprise. Being a bookworm has always been a key part of my identity, so the thought that I perhaps wasn’t ‘as bookish’ as these other people because I didn’t read as fast made me kind of sad.

But then I tried to look at it from a different perspective: if someone else came to me lamenting that they only read 20 books a year, would I tell them they were a slow reader, or somehow didn’t count as as much of a book lover as those other people? Of course not! I certainly wouldn’t see it that way! 20 books is a lot, and more than most people read in several years!

I think my feelings were largely frustration that there was so many books on my TBR list that I wanted to read, and I never seemed to get round to them as fast as I would like. But let’s face it, would that be any different if I was reading 200 books a year, as opposed to 60? There’s always more books to be read, after all!

And I think there’s so many factors that contribute to the amount of books a person reads, because everyone is individual. Some of it could be actual reading speed – as in, how long it physically takes a person to take in and process words on a page – but I think a lot of it can come down to other factors.

The kind of books they tend to read for example: I read a lot of YA, which tend to be average length, but also a lot of epic fantasy and historical fiction, which are often much longer than average. Whereas someone who reads a lot of graphic novels, for example, will probably get through books much faster.

I also know that there’s people who read multiple books at once, or binge read (where you read for long period at a time), whereas I don’t often have reading sessions that are much longer than an hour (I get kind of fidgety after that long, unless I’m really absorbed in the book!). So reading style can play a huge role as well.

And to be honest, what does it actually matter if you’re a slower reader than someone else? As long as you’re enjoying the books you read, who cares? It can be easy to feel insecure as a part of the book blogging world if you feel that you read less books than everyone else, but at the end of the day, we’re all just here because we share a love of books. No one is judging you on how many books you’ve read, they’re just glad you’re reading them so we all have people to discuss them with!

So do you see yourself as a slow or fast reader? Has this ever made you feel insecure? 

31 Responses to “Being A Slow Reader in the Book Blogging Community”

  1. ShootingStarsMag

    I feel like I’m in the middle. I can definitely read some books quite fast, but I know others that read way faster or can read way more books than me in a year. I don’t really let it bother me though. Like you said, I kind of just wish I could read more books for my own sake…there are always so many books on my wish list (and that I already own!) that I’d love to get through more of them.

    -Lauren

    • Laura

      It’s good that you don’t let it bother you! It would be nice sometimes though to be able to read more for my own sake, just to get through all the books I want to read, but I don’t think I’d ever get through them all anyway! 🙂

  2. Elley @ Elley the Book Otter

    I have one particular friend who reads literally twice as fast as me. Like, I don’t like to do buddy reads with her anymore because we’ll be sitting in a room together reading and we will start a book at the same time, and she will finish the book while I’m still only halfway through. And I always considered myself to be a pretty fast reader. Oy vey.

    And you are SO on the nose about no matter how fast you are, you will NEVER BE FAST ENOUGH TO READ ALL THE BOOKS ON YOUR TBR! I literally have 411 books in my bedroom on my physical TBR shelves. (I know because for some stupid reason I counted earlier this week. WHYYYY did I count them?!) That is definitely more books than I can read in 2 years even if I just focus on reading only the books I physically own (which I will never do, because ebooks, library books, new books, ARCs…) Clearly, the solution is that I need to be an elf so that I only need 4 hours of sleep each day, which would give me an extra 4 hours to read. Then maybe I could get caught up. (Let’s be real though, I’d just use that extra 4 hours to scroll through Twitter and add more books to my TBR…)

    As far as stats go, I KNOW I’m letting my Goodreads goal and monthly stats effect my reading choices, because I’ll reach for a graphic novel or a novella or a shorter YA novel instead of the weighty epic fantasy or 400+ page YA fantasy because I know that’s going to tank my stats. And that’s no way to love books! Numbers are fun, but sometimes they really get in the way, too. I’ve been posting how many books I’ve read each month, but I think in 2019 I’m going to not post monthly status updates (or at least not include how many books I read that month) and also set my Goodreads goal really low (and NOT BUMP IT UP WHEN I FINISH IT EARLY like I do EVERY YEAR, AAAAHHHHH) so I will actually take the time to read some of the REALLY VERY EXCELLENT BOOKS that have been sitting in my shelf for way too long, just because I don’t want to devote the time to them that they’re going to take to finish while I read books that I know are going to be much faster reads. (Like the backlog of nonfiction ARCs I have piling up… Nonfic always is a much slower going read for me.)

    • Laura

      Wow, your friend does sound fast! I’ve never done a buddy read with anyone, but I think I wouldn’t like doing one either with anyone who was so fast!
      It is true though that we’d probably never get through our TBRs, even with more hours in the day (or if we became elves and need less sleep!), and I’d probably be the same in that if I did have more hours in the day I’d spend a lot of them scrolling through Twitter and just generally messing about on the internet!
      And I’ve definitely found that too, where my Goodreads goal will dictate the books I read, and I’ll find myself picking shorter books, even if there’s a longer one I want to read. Your approach definitely sounds good though, and I may think about setting a lower goal for myself too next year, so that I don’t feel bad about tackling some of the bigger books I’ve had on my shelves for ages 🙂

  3. Nordie@writing about books

    I used to read in the 100 mark but found 2 things:

    1) I would read short easy books at the end of the year to help me catch up with some arbitrary total
    2) I would have forgotten the majority of the books if I hadn’t then blogged about them, often with near entire plot summaries

    The last few years I’ve set a lowish number of 60 books with the expection that I might read half that. That’s ok, I’ve decided I prefer to nap on the train now.

    I’ve also decided I’ve lost much of the ability to read “challenging” books. We’re not talking Tolstoy here, we’re talking Georgette Heyer regency romances. Yes, recent reading has made her challenging.

    Slow? By many people’s standards but quality over quantity!

    • Laura

      You’re so right that it’s about quality over quantity, and you’ve definitely made me feel better about reading fewer books than other people. It does sound like there’s pitfalls to reading a much higher number of books!

  4. Angela

    I always feel like as long as people are reading, it doesn’t matter how many books they read or how fast they read. I generally read well over 100 books a year, yet compared to some bloggers, that’s not a lot. You have to take into account your lifestyle, too. Like, some people can read or listen to audiobooks at work. So, that’s 8 more hours a day that they can read that I can’t. That really adds up! And yeah, definitely the size of the books you’re reading makes a difference, too.

    • Laura

      I totally agree! Even though I always feel kind of insecure about the amount of books I read compared to other bloggers, I try to remember that as long as I’m reading, it doesn’t actually matter how many books I’m getting through, as long as I’m enjoying them.
      And you’re right that lifestyle plays a huge part, so it isn’t really fair to compare yourself with anyone else.

  5. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    Isn’t it funny all the myriad of ways that we judge ourselves against other people. And even when we logically know that those comparisons aren’t important or don’t make sense, it’s still hard to let go of them sometimes. Glad you were able to get some perspective on this one!

  6. Gayathri

    I have been setting my Goodreads target at 35 in the past few years and I am ok with it. I know there are a lot of them who read a lot lot more than that every year. Initially I felt snuffed and so I read 52 books one year. But I immediately realized that it is not for me. I am fairly a fast reader but I have other things to do in my life, which as much as I would like to, cannot take a backseat to reading.

    I admire and envy those who read so many books but I just do not want the pressure as it would definitely spoil my reading experience. I read for pleasure and fun and want to keep it that way.

    • Laura

      I feel exactly the same, in that I admire people who read so much, but I think the pressure of actually trying to do that myself would spoil the experience of reading for me. So I’d rather keep reading at my current rate and enjoy the books I’m reading!

  7. Kathleen Bailey

    I haven’t counted in the last few years but about 10 years ago I was averaging 100-150 books a year BUT that included picture books. PLUS I don’t read books over 400 pages so I would have more books than people who read longer books. That’s very good that you realized what you would say to someone who read less books than you. You’re right, there is not right or wrong way to read.

    • Laura

      That’s so true! There really is no right or wrong way to read. Whatever works for you personally is the best way to go!

  8. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Interesting. I used to view myself as a pretty fast reader but lately my reading has been all over the place so I don’t even know. I would never day those reading fewer books aren’t as passionate a reader, we are all individual in our reading but I know some people feel some pressure to read more when they see some bloggers are powering through 200+ but we’re all still enjoying books. I think when I was reading more books in a year I found myself forgetting a lot of them and I was also reading a lot more meh reads. Now I feel like I’ve been a bit pickier. I’ve DNF-ed a lot more and I am rereading far more than I used to and I feel like I’ve enjoyed reading more for it. Who knows what my reading will be like next year.

    • Laura

      I really like your perspective on people reading fewer books being just as passionate readers as those who read more. I agree that we’re all still enjoying books, so it doesn’t actually matter how many you read.
      And that’s good that you’ve seen some upsides to reading fewer books. I guess there’s pros and cons to being a slower reader, and you’ve definitely pointed out some good pros (like reading less ‘meh’ reads!), which has made me feel a lot better! 🙂

  9. Jenna-JK I'm Exploring

    I feel like I’m such a slow reader because I used to be able to read books a lot quicker than I do now but then I start to think about how I’ve changed and how my reading habits have changed over time. I can’t sit and just read for hours on end like I used to, I tend to lean toward more adult novels which take me a lot longer to get through. But then I try to spin it around and I have so much more going on than I used to and I still managed 50 books this year and that’s amazing.

    • Laura

      Yeah, I think that’s another important thing to remember, that our reading habits can be affected by our lifestyle changing. 50 books a year is definitely amazing! 🙂

  10. Jovita @ Inky Impressions

    I’m reading slower than I did in the past. I’m taking my time now to read books, especially those that I enjoy. For the past two years I’ve set Goodreads goal to 25-50 books, in the past my goal was higher and I felt like I had to read quickly just to reach my goal. Next year I’m not setting a goal. Now that I’m not in a rush to finish the book, I’m finding it more enjoyable.

    • Laura

      I’m glad you’re finding reading more enjoyable now you’re not in a rush to finish. As much as I’ve been enjoying doing the Goodreads Challenge, I sometimes think having no goal would be a good idea, as it would take the pressure off.

  11. Lindsey

    I feel like a fast reader compared to the people in my life, but kind of slow compared to other readers online! I set up my Goodreads challenge by seeing about how many books I read in usual week or month and then don’t stress too much–it’s just a good way to see how my reading is going. I also like to keep a more detailed list of my books with what kind of book they are, the authors I’m reading, and where I got them.

    • Laura

      That’s exactly how I feel: I’m fast in comparison to the people in my real life (most of whom aren’t readers), but not compared to people in the online world.
      I think you have a good perspective on the Goodreads Challenge, by just treating it as a way to track books 🙂

  12. DJ Sakata

    I don’t read fast but I do read a lot. I read every word so I count myself as a slow reader

  13. Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

    I’ve thought about this a lot (but I don’t have any conclusions, really). I usually set my GR goal at 100 books, and it’s a stretch to make that. People in my life think I’m a very fast reader, but it’s more that they don’t carve out reading time for themselves. I think I’m actually more of a medium reader. I sometimes wonder if what slows me down (like you said, not that it’s a race) is the types of books I read. They force me to go a little slower than I probably could. But I can’t even imagine hitting 150+ books a year, not between working and homeschooling and all of that.

    • Laura

      People in my life tend to think I’m a fast reader too, but I think it’s the same thing, in that they don’t carve out reading time themselves, and they also aren’t aware of the book blogging world, so don’t see how much some other readers actually read.

  14. Cam @ Camillea Reads

    I’ve actually been trying to better my reading speed as there are more books I would like to read. This is more of a personal challenge of mine and not done for competitive reasons. I also read a lot of epic fantasy, historical, and classics which require more attention. Many of the books I used to read are quite heavy in their prose and when I began comparing myself to others, I started picking up easier books to read. Which is not my reading style at all!

    Focusing on the numbers is not what reading should be about. It should be about the enjoyment and lessons we gain from a book and this isn’t dictated by how many we read!

    • Laura

      I totally agree! Reading is not about numbers, and should just be about enjoying the book, and the lessons we can learn from them. I try and focus on this whenever I start to feel insecure about being a slow reader than other bloggers.
      Best of luck with trying to better your reading speed! 🙂

  15. Mikky @ Nocturnal Predators Reviews

    I figured out a few years ago that I’m also a slow reader compared to most of the bloggers I follow! For me, reading 50 books a year means it’s a great year. Am I envious that there are people out there that read 200+ books a year? You bet I am! But that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me or them for that matter. As you mentioned, everyone is different and all we have to do is be respectful of that 🙂

    • Laura

      I’m the same, in that I’m envious of people who read hundreds of books a year, but I recognise that everyone reads at their own speed, and it’s not a race anyway. You’re totally right in that we just have to be respectful of everyone’s reading styles and habits 🙂

  16. Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books

    This is such an interesting discussion, I love it! I know I tended to feel really insecure when I first came into the book community and realized so many people read over 100 books a year and more. I’m definitely envious of them a little bit, but I also know that no matter what, my reading speed is what it is and so is my life next to it, not allowing me to read all the time either. I’m pretty proud to be able to read around 60 books a year and that seems awesome already and I try to focus on the fact that I’m having fun reading and not the numbers 🙂

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