Until 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?