You probably saw this post coming after I’ve talked about me not being interested in setting a new Goodreads challenge for 2017. Now I have nothing against challenges and having goals and keeping track of your reading! As a matter of fact, I’ll still keep track of my reading just to get the names of the books I’ve read in a file that I could keep but will care less about the numbers and the statistics.
As I’ve mentionned in the previous post, I wanted to do the Around the Year in 52 Books but instead of reading one book per week I sometimes only managed to read two in a month (which is about half a book per week) and sometimes 18, depending on my mood and mental state but because the weeks were coming and going, the feeling of not being on track just made me feel nervous and I started becoming more and more anxious and to meet my goal, I changed my list a bit to fit in books that were a bit shorter but then no matter how short they were, I still wanted to read other books that weren’t part of the list/challenge so I just stayed behind and I didn’t appreciate that which is why I gave it up. And meanwhile, many readers were very successful at it so sometimes it gets you thinking about whether you’re an actual “reader” or just one that can’t do his/her job properly. Or maybe I’m a perfectionist who cared too much about the details?
I don’t know how I can call this type of challenges but the ones that involve precise themes for precise times are just not for me. I like reading at my ease which is what made me realize that there was something wrong with all the numbers and statistics that, in a way, make us more of readers than other people. I don’t know many people who read books in my surroundings but there’s one very particular person that does. Such a marvelous person but when we get to compare the number of books we’ve read, he reads more essays and non fiction and I read more fiction. I think we can all agree here that getting through fiction is easier than non fiction and essays. He reads less books and feels like he doesn’t fit in the bookish people’s club (even though I’ve told him many times that numbers don’t really make us proper readers). So that got me thinking: Are we so much into these numbers that we let them, in a way, define us?
I don’t really know if I’m expressing myself clearly but at some point, it was like my reading challenges were controling me. I wasn’t free anymore! I had to read this and that during this week and then the next week, I had to read that and this and blablabla… I’m mainly speaking about myself here as you can see, but I’m pretty sure I can’t be the only one feeling this. I came to the realization that maybe we choose books based on challenges and whether or not they’ll help us attain a certain goal of a crazy amount of books to be read and we forget that we’re reading for our own pleasure and it is no contest. If you want to read a book with 1000+ pages then you shouldn’t have to worry about finishing it in a week or two… You can take two months and even a whole year depending on your rythm. And you shouldn’t think about whether it’s a waste of time because you could’ve finished three books of 300 pages instead of just one. Numbers are just numbers. We’re missing out on opportunities of reading interesting big books just because there are books we can get through in a shorter amount of time and that are easier and they’ll add up in Goodreads challenge so who cares about big books?
I’m sure not everyone is in for challenges just because they want to see a big number of books read and miss out on great reading experiences “just because” and I’m not saying one should not set a challenge for himself. For me, what’s important is that we keep reading for fun without really caring about the numbers and stats to the point of forcing ourselves into reading or just skimming our way through every book.
This is my own experience with tracking my reading and setting precise numbers of books to read, maybe not everyone’s crazy about attaining reading goals, maybe I’m the only crazy one haha! Either way, I’ve decided to stop setting numbers and focus on the content: reading more of some genres, about a certain topic ect… So let met know what you’re all thinking about this, whether you agree or disagree on some points or perhaps all of this! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and thanks for tagging along!