Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Let's (Not) Talk About My Goodreads Goal

Above is my Goodreads reading challenge as of April 15th. Real Talk: I have more books in my TBR pile then I've set my Goodreads goal to. And I don't care.
The bottom line is, I've stopped forcing myself to read books. I get questions a lot IRL about being an english major and if that has changed my perspective on reading. Overall: no, it hasn't. I still read trashy books and enjoy them despite them having (somewhat) no literary value. I notice things like tropes more but that doesn't undermine the book's value or hinder my enjoyment. What has changed is how frequent I'm reading.
All. Freaking. Year. I force myself to read boring theory readings for class, and slunk through the first few chapters of classics before I can enjoy them, or take 30 minutes to read a 14 line sonnet because I don't process it the first time around...
So once winter break, reading week, and the four months of summer break begin, I can't force myself to read. I won't force myself to read.
I read two books in January, one of which was for class. I read one book in February. The one book I read in March was a play for class. And so far in April I've only read - you guessed it - one book.
Which puts me 9 books behind schedule if I want to read 50 books this year.
And since when did we start forcing ourselves to read? My answer is booktube. Obviously booktube and book blogs really inspire me to read. They introduce me to new books: books I wouldn't pick up on my own, etc. I think booktube, specifically, is really showy. If you're new, I did booktube for a while and am currently taking an extended hiatus. Some booktubers will read 10+ books a week, and I think if that's a natural inclination to read a lot, that's great! Sometimes I do read that many books. However, I rarely read that many books, and when I was doing booktube regularly, I felt an immense pressure to read a lot because I felt that reading a lot meant producing more content.
So I won't be pressuring myself to read anymore, and I won't be pressuring myself to finish books anymore. I mean, if I was cataloging all the books I've started lately, my Goodreads "currently reading" shelf would have at least 6 books on it.

In 2014 I read 63/50 books.
In 2015 I read 72/70 books.
In 2016 I read 41/50 books.
2016 was my first year of university and I'm pretty sure it's only been getting more difficult since. If I don't hit my 50 book goal this year, I'm not too sure what I'll set it to next year. For now, though, I'm stopping the madness of scrambling to finish books and quickly pick up another one. It's just not worth it. I would struggle over what to rate each book, when it came to review time, I could barely remember plot points. And what was it all for? I mean, I wouldn't have read the books if I wasn't interested in them, but it felt like I was doing it all to say I'd read the books. There is a video on my youtube channel kind of talking about feeling pressured to read. I also work at a book store and feel the pressure because of that as well, but I have my awesome co-workers to back me up there. On the internet, you're kind of alone.
So even though we're already in April, I want to promise myself that this year, I will stop forcing myself to read, and just enjoy the books I'm reading.
When and if I decide to go back to booktube, I'm not going to read just so I have content.
I'm going to stop worrying about what my Goodreads shelves and goal look like, and just enjoy reading.

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