I read an old article from the guardian about reading and the Goodreads reading challenge, and it talked about how it’s actually a bad thing for readers/reading, and it got me thinking about what kind of reader I am.
I found out about Booktube and bookstragram a few years ago, and they are a wonderful Reading community, but what I noticed after a while was that it made feel like reading was too much of a competition. It made me feel like to be a proper reader I had to read more books and buy more books (specially hard backs or special editions) from popular and mainstream authors and publishing houses, to prove that I was a “real” reader.
I’ve been feeling that the act/experience of reading itself has lost some of it’s meaning, because there’s so much of it. I feel like to be a “real” reader I have to read insane amounts of books a month, a year, from certain authors and in a certain way. I feel like reading has become an status now. Now theirs so many booktubers and bookstragramers and bloggers out there, that the act of reading itself is an industry. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the reading community, but sometimes it doesn’t feel real.
For us Millennials, the technology age has pushed us forwards in many ways, but I also think that it has set us back in others, and this is even more so to the Post-Millennials. I don’t know they numbers behind it, just my own thoughts, but I feel like things suck as handwriting and reading are being lost to the younger generations, specially their meaning. We are just consuming things after thing and they hardly meaning much to us – and that’s just sad.
When I was doing my English degree I felt the need to read more classics, because isn’t that what a English degree student is supposed to read? And not that paranormal romance, that YA book/ series, or that self published author that no one has heard about. This feeling is something that I have thought about and work on not letting it me feel like I’m not a “real” reader. I haven’t given up on classics because I think that they are an important part of literature – and in the same way that we look at history to help us shape the future, we should look at classics go help us shape the literature of the future, to see where it went and where it can go.
Even though platforms such as Booktube, Bookstragram and Goodreads are great and a super fun community, thanks to them reading has became more about what kind of books you read, how many books you own, from what author, what format? paperback? Hardback? Ebook? Audio? Special edition and signed?
It’s stopped being about the words on the page. What they mean and what the make you feel. How they can help you understand something from a different perspective and how you can find yourself in the pages and connect.
Publishing books is an industry, and I’m starting to feel like reading is too. Consumerism is a big deal in our daily lives, to what you wear – to what you eat, and now it’s to what you read too, and I don’t mean that in how many books you own. I was thinking that it was before, but after I watched videos from Ariel Bissett and readwithcindy (Link to those video are down below if you want to check it out) which helped me realize what I actually wanted to say in a different point of view… if that makes sense.
Owning/buying so and so books is a consumerism thing, but its something that we all do for different reasons. Me, for example, have my own reason for buying so many books as I do. Reading to me is an escapism things and it really helps me with my mental health. I’m sure many others do the same and for many other reasons, so I think it’s right for me to judge why people do it, I mean I do it myself, so that doesn’t even make sense.
Things like the Goodreads challenge are great to motivate you, but I’ve started to think that it makes me feel like I can’t absorb what I read. That I can’t stop and think about what I’ve read.
Sometimes as soon as I finish a book, I forget what I just read. I don’t remember characters names, what happened or why this book was so good or not. I have to pick it up again and read to find out why I liked in the first place. Am I really reading? Or just looking at the words in the page?
This usually happens when I have this need to constantly read. I’m a fast reader so I can read up to 5 books in a week back to back, but sometimes the words I read don’t register in my mind, but they can go in my Goodreads challenge right? I changed my Goodreads challenge this year, I had set it to 105, but I changed it to 59 because I don’t want to focus on how many books I’ve read, or, to just just to meet some quota. Though I don’t want to not take part in it for that reason, it was a fun community to take part of.
I think that this feeling that you don’t have to work that hard anymore for things makes me feel that I’m not appreciating things such as reading anymore – at least not as much as we should. The essence of reading is taken for granted. I’ve been taking for granted, and that’s something that I want to stop doing this year.
I want to take my time, and enjoy what I’m reading – to figure out the meaning that the author wanted to share with me though their writing, and appreciate the time and effort that author has put into. I’m being very sentimental about this, but I don’t care. It’s something that I really want to this year.
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