Stop Making Reading a Competition and Enjoy What You Read


A brand new year and some brand new reading goals. Everyone makes resolutions (going to the gym, getting on a healthy diet, starting their company, etc.). Similarly, bibliophiles have tendencies to make a stern amount of resolution for their new reading year.

Some of you wish to read 20 books, others 50 books and some of you folks are crazy enough to set your goals to a whopping 1000 books in a single year. Yikes! You must have a job, or might be a student. Reading so many books on a busy schedule seems preposterous. Even for you, yes you- the one who reads all the time and is always listening to an audiobook in his/her car.Reading is not a competition

Why would you want to read so many books? And more importantly, how are you going to do it? Will you read all the time? Are you going to call sick at work or school for a whole year? Do you know what you will be missing in that year?

Reading is not a competition

Sometimes you might feel upset because of the ambitious reading goals of your fellow readers, but know this: everyone is different. We lead different lives. So, don’t feel bad when a book journalist reads twice the books you read; it is their job. They are focusing on their work. They are paid to read and review, while you are not. (Maybe you are; if you’re that journalist.)

A BookTuber ‘emmmabooks made a very informative video, explaining how booktubers make money, and this will give you an insight on how the community functions.

Mighty YouTube has been crowded with self proclaimed BookTubers for a while now. These channels are dedicated to reading, reviewing, and hauling books. While these folks are not against sharing the love of reading, they spread a hazard of guilt. Book hauls (showing your recent book purchases) are the most popular topic in the booktube community. A meaningful book review might garner only, let’s say, 40k views in two weeks. Meanwhile, a book haul or maybe a TBR video will earn the same amount of views in a few days.  And these fluctuations in views is constant through all the channels.

You might have been a victim of this hazard and felt a surge of disappointment when you saw your own little shelf. While content creators may create haul and TBR videos to inspire you to read, they can unintentionally set you up to feel like a reading failure. 

The sad thing about it is that most content creators don’t even read most of those books; purchasing the hefty ‘special edition’ of a book you already own is madness. If you have a shelf of unread books, then you should stop buying and start reading. A good book should not go unread. 

However, not every BookTuber is the same. There are plenty of people who will encourage you to buy second-hand books. It is a good community to be a part of, but it sometimes seems prejudice against people who can’t own a deluxe hardcover and would rather enjoy a mass market paperback.

You don’t have to feel bad because you didn’t read the desired amount of books. You have a life, cherish it. Everyone has their reading speed, their own reading time, and sometimes, you prioritize. Books might not be on the top of that list, and that’s fine.

We have the pleasure of living in a connected world, and the book communities online are all about helping their fellow readers.

How to Track Your Progress

You can always track your reading progress on Goodreads. Watching other people’s enthusiasm for reading will make you grope for a book. Also, you can engage in meaningful conversation. There are lots of communities. From buddy reading to monthly challenges there is a lot of variety to engage you. Just try to avoid all the vigorous readers or better yet, befriend them.

BookTube is always a good place to look for your next read. You get a wide variety of suggestions, and an active userbase is always there to help. Just try to stay away from those fancy I-bought-50-books-and-I-have-no-idea-how-I’m-gonna-read-these videos, and you will be fine.

Some popular booktube channels to get you started: jessethereader, polandbananaBOOKS, Little Book Owl, and PeruseProject.

Readers are the most non-lethal and friendly people you can know. Most they will do is curse that you get a papercut.

Reading is not a competition

So, go on. Read one book or 100 books in a year, but don’t forget why you read. Don’t skim through the book just to reach your goal. Admire the book, appreciate the content, and most of all, enjoy reading. You never know when a book may change your life. You wouldn’t want to miss that now, would you?

“I am a part of everything that I have read.”Theodore Roosevelt


For an in depth guide on upping your reading game, check out our article How Reading Challenges Can Improve Your Reading

Do you enjoy watching BookTubers? Do you belong to a reading club? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. 


Image via Mo Riza on Flickr.

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About the author

Rohit Meena

Rohit falls sick if he doesn't read. He feels uneducated if he doesn't read, and a single day doesn't go by when he doesn't read.

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