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Stop chasing reading trends

Books are magic. You can pluck a novel off a shelf, open that first page, and instantaneously disappear into a world of mystery and wonder, where all your wildest dreams are possible.

For some, reading is a chore. They don’t understand how anyone can pour hours of their day into a novel. But that is only because they are yet to find a book that truly captures their imagination.

No other entertainment medium can engage your mind quite like reading. That said, even among hardcore book nerds, things are changing. Reading isn’t as relaxing as it once was. In fact, it has become hard work, a race against an invisible clock to complete as many books as possible.

I scratch my head in confusion whenever I see an online guide teaching audiences how to read more books. Some so-called gurus are selling tricks and techniques on the internet that anyone can use to read hundreds of books a year.

I don’t understand that concept because it turns reading into a job. Why would I want to read 100 books in a year? Reading is a leisure activity, not a competition.

Reading challenges are partly to blame because they encourage readers to consume a certain number of books annually, turning reading into an objective you must complete as opposed to a fun and relaxing undertaking.

Social media is another potent culprit. Most of my social media activity revolves around book blogs, YouTube channels, and forums. Do you know what I see every day? Posts announcing newly published books, as well as reviews for those books, and they all look amazing.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have been tempted to abandon a perfectly entertaining novel because I feel compelled to buy the five big releases we got that week.

Book forums are particularly problematic because human beings hate missing out. They want to participate in the fun. How do you think you will respond to a book forum in which members are constantly gushing about new books?

After a while, you will scramble to catch up because you want to join the conversation, which isn’t so bad initially. But then the new releases will pile up and you will fall behind. Reading will become a stressful endeavor because you can’t keep up.

Reading challenges are not bad; they motivate some people to read more than they normally would. Also, the social element is appealing. However, reading challenges lose their value once they strip the love and passion from your reading habits.

If the thought of reading fills you with anxiety and you occasionally feel like you are falling behind, something has gone wrong. Move at your own pace. Ten books that gave you the utmost joy in a year are far superior to 100 books you skimmed and barely remember. Also, there is nothing inherently impressive about reading many books.

Also, try to remember that people are different. More than likely, that man or woman who completes a 1000-page book every few days does not have a full-time job or a demanding family. Or maybe they are retired and can afford to sink their entire day into a book.

Stop comparing yourself to others. And if you can’t escape these bad habits, remove yourself from the online reading community. Dip in every so often to identify interesting book recommendations and leave.


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