Discussion Post- Is There A Pressure Of Having To Read A Lot In the Bookish Community?

Helloo guys!! So I’ll admit- my main reason for writing this post is because I am EXTREMELY salty that I haven’t really read much in the last month or so. I’ve gone into this weird slump, and I’m bitter about it, and that’s the main cause of this post. But while being my general bitter self, I realised that I felt…guilty about not having read much?? And then I got a bit confused about why I was feeling guilty.

So I sat and thought, and procrastinated on some homework, cuz lets be honest, even staring at a blank white wall is more fun than hw  and I realised, that unknowingly, we have all ended up creating this pressure on ourselves to have to read a lot so that we can feel part of the “bookworm family”, and if we don’t read enough, we feel we aren’t doing our duty as a bookworm, so we stress out. I want to discuss this and how we do this a bit more, but first, here’s a mini list about why we feel this pressure, cuz mini lists are much more fun than big paragraphs.

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  • we as bookworms think that our sole mission in life is to just read, so if we do anything against our mission, we stress out
  • there are some people who actually manage to read tonsss of books every month, so we constantly compare ourselves to them and feel like we’re doing something wrong and we should read that much too
  • we think that to be called a “bookworm”, we need to read 45.6755 books every month otherwise we’re just #pretenders and not real bookworms
  • goodreads challenges, though are amazing and motivate people to read, at the same time also put the pressure of HAVING to read a specific amount of books to feel successful
  • We just stress out too much
  • we reallyyyy need to chill
  • comparing ourselves to others is the main reason tbh

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So I just wanted to discuss- why do we create this pressure on ourselves to read, when reading is supposed to be something we enjoy doing. If we pressurise ourselves to read, is it something we do for enjoyment anymore? Or does it become a chore? I have barely read in the past month, and I feel guilty about it, because it feels like I’m not living up to what I call myself, and that in some weird way, I’m letting down the bookworm in me. But is that actually true? Because reading is supposed to be something I enjoy doing, and I should read only when I enjoy it instead of forcing myself, because that takes all the fun out of it.

I think that unknowingly, we have created this pressure in the book community- a pressure to read all the hyped and popular books otherwise you aren’t being the right kind of reader, a pressure to read lots of books in a month otherwise you aren’t fulfilling your bookworm duty, a pressure of reading a lot just to show people we love books.

But the thing is, that you can love books without reading 88 of them a month. You can be a bookworm by reading two books a month and just really loving reading them. Being a bookworm just means loving reading, and the number doesn’t matter as much. The number of books you read doesn’t define how much you love reading. And comparing yourself to others wont help. Some people are just quick readers and manage to balance out their work and reading well enough to be able to read a lot. Just because they do it doesn’t mean you have to do it as well- everyone has different capabilities. That doesn’t mean that you should drop every other thing you enjoy doing just so you can read a lot, because how much you enjoy reading is what matters more.

I think Goodreads in a way adds to this pressure. Though the concept of a reading challenge is great, because it motivates you to read and gives you a goal to work towards, I think that in some ways, it does add some pressure too, because you feel stressed to HAVE to read those many books, and if you don’t, you think you’ve failed yourself. I’m the perfect example for this right now, because I’ve set myself to another challenge of 100 books this year as I had read 107 last year, but just three months into the year, I’m already quite tragically behind on my challenge. I have lots of homework and studies and projects to do right now, and I’m also in a slump so I just don’t have time to read, and I know that’s okay and I shouldn’t stress, but I can’t help feeling guilty about letting down on my challenge, even though I know that I need to prioritize my studies.

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I don’t exactly know what I’ve been trying to say to say this entire post and I think I’ve repeated myself a lot because I don’t really know how to explain what I’m trying to say, but I hope you get the gist?? My point is: don’t pressurize yourself into thinking you don’t read “enough”, because as long as you are happy, you are reading enough.

What do you think? Do you agree with me? Do you feel this kind of pressure too? Lets discuss in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

-Rhea

34 thoughts on “Discussion Post- Is There A Pressure Of Having To Read A Lot In the Bookish Community?

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  1. I begin to feel this way a lot during the winter months. I have often wondered if it was the cold or the weather in general but I am now beginning to think it’s just life. During the winter we overwhelm ourselves with Halloween then Thanksgiving then New Years the Valentine’s Day and while we think we are not reading enough we truly are busy with just life in general decorating, preparing, purchasing, and trying to read and sleep just becomes impossible. Truth is Life just happens sometimes and if you truly are making a reading goal one paragraph a day, a page a day, a chapter a day, or a book a day as long as you are comfortable with your reading you can label yourself bookworm and move on. Trying to keep up with life and others becomes frustrating we need to try not to do that!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. that’s true!! Singapore doesn’t get winter, but when I was in India, I kinda always lost my will to do anything but sleep in the winters?? And all the celebrations really do end up being exhausting- reading really loses all time then. Exactly! As long as you’re reading a bit whenever you can and enjoy doing it- you’re a bookworm!

      Like

  2. I agree…I’ve been in quite a slump recently and even though I’m not committed to book blogging or challenges, I feel guilty calling myself a bookworm sometimes…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Your post honestly made me feel better . . . I haven’t read anything new in two months since 1. I don’t want any distractions for exam time
    2 AKA real reason. Slump.
    I guess this pressure comes from other non-bookworms or ‘cool’ people. We’ve been defined bookworms by those very people. Being a bookworm is something we take pride in, and we defend ourselves from those ‘cool’ people who think reading is boring! We’ve been clearly labelled off since the start, be it bookworm or ‘siddha-sadha padaku ladki’ (in my case). We’ll naturally feel guilty. And boy oh boy those reading challenges! I thought I couldn’t get guiltier but guess what, my reading challenge proved me wrong!
    So yeah, basically, that’s that. I’ll get back to roll the moment these bloody exams are over. But for now I’m stuck with rereading my old favourites.
    Great post! : D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you so much, I’m glad it made you feel better! And I totally get what you’re saying- people label others all the time not realising how rude it actually is- you don’t get to judge anyone else on what they like doing!
      Hope your exams go well- and hope you’re out of your slump soon!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I love this post so much. I completely understand where you are coming from. This semester has been crazy for me with homework and work. I have zero time to read and I feel soooooo guilty about it, but you are absolutely right. Why should I? I am a bookworm because I love to read. It is okay if I don’t read 10 books a month. To be honest it is lucky if I read more than 3.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As with most things in life it’s better to try and chill that freak the heck out — it’s hard I know — but if you put pressure into something you love it becomes a chore and you might end up hating it — and we cannot allow that… hate our books?? Never, just take a break now and again it’s good for the soul.

    Like

  6. Your post is so true! At the end of last year I was trying frantically to read 100 books and I ended up choosing thinner books more than gigantic ones that I wanted to read more so I could reach a number of books! It’s okay to read just as much as you want to 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my god I totally get you. I’d been trying to do this so I could catch up on my reading goal last month cuz I’m kinda behind, but then I realised I shouldnt, because if I’m not enjoying reading and am only doing it to get numbers, then there’s no fun left in it!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ohmygod, Rhea, I love this post so much! This really spoke to me, tbh, because I think I’ve been pretty vocal about not reading as much as I hoped to last year, and I really got discouraged. Like you said, I was comparing myself to others and putting myself down since I wasn’t reading as much as them, and I thought I had failed as a bookworm and I was… embarrassed.

    This post is awesome, girl! Thank you for writing this – this may be one of my favorite discussion posts. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks sooo much Emma!! I totally understand you, I do this a lot too, but I’m slowly trying to do it less, because in t he end, my happiness should be my priority.
      You’re soooo sweet Emma thank you so so muchhhh!!!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I personally never really feel pressured to read as much as people in the bookish online community do. Maybe with ARCs sometimes, but most of the times I’m pretty chill about it. I try not to compare myself with people who read like 20 books a month, but compare myself with my friends and family, who only read 1 book a year, and I instantly feel better 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a great post! I started writing my own book in 2017, and this has changed the way I perceive both reading and writing. I feel pressure to write daily. Plus, I read more books in 2017 than I’ve ever read in one year, on top of writing this book. That has been in part by being more closely connected to the book community through writing, which I have enjoyed. Now I have double guilt about spending time reading (which feels like eating dessert) instead of writing. Anyway, it’s a balance.

    I agree with your points about Goodreads as a blessing and a curse. We all know the pride we feel when we can chalk another book up to our “read” pile. I don’t do reading challenges, but I still feel the pressure to read. Either way, unless you’re a librarian or you have another career requiring you to read books, I agree wholeheartedly that reading should give us pleasure not guilt! Happy reading, or not, everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. aw thank you sooo much!! I’m so glad you agree with my post, and I totally get what you’re saying. writing especially can get even more pressurizing, so that must be really hard. and yes, if reading is feeling like a chore, it’s totally okay to take a break!

      Like

  10. Yeah, i sometimes think the same about “reading challenges”. Maybe they should be called “book topic suggestions” or something. I’ve never done a themed challenge before, doing Popsugar this year, but just because i wanted to broaden my horizon. Last year i read almost exclusively crime and sci-fi…

    With the number of books… well, the pressure can come from others for sure, but also the constant stream of posts talking about new releases. Before i started blogging and reading other blogs, i wasn’t really aware of what’s being released and when and i was perfectly happy reading older books.

    I’m still perfectly happy reading older books, but i also want to squeeze in some of the new ones…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true!! I hadn’t realised how much even the name adds pressure, and how much easier it seems when you look at it that way.

      And I get you about the added pressure of new books- i like to stay on top of things, so it defintiely gets really chaotic when I have too much to read. Glad you liked the post!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. For me it’s usually the firat months of the year when I just don’t feel like reading any books. And then begins the guilt trip. In a way the bookish community might put pressure on us ’cause hello we’re bookworms AND book bloggers and you obviously need to read books to qualify for them.

    Reading popular books is another thing. Because usually people are reading books which are over hyped and super popular and I feel that if I don’t read those books I would be failing at reading. And goodreads obviously doesn’t help. But great post!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. that totally makes sense! the bookish community unknowingly adds a lot of pressure on bloggers.
      and yess, popular books add to it too, and i always feel the need to stay up to date with new books.
      Thank youuu!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. This was literally the most relatable thing I have ever seen. God bless you. This helped so much. This year I set a goal of 100 books too, but so far I’ve just read 25 and I have been so pressured to read. Every time I do something else just for my own enjoyment that isn’t reading, I feel oddly guilty. I just wish I had more time, you know?

    Like

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