We need to go from ‘How To Read More’ to ‘How To Read More Intentionally’.
Reading resolutions are a very popular topic right now, for obvious reasons. But, book bloggers and BookTubers alike take roughly the same stance on the topic. They give a huge To Be Read (TBR) list, they tell us how many books they read in 2020 (100), and tell us they’re going to double that number (200), etc.
Now, there is nothing wrong with that sentiment. If it works for them, if it works for you, then go for it! I can see how for a lot of people, it can be a personal target or challenge that they try to push themselves to meet.
But, I wanted to write this post for the camp of people who, like me, might partake in slow reading. Because from what I’ve seen, it is undervalued in and outside of the book blogging community.
How To Read More
The most popular Google searches for ‘How To Read’ are…
- How To Read More
- How To Read Faster
- How To Read More Effectively
Noticed a pattern yet?
Before we set these goals though, we need to ask ourselves why we are setting them, and where does this pressure come from? Why do we want to read more? Why do we want to read faster? Particularly as opposed to reading less and reading slower.
For me, I know the desire to read more comes from my love of books. I want to read as many books as possible! There’s so many great books and not enough time to read them all before I die! Reading slower won’t help that — or will it?
New Year Resolution Energy
In the wake of the new year, especially right now, we can all be victim to getting caught up in the idea of a fresh start. So, we set a goal to read more. And we get caught up in achieving it. So, we buy more books, and don’t end up reading them, and then old ones gather dust, and then we end up feeling bad about not reading enough, and by the end of the year we’ve only read one book because we were so caught up in trying to get X amount of books to read! Phew.
But, before we judge ourselves for only reading one book, we need to ask — was that book valuable to me? did I gain something from it?
And if the answer is yes, then in my opinion, that’s better than reading more books, whether that’s 50 or 100 or 200.
How To Read Intentionally
As with any goal setting, it’s important to not just look at the big picture, and particularly with reading resolutions to not value quantity over quality.
I felt insecure about starting a book blog this year, because in 2020 I think I only read about 20 books, and was being fed the narrative that to be a book blogger you had to be a fast reader. But I realised that the few books I did read, I fell in love with. I was talking about them to everyone, and realised I love talking about books.
And so, I think we can change How to Read X Amount of Books, and How To Read More etc, to How To Read More Intentionally.
And even if you are a fast reader, I think we can all do a Marie Kondo-style exercise to help us with this:
Look through your TBR list, or hold each book in your TBR pile, and ask will reading this book be a valuable experience? Will reading this book quickly bring me joy, or do I want to slow down and read every page, every sentence and every word that the author has put together to read this book? And if the answer is No, then maybe you need to give your TBR pile another look.
My 2021 Reading Resolutions
So, that being said, my 2021 Reading Resolutions are:
- To be present with my reading.
In 2020, I was guilty of flipping to the end of a book, taking note of how many pages the book was, and counting down how long was left until I finished it and moved onto the next book. So, I want to do less of that and just enjoy the book while I’m reading!
- To read more poetry
Because poetry is love poetry is life. Also, so I can try and experiment more with my own work.
- To not have a reading goal
I want to track the books I read without having a number. In other words, to read as many or as few books as I want to. Because numbers aren’t my priority, reading is.
Now go read! (But slowly).