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Discussion: Book Judgment

Hey all, Dani here.

So…for today’s book discussion, I’m going to call myself out on an issue I personally struggle with. It isn’t something intentional or anything, but it’s an internal argument I have with myself on a somewhat frequent basis, and that I have to internally work on pretty much all the time. So, bear with me, and please don’t roast me in the comments or anything. Thanks.

Okay, so one of the things I absolutely adore about the book community is that we are a rather open and welcoming place. It doesn’t matter if you read one book a year or 500 books a year, if you have an appreciation for books, then you’re one of us. That’s utterly fantastic, and I love being a part of a community that celebrates books and reading like we do.

Some of my favorite blog posts to read and videos to watch are wrap-ups, whether weekly or monthly. It’s cool to see what books other people are finishing and (hopefully) enjoying.

Considering that, I feel like I need to admit that I am often internally an absolute jerk. Intellectually I understand that not everyone reads at the same pace, or has as much time to read. I get that I’m just a weirdo who has built her life around reading books, and because I spent so much time reading in school–I have two university degrees focused on books–I’ve built up a pretty decent reading speed. Between that and running this book blog, I feel like I’m a professional reader.

All right, here we go. Here is where I call myself out. I am so internally judgmental when it comes to how many pages/books people read in a day/week/month. I feel awful about it, and until today’s post I’ve kept it all very internalized, but I also think it presents an opportunity for an interesting discussion topic, so here I am…admitting to a big flaw of mine.

Like, there’s a BookTuber who I really love; she’s one of my favorites and she does weekend reading vlogs pretty much every weekend. I love watching them, and she generally averages 400-500 pages from Friday afternoon through Sunday night…and this is while balancing relaxing, watching TV/movies, filming other videos, taking a bunch of photos for Instagram, and sometimes other social events with friends. So 400-500 pages is fantastic.

Or she’ll do a monthly wrap-up and talk about having a great reading month, having completed 5-7 books in the month. Again, that’s great when you factor in all the other requirements of adult life.

And yet…my internal judgmental reader likes to poke its ugly head up and remind me that I read a lot more than that, and that those numbers are relatively low.

Again, I will reiterate that I feel like an absolute jerk when I have these thoughts, and other than this post I definitely keep it to myself. Because I know that what matters is that we’re reading, and that we’re enjoying what we’re reading. It doesn’t matter how many pages we read in a weekend or how many books that we finish in a month. It just matters that we’re reading, and sharing our love for reading.

I understand the people who talk about feeling a pressure in the online book community to basically compete with others, and I can see how that is a thing. I mean clearly, on some level, I am competing with others. And that’s just ridiculous. We all have different lives, and we read at different speeds, and we have different life/hobby balances. I love how awesomely diverse our reading community is.

I even compete with myself. I look at my reading progress based on my Goodreads Reading Challenge, and I look at how many books I’ve read in the current year versus the previous years, and I judge myself. I tell myself that I’m not reading enough, or I should be reading faster or reading more.

I’ll just keep saying how ridiculous it is, because it certainly feels that way to me. Why am I constantly thinking this way?

I have finished 31 books already this year, and I’m working on 3 others right now. That is amazing. Goodreads is telling me that I’m like 17 books ahead on my challenge goal. And yet there’s this recurring internal voice telling me that those handful of days where I didn’t even pick up a book…that I could have been reading. I could have read more. I could have finished more books.

So basically this is something I have to force down into some dark corner in the back of my mind quite frequently. I try to keep it at bay and counter it by commenting on other wrap-up posts to tell people how great their reading totals are. I’ve seen a bunch of other wrap-ups where the book blogger is commenting about how they didn’t have a great reading month, and only read like 2 or 3 books, and I make it a point to comment to them about how they still have achieved so much, and how they shouldn’t get themselves down because they’re “behind” on their Goodreads challenge.

Like, we’re only in February. There are so many months ahead of us in 2020. Who cares if you’ve had slow reading right now? Better reading months are coming. And even if they don’t, celebrate that you still did make the time to read 2 or 3 books in a month. Think of how many people out there in the world don’t read at all, I mean aside from posts on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. We sit down and read books! That is amazing!

So I combat my internal judgmental voice by being a bookish cheerleader to others. Because that’s as good as I can do. I can’t get the internal voice to go away, but I can do my best to ignore that jerky judgmental voice.

Do any of you struggle with this sort of book related judgment? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on it. And if this is something you deal with, then how do you manage it? I’m really curious about it. Let’s chat in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Discussion: Book Judgment”

  1. I used to be all about numbers and devouring books – a competitive streak that drove me to achieve… it’s still there but not as strong. The older I’ve become and with shifting priorities, much of that drive has been replaced with other aspects in life that give me a sense of accomplishment. I guess everyone has to find their happy place and find that balance (and try not to compare themselves to others.)

    For me its been about letting go – not sweating the little things and making sure that the time I have left on this planet is full of joy and happiness, a plethora of experiences that I can look back on and smile contentedly… whether its my reading experience, or the time I took out to take my dogs somewhere special, connecting with friends, or spending time on some creative projects – it’s all relative and very personal. But I’m happy with my balance and not putting too much pressure on myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome, Casey!

      I mean, obviously I really enjoy spending time reading, and even spending all the time I do crafting my blog posts. I wouldn’t spend as much time on either of the hobbies if I didn’t like them. But I do need to figure out a better balance in my life, which sometimes gets a bit more difficult with my oft-changing job positions and work hours. I hope I’ll get to that point eventually.

      Letting go is definitely something I need to work on as well, because there are often times where I do sweat the little things, and it just leads to so much more stress and anxiety than is necessary.

      Thanks for sharing! I was actually pretty nervous about putting up this post/topic for discussion. So it’s nice to have someone join in on the conversation with their own experiences and advice. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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