The title of this blog post might seem a little dramatic and fanciful but it’s nothing if not apt.
I am a reader. I am a reader who is visible online. I am a reader who considers myself part of the reading community online as a book blogger. I am a reader who LOVES Goodreads and being able to update her reading progress multiple times a week. (Yes, I’m one of those annoying people who update when they’ve went from 32% to 36% of a book during a reading session. Sorry/not sorry!)
However, in the past two weeks I’ve been feeling an overwhelming sense that I’m not reading quick enough or easily enough and that my reading is floundering. Father, I confess: it has been over a week since I last finished a book.
I know what you’re likely thinking: ‘Emma, that’s ridiculous, that’s still a good reading pace, some people don’t finish more than a book a month anyway!’ It’s true that I’ve had family, friends, and colleagues alike marvel at how many books a typical online book lover thinks is “normal” to read in a year – that amount is many more than the average reader “offline” (if we can call it that) will consume. Despite knowing all this, in this age of scrutiny of reading progress aided and abetted by Goodreads and Twitter updates, I feel like I’m slacking, despite the fact that one of the two books I have on the go at the moment is an 800-page chunker. It’s plainly ridiculous that I feel like I haven’t finished a book in FOREVER when, in fact, I finished reading Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik on 16th March.
It’s not even that I feel like I haven’t read many books this month, it’s that, somehow, the fact that the online reading community uses social media such as Goodreads and Twitter to track reading progress makes it feel like the community is encouraging nigh-on constant reading and finishing of books. You finish a book, you make sure to let Goodreads/Twitter know, you gush/rant about it as appropriate in a review, and then you move onto reading the next book. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Reading slumps and book hangovers are permissible, of course, and you should take to said social media to lament this sorry state of affairs which your fellow book lovers are sure to empathise with!
Here’s the thing though, I’m not in a slump or hangover, I’m just… reading… and it’s taking me a while (probably longer than it ordinarily would) to finish what is quite a sizeable book, Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree. That’s not weird or unheard of, that’s just how reading works. And yet still, despite knowing all this, despite knowing it has only been a mere 9 days since I finished a book, I feel like I’m flagging. Although I love it with all my heart, I’m inclined to blame Goodreads…
Have you ever felt like you’re not reading much even when you’re still reading consistently? Do you ever feel pressured to update your reading progress daily and weekly? Or do you use Goodreads in a different way and not really use its ‘update your progress’ functions? Let me know in the comments below!