Let’s talk about TBR lists & reading speed.
Up until I made this blog in 2018 I thought of myself as a fast reader and a slow writer. Since then, I’m learning that I have the opposite problem. At university I had no choice but to speed read through multiple books and articles in a few days, but writing an essay took me weeks. But since starting my blog, I can’t help but feel I read at a much slower rate than others in the community.
Whilst my monthly TBR lists will have five books (although I’ll usually read only on average three lol), others will have over ten, fifteen, twenty books that they’re aspiring to read. This is amazing, and I truly am in awe of you, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel a sense of inadequacy.
So in a bid for self-improvement, I think I’ve figured out the problems and solutions that contribute to me reading as slowly as a snail:
I force myself to read books I don’t want to read
I know I shouldn’t, but the thought of reading a book unfinished makes me shudder. Whether it’s forcing myself to read a much anticipated sequel that falls short of the mark, or reading a classic that bores me to tears (I’m looking and you, Moll Flanders), I literally cannot bring myself to put a book down unless I have finished it. What does this result in? It results in me spending a month on one chapter. Not conducive to productive reading.
The Solution? I think our mindset whilst reading can have a lot to do with our enjoyment of the book, so if it’s taking me days to read a page, I’m going to put the book down. Not permanently – I can come back to it later. This will solve the problem as to whether I truly dislike the book or whether I’m just not motivated to read it right now.
I’m addicted to Twitter
‘There’s always something else I should be doing other than reading. When I sit down to read a book, it’s hard to turn my brain off and remember that reading is an essential part of my life that needs to be tended to regularly, just like food or exercise. I feel guilty when I’m relaxing in a chair and reading a book because sometimes it seems too fun to be important.’ – ‘Confessions of a Slow Reader’
I don’t have a reading nook, so my reading space is usually anywhere I can get a bit of peace and quiet (this usually ends up being the bath). I think this has contributed heavily to me not being able to dedicate ‘reading time’ to a space in my brain, so I spend half the time reading, the other half with the book open but abandoned whilst I scroll through Twitter.
The Solution? I’m going to delete my Twitter account… jokes.
I’m going to create a reading nook (I don’t know where or how yet) and I’m going to put my phone in another room. Simple enough, eh?
The Goodreads Reading Challenge has cursed me
‘If you can’t read as fast as everyone else, there’s something wrong with you. But there’s not much indication that this is actually true.’ – Is There Anything Wrong With Being a Slow Reader?
I’ve been on Goodreads since 2013 and I have completed this holy grail of challenges only twice. Although I’ve vowed that this year will be another year of success, I’m still behind where I should be. I think this has to do a lot with the psychological concept of saying you’re going to do something makes you less likely to do it (just like George R.R. Martin says he’s going to finish the Winds of Winter), but this doesn’t make it any less painful when I don’t succeed.
The Solution? This is a difficult one. I could simply not participate in the challenge, but it’s kind of a prerequisite for being in the reading community. Maybe I could set myself smaller targets? I know it’s technically cheating if you change your goal during the year, but I’m thinking if I set myself a target of ten books (which I know I will definitely hit), then I can slowly increase it through out the year.
I don’t read enough eBooks
Generally people read a lot quicker on eBooks. I know I do – I can read a 200,000 words in a day if I’m in the mood and I have the scrolling feature on. But I tend to stick to physical books in all their page-turning glory. Not for any reason (I’m kidding, it’s because of the new book smell), so I’m sure I could solve this particular problem.
The Solution? I’m going to read more eBooks! Not only is it cheaper, but I don’t have to wait to get the book. I’m also going to try to read more on the Apple Books app rather than the Kindle app, because that allows you to scroll through books rather than turn the page, which I find helps me to read a lot quicker!