I’ve recently noticed that many people see the number of books read in single year as a badge of honor. Instead of reading to enjoy the act, they rack up books how Michael Myers accumulates a body count. When I’m reading a book, I feel this urge to rush through it to add it to my yearly list.
But I realized I hate this idea. I am a slow reader and I was late to reading in general. For years, I saw reading as a chore. I rarely found pleasure in it. Grad school made the idea of ever reading for pleasure again seem impossible.
It took many months before I read a book for fun after I graduated. I’ve been allowing myself to read whatever interests me in the moment. I’m avoiding a long list of books “To Read” nagging at me. That would put me back in the mindset of being forced to read a book out of some unknown obligation to some imagined idea that a book list matters.
I find bragging about book counts to be misguided. It isn’t’ quantity but quality that matters. I feel the same way about other media like shows, movies, etc. It needs to stop. Who care that you read 100 books in one year if you didn’t learn or grow from the experience? Even academic reading should achieve some level of pleasure, of expanding one’s mind.
So I’m going to continue to read at my usual slow pace, allowing myself to savor a book like a fine wine instead of a cheap beer.