On Reading 500 Books A Year

Reading is amazing.

Being able to afford to purchase books (almost) whenever I want to is a straight up luxury. I’m especially aware of that since I was only working part-time last year, earning only enough to pay for rent and bills and not many books.

Even being taught to read, let alone finding it immensely enjoyable, is a basic human right that many people in this world miss out on.

But I am sick of people bragging about reading several ‘books’ in a day, seven days a week, all year.

I know a small part of it stems from jealousy. I have hundreds of books I want to read and almost as many that I have purchased that I simply have not had the time to read. They sit there in their boxes (because I still can’t afford bookshelves for them – other priorities, which is sad) crying out to be read and loved, and I fantasise about placing them onto new bookshelves in alphabetical order by author.

But I don’t have the time to read as much as I want.

I don’t even feel like I can say ‘I don’t have time to read that much’, even though it’s true, because it sounds like an excuse. Like if I really loved books I’d find the time, I’d manage my time better, I’d sacrifice things like Netflix and hanging out with my husband and bathing. It suggests that I don’t love reading as much as a superfast reader because I don’t dedicate my whole life to it, even though I did dedicate a tertiary education to it, and a blog, and thinking about books takes up an awful lot of my non-working time.

But the truth is that I have a day job and I honestly do not have the luxury of sitting around and reading all day long, as awesome as that sounds. And I found out first hand from my experience last year, that even when I DO have time to sit around and read, I’m busy doing other things.

I know people who read a lot say ‘I read in the bathroom, commuting, while waiting in line, basically any chance I get’ and I do, too, (mostly)… but there is still a large chunk of my day that I need to dedicate to non-reading.

Which sucks.

And yes, staying up late to read a really good book is acceptable, within reason. But bragging about doing it regularly? I don’t have the luxury to sleep in and make up for lost sleep, I need to get up and get shit done. I’ve spent over a year with a sleep-related medical issue, thankfully now resolved, and regularly not getting a good night’s rest is not only bad for your health but can put other people at risk as well, ie if you’re driving and fall asleep at the wheel.

But it’s not just the lack of time that I have to read, it’s the speed at which I read.

I used to think I was a fast reader. And in fact, I still am. But the faster I read a book the less I comprehend it. I pause to think about, rewrite inflections in my head, and embarrassingly, sometimes speak the dialogue out loud and make facial expressions. It must be weird to watch me read.

Also, it’s a scientific fact that the faster someone reads a book the less they comprehend it.

Maybe superfast readers don’t care about comprehension. Maybe they only care about numbers.

Whatever. It’s really cool to be able to ‘brag’ about reading 500 books a year.


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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2 thoughts on “On Reading 500 Books A Year

  1. Eilonwy

    I know just how you feel! I have a few friends on Goodreads who read over a book a day — one of them wrote over 1000 reviews in one year a couple years ago — and I’m always wondering how they manage to read so fast! And find time to write a review for every single book, too.

    I generally manage to read just over 1 book a week, despite having a pretty long commute. I’m always wondering the same thing you do, about whether I’m just jealous of people who can read so fast and get through so many more books than I do (since there are so many more books I’d like to read than I’m ever going to get through in my life!), or whether I suspect they aren’t really reading the entire book with any comprehension.

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