How Much Are You Reading Annually?

Posted April 20, 2017 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Discussions / 14 Comments

Lately I’ve noticed more and more emails from Goodreads popping up in my inbox surrounding my reading progress for 2017. It had been a few weeks since I had finished a book, and I received an email about my reading challenge. I then finished two books and each time I marked a book as “read,” I received another email. While I didn’t find all aspects of these emails troubling (in fact, I enjoyed that it linked to some of my GR friend’s reviews because I love checking out what my fellow bloggers think of books after I read them!) I am finding that’s it’s making me hyper aware of how fast and how much I’m reading.

The Goodreads Reading Challenge is pretty much the only reading challenge I’m able to consistently keep up with throughout the year, and I participate every year without fail because it’s such an easy way to track and keep up with how many books I’m reading. However, it also makes it very easy to compare how many books I’m reading vs. how many my friends are, and by bringing these stats into easily accessible focus, it sometimes makes me reevaluate my reading speed and reading “success.” I average anywhere from 50-70 books a year. In my real life social circles, this is considered to be a TON of books. I remember always being the first person I knew to finish a new Harry Potter novel (to the point where my mother came in and confiscated Deathly Hallows from me at 7am the day it was released because I had been up since the midnight release reading, and she insisted I needed at least a few hours of sleep).  I always bust out my “number of books read in a year” statistics when I need a fun fact for an impromptu ice breaker game. It used to be something I was proud of.

Enter the world of book blogging, where you routinely have bloggers reading 200-300+ books a year. I admire and envy these readers who are able to get through so many books a year, a month, a week. But sometimes I’ll admit to having a sense of being less valid in my identity as a blogger because I’m only reading 50-70 books a year. I’ve often toyed with the idea of pushing myself to read more, but I’ve looked at my life and lifestyle choices and determined this would probably not be a good course of action.

Reasons Why I’m OK with Not Reading More Books Per Year:

  • I read for comprehension. I still like taking my time and understanding all of the plot points of a book. It frustrates me when I forget a character’s name or don’t understand a reference, so I’ll go back and reread passages to ensure I’m understanding everything. However, this definitely slows down my reading pace.
  • Trying to time or increase my reading speed STRESSES ME OUT. I tried it once, when I was reading Roseblood this past January, by using the BookOut app. The app was super cool and I loved all of the statistics it was able to give me, but then I started comparing myself to other people’s reading speed/pace and feeling woefully slow (I’m only reading a page per minute?! That means it’s going to take me 400 minutes to read a 400 page book? How are other people reading 3 pages per minute?! How can I increase my reading speed?! *Googles speed reading techniques for 2 hours*)
  • I don’t like audiobooks. I’ve tried SO MANY and I just can’t with them. They bore me to tears. Unfortunately, this means no cranking through books on the car or during my commute.
  • I feel deeply responsible for reviewing all of the books I read. Even backlist books where no one will probably bother reading the review- I still want to write and post them. And if I’m struggling to fit in more reading time, then I’ll definitely struggle fitting in all of the extra time to review those additional books.
  • I work. A lot. I love my day job but it’s VERY time consuming. A 40 hour workweek is an anomaly for me, and sometimes when I’m NOT working I need to participate in activities where I’m not as focused as I like to be when reading, like watching TV or going for walks in the neighborhood or just calling my family members and shooting the breeze. I really like to be engaged when I read and have to be in the right mindset to absorb everything.
  • I sometimes have to give myself breaks between books. If I read an especially intense book or a book I LOVED and am suffering from a book hangover, I don’t like to force myself to jump right into a new book. I need time for my literary palate to cleanse.
  • I try to make room for other hobbies. I recently got back into running and finished  5k training program and have continued onto a 10k training program. I LOVE exercising but sometimes it comes down to the choice of using my after-work time to head to the gym or to read, and adulting pushes me often toward the more responsible choice of exercise.

So basically I am *trying* to make peace with the fact that I’m not reading 200 books a year like so many other bloggers and will likely NEVER be caught up on my TBR. But hey, I’m lucky to have time to read the amount of books I do get to, right?

How many books do you average per year? Are you satisfied with the amount? Have you ever actively tried to increase your reading pace/speed? Do you try to read for comprehension? What’s your “sweet spot” with the ideal number of books to read each year? Let me know in the comments!

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14 responses to “How Much Are You Reading Annually?

  1. I’ve only really started to track books on Good reads this year, but I reckon probably around 80? I have quite a long commute though (1.5 hours each way) so I get through a lot of audiobooks and ebooks!

  2. This is such a great post! Sometimes I get a little jealous or wonder how other bloggers are reading 200 or more books per year. I read about 90-120, which comes out to a book every 3 or 4 days. I think it’s a good number. I read pretty fast, but I also don’t read all the time. Like you, I want to have time for other hobbies. I don’t think the number of books you read makes you any less of a blogger; everyone is different. Plus, I really applaud you for writing reviews for every book you read – I definitely don’t do that!

  3. I hear you! I usually average around 120-140 books per year but I always look at those 200-300+ books a year readers and I’m like how do you do it?! Even with the amount of books I read, I feel like I’m a really slow reader but I’m able to read as much as I do because I commute for 4 hours per day to work. I actually lowered my goodreads goal this year to 75 books to take some pressure off, but when I was 14 books ahead of schedule, I upped my goal to back to 100 and I think that helped me have a better beginning of my reading year. I don’t really love the new emails GR sends when you finish a book because I’m like, yes I know I finished that book- I just told YOU that!

  4. Sarah

    Actually this is the one thing that irks me about the book blogging world. I’ve always read for enjoyment, and blogging about certain books and reading others’ book blogs is a supplement to a hobby I already love. I like knowing I’m reading a lot, but comparing stats and competing would definitely take the fun out of it for me. Great discussion though! I really enjoyed reading.

  5. Truthfully, I forget about the Goodreads Challenge. It’s something that runs in the background. I always have a book on the go but I find it I don’t finish a book quickly (ie within a week) my attention wanes and I don’t enjoy it as much. I also like completing books regularly because it makes me feel like I accomplished something (ie I was being productive). But I have been panicking lately about my specific TBR challenges because April has been a disaster for them. I underestimated how much work cuts into my reading schedule.

    My only saving grace has been audiobooks. It took me a long time to get comfortable with them (it’s been a 2 year process truthfully) but I’ve had a lot of success with them lately!

    Lauren @ SERIESous Book Reviews recently posted: Top Ten Tuesdays: Must Read Tropes in Books
  6. I love this post! I can definitely relate– I usually average between 60-80 books per year. It’s hard not to compare yourself to bloggers reading 200+ books per year! I try to reason with myself that everyone’s life is different. Work and school definitely inhibit my reading, too. And, oh man, paying attention to my reading speed stresses me out so much! It’s why I had to stop using Bookout. My Goodreads challenge never really stresses me out, because I always set it at 52 books (one per week for the year), so I’m almost always a few books ahead of that.

  7. I normally average around 100 books a year (although the past 2 years have been rather sparse) and I have pretty much the same reasons as you for not reading more. Mostly, I feel responsible to post a review for every book I read (mostly all full-size reviews; I can’t remember the last time I did a mini review) which slows things down considerably. I’m also a huge fan of Netflix and I constantly have more shows to watch which sometimes take precedent over reading. Keeping up with everything can be a little intimidating sometimes! This is such a great topic, Cristina!

    Laura @BlueEyBooks

  8. I really think that whatever is comfortable for you IS a good number! I mean, I do not understand for the life of me how people can read 300 books a year- that’s basically a book a day! And even if they are the fastest readers in all the land… just HOW!? I simply don’t have the hours in the day! Still, I understand the way you feel when you compare yourself- which like, logically we shouldn’t, but can’t help doing anyway 😉 I assume that those people just have flat out more time? And I have come to terms with it. This year, I let a random number generator pick my goal, but it was RUDE and gave me a high number anyway 😂

    The past few years, I have hovered between 130-150. The damn number generator gave me 139. I wanted to stress LESS, not more, but alas. I STILL get that “must be ahead of my Goodreads goal” feeling, I think it’s just stubbornness and/or competitiveness. I am glad that you have mostly found peace with your numbers- because like I said, if it works for you, then it is a success in my opinion! Love this post!

  9. Yep, I’m with you. I think the only reason I read as much as I do is because I can get other things (blogging, review writing, checking out other blogs) during slow periods of my work day. I listen to a lot of audiobooks (except when podcasts inevitably take over!). Without those, I’d probably read at LEAST 25 less books per year. I usually get to 2-4 per month, depending on their length (or again the fricken podcast addiction). I’ve been trying to read less and reduce my GR goal each year because I do want to focus on other hobbies! I now reserve reading for lunch breaks sometimes, in the morning before work, and the evening before bed. I usually try to enjoy time with Chris on the couch or out and about after work instead of reading from the minute I get home until bed. It’s better to be more balanced that way!

    Also, I totally stopped using the Bookout app. It was more the act of timing (the process of it) that annoyed me! Chris talks to me when I read a lot, so I’d have to press pause every time he said something to me because I wanted my stats to be accurate. It was a huge pain in the ass.

  10. I used to not even care about how many books I read, then I joined the community and cared A LOT. After starting a blog, I noticed the amount I read went WAY down because I just didn’t have time. Now, I’m trying not to even notice. I changed my GR reading goal to 1 and I’m just reading while I find time. I actually noticed I’ve been reading MORE since then. Funny how that works lol But I probably read about 50 per year? on average? Just because I’m a slow reader and, like you, I try to make time for other hobbies!

  11. I agree with a lot of this. and to be honest I don’t WANT to read that many books a year- I feel like if I was reading 200-300 a year how could I possibly remember or appreciate all of them? I probably read 1-2 books a week, but sometimes just one and occasionally three, but I’m pretty comfortable with that pace. And like you said- compared to almost everyone I know in RL, I read a TON.

    I can’t do audio either. And I’m terrible at keeping my Goodreads updated so I don’t get too many emails lol. I totally get what you’r saying though. Great post!

  12. I read like 30 books a year so….. I am a SNAIL in the book blogging world. I used to feel inadequacy about it, and also kind scared because OMG IT’S GOING TO TAKE ME A VERY LONG TIME TO GET THROUGH MY UNREAD BOOKS AT THAT RATE, LET ALONE MY WISHLIST.

    I wish there was more time to read books, and sometimes I wish I was a faster read. BUT there is also more to life than books. Yeah, I said it. As amazing as a good story is, it’s also important that we live our own. We are our own protagonists after all. 🙂

  13. When I was a fresh book blogger like 5 years a go (I’m back with a whole new blog after a couple years off), I succumbed to the pressures of reading ALL THE BOOKS. My GR Challenge was like 150? But it was a pace I couldn’t sustain. I’m a mood reader. Sometimes I’m in the mood to read everything, sometimes I leave my books untouched for weeks. Then the GR Challenge became discouraging, and so I started making it more realistic.

    Then I realized that I like the kind of stats that enlighten me about my reading habits – like how I rarely read Contemporary, but I almost always give them a really high rating. Why don’t I read more Contemporary? Or what publishers I tend to rate lower – maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to pick up their newest release until I get a feel for how it’s being received by readers. Once I focused in on these “stats” I stopped caring so much about my volume ones 🙂

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