I’ll Never Read Every Book There Is
As of 2010, nearly 130 million books had been published worldwide.
That was almost ten years ago now. There is no question that the ongoing surge within the self-publishing industry as well as all of the hundreds of traditionally published books that companies churn out each year have since put the estimate well above a measly 130 million.
I read between 75 and 110 books each year, so even going top speed, it would take me about 1.2 million years to read them all.
Sooo… never going to happen.
Yet I try.
And you won’t convince me to take your shortcuts.
Trust me, I am very aware of the people who think that I’m wasting my time trying to devour every book that passes under my nose. They like to publish thought pieces like listicles of all the other things I could be spending my time on or their treasured life hacks for how to speed read or their many resources that seem to be overtaking the grown-up Spark Notes scene.
And that’s great. For them.
I think all of those reading shortcuts do a great job of passing the information from page to brain without all the fuss of those, you know, words in the way.
But to me, that entirely misses the point.
I’m going to keep reading, and I’ll read the whole book at my regular pace, thank you very much.
Because if I thought of reading as a way to convince others of my intellectual worth, I think I’d drive myself into a panic attack near daily.
I’ll freely allow that I am almost certainly not the target audience for suggestions such as those. I am not any kind of high-powered corporate shark, and I am not the CEO of anything but my household.
Even if I was, I still would not consider a single minute of my reading wasted.
Reading is like a truffle.
It is meant to be savored. It is meant to be appreciated. It is meant to do far more than simply transfer data. We are constantly trying to download information without the actual enjoyment of the act.
Whether you are stuck on a bus during your morning commute or in a waiting room before an appointment or at home at night in bed, reading is for getting lost. Reading is for ceasing to acknowledge the world around you, if only for a page or two.
Don’t get too stuck on this image in your head of a cup of cocoa and fuzzy socks and an oversized hoodie and a crackling fire as you read some new hardcover.
(Though, this is perhaps my truest mental image of heaven.)
You don’t need the Hallmark version to enjoy a book. I have five (count ’em, five) different book apps on my phone, and while my mobile device is by no means my only reading medium, it’s awfully handy when I’m in line at the Post Office. I, for one, find an extra paragraph of my latest Kindle discovery time better spent than an extra few scrolls through Twitter.
Personal preference perhaps, but I do highly recommend it. I consider my minutes far less wasted between the lines of an outlandish, trashy fantasy story than I do getting sucked into Internet comments sections. No one need ever know you’re reading — they’re all too busy staring at their phones, too.
I have written about my love for pulp novels and I have written about my love for young adult literature, and it’s more than likely I will continue to write in defense of genres which are often (wrongfully in my opinion) met with snobbishness and many an upturned nose.
Read a Pulp Novel & Have a Nice Day
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good trashy paperback
Take It From an Obsessive Reader: You Should Read More YA
A case for young adult literature & a few suggestions for what to read next
And maybe some pulp fiction (and some YA for that matter) are less “truffle-like” and more akin to Twinkies. That doesn’t mean I’ll enjoy them any less or stop devouring them at the pace that I do.
Reading, even if it doesn’t always feel decadent, should still be a happy practice, a joyful one — something you do because you like it, not because you’re training for the marathon of being the most well-read person in the room.
You’re not getting anywhere close to all 130 million either.