On slowing down and reading

Every January when I set reading goals for the new year, I tell myself that this will finally be the year when I slow down. I won’t care about how many books or pages I read. I won’t feel pressured to finish a book as fast as possible, or to rush through longer reads. Yet, inevitably by February this laidback mindset has dissipated, and I’ve returned to my old ways.

I’ve always read a lot, and prefer to spend a lot of my free time reading. But to me there’s an important difference between reading a large number of books as an incidental result of spending a lot of time reading — at a slow, calm pace — and reading a lot of books because I’ve intentionally read shorter books, quickened my pace, or have felt rushed in doing so.

This might sound like a strange pressure to put on oneself arbitrarily. But in the bookish online space, it feels like there’s an inherent pressure or expectation to read as much as you possibly can. Rather than circle back to old favorites, there’s a significant emphasis on discovering new books, reading what’s being discussed at the moment, and staying ahead of publishing trends. It’s hard to pull away from that bubble sometimes, to remember that reading is just a hobby, something that I’ve always loved doing just for my own sake. And I want it to always be that for me.

I want to read a lot in 2023 — but only as a result of genuinely loving what I’m reading, of wanting to spend more time with the words of my favorite authors and the characters in my favorite stories.

Do you struggle with this? Any recommendations for slowing down re: reading? I’d love to know.

Take care xx


7 responses to “On slowing down and reading”

  1. When I first started my blog I felt the pressure to read all the new releases and popular books – and I kept finding that reading was becoming a chore and I wasn’t enjoying it as much. After that I realised I’d have to make a choice: do the thing I get so much enjoyment out of my way, or keep struggling just to chase clicks and likes. After not worrying about the hype and what other people think I went my own way… and its meant I’ve had 10 years of great books and blogging that appeal to me, growing my tastes, nurturing my love of reading.

    I found with some friends who got in the habit of reading too fast that they wrote out favorite quotes as they went, had mini discussions at the end of each chapter (or wrote a chapter summary) identifying character motivation and arcs, themes, symbolism, and guess what was going to happen in the next chapter. It forced them to be present in the text and ruminate on the prose. Don’t know if that helps… some feels like its a lot of work.


  2. I don’t like slow reading. i spend time with words and on page not too long that I keep reading one book for full week. If pace is too slow I get tired of book. Mostly because nothing is happening for long time or I don’t find the story interesting.


  3. I don’t follow trends and always just read what I like. It never matters to me what is the most read book of the moment and I don’t actually care what other people are reading, becasuae I read for fun. I do follow a couple book blogs because I love books and sometimes the reviews can lead me to something I might like, but that’s abut it. Truthfully, I don’t understand book contests, etc. and don’t know what that has to do with reading for pleasure, but that’s probably just me. I also don’t count how many books I’ve read in a year, or anything like that. I read constantly, always have, but I just read to read what I enjoy…no matter what that may be at the moment. 🙂


  4. I completely agree that there’s a pressure to read as much as possible because it becomes content for the blog/IG/youtube/etc

    But after I stopped requesting so many ARCs and started borrowing more books from the library, I find that I just don’t care about keeping up with the trends. I’ll read what I enjoy and that’s what matters the most (though dealing with the guilt of “not posting enough” is an on-going struggle lol)


  5. Reading keeps me sane, so I read a whole lot! I’m retired, so I have a good deal of time on my hands for reading. But I don’t waste my time on books I’m not enjoying.


  6. I felt this, especially during the first few years I was “online”. It seems like every month there’s a new “hot” book I need to caught up on. I eventually realized that I was reading for the sake of “reading” instead of for enjoyment so I took a step back for a while. It can still be hard sometimes, especially since lately I’ve been trying to diversify my reading so there are more community & releases I need to keep up with 😂


  7. Molly's Book Nook Avatar
    Molly’s Book Nook

    I Definitely struggle with this. I’m a super slow reader, so the guilt I feel when I don’t finish “a lot” of books is ridiculous. I try to remind myself that this is just something I enjoy doing, and it doesn’t matter how much I read. The online community makes that hard, for sure.


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