The Pressure to Read

I’ve been thinking a little bit lately about what my life would be like if I stopped keeping track of what I read.  If I stopped having a target number of books to read for a year.  If I let myself just read without any record-keeping or Goodreads goals or spreadsheet to tell me how many pages I’ve read in a year or what percentage of my books were authored by men.

Obviously, keeping track of my reads is something I opted to do.  I started keeping a spreadsheet of what I read and regularly updating my Goodreads account back in 2012, around the same time I started this blog.  It was neat to be able to go back and see what I’ve read and how much and how fast I could read and also to have some more overall statistics, like what are my preferred genres or how many backlist books do I actually read.  It was fun to have a goal and to challenge myself to try new genres or to read more.  And well, in the blogging world, if you don’t keep track of what you read, then how in the heck do you remember what you’re going to review or what to recommend to someone?  Really, the last two and a half years of my reading and blogging life have kind of depended on me filling in my spreadsheet and updating my Goodreads goals.  It it actually something I love to do after finishing a book.

But lately I am feeling the flip side of keeping track of it all and having goals.  It’s fun for me most of the time, but other times I find myself saying utterly ridiculous things like “I should be reading right now” or “this 500 page book is going to put behind my reading goal” or “gosh, I can’t have another lunch date this week, I NEED to be keeping up with my book.”  Yeah, utterly ridiculous in that I am putting some sort of pressure on myself to keep up with a goal that affects only me and that I’m not necessarily allowing myself to read whatever I want, whenever I want (which is one of my main priorities when it comes to books) and I actually want to blow people off and be antisocial because I feel some sort of obligation to read.  It’s hard for me to even call reading an obligation because I enjoy it, but maybe I am at a point where the other things I’ve added to my reading life (Goodreads, blogging, spreadsheets, goals) are taking away from my enjoyment.

I have been feeling an overwhelming sense that something has got to give in my life.  I don’t know what.  I don’t know why.  I just know that my desire to keep up with everything makes me more miserable than letting something go would.

How do you manage the “pressure” to read?  Do you keep Goodreads goals?  Will my world end if I stop keeping track of what I read?

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