Thursday, November 3, 2016

Day 3: How Many Books Have You Read This Year?

Getting lost in the sea of books! (Photo credit)

I Love reading. I can't be called a prolific reader - definitely not after I found some people on Twitter who have already finished 200 books this year! Having been a literature student for 5 years, I have had my fill of Shakespeare and Shelley, Dante and Dickens. I have also loved reading my share of awesome fiction like Gone with the wind and Shantaram. Or non-fiction books like Emotional Intelligence by Goleman or the Malcolm Gladwell books. Such books give a unique insight into the working of human mind and I find them quite insightful.

Since I belong to the transitional generation that moved from physical books to ebooks, I have seen both the worlds. I still read books in both medium. All the reading through college days, of course, was from a stack of physical books. It was like a full time job to finish novels and poetry texts so that I could start with the criticism of those books and prepare for exams. I read physical books pretty much through the entire last decade. I moved to Kindle a few years ago yet don't really enjoy the experience of reading ebooks. They are great to keep reading on the go and that's the only reason I have the app. I also have this habit of noting down names of books from bibliographies mentioned in other books. I noted down a dozen titles while doing a course on social psychology from Coursera about 4 years ago - never went on buy and read any of those though.

Reading has always been a big part of my life. Reading is to forget the world. You can't think of anything else while you are reading, right? While online exposure on Twitter helped me learn about new books - some of which I read or added to my list from bibiliographies - it has also added some sense of anxiety to my reading. While I have stopped looking at any must read books lists - except for occasional slips - there are times when some one mentions a title as a must read and I can't help but add it to what has now become a list of books-I-might-read-in-this-lifetime. And the ever growing list evokes this fear of - Oh my God! I'm never going to be able to finish reading ALL this! And the knowledge that some mortals have actually finished 200 books makes me feel like I have read about 4 books in my life! Even when I read a book, I feel a strange sense of anxiety to finish it fast and move on.

While I realise that I will never be able to read 200 books in a year, I definitely am working on this knot that forms in the pit of my stomach every time I start reading. I have started reasoning with that voice in my head which ushers in a sense of urgency every time I sit to read a book. For me, it's not a competition about reading as many books as the next person has. It's more about missing out on so much more there is to read. But then it isn't possible to read all books published ever, (Or is there?!) even if you stick to a few favourite genres. Plus, I think it also depends on the kind of books I read. Fiction gets done faster. But I also want to read thick fat books without worrying about how long it takes.

At the moment, I have enough books to last this year from my Amazon sale loot in August this year. I have already read a fair number of books from different genres this year and I am happy with it. Plus there is online reading where we get to learn so much.

How do you get your reading done? Are books obsolete yet with all the blogs and online content?

This post is a part of #NaBloPoMo hosted by BlogHer where I will write one post everyday this month.

6 comments:

  1. Hi! You voiced my concerns perfectly. I just read 43 books this year. I do agree that book challenges and the chats that happen on Twitter make me feel insecure at times and tend to promote a sense of competition. However, I strongly believe that reading must be done for pleasure and hence, it is acceptable to not be able to read all the books published. The idea that I have come to live with is just try to read the maximum in the chosen genres and I think we'll do fine. Books are certainly not obsolete and much as we devour stories, I think books will retain their importance with blogs and online content supporting it.

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    1. I'm glad there are others who also look at the situation the way I do! Thanks for the support!

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  2. I am the old fashioned book worm, I love the sweet fragrance of paper and like to use a bookmark while reading. I always would want to carry a book along while I go out and sip a cup of coffee. Online is a big No No for me.
    Menaka Bharathi has recently published http://simpleindianmom.in/gratitude-list-carve-childs-future-list/

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    1. For me, Kindle is a supplement to get reading done on the way. It becomes hard to take time out to read everyday. Kindle app at least gets some reading done.

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  3. Me too. Just completed some 40 books this year and I am planning to do a ten more at least. I read books from both medium and I should say I am loving my Kindle now especially since I can read at night. Yes, there are lot many blogs to read. But I find time to read books as well.

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  4. At the beginning of the year, I took up the challenge of reading 100 books this year (challenged myself) just so that I continue reading and don't become complacent. :) Honestly, never thought I would get anywhere close to 100 but I have surprised myself by getting close to it. Of course, there are some books that I have re-read (from previous years) and not all these books are intellectual types. So, been able to read a lot more... :D I have moved to the electronic form of book reading long ago... That is not to say that I don't buy physical books... I do... Only the ones that I want to keep with myself... :)

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