You’re One Book Behind Schedule

How I almost lost my love for reading.

Photo by Hatice Yardım on Unsplash

I have a constant supply of books.

I enjoy buying, borrowing, and having easy access to books. I love talking about them, and when I read something that touches me, I feel changed in a small way.

How to prioritize which books to read

Do I go with my gut and read the ones I’m most interested in first, the ones I have to review, or the ones I need to return?

Reading challenges are purely for entertainment.

As a member of Goodreads, I often sign up for their annual reading challenges. I’ll never read as fast as when I was younger, but I’m still a reader, and I want to make sure I make time to read.

The goal isn’t to impress people with your reading choices.

Our moods influence our reading tastes. Sometimes you want some classic literature that will make you think, and other times, you want a thriller that’ll keep you guessing.

The books-read tracker isn’t there to shame the reader but to cheer them on.

In December, I was behind four books for the challenge and beginning to panic. I felt overwhelmed I’d never read fast enough to reach my goal. I started to sweat, and my heart was beating at an increasing speed.

You’re not required to finish every book you intend to read.

I made my choice and returned the book to the library. I didn’t want to count it in the challenge since I hadn’t finished it, but that left me four books to read in one day. The pressure was on.

Mindy Kaling saved me.

For her third collection of essays, Nothing Like I Imagined, instead of publishing them in one book, the material was divided into six super short books, Kind of Hindu, Please like Me, Help is On the Way, Searching for Coach Taylor, Once Upon a Time in Silver Lake and Big Shot.

What’s the lesson in this tale?

Reading challenges are great if you don’t let them make you feel bad if you fall behind. Putting pressure on myself took away some of the pleasure of reading. I signed up for the Reading Challenge again this year. I plan on not panicking if my numbers fail to impress. I’ll remind myself the pleasure isn’t winning the challenge; it’s all the wonderful stories I read along the way.

Writer for The Los Angeles Times, Salon, The Startup, Tenderly, Fearless She Wrote, MuddyUm. Christineschoenwaldwriter.com

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