The number of books I read in a year…

doesn’t matter.

The number of books anyone reads in a year does not matter.

Reading is not a competition. There is no one type of reader. Neither is reading x number of books a year good/bad.

We read to follow our curiosity, to understand what is being discussed and to enhance our sphere of knowledge.

If you’ve picked up a book, given it your attention and have been able to engage deeply with the material, you’ve read well. If you’ve been able to form your own opinions on the matter, if it has evoked emotion in you and if it has inspired you to act, even better. But reading a lot of books without depth of engagement serves only your vanity.

Reading less

Realistically, the number of books you can read cover to cover with this level of deep engagement will be low because attention is scarce and reading with deep engagement is cognitively exhausting. So it is perfectly okay to go slow with your reading as long as you engage with it.

Similarly, the moment a book stops serving a purpose for you, feel free to drop it. Not all books need to be read cover to cover. I have found that the best strategy for me has been to skim interesting books, read a particular book when a its topic is active on my mind and go in depth to the extent that my curiosity allows. Often, I read multiple books at once – sort of like a buffet of topics that keep me excited. I tend to go back to unfinished books time and again when their topics come up in relevance for me. And then of course, there are some memoirs and novels that I’ve read in a single stretch.

What I’ve learned is that it is important to remain flexible in how you read and what you read, while you remain focussed on your objective of just reading more. In my view, it doesn’t matter what you’re reading as long as you’re reading.

If you’re trying to read more, I hope you spend time reflecting on your reading style. Are you subconsciously pressurising yourself to read quickly, read entire books or read ‘X’ books a year? You don’t have to. Prioritise deep engagement and fun, and you’ll naturally see yourself reading more 🙂