Discussion: Reader Fatigue and Is Reading Really Getting Competitive?

Are we getting tired of reading while also making a sport out of it? 

Lately, if you’re on “book Twitter” (which you should be, it’s a lot of fun), you may have seen some debate going around, as per usual on the Internet. There’s been talk of readers shaming others for how much they do or do not read, and there’s been a whole thing how we should not judge others for how much they read (which, like, duh).

A couple of people have talked about this. There’s Ariel Bisett’s perspective for example. There’s a very recent video from Sam of Thoughts on Tomes. Mercy also made two really interesting videos on whether or not she’s falling out of love with reading. All of these creator’s are amazing, and their videos are really interesting.

Now, full disclaimer: I don’t think that we should be debating whether or not people should be shamed for how much they’re reading. That’s a given. There’s no discussion there. I want to talk about my own experiences and stuff I’ve been thinking about lately. So this is solely my personal feelings and thoughts and reactions to stuff. I am in no way implying that this is a general thing. I just want to talk about MY OWN experience.

When Reading Books Becomes Tiring

I have loved books for as long as I can remember. It’s been a stress relief for me for years, and it’s been a hobby and a thing I do for pleasure for a long time. Lately however, with blogging, I started to read differently. I spoke about how blogging changed my reading. I’ve become a lot more critical and I love that, but the truth is that it’s become a chore for me at times.

I get a lot of ARCs (fully grateful for them, don’t taking it the wrong way), and they have been really sucking the joy out of reading for me. When you’re a new blogger, ARCs are super exciting. I use to go crazy on Netgalley and request every possible book in sight. I also strained myself to finish every single one of them. It got to a point where I was reading only books for review and none for myself. I have felt less excited to be reading.

So lately, I’ve been trying to read more of the books I actually want to read, and requesting only review copies that I am generally excited about. I have slowly been getting back into the swing of things.

Reader fatigue has been a real thing for me that made me feel quite down recently. But I have learned to prioritize my reads and 2018 is going to be all about reading books I am excited about. 

When Reading Becomes a Competitive Sport

There’s been a lot of talk how we continually strive to “beat” each other, to have more read books, to do more, reading-wise. And I think that’s true. You have a bunch of new challenges, there’s the Goodreads yearly goal and others in the community are reading a lot. But I don’t think that this is a bad thing.

For me, these goals push me to read more. I get encouraged when I see how much others are reading, and how much they are enjoying themselves. As for goals, I am only competing with myself. I won’t even consider the goal until October and than it’s just a bit of healthy competition with myself and other life obligations.

Mainly, I just don’t take it that seriously. I think those goals are fun and make us strive towards reading more, but ultimately, they are just that – fun. If you’re stressed out by it, by all means, don’t set goals. If you see yourself failing, lower the goal. Just don’t take it that seriously. 

anythoughtsSo I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Have you felt reader fatigue? How have you dealt with it? What are your feelings on reading becoming “competitive”? Please let me know!


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34 thoughts on “Discussion: Reader Fatigue and Is Reading Really Getting Competitive?

  1. I started to feel reading pressure when in punched in a number on goodreads for my yearly goal. My reading became more to hit the number than for fun or because I had the time to read. I found myself with a deadline and reading became stressful! I can’t read that book it’s too long and will push my goal back…..yadda yadda. Reading should never be a chore or a job or a stressor! It’s what we use to get away from doing all those things. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for that comment! I can totally understand where you’re coming from. I think in that situation, I would just abandon the goal entirely and try to focus on reading. I had similar issues with not being excited to read, and it’s been great since I’ve just decided that I am gonna read just because it’s fun! Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve noticed that since blogging and discovering the online book community, I’ve become far too bothered about reading the books that everyone else is talking about. It’s nice to get recommendations based on what I might like, but there always seems to be this background pressure to read a particular book at the same time as everyone else so I can join in the conversation and not feel left out. I know that I found a lot of my new favourite books this way, but there is something to be said for not conforming to whatever everyone else is going. Though I’ve marked it as a resolution for 2018, something I have started acting on now is reverting back to my old reading habits. This means hopefully reading at a slower pace, not doing any challenges (apart from my Goodreads goal, which I always keep the same most years), and letting my mood tell me what I want to read. I try to focus on the last one anyway, but sometimes I do find myself reading a book that I’m only half interested in at that moment in time, which isn’t great. I did that with Flame in the Mist and it left me a three-month reading and blogging slump where I hardly read and wrote anything and I wasn’t enjoying the reading experience. It wasn’t great but it was when I started remembering why I loved reading in the first place, and it gave me that lightbulb moment where everything seemed clearer.

    I know that by being involved in this community we all want to share our reading experiences but at the end of the day, they are personal and unique to each one of us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I completely agree with you! I feel like a big part of the pressure to read a book everyone is reading is that you want to join in on the conversation. I know there are a lot of books I really wanted to read, but since everyone already read them and stopped talking about them, I felt less inclined to pick them up as well. I am gonna try to do the same thing you’re doing in 2018! Thank you for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. i totally feel you girl. i used to be more inclined to read the popular books, the ones everyone is talking about so i can review them and get into conversations about them and when i see the amount of books some book bloggers read in a year i felt i wasnt doing great. took the fun out of reading for me and i just started blogging few months ago, ive calmed down now though, i read the books i want wether they are popular or not and not get competitive about the books ive read in a time period, But a lot of people are still caught up in that rat race.Life’s to short to worry about such things. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally agree that it shouldn’t even be up for debate as to whether people should shame others for how much or what they choose to read. Everyone’s tastes and habits are different, and it’s such a shame to think that some people’s love of reading is damaged by pressure put on them by other people, when reading is a very personal and solitary activity anyway.

    Sometimes I do feel pressure, but not in terms of keeping up with other people, only in terms of myself. There are so many books I want to get to and I do buy a lot of them, so sometimes I give myself a hard time if I don’t read for a couple of days, even though I know it’s stupid. Getting over that self-inflicted pressure is definitely something I’d like to work on in the new year.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I usually set my personal goals very low just because I don’t want there to be pressure to hit a number. But I’ve felt pressure to read certain popular books and also to read ARCs. I’m VERY picky with the books I choose now. I’m the beginning I got a few books that sounded amazing but didn’t meet my expectations – if I would have bought them, I would have DNF’d with no problem. But I felt like I owed the publisher and forced myself to finish. It was an awful feeling!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s exactly how I felt. I would have stopped reading if it were my copies, but with ARCs it’s so tricky and there’s this internal pressure to read them. I had the same awful experiences with some ARCs so I am now taking a bit of a break for them. And you setting those goals low is a really good idea to get rid of the unnecessary pressure!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t use netgalley at all and I never read or request ARCs for this exact reason. I don’t want to just read books to review them, and I don’t want to feel like I HAVE to write a review after I’ve read something. Yeah, it means I have to buy all my books, but I feel it’s worth it to take the pressure off myself. I also set my reading goal to 52 books every year because one book a week is easily achievable for me. I always exceed that number, but I don’t want to raise my goal and put unnecessary pressure on myself. This is a great post, and something I think we should discuss more in the book community!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that’s a really smart decision. I have stopped requesting ARCs for a while and it’s done wonders for my reading. I like to put a bigger goal each year, and then I just read a bunch of comics in the end to catch up 😂 But a lot of times I don’t make it and I don’t get particularly stressed about, even though it is kind of a bummer. Thank you so much, and I agree! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Usually I feel discouraged to read a hype books, I dont know, the more hype the books get, the less likely for me to pick them up. And when I get tired of reading books (english or local), I changed to reading fanfiction or chinese novels, there are nice people that translating chinese novel for free and post them in internet.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hype is such a weird thing. Sometimes it makes me really want to read something, and sometimes it’s really discouraging like you said! I do the same, only I alternate between comic books and fiction, whenever I get tired of one or the other 😊


  8. I can completely understand what you mean, but haven’t felt it myself. I’ve said it many times, and I’ve probably said it here, too, but I am not a super fast reader. Not at all. I like reading. I love stories. But I don’t hardly get involved with challenges, and I don’t stress too much on the stories I’ve missed out on. There’s just too many, and I’ll never get to all of them. I read what I want to read. I don’t have time or speed for more, and I don’t think that other people should worry about it too much either! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s such a great and postive attitude and I am totally working on adopting it as well! I am a pretty fawt reader, so whenever I am not reading, I can tell that I am reading less than I could, and that’s where my frustration comes from I think. But I am totally working on not being that involved and just reading because it’s fun 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! If I were a faster reader, I’d probably get more caught up in the competitive aspects. But I’ve already done more required reading for school than I ever wanted, so now it’s only things I want to read. And there’s far too much of that for me to get around to anyways.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I can totally understand. Reader fatigue is definitely real for me. I’m thankful for ARCs but I can do without them for once in a while because then I’d at least get to read something of my own chocie. ARCs often do put a bit of pressure on me, and 2018 is totally going to be different in this aspect. I don’t feel the competition too much, mainly because I don’t care a lot about how much people are reading as long as they are reading something, but I can udnerstand how some people might feel pressurized or competitive to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you on everything! 2018 is going to be a year of way less ARCs for me too. And I am the same with competition, but I also get how people might feel pressure to read more because of the others in the community.


  10. It’s so good to hear that reader fatigue is something others experience as well. I’m new to the book blogging world-I started bc I was constantly giving friends recs and wanted to compile it all in one place. Since then, I’ve realized how many book bloggers there are out there and have felt like I need to “catch up” and read more and more. I haven’t requested any NetGalley books bc I’m already so overwhelmed with my TBR from bookstagram!! I’ve also dealt with anxiety about writing a review for a book I wasn’t crazy about-I want to keep my blog updated but struggle with knowing what to say when I didn’t care for the book.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I see your point here! I try very hard not to request too many ARCs and to ask for the ones I really want to read. I have a rule: one ARC, one “moody book”, etc. It helps keeping the pressure on the low side.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ooooooh, I’ve been thinking about this so much lately. In the past two months, I’ve been hitting reading slump after reading slump after reading slump, and I was trying to figure out why. I think you nailed it perfectly. Earlier this year, I discovered ARCs and it just seemed like this amazing thing: free books that are before the release date?? I felt on top of the world…until I found books that I didn’t like, but I felt like I owed it to the companies to continue with them and then pushed myself right into the reading slump. And I felt guilty somehow too when I only got to 8 books or something in a month??? It’s super weird how blogging turns your reading so differently. But as you said, I figured out the main thing to do is to only ask for ARCs that you really, really want, and have the time for. And I should just be happy for any reading I’m doing whether it’s fast or slow. XD Wonderful discussion post!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes, the guilt when you somehow don’t read “enough” books is very real. Ever since I put this up, so many people agreed that they felt the same way, and that definitely made me feel better. Thank you so so much, glad you liked it!


  13. A month or so after joining this community I found myself reading books I didn’t like solely for reviews or because they were ARCs. I was dragging myself through books because I wanted to be able to contribute to certain discussions. It was tiring and like you said, a chore. After recognizing that feeling and even writing a blog post on it, I did away with review copies I wasn’t interested in and have become more mindful of what I choose to read. I don’t request books on NetGalley on a whim anymore. I’m honestly happier reading slow or less books as long as they’re ones I love and actually want to read! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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