Once upon a time, I was sagely informed in that I “read too much”. I’ve been told this from humans I know and also from internet creatures. Cue outrage and horror on my part. HOW COULD I EVER READ TOO MUCH?! How dare that phrase even exist! Rise my dragons! Destroy this concept!
But since it’s a phrase that bothers me…I thought about it. I mean, once upon a time, I read less than 100 books a year. I recall giving mostly 4 and 5 star ratings. Is that because I was awesome at picking books back then? Or because I didn’t have a very high standard since I hadn’t read so much? Did reading less books make me nicer to books? And is that a good or a bad thing?!?
CUE EXISTENTIAL CRISIS.
I like to love books. It’s an amazing feeling to kersplat your face into a novel and just absorb the story like it’s the most delicious cheesecake the world has ever known. Books are friends. Books inspire. Books instigate thinking. Books are artistic. Books cause you to view the world from different angles. Books tell you secrets. Books…
I mean, need I go on?!
I am made of 70% books. (I think the rest is 20% cake and 10% paper cuts.) BOOKS. That is how much they mean to me! I EAT BOOKS AND I LOVE IT.
But I rate about 65% of what I read 3 stars or lower. (This is a rough statistic. Actually most of the statistics on my blog are pulled out of thin air. Trust them though. Because if I say it, it must be true.) So doesn’t that mean reading so much isn’t working for me?
All that’s left, obviously, is a PROs and CONs list! I know! I know! A LIST. I love lists.
P R O S
- You get to live basically a thousand lives. And why would you knock that back, seriously?! WHY?!?
- You can experience so. much. stuff. Like skydiving or being chased by Romanian crocodiles or eating cheesecake by a waterfall. The options are ENDLESS.
- It helps you understand other people better. If you’re an unfeeling Vulcan like me…sometimes it’s nice to have humans laid out in black and white, with all their complexities explained.
- Also, it gives you friends. REAL FRIENDS TOO. The fictional friends are awesome…but what about the bookworm community?!? Bookworms UNITE. When you’re a bookworm, it’s like being abducted by other dead-tree-reading-fiends. You can eat books and howl together. What is not to love?!
- But I’m not going to underestimate the fictional friends too, because, daaaaang, what would I do without my fictional buddies?! Even if they pretty much ignore my existence even though I’m infatuated with theirs. Rude.
- If it’s your passion, than that’s downright epic…because what could be better than simultaneously collecting ART and WORDS and STORIES?!? They are like the most important thing in existence! After cheesecake…oh gosh. Wait. Maybe even BEFORE CHEESECAKE. This is getting serious.
- Your brain becomes like a library because you’ve read so. so. much.
- Ergo you can recommend books very easily because you’ve read them all. This is helpful to slower reading bookworm friends. You can tell them where those Romanian crocodiles are lurking and whether they should skip or not.
- Reading makes you smarter. It just does, okay? Ask me how to take care of a bee hive or how to do archery or how long it takes to travel the Oregon trail…AND I CAN TELL YOU THANKS TO BOOKS.
- If you read a lot you’re equipped for any conversation. If a human says, “So this one time I was lost in Siberia –” and then you can jump in with “OH I READ THAT IN A BOOK ONCE” and — boom — you can have a great conversation! Because I’m positive this is how conversations work.
C O N S
- Your brain gets so stuffed with books you forget other things. Like to how to bake bread or what your middle name is.
- And also you can forget books because you’ve read so many. Guilty of that…no denying. Sometimes books blur together too so you aren’t really sure which character fits where or how that series ended.
- Your standards get set MONSTROUSLY HIGH. And while it isn’t a bad thing to be in love with quality…it means you get more picky. Time is wasted on less-than-stellar books because you’ve seen it done better.
- It can take up a lot of your time. Unless you like to swallow books hole and absorb the story through your stomach, then reading will take up most of your night. Or your day. I’m not picky. It’s just maybe you’ll miss out on other things if you read all the time. (Is this a con though? Wouldn’t you want to read versus going outside and risking being burnt to death by the savage sun? I mean — NATURE AIN’T SAFE, PEOPLES.)
- Books can take over your house and you might have to live in a cardboard box outside. I’m on the verge of this happening to me. Of course this wouldn’t happen if you only libraried or kindled your books. But. Copious readers often lead to copious libraries. Which often leads to copious of despair over bookshelves.
- Fictional life is better than real life?! Okay, I’m partially joking here! But sometimes you can get lost in fictional worlds and they are just so much more interesting than your world. Sometimes you can get jealous because fictional characters do so much more than you.
- You become unsure if you’re YOU or if you’re actually Katniss. Or, you know, insert any fictional character there. I mean, is that habit or thought MINE or do I do it because I read it in a book somewhere?! (Again though…is this really a con? Surely it’s not a con that when someone says “frosting” I say “IT’S THE FINAL DEFENCE OF THE DYING, PEETA” rather dramatically.)
Why are all my pros and cons lists so evenly split? IT DOESN’T HELP ANYONE, CAIT.
I think the fact of the day, though is: read however much you possibly want. Because if it makes you happy, you should jolly well DO IT. (Unless serial killing makes you happy, or stealing avocados, or anything else morally wrong…then I don’t condone it, okay?) You can compensate for the negatives. For instance: I have a bad memory already, so I forget what I read fairly quickly…ergo I write reviews to remind myself of the book.
But ultimately, I’m in favour of happiness, okay?
I’m also guilty of wanting to know things. All the things? YES. ALL THE THINGS. And this is why I read, and I think that’s okay.
So can you read “too much”? The positives outweigh the negatives for me. But I won’t deny that reading copiously DOES have mildly bothersome drawbacks.