What Makes Me a Reader

Before I started blogging, I didn’t really read that much. I didn’t use Goodreads to keep track of what I read, but I know that the number of books I read was significantly lower than what I read now.

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Me in High School

When I started high school I started reading a lot less. It was partly because I was taking more time to focus on school, but it was also because I had stopped taking out books from the physical library around my freshman year. I only remember keeping up with maybe one or two series, with a few random books shoved in, but the thing is, even though I wasn’t reading a lot, I still considered myself a bookworm. 

There may have been years where I read max 10 books, but I would still list reading as one of my favorite hobbies. Everyone who knew me would still say, yeah, she’s a reader. I see some discussions that go around where people argue that people who don’t read a lot aren’t considered bookworms, or that there has to be a certain amount or kind of books read for someone to really be part of the bookish community. This confused me a bit because even though now I’m reading a lot, I didn’t in the past and I would still call myself an avid reader. 

It also feels like there’s a lot of pressure to read a lot with the Goodreads challenges that everyone participates in. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Goodreads reading challenge. I love that I have a way to keep track of what I read and when I read it, and I also like that I’m able to set goals for myself and (hopefully) reach them. 

or 40 or 75 or 200

I think that the problem comes when readers start comparing the number of books that they’ve read to the number of books that another blogger or reader has read. Before I started blogging, I never tied my ‘bookwormness’ to the number of books that I read, but now, I seem to keep trying to read as much as possible. I can’t say that the fact that I’m reading more is completely due to a need to read as much as possible. It’s also in part because I now have a lot more recommendations coming my way, but I think that also contributes to the problem. 

Me, perusing my endless TBR of recommendations

If I don’t read this book that everyone’s talking about or recommending, I won’t be able to discuss it and will be out of the loop. I never felt this pressure before, but I’ve recently managed to take a step back and realize that it’s not about reading every book out there. I’ve come up with a simple survey to help you find out if you’re a bookworm too. 

What makes somebody a bookworm? Answer this short survey to find out!

  1. Do you enjoy reading?
  • Yes
  • No

If you answered yes to the previous question, then you’re a bookworm!

Being a bookworm should not be quantified by how many books a person reads, or what those books are. You haven’t read anything this year but reading is something you enjoy doing when you have the time? Perfect! Come on in! Join the community!

Do I read more books now because of blogging? For sure. But it doesn’t make me any more or less of a bookworm than I was before. I do wish I could read every book out there, but I’ve come to realize that it’s pretty much impossible. What matters is that I’ll be a bookworm whether I read 5 books a year, or 100.

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Do you consider yourself a bookworm? Do you enjoy reading a lot, or do you like to read a select few books? Have you ever doubted your identity as a reader?

 

25 thoughts on “What Makes Me a Reader

  1. I’ve never doubted me being a bookworm because I. Just. Read. So. Much. I still go weeks (and occasionally months) without reading ANYTHING because I’m focused on something else but… yeah, I’m a bookworm through and through.

    This is a great post- very true. (I love discussions because there’s topic for debate or agreement and all that fun stuff) ~Beck

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    1. Yeah! I think it’s just sometimes when I’m in one of those reading slumps that seem to take forever that I start to wonder what will happen if I’m not reading a book right now? Turns out, nothing will happen 😂 It’s just some kind of internalized pressure to constantly be reading that I have to get over. Thank you! 💕 I love discussions too! I love being able to learn about other peoples viewpoints on a topic.

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  2. Such a great little discussion Chana! I was talking about this with my bookclub just this week. Someone was curious how many books I read a month because my challenge on Goodreads is so high. One friend who considers herself a bookworm said she reads 1 book a month. This shocked me because we talk books whenever we see each other and I know she’s read more than 1 book! Another woman wouldn’t say, only talking about how she reads in spurts and concentrates when she has a book she enjoys. I thought it was an odd response at the time. And another friends said 4-6 books a month which is really good. Now I realize that the one thought we were comparing and judging each other. I actually think of all of them as bookworms because book club (why would a non-reader be in one?!) Fascinating! ❤

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    1. Right! It’s something that I also didn’t even notice until recently. For most people, life just gets in the way of reading, so it’s not really something that people do that much of. I know loads of people who love reading, but often they read one book over the span of a few months. When things involve numbers, I think people get more defensive and start to think that it’s about competition or comparison. It’s happened to me before when I mentioned my Goodreads challenge, and I just had to explain to the person that I read that much because of blogging and also just because I wanted to set a personal goal for myself.

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  3. This is such an awesome post!
    I was always too scared to call myself a ‘proper’ bookworm, since I went through a huge reading slump. This is super important because I have been labelled as someone ‘who just likes to read’ since I had only read one book that month, and other times I have been labelled as ‘antisocial’ because I read two books in a week.
    But I answered yes, and I trust your survey more than the opinions of rando’s.
    – Emma 🙂

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    1. I’ve always loved reading but I do feel like I read less lately. I think, thanks to TBRs and realising how many unread books I’ve bought (in my defence a lot were ex library ones and ridiculously cheap) I kind of got bogged down and turned it into a chore. So I’m really trying to get back into the joy of reading as I miss reading as much as I used to. Plus September & October are jam packed with exciting releases. I do agree that as long as you love books then you can call yourself a bookworm. It’s just also incredibly hard not to compare how much you read with others whilst blogging.

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      1. Oh gosh, there are so many good books coming out in September and October! My wallet and my time are not ready 😂 Yeah, I also recently went through allll my unread owned books and organized. I used to go to a used bookstore in the city pretty often, but now I stopped for a bit because all the books were just piling up and it was getting hard to motivate myself to read any of them 😅

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        1. Yes mine either. I have no idea how I’ll keep up with them all, or manage to get copies of them :L I have the birthday excuse to get some but not all of them. Plus I have a stack of library books atm so I kind of have to tackle them first :L Yes that’s exactly what happened to me, I got so bogged down that I couldn’t focus. Instead I’d be super into a book for a bit then panic that I wasn’t reading quick enough and give up which only added to the problem. Now I don’t buy books as often but whenever I do I have an annoying habit of doing it in bulk :L

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  4. I love this discussion a lot! Recently, I’ve been wondering about what even makes us readers, and I found the answer here! It’s because we love reading! It doesn’t matter if we’re in a reading slump, or if we don’t read a lot of books a month, it just depends on if we love reading or not.

    I feel like when we join the book community, there’s so much more pressure to read more because we see all of these people reading 20+ books a month, but we don’t have to do that to be a “real reader.” We’re all readers, and there’s honestly no such thing as a real reader!

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    1. Exactly! There’s so much more of a pressure to read a lot, especially when you see some people with huge reading months. At the beginning of the year I was starting to calculate how much I read each week, and wondering how much more I would have to read so that I could end the month with a ‘good’ number. Now I just read when I’m in the mood (and when I have to review stuff 😂) and it feels so much better.

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  5. A big YES to this post! The same thing happened to me in high school. I turned to TV shows and studied twice as much as I had taken up lots of options, but everyone still saw me (me included) as a bookworm. Numbers shouldn’t matter, as long as you enjoy and treasure the hobby of escapism through pages 🙂

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    1. Absolutely! At the time, I didn’t even realize that I was reading way less than I used to, it was only when I got into blogging that I noticed, huh, I didn’t really used to read a lot. And I couldn’t have said it better myself, “enjoy and treasure the hobby of escapism” sounds so poetic 😁😍

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  6. hahaha i love your short survey to tell if youre a bookworm or not. and i TOTALLY agree!! i think often, we are so stuck on statistics and numbers and sometimes forget that we read for FUN and ENJOYMENT and HAPPINESS.

    and you’re so right that when you aren’t keeping up with the popular titles that you feel out of the loop and can’t discuss with friends and other book peeps. it’s definitely a mental struggle and can make you feel like a ~fake~ reader

    BUT it really shouldnt matter. read what you love and have fun and scream and cry about books bc thats why we’re all here.

    fantastic post chana, i really liked how you tackled this topic!

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    1. Thank you!! ❤💕

      Stats are so fun and it’s great to be able to keep track of everything, but it can definitely get in the way sometimes! Also, so many times I worry about being a “fake” reader 😅 Either you read too many popular books or not enough popular books. You’re right though, as long as there’s enjoyment there it doesn’t really matter *what* you read!

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  7. Great post, Chana! ❤ I personally think that our love of reading is what makes us all bookworms, regardless of how many novels we each read a year! There have been so many times when I've felt inferior as a reader/blogger because I didn't read a notably large amount of books a year. But, I eventually realized that the numbers honestly don't matter in the end. So long as we all love reading and talking about books, that's what we, as bookworms are truly about! 🙂

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    1. One hundred percent! All you need to qualify as a bookworm is a love of reading. It took me some time to realize that it’s not about the numbers. since it’s so hard not to get caught up in all the stats and comparisons that can be made to other bloggers. But, I’m glad that I’ve come to terms with it now, because it’s become way less stressful now that I’ve stopped pushing myself to read a crazy amount each month 😁

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    1. If you like to read then I guess according to my definition you’re a bookworm 😂 But society does tend to have it’s own definitions and stereotypes associated with the word “bookworm”, so I suppose that’s a whole different can of worms.

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  8. Reading lots does not make you a bookworm. I mean, I’ve always classed myself as a reader as I love books. I feel like the passion you feel for books and reading defines you as a bookworm. There are people who are way more passionate about reading than me, but it’s not a competition.

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    1. Yeah! I think that “it’s not a competition” is the perfect way to describe it. People get caught up in comparisons all the time, and by reminding ourselves that it’s not about other people we can easily stay on track and work more easily towards our own goals 😊

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  9. I have doubted myself as a reader many times on many occasions. Sometimes calling myself an avid reader feels wrong to me because I don’t read every day/often like others did. And I’m a mood reader too, but a bit turbulent one at that. There are times when I could read books every day for a long stretch of times. And then there are times when I could go on without picking up any for months.

    But still, I do enjoy books. I enjoy thumbing through the pages and immerse myself in the words and the world that emerged from them. At the moment, I’m calling myself an occasional reader (whatever that means). But I like your definition of a bookworm, because that means I’m one 😆

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