One thing I find frustrating is adults who feel the need to apologize for their reading habits, whatever those habits are. Nearly everyone does it. “I don’t read as much as I should.” “I don’t read very fast.” “I don’t read anything important.” “I read too much.” My question is: who set these rules? Is there some reading authority out there telling people that reading is a competition? One must read the right books at the right speed in the proper amount. Is there an award for the person who most meets these guidelines? Are the judges secret so one might be talking to a judge at any time? Must we be ready at all times to give the proper answer or face serious consequences?
Anyway, what I’m saying is that english teachers aren’t the owners of your reading soul. They aren’t the arbiters of your worthyness once you leave class. All they can do is make a mark in a card that you will eventually throw away. You don’t have to answer to them if some random person wants to talk books with you. Generally speaking, most people don’t have time to judge your lives. We’re all too selfish to think of the whole ramifications of someone else only reading two books a month. (Or year, or decade.) When people want to talk books, despite their own insecurities about it, they actually want to talk books. Lets work on not waste those moments on the confessional box.
I want to make a living at writing so I look at the market with all kinds of trepidation. We are competing with videogames, tv/movies, youtube, friendship simulators, arguing with strangers, etc . . . some of which are designed specifically to be addictive. There is no real cure for the Skinner box. Reading books is such a rare thing now. (Although people read much more now than they ever did, the trouble is they are reading regurgitated clickbait.) It’s tough enough out there for a book nerd that we shouldn’t be holding each other or ourselves to these ridiculous guidelines (yes, you must imagine me doing a Captain Barbossa eyeroll here.) Read what you want, at the pace you want, for whatever reason you want, and never apologize for it. (Except for [insert controversial book here], you must totally apologize for that one.)