Saturday, November 11, 2017

Reading is Not a Competitive Sport

Ok, we need to talk about something. I spend a lot of time on the internet, and I’ve been seeing a ton of content from a ton of book fans out there about what counts or doesn’t count as cheating when you’re reading a book.

The very idea that some people believe there’s cheating in reading is baffling to me, but I’ve seen a lot of articles about how audiobooks or graphic novels or short stories or rereading a book or reading middle grade as an adult somehow count as “cheating.” Apparently something about these choices makes them less literary or less important or just “less” than an 800-page hardcover classic novel for the first time?

I’m here with a groundbreaking announcement: Reading is not a competitive sport.
Even if your entire TBR list is built with your GoodreadsReading Challenge goal in mind, the only person you’re competing against is yourself. If you want to make your own rules, that’s cool, but don’t try to make other people adhere to them. The world does enough to make reading seem like a chore or like something only “nerds” do, and adding this competitive atmosphere to it is just going to turn more people off.

Everyone has different reading preferences, and that’s totally cool. You don’t have to like graphic novels, and I promise I’ll never force you to listen to an audiobook. I personally have never been able to get through a short story collection. But just because we might not like something or it might seem like it’s easier to read than other types of books doesn’t make it less of a book.

I’ve honestly written four or five drafts of this blog post because this topic is so important to me. I happen to LOVE audiobooks and graphic novels, and it feels really condescending or belittling when I see articles from book sites I love trying to rationalize that some people somehow think that me reading a comic or listening to an audiobook isn’t the same as them reading a novel.

So please, let’s do our best to backtrack on turning reading into something competitive. You and me and the person who reads this post after you are all going to prefer different genres and formats and that’s a good thing. It doesn’t mean that one person’s preferences are inherently better than the others.

I know people have a lot of feelings about this, so please leave your thoughts in the comments! If you aren’t a fan of competitive reading, what do you think could be done to change the atmosphere? If you think competitive reading is a good thing, I’d love to hear your side. 

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