How reading goals take the joy out of books
Growing up, reading was therapeutic for me. I always thought of reading as something I did out of love. Sheer enjoyment, really, was always my purpose. Ever since I was a little girl, I would get two or three books a month, and I'd voraciously read through every word, remembering everything to my heart's content.
Then I grew up, and gained access to social media. The thought of connecting with readers from every corner of the world seemed hearty, so I joined various readers' groups. That is when I came across the concept of reading goals, and it was almost as if I was never a reader at all, a thought that hit hard given I always thought of myself as a good reader, if nothing else. I started buying books in bulk, reading only half of them at the best of times, forgetting the rest within a few months. It wasn't till a year and half passed that I realised that even though I had read more books in those months than ever, I had retained the least. I had fallen for the concept of reading goals, to only grow to detest it.
I find reading goals a redundant effort if the aim is to get into reading. It is more about quantity than quality. If we keep reading books, we are only creating inputs that will be registered as short-term memories. These will not even go through our working memory to become long-term, let alone leave behind an impact reading usually entails. It is better to read a book every month and be able to retain the contents for long than to read five books a month and wonder what they were even about after a year.
I have seen readers who were simply in love with reading become unhealthily obsessed with the concept of reading. Whilst profuse reading is seemingly romantic, nothing should occupy the life of an individual to the point where it does more harm than good. Again, not reaching reading goals can be discouraging and may dishearten the reader entirely. We are supposed to derive pleasure from reading, not disappointment at one's own self.
Reading as a hobby is extremely straightforward and simple. Thus, complicating it further by attaching superficial goals to it is a superfluous attempt to challenge oneself. As a reader, one should not feel inadequate for having read fewer books than another person.
There is no denying that there are readers who can readily extract said pleasure even through reading goals, but I find it rather counterproductive and diminutive when it comes to attaining the actual essence of reading.
Aysha's brain unclogs at the sight of a crown of raven curls. Don't ask her what it is because she won't tell at firstname.lastname@example.org