My Currently Reading Shelf & Why It’s a Lie

If you use Goodreads then you know about the three “shelves” that they give you upon signing up: read, currently reading, and want to read. These three shelves really define a bookworm’s real shelves, but of course the option to add more shelves is always there and people come up with really creative names for what they want to shelve their books on.

Me? I’m lazy and just use the three.

BUT. If you take a look at my currently reading shelf…

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THIRTY. SIX. BOOKS. What the hell is that number about? I can barely focus on the one book I’m currently reading at the moment, let alone thirty-six!

See now, I have this bad habit. Do you want to know what it is? (of course you do, why else are you here?)

I start books and don’t finish them.

I KNOW. HEATHEN. But, let me explain.

It’s like I’ve talked about before a few times on my blog about how I want to read certain books during certain times of the year, or I’m just not in the mood to read, etc. These factors are huge in determining on whether or not I finish a book. If I’m super into it, don’t have a crap ton of stress in my life, or am just not super tired like I’ve been lately, then I can read a bunch of books in any given month. I find them enjoyable and I can fly through them sometimes.

But then there are times when I just… can’t.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I generally DO enjoy the books I’m reading at that given moment they’re sitting in my currently reading shelf, but more often than not my mood changes and I just don’t want to read it anymore.

My earliest book on that shelf is A Game of Thrones. I started reading it back on December 23, 2013. Almost three YEARS ago, people. Three. Years.

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And then I have a few books I started two years ago or last year and I’m just sitting here like, “Why haven’t I finished reading them?”

I know a couple of them I’m probably definitely not going to read anytime soon, so I can remove those if I wanted, but the others? I actually AM interested in reading them, but I just haven’t because… why?

Laziness? Lack of interest? More interesting books on my shelf?

I think yes to all three.

I also enjoy using the currently reading shelf to constantly update my reading progress on the book I’m currently reading at that moment. I like seeing my progress and how close I am to finishing and seeing if I can finish it in a certain time frame and stuff like that. It’s like a competition with myself.

I find that the shelves on Goodreads are super useful and awesome, for sure, but I think it’s just my mind’s constant flow of wanting to read ALL THE THINGS that so many books get pushed aside for just one book I’m super interested in at the time.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Do you abuse your currently reading shelf like I do? How many books are you actually currently reading? Are your shelves on Goodreads accurate representations of what you’ve actually read/are currently reading? Share your insights! I must know!

Always Having a Current Read

I was inspired to write my own blog post about this from Jamie over at Perpetual Page Turner and so I’m going to discuss reading for fun vs not or because you feel guilty for not reading a book. Read Jamie’s post here.

So I think we’ve all be there. If you have a blog or Booktube channel that specifically deals with books, book reviews, hauls, etc, then you’ve probably felt the pressure to keep up with the “competition,” so to speak. Before I started blogging or anything, I barely read anything for fun. I went months and months without reading books for pleasure simply because I didn’t have the time or the desire to. Well, sometimes I’d have the desire to and I still wouldn’t read much. I’d get books, but never read them or only partly.

I did pick up several over the years, but not nearly as much I’ve read in just the last seven months since I started blogging/vlogging. And when I did start reading again I had forgotten what it was like to read so many books and to just allow myself to be engrossed in them.

Now that I’ve been doing this for a while and slowly getting the hang of it, this year in particular I’ve realized that I’m just picking up one book right after another. I always seem to have a current read.

When I first started late last year I kept picking up and buying books simply because, well, I thought that was the right thing to do. I wanted to catch up to those that could read over ten books in a month, where I was only reading maybe two. I tried convincing myself that the amount that I was reading was fine, that I didn’t need to catch up to anyone.

But then that little voice in my head said, “You’re not doing well, Rayna.”

And I believed it. Those first few months were a struggle for me in terms of the reading and blogging world. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of books that I was never going to read because I bought more than I could read in a single month.

Once 2015 came around, though, I think something clicked.

I do set TBRs and goals for myself each month, but as the year has been progressing I’ve been lessening the amounts of books that I set on my TBR, and by this I mean that I’m only picking three or so books that I definitely want to get to for that month, and if I finish them then I have the rest of the month to read (or not read) whatever I want.

And for me, right now, that’s been super freeing.

Just last month I read a total of seven books. Seven! I’ve never, ever read that many in one month and I never thought I would (mind you, I’m talking novels, not comics/manga, which I can read super fast because PICTURES!).

I had only set a goal of four books for last month, so I read an extra three. I think that’s fantastic! I read books that I wanted and I read books where I didn’t have a “set schedule” in which I wanted to read them. I think that it was freeing.

But always having a current read has also been a bit difficult because sometimes I’d want to literally just sit in the world of the book I had just read and bask in it for days and days. I’d force myself to continue on, and I pined for that other world, the characters, everything! If it was the first book in a series, I’d want to immediately pick up the next, and so on.

Sometimes it was because I was reading them so fast, within a day or two, that I just wanted to keep going because I was challenging myself on how many I could read (I’m very competitive against myself).

I don’t regret doing this. I loved continuing on, getting my overall TBR pile down (I still have over 140 books I need to read if I want to get my TBR down to zero anytime soon), and just exploring all of these new worlds and authors as I went.

Personally, setting goals for myself helps immensely for anything, really. If I don’t set a goal, I don’t get anything done. Ever since I discovered Booktube and started my own book blog, I’ve fallen in love with it. Sure, sometimes it feels like a chore, but most of the time I just love sending out my own thoughts about the books I’ve read or the tags I’ve done or the discussions, like this one, that have been on my mind and I’ve wanted to see what others’ opinions were on the topic.

It can be restraining, but I’ve discovered what works for me, and even though it may mean that, right now, I always have a current read, I’m okay with that. As long as I give myself small TBRs, the rest of the time I’m free to decide what I do and don’t want to read.

There’s obviously no right or wrong way about reading. Read as fast or slow as you want, as many books as you want in a given month, day, year. Whatever suits you best. Don’t feel like you have to keep up with someone’s reading schedule when you know you can only handle so much.

Also, don’t get me wrong: I do take breaks from reading. This month I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, so I’ve been way more focused on writing than reading, and I’ve read three books, all of which weren’t on my TBR. But I also watch Netflix or just browse the Internet or do whatever I want that doesn’t involve reading. I need my down times, too, you know? It’s healthy that way.

What about you? Do you ever feel like you HAVE to have a current read? Has your reading increased since starting a blog/vlog? If you don’t do either of these things, what are your reading habits? Let me know!

Letting Reviews Affect What You Read

Okay, so I’m currently reading some books, right? I mean, I wouldn’t have this blog if I wasn’t, but I’m trying to red some books. I do a TBR every month, try to get through those, but sometimes I just can’t. And it’s not any one particular person’s fault other than my own.

But when I watch or read reviews (as non-spoilery as possible) before I even start a book, I put expectations on said book.

It’s seriously a problem and I’m getting really frustrated about it.

I’m currently reading “Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard and this book has been hyped up through the wazoo for the past few months (the cover! The world! The plot! OMG! is essentially all I’ve heard.) and so of course I’ve seen or heard from several people whom I respect as fellow book bloggers/vloggers that have done reviews on the book.

And their words are sticking with me as I go and it’s driving me crazy.

Now some of these people absolutely LOVED this book. Like, it was one of the best books they’ve read so far this year. And that’s great for them, really, it is. And then there are others that say it was okay, that it was eh, and that it reminded them too much of other books. Those opinions are perfectly valid, too.

And I seem to be thinking of all of the opinions of every person I’ve watched has made as I’m reading through it making it hard to clear my mind of everyone else’s thoughts but my own.

I’m pretty sure I’ve projected those same feelings onto others books I’ve tried reading but couldn’t get through. And it’s not fair on me as a reader to be doing this to myself.

Then I think, “Well, why aren’t I loving this?” “Yeah, I guess it is kind of reminiscent of ____.” “Oh, yeah, I wonder how this romance is going to happen.” And the list goes on.

So pretty much my question for you lovely readers out there is this: how do you separate the voices of others and focus on the voice of yourself?

I’m having a lot of trouble, guys, and I want to enjoy the book for what it is rather than not enjoy it for what everyone else thinks it is. You know?

Help.

(P.S. This doesn’t just go for this one book in particular, as I’ve stated above. There are a couple other books I’ve read in which others’ opinions cloud my own judgement and enjoyment of the book. This just happens to be what I’m currently reading, therefore it’s at the forefront of my mind.”