From 9 Books in a Month to 3 Books; Why I Escaped the Race of Speed Reading & Why You Should Too

I started my journey as a book blogger back in 2020. The year I found out about my love for books. I began by sharing the books I was reading on Instagram. And out of nowhere, my account started growing and I had crossed 10,000 followers on Instagram.

There are so many book bloggers in the industry who were reading books way before me and it was tough to keep up with them. Every book blogger shared how many books they read in a month or their yearly goals. I remember, once a famous Indian BookTuber shared that she had read 150 books in the past year. I was SHOCKED!!

These constant competitive goals made me question myself. And I found myself asking, ‘I shouldn’t be a book blogger for I haven’t read so many books like them nor can I read so fast’

But I also knew that I want to share my book insights with people so I did what competition usually makes us do. I fasted my speed in a myth that if I wanted to keep my audience, I have to read more books so that I can say with authority the number of books I have read.

Besides, the more books I started sharing on Instagram, the more my account started growing. I was still in love with books but I was rushing the process. I had set the target of reading at least 2 books every week whilst trying harder to finish a book within 2 days.

With every book read, I felt pride. Mind you, pride not proud. I thought I have cracked the code of ‘speed reading.’ Instead of using my mobile, interacting with friends, or doing anything else, I used all my free time to read books.

I was proud of myself that I am not wasting my time but at the same time, if you do the same thing every day without break, surely you become a master in it but the pressure takes away the joy from the process. And your love for your work transforms into anxiety.

I realized that even though I have successfully read tons of books in a short span of time yet I wasn’t really satisfied with how I was reading and I wasn’t able to connect with those books. Besides, I stopped taking notes creatively because I thought, ‘I will remember what I have read and instead of taking notes, I can invest the same to read another book’

Give me a break and let me say this to myself, ‘What a stupid ass you were’

I regret that I rushed reading. Reading is the purest form of enjoying a piece of someone else’s mind. An art to savor slowly. A collection of words that can make your heart feel understood and change your entire life if you focus.

Such a dumb ass that I was ignored all of it for a bit. And just like everyone tries hard to excel in their career, I tried to work hard with reading. Yes, I accept I was wrong.

But as there is a proverb ‘better late than never’

The constant pressure of reading more and achieving as many milestones as possible burned me and I had to take a long break from reading. Sometimes, distance teaches you what you have lost. Just as when your loved ones go away from you, you miss how they made you feel and how free you were in their company. Similarly, I realized that I love reading so much that I feel free among those words that take me to a better place.

I want you to realize this as well. There are so many book bloggers and other creators who are doing a great job of influencing you into setting a target to read as many books as possible. But that is just going to create a burden on your shoulder.

And if your mind is focused on reading the book faster, you wouldn’t be able to focus on reading the book effectively. The point is, if 15 read the same book, everyone will have a different take on it, right? But there will be one person who can do the postmortem of the book. This one person analyzes the book as deeply as possible so that he/she can read the hidden meanings between the lines.

That’s the power of slow reading. To give you another example, I hate reading short stories. But on 1st February 2023, I read a short story on Medium and it inspired me so much that I am writing a short story myself. I read that short story with ease and all my focus which helped me analyze why short stories matter. And what should be the target of a short story? If I had skimmed through it, I wouldn’t have been writing my first fiction short story. I am so proud of myself for that.

So, read slowly and dig deeper into the words that seem to have a simple meaning. Because when you delve into the words, you will read what no one else could.

I just shared with you how I ended up writing my own short story but honey, this is not the first I read a short story.

It was the quality and depth of that story that ignited a desire in me to write one myself. Hence, it doesn’t matter how slow or fast you read, it matters what you read too.

If you read shit, no matter how slow you read or how deeply, you will produce shit.

Not to say but our generation is quite obsessed with shit, aren’t we? We like to spend our time on Instagram, TikTok, or some other social media platforms. As soon as we feel bored or are waiting in a queue, we take our phones out and start scrolling again. Just mindless scrolling and then we wonder ‘why am I not creative’

Honey, you got to be smart with what you fill your mind with. To avoid mindlessly scrolling social media, I use an app called, ‘Shortform’ which is basically my best friend. Shortform is a platform for readers with the best uber-high-quality guides to non-fiction books. And their guide is so good that you wouldn’t need to read the book.

For example, I read The Mountain is You book the other day. I was stuck at my aunt’s home so I just took my phone out and completed the entire summary which again helped me grasp the key aspect of the book within 30 minutes in an actionable format with a questionnaire on how I can implement what I read. This saved my time and helped me learn whatever the book offered.

The best part is it’s available to download as an app as well in both ios and android so when you feel like scrolling social media, just scroll Shortform — read the book (also available on your kindle device)

I have recommended Shortform to you earlier as well and believe me, you will thank me once you start using it. You will become addicted to reading the book summaries, to gain knowledge. ShotFrom’s summaries are not a blindspot where you will only find cherry-picked words. But their summary actually does an analysis if there is a concept that any other has spoken against so that you can take time to know what you believe in.

Here, get it now, ShortForm.

There is an author who publishes only one book once every decade and her books become a bestseller instantly. Readers wait a decade to read another book by Donna Tartt. She recently shared that one of her books was inspired by a painting she saw in a museum. That’s art.

Many people go to museums but they are in rush. Rush to see as much as possible and click cute pictures. But only a few people are like Donna Tartt who can read what is invisible to the naked eye.

When a journalist asked Donna Tartt, why doesn’t she try to write faster as that will help her launch more books in her lifetime? To which she answered, ‘I have tried to writer faster but that didn’t work for me’ She also said, you have to feel joy while writing so that you can pass on the same joy to the readers.

That is a perfect example of enjoying art. You cannot rush art. You cannot force yourself to read faster yet enjoy the magnificent art of words. You have to be patient. You have to pick a book in your hand when you know you can give time.

I don’t want to keep stretching because you get the point, right?

I am loving the process of reading 3 books in a month rather than reading 9 books just to win the race. I highlight more. I pause and stare at the ceiling of the room when I read something breathtakingly beautiful or heartbreaking. I slow down and write what a particular sentence or incident made me feel in the book. I enjoy the art and savor every word. I recommend the same.

Also, you can join my newsletter here if you want to stay updated on what I reading, learning, and writing. I shall announce my book launch soon so stay tuned.

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100K on Instagram. I talk about slow & Intentional living. I wrote a book too, here: https://a.co/d/18omrHb

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Renuka Gavrani

100K on Instagram. I talk about slow & Intentional living. I wrote a book too, here: https://a.co/d/18omrHb