Reading is good for the soul.

That’s because books offer intellectual enrichment and enjoyment. Whether you are reading a psychology book or the latest Brandon Sanderson blockbuster, reading produces emotional and intellectual benefits. At Snowy Fictions, I encourage reading in general because I know that it makes a valuable difference in life.

Read-a-thons offer the opportunity to read many books in a short time frame. And to be honest? They are fun. However, I recommend read-a-thons for readers who already have developed reading habits, and are familiar with various genres and styles. That’s because they are better prepared at picking suitable books for rush-reading. Not every book is great for reading in a short time span.

For example, a lot of political and social non-fiction is unsuitable for read-a-thons. You can’t binge read a book by Douglas K. Murray, nor would you want to. I’m taking my time to read The Strange Death of Europe by Murray, because I want to compliment my reading with historical research, critical writing, and debating my ideas. Whilst Murray’s writing is absolutely terrific, and I’m nodding my head in agreement at his words, it is a book that requires time and patience.

Literature is not a one-sided relationship where an author talks to the reader. Not at all. Literature involves both the reader and the writer engaging in a wider dialogue, and doing something with the information that they are given. What Dostoevsky writes in Crime And Punishment is just one part of literature. How we interpret it, how we talk about it, and what we do with it is just as important.

The greatest readers and writers acknowledge that, and use it to their advantage.

Most beginner readers must accept that they can’t read everything within a year, or even a lifetime. And that’s okay. Pick books wisely, and your ability to understand literature will still develop. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your reading, and don’t ever think that you aren’t ‘smart’ enough to read something.

Sadly, literature scares people from reading. And that’s a shame.

It’s no wonder that many people say that they want to read more, and are unhappy with their current reading habits. But instead of reading more, read better. Pick 1-3 books to read in two months, and take your time with them. Reflect and synthesis the information you read. Just because the author is thinking critically, doesn’t mean you can’t either.

You must believe that you are capable of reflection and critical thinking. If you are not, trust your abilities to develop such skills. The best way to do that is through reading and writing.

I recommend writing down your literary thoughts, and see how they progress. Talk about what you read with family and friends, or join a book club. One of my favourite aspects of literature is that it contributes to excellent debates regarding philosophy, history and art. Will every book do that? No, and that’s okay. So if you must binge read, or embark on a read-a-thon, pick books that you have some familiarity of.

For me, I enjoy the Discworld books. Others may suggest romance, or even modern literary fiction. But you must understand that some books are more demanding than others, and that it is okay to take your time with certain books. It’s also not an insult to anyone to say ‘this book is less intellectually demanding.’ That is often true, and as readers, we must conquer our many fears surrounding literature.

Reading is not a competition.

It can seem that way, especially if you are a book blogger like me, or it is tied with your job. But how many books you read is not an interesting fact about you. What is interesting is what you got out of those books. Once I understood that, dealing with stress and anxiety got easier.

My point writing this article is to suggest taking your time with fewer books. Literature is like visiting the Louvre in Paris: you can’t possibly see everything, but the paintings you can see, you’ll value. Think hard before you embark on a binge reading session, and start to develop helpful long-term reading habits that will assist you in life.

What are your thoughts? Comment below.

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