In late October I watched a video by Ariel Bissett titled ‘Should We Always Track Our Reading?’, which really got me thinking about my own reading habits. In the video she talks about booktube’s obsession with numbers and tracking all these numbers of books. She continues to then talk about zines, which are self published mini books or magazines (hence the name). Ariel describes how she read a zine and had a mini crisis because it wasn’t possible to mark it as read and go on to talk about how zines are not trackable reading material. This got me thinking about why I would never read anything ‘untrackable’, which is probably true for a lot of people.
I rarely read anything that didn’t count towards my annual Goodreads reading goal. It felt good and it felt like I had a purpose for reading. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading and I love being able to track what I read. But, it was becoming a problem. I wouldn’t read an article or a magazine and I would definitely never ever read a newspaper. The problem with that was that I am fascinated by the trade of journalism and I’ve always dreamed of going into journalism myself. So why did I become so obsessed with being able to track it every single time I read just a single page? I can’t give a simple answer to that. One thing I know at least is that I like to organize and remember what I’ve read or watched in order to be able to go back and look at how many stars I gave it or read through the thoughts I had about it. I admit updating goodreads and accomplishing a public goal of 100 books in a year felt kind of bad ass. But on the other hand, when I finally completed that goal nobody came up to me on the street and patted me on the back and told me what a great human being I was for reading a hundred books. It was very anticlimactic and I honestly haven’t read much of real substance. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading for the sake of entertainment. In fact it’s one of my favorite things in the world. But only reading for entertainment gets old. I started realizing that a lot of the books I read had almost the same protagonist and the same tropes.
This obsession with being able to track the books you read is basically the same and just as strange as documenting what you eat on instagram. So, should we always track what we read? I mean what is the point really? No matter what you read or how much you read, you’re still a reader.