discussions · shanti · Uncategorized

Can you read *too* much?

Us bookworms are definitely ferocious about how important reading is and how everyone should read. I agree. But does it work the other way? Can you read too much?

read too much

Now, I love reading. I spend about an hour every day doing it (depending on the day). Reading benefits me in all sorts of ways that I don’t need to list to this audience, backed up by scientific data. Reading makes you better at writing, at learning everything—maths as well as languages—and helps you to be more empathetic. Does this mean that everyone should read all day all the time?

Imagine this. Reading has been proven to be good for you, so schools decide that they’ll focus on reading. You go to your history class. Everyone sits in silence while you read for an hour. The same thing happens in maths, English and Media Studies. You get home, after reading all day. You’re too tired to pick up the pile of novels waiting to be read.

This, to me, is an example of reading too much. For learning at least, there should be a mix of different strategies used to understand something. You need to write and listen and watch videos and ask questions.

What about reading for fun, though? Can you do too much of that?

I’m certain that everyone reading this post has things they like—or have—to do that aren’t reading. Going to school, having a job, maintaining a blog, seeing friends, cooking—whatever it is, you can’t always read while doing those things. Staying inside and reading all day might be fun just once, but if it was your whole life, it would get pretty boring.

When I was younger and homeschooled, one of the main things I did every afternoon was read. I would read for hours. But after reading for a while, maybe finishing a book, I did something really weird—I would go and put my head under a tap of cold water. I did this because after reading for so long, I would start to feel sort of fuzzy and disconnected from reality. The cold water woke me up, so to speak.

Similarly, if you read all the time you abandon other important things that are part of a good life—like spending time with family, going outside, learning skills like music, or travelling. Books take you places, to be sure, but your feet can take you places too. I feel like reading is a really important part of who I am—but it’s not everything and I hope it never is.

I’m not trying to judge people’s lifestyle’s here. The balance you want to maintain between reading and everything else in your life is absolutely up to you. But I guess I’m saying that I believe in most things (except chocolate perhaps) in moderation. I wouldn’t give up the feeling of getting lost in a good book for anything. I love how that feels. I love reading and talking and writing about books. I don’t want to give that up. But I don’t want to give up my non-book related passions either—being editor of the school newspaper and playing viola and running and hanging out with my family and playing board games. Reading is wonderful and I think everyone should read. But there can be negative aspects to reading too much and it’s really important to think about those.

 

So how do you balance reading and all the other things you like to do? Have you ever been accused of ‘reading too much’, and how have you responded? Feel free to (politely) disagree with me in the comments!

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18 thoughts on “Can you read *too* much?

  1. I come from a family of people who don’t really read (they have other hobbies!) so to them, I read ‘too much’. I also spend my lunchtimes at work reading, because it’s my way to relax! So my coworkers always see me with my nose in a book.
    I think the only time a person reads ‘too much’ is if they neglect other areas of their life. Otherwise, I’m all for people reading how ever much or how ever little! Just as long as they are happy doing what they do. 🙂

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  2. People often say I “read too much” in a bad way, and that’s definitely not true. When I’m not doing something else, I read. I also happen to play the piano and flute, run a blog, bake, play tennis, love shopping and creating, sewing, knitting, crocheting, and of course, spending time with friends and family. I read all the time… But at the same time, I have so many other things I love to do, and reading inspires me to do those things.
    With your permission, could I write a discussion based on this? I would give full credit to you, of course! (And it’s completely okay to say no, I promise I won’t be offended)
    -Amy

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    1. Us bookworms are multitalented creatures, eh. I read a lto, but I have so much to do, a lot of it the same things as you (knitting and crafting and viola and piano and baking and running and family) Reading is an important way to take a break. Of course, go ahead, I’d love to see what you write. (sorry this comment is so behind :()

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  3. I was always in trouble for reading too much when I was younger (since I wasn’t getting other things done). Now I am an audiobook addict and just read WHILE doing most other things. I have found that I need to build quiet times in as well, or I do get a bit of sensory overload. I have a morning routine that I do before I can turn on a book, and once a month I do a tech free day.

    My Most Recent Discussion: My Library is Calling Me a Liar

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    1. I used to get people to hide my books, or else put in homework reminders between the pages. I did a book free day once a month last year, and it was great. I would love to have time for that, but basically all my homework need the laptop, and then on my non-homework days I have to blog.

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  4. At my school, classes are intentionally set up to be a discussion-based environment (although we get our fair share of lectures, too). I think it’s really important, because as hard as it is for me to join in the conversation sometimes, reading only matters to the point that it also involves understanding and communication. And you know, books for fun are good too and sometimes you might need those days to just relax, but at the same time, books don’t replace you going out and living your life. That’s a pretty important thing to do, so yeah. Books rock, to a point. But life matters, too.

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  5. I also agree that you can read too much especially if it’s to the point where your head starts to hurt. And I think reading too much can also be when reading doesn’t seem fun anymore.

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    1. Haha, yep! That’s true–sometimes I just read and read and read and never stop (I mean, I stop eventually, but it sort of turns me off reading. All things in moderation, right?

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  6. Oh I could relate so much to that fuzzy feeling after too much reading. This has happened to me before, well, not lately since I haven’t had lots of time on my hands to read hours long, but…when it happens I feel kind of weird and so disconnected from reality, it takes me a moment to get back into it.

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  7. Honestly, sometimes I do read too much. I find myself in reading slumps if my school work gets to be too much. I’m a sophomore in college, studying for my Bachelor’s degree in English. A few of the classes I’ve had, I have had to read 300+ pages a week. I am so exhausted when it comes to “pleasure” reading. So it puts me in a slump. That totally affects my blog and the ARCs/review requests, but eventually I do bounce back from it. However, I do believe that blogging has only made me want to read more. Which, of course, is a good thing. 🙂 Great post!

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    1. Oh wow, I be college keeps you busy– having to do school reading is of course different from reading for fun, but it’s sometimes really hard to draw that mental line. You do need to know how to balance. Blogging has made me read more too. Thank you!

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  8. I completely agree! It’s important to have balance in all aspects of life, and reading is no exception. I think blogging has really helped me with this, because it adds a more social element to reading. Great post!

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