People Aren’t Lying About Reading. You’re Just Insecure.

Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

It’s that time of year again on the bookish internet: the time when we all gather together to talk about our favorite books of the year, our least favorites, and how we did on our reading goals. This should be a moment to trade book recommendations, celebrate our fellow readers’ wins, and look forward to all the excellent books coming out in the upcoming year.

Instead, book influencers on every platform can look forward to an influx of comments that say something like, “Some of us can’t read that much because we have full-time jobs. And children.” Some will ask, “How do you read so much?” while others will subtly — or not-so-subtly — imply that the creator didn’t really read 50 or 100 or 400 books this year.

Commenters rush in to litigate those numbers: audiobooks don’t count. And graphic novels don’t count. And romance doesn’t really count. Neither does YA. Or novellas.

Some people even make their own TikToks to reassure others that no one is reading hundreds of books by any definition: they’re all lying about it. They’re making up those numbers to brag.

If you’ve been on the bookish internet for long, you’ll realize the truth: there’s always someone reading more than you. I read about 100 books a year. By normal standards, that’s a huge amount of books. But Liberty Hardy, cohost of All the Books and professional velocireader, makes that number look puny: she reads 600+ books a year.

There is always going to be someone out there who reads more pages per minute, who is able to set aside more time in their day, who can listen to audiobooks faster than you.

I’m always puzzled by people who think that 100 books in a year is an impossible number, because I simply do not read very much…

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