Quality not Quantity

I have a confession to make. Every year I set myself a reading goal on Goodreads, I find it helpful and it also helps me track what I’ve read in a year. I also start off a thread on twitter that normally does after a few months because I forget about it. So, here’s the confession… I will not reach my reading goal this year. In fact, I’ll miss it by miles! And here’s why I’m ok with that…

I often get asked how I can read so much, generally speaking it all started off as a self-discipline issue for me. I used to hate reading, but I realised the benefit once I had nothing else to do, so I disciplined myself to read and now I love reading! But it’s also a time thing, I have health problems that significantly impact my sleep, meaning that I have more time available to me in a 24 hour period.

But there are still ‘normal’ people who manage to read tons of books and that’s great. Often people want to know how to read more or they ask me about tips for reading in general. I’ve written here about different types of reading, how to remember what you read, and about different principles for reading.

But I often respond to peoples questions of how to read more by saying that what you read is far more important than how much you read. Thousands upon thousands of books are published every year, a good number of them would fall into the Christian literature category. But they aren’t all necessarily good.

Sometimes, and in particular circles, those who read copious amounts of books are seen as the people to imitate. That’s not a bad thing but it kind of misses the point.

I would prefer to have someone read 2 great books a year than 20 ok-ish books. The question of quantity isn’t wrong but a better gage for reading is quality. It’s better to read good quality books than to tick off a reading goal that’s full with books that aren’t great.

That’s one of the reasons this blog, and others like it, exists. I read a lot and review books so that you can choose wisely where you invest your time and what kind of book you’re looking for.

I’m addition to this there’s also the question of how many books you own. I own tons of books, but I’m going to have a big clear out soon because I want the best not a big library. I want to be able to dwindle my library down so that it has the best materials in it that I have.

This will mean getting rid of good that are good, but not great and it will mean getting rid of some books that are ok. It’s easy for books to become an idol because books can be seen a physical signs or marks of intelligence. Remember the first few zoom calls in Covid lockdown where some pastors were on the lookout for the best bookcase shot in their background.

Wanting to read more isn’t bad, wanting to have more books isn’t necessarily bad. But remember to focus more on the quality of what you read and what you fill your shelves with. Quality trumps quantity, remembering that will help you read better and grow in your knowledge and love for Jesus as you do.

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