I saw a post recently from someone who was celebrating the fact that they had read over 230 books in the past year. They were, understandably proud. But the point of the post was not to be braggadocios, but to make book recommendations. In the lead up to the book list they said, “I’ve been told that I have to say 14 were novellas and 3 were audiobooks and apparently those don’t count but rather then get into a whole discussion of literary snobbery and reading discrimination I’m just going to tell you my favourites.”
To that clarification I have one thing to say, “Says who?”
Who is this person or persons that have been elected the Grand Pubah of “what counts as reading?” This sort of thing makes me crazy, and it is so counter-productive to developing yourself.
Audiobooks Don’t Count: Why not? Are you saying that you don’t learn and grow from listening to a book? If that’s the case, then I can assume we should never attend a lecture again. We should never watch a tech talk or watch a video. There is simply no way we could learn anything, right? That is absurd.
Novellas Don’t Count: Great. Where can I submit my books to make sure they are the proper length? Who decides?
The point is, we need to stop worrying about these unwritten and made up rules. If you are able to grow from an audiobook, do that. If you enjoy reading a novella, go get it. It’s this type of silly rule-making that (I think) hold people back from setting goals to grow. Because of silly rules like this, people are afraid to write down their goals because they think they “will do it wrong.” You will not do it wrong. Your goals and your accomplishments are very personal. They are your own.
So the next time you start down a path and someone brings up one of these rules, simply ask them.
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