Hi friends. Remember how I was going to write once a month about every book I read the month prior? And now it’s June Eve, and my last post came out in early March? OOPS!
This has been one of the most insane winters/springs of my life, and I hate it. I’m crazy behind on my reading goal, and may be forced to adjust accordingly. I hate admitting defeat and/or giving up early, but I’m also trying to be realistic and adaptable. Here’s what I’m thinking…
As you may or may not remember, I’ve been trying to read 100 books in 1 year for the past 2.5 years. Last year was the closest I came, ringing in 2017 with 97 books under my belt. If you’ve been following along, you may also remember the semi-frantic posts that start coming out in late-November/December, where I’m purposefully reading the shortest books in my library (aka borderline-cheating) to fit in all 100.
In an effort to avoid that this year, and to stay a little… purer in my reading goal, I’m adjusting it. Instead of setting a hard number goal, I’m going to focus on quality rather than quantity. I have loved working against the 100-book goal these past 2 years, but I’ve also noticed my own reluctance to embark on any of the longer or more difficult books on my to-read list.
A friend recommended Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts at least 4 years ago; I got lucky and found it cheap in a used book store probably 2 years ago, and yet it remains on my shelf gathering dust because it’s 900+ pages, and that’s an intimidating page count when you have 99 other books to get through in only 365 days. Or my old Russian friend, Dostoevsky. I’ve been sitting on The Brothers Karamazov for way too long. I know I’m going to fall head over heels in love with it, but haven’t started because his books are more difficult to comprehend, have more characters to keep track of, are lengthy, are rich in meaning and symbolism, etc. than that slim book of poetry sitting on the shelf next to it.
I don’t necessarily think this challenge has turned me into a lazier reader, because that’s not the case. Reading 97 books last year took effort, no matter how many short books I was binging on toward the end. But I do miss spending long lengths of time on one book, losing myself in the world for more than 3 – 7 days, and really challenging myself with more difficult books that might be a bit outside of my comfort zone. The 100-book challenge was (somewhat) chipping away at my confidence to do so.
The niggling urge to change my 2017 reading goal began in the midst of Dark Money, which I spent a large portion of February reading. It was a long, dense book, but a fascinating and important one. Picking it up for the first time (and feeling it’s weight) almost deterred me, because it was clear that I’d be spending more time than I could afford on it. But I knew I wanted to read it, I knew it was going to be the most relevant in that moment, and I’m so glad that I did. It meant that I only got to 2 other books in February, but it was worth it.
So. That’s what I’m thinking. Right now, I’m in the middle of book #23 of the year (last year this time, I was finishing book #36…). Soon, I promise that there will be a post catching you up on everything I read in March, April, and May. Spoiler alert: there have been some really wonderful ones. Thanks, as always, for reading my blog, and following along in my reading journey (that I probably spend way too much mental energy thinking about).
And just because I was raised in sports/am a competitive person, I do feel the need for a little competition this year. Even though I just said I was avoiding a hard numbers-goal, just know that (unofficially) I’m going to try very hard to break 50 books. Wish me luck. ◊