It’s the second to last day of 2011 and I did not reach my goal of reading 65 books this year and am unlikely to achieve it with errands to run tomorrow before a New Years’ Eve party.
I’m not going to lie – I’m bummed. Last year when I reached my 75 books read goal it felt good. And my timing was so perfect that I finished the final book on December 31st. I finished book #64 this morning (The Sisters Brothers) and searched my shelves in vain for something that might be read in less than 24 hours.
Instead of celebrating my accomplishment, I will reflect on what it was like for me this year to try and read 65 books.
In one word? Stressful.
My other half pointed out fairly early in the process that 65 books seemed like a lofty goal and when I said that I had managed to read 75 in 2010 he quickly pointed out that I had been unemployed for about 4 months in 2010, during which time I was easily reading 4 books a week. The glory days. Aside from having no money and the stress of searching for a job.
This year, I was constantly calculating where I was in the process, what percentage of book goal I had achieved, looking at some books, less for the merit in terms of story telling or interest and purely for page count and quick-readability. I counted The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a 54 page novella and Peter Pan, a hardly challenging children’s play, among my books because they padded my stats.
I left off reading magazines because they interfered with my book stats and War and Peace is still sitting on my shelf, untouched, because I knew that one would take me ages and I had already made the serious error in choosing to read Daniel Deronda, a beast of a George Eliot book that took me the better part of 2 months to plow through.
My point is that this is no way to read. I’m not sorry that I read any of those books. I loved reading them. But at some points I was more worried about reaching my goal than I was concerned with what I was reading. And for a lover of reading and books, this is no way to be.
I will still have a goal for 2012. But it will be far more reasonable and achievable so that when I’m in the right frame of mind, I will pick up War and Peace and read it and enjoy it.
On an unrelated note, I realize that I have, once again, been horribly remiss in posting about any of the books that I have read. This is partly, once again, because I was a slave to George R. R. Martin’s genius and partly due to holiday induced laziness. But I am going to be working on a series of catch up posts that will be published over the coming days to try and make up for some of that.