With only a couple more weeks until the end of 2014, I’m at the point in my reading year where I only really read things that I think will help me get a more impressive reading total.
Before I kept track of how many books I read in a year, I read whatever I wanted, unrestricted by challenges and competitions. I just read because I liked it.
Then I had the brilliant idea to start logging all the books I read. Initially this was just because I thought it would be fun to be able to look back at the titles I had read, sure that over time I would put together an impressive list. But then I started competing with myself.
And that’s where I’ve run into trouble.
A couple of years ago I set a goal for myself: read 65 books. I managed 64. The year after that I bumped the goal number to 75 and read 82. I was pretty damn smug but didn’t want to spend my time thinking about how many books I’d read and how many I still needed to reach my goal vs how much time was left in the year so the year after that I stuck with 75.
Naturally this year I want to read 116. Technically my goal this year was 75 again. But I really want to read 116. And I’m close – I’m working on 106 right now. But realistically with 14 days left in the year, it’s not going to happen.
And I’m so irritated by that.
I finished A Hercule Poirot Christmas (SO GOOD you guys), a delight to read and nice and short at 271 pages. I was going to read Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad but flipping through the pages noticing the dense text and then peeking on Goodreads to see that many people found her prose “experimental” I decided not to spend my time on it. I don’t go for experimental prose. I cracked Tom Rachman’s The Rise and Fall of Great Powers. I think I’ve managed to get to a point where I’m interested but at the same time, it’s definitely not The Imperfectionists and my restless reading spirit wonders if it shouldn’t have gone with the Jane Green book I took out of the library?
If only I had never started keeping track! But I won’t lie to you – I get immense satisfaction flipping through the pages of the books I’ve read in the last couple of years. I’m secretly super proud of the fact that since the beginning of 2013 I have read 221 books. Because I’m a nerd like that.
But this is the point in the year when before I start a book, before I admit to reading it on Goodreads, I check how many pages it has and what the font size is. There’s a book I took out of the library that has tons of pages but like 7 words per page. That’s about what I can handle right now.
I’ve read a great number of wonderful books this year but the end of the year just sees me frustrated that I haven’t read more of them.
Which is the most first world book nerd problem I could possibly have.