I’ve been keeping track of how many books I read per year for several years now. In 2013, I decided to set an actual goal and make it official by pledging it on Goodreads. Prior to last year, my annual book count was usually in the 70s. So when I set last year’s goal, I decided that 100 books would be a nice, slightly-challenging-but-still-achievable goal. I decided that I wouldn’t count picture books or rereads, but I would count middle grade, YA, adult fiction, nonfiction for both children and adults, and graphic novels. And for most of the year, I kicked butt!
And then I moved (which is basically the theme for my entire 2013).
By the time I was settled into my new place, I was about 4 or 5 books behind schedule. And suddenly, my heart was no longer into it. I realized that throughout most of the year, reading had become similar to marathon running for me. There were a lot of books that I started then stopped because they were taking me too long to get into, and I didn’t want to waste the precious time when I could have been reading something else. There were also a lot of books that I simply skimmed through, barely taking anything in, just so I could finish and log it on Goodreads.
I continued reading and logging my books on Goodreads, even as I fell further behind my goal. I ended the year with 86 books (not counting those that I started and stopped). If this was a high school 100 point test, I would have gotten a B-. And I’m okay with that.
My official Goodreads goal for 2014 is 40 books. Which, I know, sounds ridiculously low. And I honestly expect to greatly exceed that goal. However, I don’t want reading to be a marathon. I’m setting the low goal this year so that I can take my time with books. So I can plow through slower books that I nevertheless want to finish. So I can settle down with an old favorite and reread it without worrying about falling behind on my goal (I’m still not counting picture books or rereads for this low goal). So that if I want to take a yoga class or spend a weekend hiking, I can do so without worrying about the books I’m not reading.
Maybe some day I’ll feel like tackling a 100 books goal again. Or maybe someday I’ll be on a committee and be required to read a lot of books. But for right now, I’m going to focus on quality instead of quantity.
(Now watch me read 100 books this year just to spite myself.)