In the last four months of 2012, I set a goal to read two books a month. (I referred to the challenge as Read More for Four.) I liked that two book pace so much that I decided to adopt it for all of 2013. Good Reads, my book-tracking website of choice, allows users to set a yearly reading goal. During every visit to the site, I could look at a cheerful bar graph telling me if I was two books ahead or one book behind.
It was a close call at the end, but I did it. I read 24 books! By all rights I probably should have read more. I was two or three books ahead throughout the summer, and in September I broke into the twenties. At one point I even considered raising my goal to 26. Luckily I didn’t because the rest of the year saw a distinct slowdown. Whether I was burned out or just busy, I squeaked out my twenty-fourth book on New Year’s Eve.
This reminds me why 24 books is a reasonable goal. It leaves room for variations in time and attention span. In 2013 I read The Accursed and A Game of Thrones, both of which are over 800 pages. No one would mistake me for a speed-reader, and those aren’t the kinds of books I can bang out in a week. Other books took just a few days. Measuring by number of books, it’s the most leisure reading I’ve done since high school. And if I switch my Good Reads stats to pages read per year, I beat my high school self by about 500 pages!
One reason I love this blog is that it helps me track the ebb and flow of my interests. 2013 was a book-centric year, no doubt about that. When I started the blog back in 2011, it tended to be more movie-centric. That year I had ten movies on my best-of list and a mere five books. In 2012 the balance shifted to ten books and five movies. By this year I didn’t even feel comfortable picking five best movies because I barely saw more than five of them.
Well, the new year brings new goals. I can feel my interest in movies rekindling, and I’ve decided to renew my Netflix subscription for at least a month or two. Of course, I still consider books to be my most important teacher. Two books a month is the goal for 2014. Maybe I can find a way to balance both my interests? We shall find out!