I’ve always been a voracious reader, but it wasn’t until this year, that I put myself to the test and signed up for several reading challenges. For the past decade or so, I’ve been keeping track of the books I read with the title, author, and basic plot description in various book journals. Thank goodness I did that because I am now, prematurely I think, at the stage where I have to go back through the journals to see if I already read a book that looks somewhat familiar. How many of you have read 3/4ths of the way through a book before realizing that you already read it? Sheesh!
This year I decided to put the pedal to the metal and get competitive with myself and see exactly how many books I can read in a year. In an effort to educate myself, a couple of years ago I started to read classic books that I missed out on in high school. How could I have gotten through 10 years of higher education and not read George Orwell? Aren’t all librarians required to read Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”? When my colleague introduced me to the Classics Club and their reading challenge, it was a match made in heaven — reading classics for my own erudition and getting external credit and praise for it! Thus, my first challenge is a doozy — reading 50 classics within a five year period. This year, my first, I have read 5 classics, so I have to step up the pace in the remaining 4 years of this challenge. I do feel smarter, though!
Next up, the GoodReads challenge. As I write this post, I have read 97 out of 100 and I am on track to finish by the end of the month. I have also combined efforts with our Nevins team on GoodReads, so you can check out what your librarians are reading.
Since it sounded fun and I thought it would bring my reading in new directions, I printed out the PopSugar 2016 reading challenge and chose to follow it privately. Even though it had interesting parameters to meet like reading a book with a blue cover, a book based on a fairy tale, a romance set in the future, I still read what I wanted to read and let fate decide what “fit in” with this challenge. The final result: 25 out of 40 book categories read. I didn’t really challenge myself with this. Maybe it was because I already had to read books I wasn’t comfortable with for the book groups I belong to?
Finally, since I was curious and place setting appeals to me, I recorded what states and countries my reading led me to. In the United States, my reading took me on a cross-country trip through 26 of the 50 states. Louisiana garnered the most titles, 5, most probably because I visited New Orleans in March and it is such a colorful, dynamic place to read about. Internationally, good old literary England won out with 9 titles, although there was a good showing from the African countries (6 titles). Over all, 16 countries, not including America, were represented in the final tally. Going outside my comfort zone, I read 6 titles that largely took place in outer space, and even one book that took place far beneath the sea — 20, 000 leagues under, in fact.
All in all, this has been a good experiment and one I am willing to embrace again for next year. Where will your reading take you in 2017?
Happy New Year of Reading!