Saturday, January 01, 2011

100 Books in 2010

Last year, in honor of my first full year of blogging, I participated in the 100+ Book Challenge hosted by The Home Girl's Book Blog.  I've been averaging between 60 and 75 books a year, so I figured that getting up to 100 was a way to improve my close personal relationship with my to-be-read shelves.

Yesterday, with two hours and 39 minutes to spare, I finished my 100th book.  I had to read 5 young adult novels in two days to make it happen, but I did it.  I completed the challenge.  And guess what-today, if I'm keeping a yearly total, I'm back to zero, zip, zilch, nada, none.  The euphoria of completing last year's challenge is replaced by a sense of emptiness and despair...

OK, not really, but here's what I learned from participating in this challenge in 2010-I don't like reading on someone else's schedule.  Yes, I know I signed up of my own free will, but as the year progressed I found myself more focused on quantity rather than quality, on accumulating titles rather than knowledge or literary wisdom.  I found myself choosing my books not by their topic or my interests, but by their length.  Satanic Verses-too long for 2010.  Under the Dome by Stephen King-sorry, you'll have to wait.  Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin-so sorry, I know my friend recommended you to me last winter, but you just have too many pages for me.  I passed over books I really wanted to read by Diana Gabaldon, Margaret Atwood, and Joyce Carol Oates simply because I thought they would take too long.

Constant Reader, I hear you saying, "Why not just give up on the challenge?  It's not like you win money for finishing, or get punished if you don't."  But one of the things about myself that I am generally proud of is my stick-to-it-iveness, my commitment to finishing what I start.  And it wasn't all bad-I did enjoy watching my numbers climb.  At the end my friends even got into the act, cheering me on with Facebook messages as I rushed to finish the last several titles.  But when I saw the post for the 2011 100+Book Challenge, I clicked the back button.  And the first book I picked up off my shelf today-Under the Dome, the 1000+ page tome that has been sitting on my TBR pile for far too long, given how much I love reading my Uncle Stevie!  My challenge this year?  To read what I want, when I want, and try to keep my Goodreads Bookswap addiction under control.  And if I get to the end of 2011 having had a full year of literary goodness, I will consider the year a raving success.

6 comments:

  1. I know what you mean. I didn't sign up for that challenge, but came close anyway, hitting 98 complete books. This year my goal is to read fewer books and finally tackle some of those long ones that have been languishing on the shelves.

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  2. i stopped counting how many books I read as I got about mid-way through the year. I don't have a set goal, but I can see how hard it would be to get the COMPLETE amount and you really couldn't read what you wanted. I just hope to read more books this year that I BOUGHT and not things people sent for review. :)

    -Lauren

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  3. Good for you, getting your challenge done! Like you, I'm not doing too many challenges this year (I think), because I want to read what I want and not be restricted too much.

    Have fun reading the books that you didn't get round to in 2010!

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  4. The 100 book challenge was a fail for me (79 books read). I can see exactly what you're saying about the challenge guiding you and where that would be a problem. Glad you are reading what you want this year. I hope you enjoy Under the Dome - I did for the most part but did get annoyed!

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  5. I devoted reading a couple of chunksters, including Under the Dome & The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo this year that severely limited my yearly total to just 18 (though my memory is foggy on what I read prior to starting my blog). I think a goal of 100 per year needs to wait until I get my reading time in check :/

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  6. Last year I read about the challenge somewhere and unofficially joined it. I made it to 119, which surprised me. My goal this year is 150.

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