I’ve always loved to read. I remember the first book I memorized as my Mom repeatedly read it to me. She would turn the pages of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham and I would recite the words along with the pictures. I know today that this practice is a stage of “pre reading,” but, at the time, I thought I was reading the words.
My love for reading continued from Dr. Seuss through Ramona Quimby, everything Judy Blume, The Babysitter’s Club, Sweet Valley High, Flowers in the Attic, and just about any Harlequin romance novel I could find. While I loved whatever series was popular at the time, I didn’t discriminate much about what I read. If it was available, I read it. I remember reading for hours during the colder months when I couldn’t be outside and falling asleep reading with the lamp on during the summer nights.
Ironically, college probably was the time when I read least, or perhaps it just seems this way because pretty much everything I read then was required. I read during university breaks, but I’m not a fast reader and had a challenging enough time keeping up with required course reading.
Graduate school and children meant that, while I still loved reading, I made much less time for it. And, again, much of what I read was either required or necessary (every expectant mother should read The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy). I realized a few years ago, in the midst of writing my dissertation, that I had all but abandoned reading for pleasure. I read occasionally, but it took me forever to finish a book, and I spent most of my time reading blogs. I also realized that I missed reading and not doing so made me sad. It was about that same time when I learned that the average American reads 24 books a year, but many people never read a book after high school. I didn’t want to become that person who didn’t read, especially since I love it so much.
I took action and challenged myself to read 100 books in 2013. I documented the books I read, and, at the end of the year, I had read 108 books. I loved that the challenge made me more intentional about making time to read. So much so that I decided to continue affirming the habit by challenging myself to read 150 books in 2014. I also kept a list of the books I read that year, and finished the year just meeting the goal.
I noticed at the end of the 150-book challenge that I was just reading to meet my goal, not because I loved to read. I decided that I had reignited my love for reading and I would not set a challenge for 2015, but I would continue reading for pleasure.
I read 97 books in 2015.
I documented the books I read on a 2015 reading list, just like I did when I was completing a challenge. Here are some details about the books I read last year, which I have thanks to the Goodreads app:
- I read more than 30,000 pages last year in books I documented on Goodreads, but, to be fair, I also document audiobooks there, so the true number wasn’t that high.
- The average length of book I read was 329 pages with Nora Roberts’s book, The Collector, the longest at 752 pages. Interestingly, I don’t remember feeling like that book was long, which says something about how much I like Nora Roberts’s writing.
- Paper Towns by John Green was the most popular book I read last year.
- My average rating was 3.4, which is a C in my mind. I’m a tough critic.
I am not setting a reading challenge in 2016.
I unofficially claimed on Goodreads that I plan to read 100 books. I don’t think reading 100 books will be much of a challenge, since I finished my graduate studies in 2015. I should have more time to read now. Either way, I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I’m just going to read what I want, when I want.
Despite not setting a challenge, I plan to document the books I read on my 2016 reading list, write monthly updates of my favorite books and continue sharing book-related information in the Real Nerds Read Facebook community. I also will continue placing every book I give a perfect rating in my Amazon online bookstore so you can go there to view and easily purchase them.
While I didn’t set a reading goal, I do have a few reading-related goals.
The first happens this Sunday when my book club will meet again for the first time in at least a year. The book club is a wonderful group of women with diverse reading interests. We used to meet once a month, but we got busy and stopped. We still see each other and miss each other, so I know we’re ready to regroup.
The second reading-related goal is to read more physical books this year. I, like many others, prefer paper books, but end up reading eBooks out of convenience. I am going to be intentional this year about reading physical books. I will give away the books I buy to members of the Real Nerds Read community. I see this as a win-win.
My third reading-related goal is more of a detail thing. I was giving books star ratings on this site, simply because that’s what most review sites do. But, in my mind, the stars always have been grades. A five-star book is an “A,” a four-star book is a “B,” and so on. This is just the way my mind works, being a professor. It just makes more sense for me to “grade” the books. So, on this year’s reading list, I will give the books letter grades instead of star ratings. The As and Bs are books I recommend. The Cs are things I find acceptable, but not fabulous. I don’t recommend you spend time on the Ds and Fs. I will place only “A” books in my Amazon online bookstore.
My final reading-related goal for this year is to buy fewer books. I know this is ironic, given my goal of reading more physical books and passing them on, but I still will purchase plenty of books. But, as you can tell by the number of books I read, my little habit can get pretty expensive. I often go to the online library to borrow a book, see that I’ll have to be put on a waiting list, and buy a digital copy instead. I’m not going to do that this year. If the library has a book I’m interested in reading, I’ll wait for it. I’ll also comparison price shop between bookstores and eBooks before I make books purchases. I need to be more fiscally responsible about my habit. Also, reading physical books and passing them along will make me feel better about spending because more than one person will get to enjoy them.
I’m happy with having read 97 books in 2015. More importantly, I’m glad that I read things I enjoyed and continued building my online reading community. I love reading and sharing my love of books with others.
A few questions for you:
Did you set a reading goal for 2016? If so, what is it?
What are you reading first this year?
Whatever you’ve decided, as always, happy reading!