I began this year by logging into my Goodreads and updating the challenge to 100 books.
It may not be considered a big announcement for most bookish folx, I know people who read 400 books an year; (Cait) I highly suspect they’re not of the human species, but that is a story for another day.
For me, as a reader, 100 books is a drastic measure, shooting at a pie-in-the-sky, for up until now, the most books I have ever managed to read was 53. I remember that year, it was very stressful.
So, why then, am I attempting the monumental, if in foresight I am quite aware that this is me setting up the stage for future me to languish behind schedule in the last three to four months of the year?
In 2018, fueled by my near-failure the year before, I set the challenge at 12 books and completed it in the first three months, going on to read a total of 43 books.
While it did as I expected and allowed me to read what I want at the pace I wanted, without adding stress to an already stressful life; something occurred which I did not foresee.
The lack of a challenge left me lethargic and demotivated for the rest of the year. I had won, it didn’t matter what I read anymore, or even if I finished it.
Reading became a chore.
Having anticipated the 1000 ways this could end up becoming my undoing; I decided that first on that list was a way to prevent my lust for buying new books online from becoming a trash fire lit by the kerosene that was the need to read 100 books. This year, I especially can’t succumb to it as I don’t have a steady paying job yet.
My solution is re-reading.
When I was younger and we couldn’t really afford many books, my Dad always managed to buy me at least two an year – for my birthday and on Christmas. The rest of the year, I fed my voracious appetite by making my way through all my other books, reading some over and over until the sentences were committed to memory. But even then, I remember discovering something new in every reread: a clue that I hadn’t noticed before, a clever piece of foreshadowing.
It is a beloved habit I must rediscover in 2019.
Part 2 of the battle vs. The Dreaded Retail Therapy is the library – or in my case, the lack thereof.
One of my favourite excuses in the Great Book Splurge of ’16 was that I had to buy new books because there was no properly stacked library in this godforsaken island. While this is the truth, it is not the whole truth.
There is the British Council; and though it may be sparsely stocked when compared to real ‘libraries,’ with none of the newer titles, it looks like it might serve my purpose by opening me up to a load of other genres, classics included that I wouldn’t prioritise in my purchases.
I renewed my library card after nearly 8 years with that hope and I did spot an extensive Agatha Christie collection on my first foray, so we are positive in this camp.
If you thought I was now going to list the rest of the inevitable roadblocks that may befall me on my adventure of a 100 books then you have a grand opinion of me, for which I thank you.
But this is as far as I go. I learned a long time ago that there’s very little in life that can be controlled. The trick is to adapt to situations as and when life tosses them at you and pretend that you knew what was coming all along.
What does your Year in Reading look like?