A few years back, for no reason other than mild curiosity, I set myself a target to see how many books I could read in a year, all recorded on the goodreads website. The idea being that you set yourself a target, then record the books on the site as you read them. I started doing this in 2011, when I read 16 of a target of 15. In 2012 I upped the target to 20, and managed to meet it, but only just. In 2013, I set the target back to 15, knowing that the arrival of a new baby would slow my progress somewhat, but I still managed to get in 16 books. She’s a good sleeper.
For 2014, I’ve kept the target at 15. I’m not trying to competitively consume books, punishing myself to get to the end, but I think that’s a good manageable total. So far I’ve read one, so that makes me 6% into the challenge according to the widget on the site. In December Goodreads sent out an email with a link to a summary of the books read that year. It’s quite interesting to see what you read over the last twelve months. Here’s a handy graphic they provided;
Some of them I’d totally forgotten about, which probably meant they weren’t that good. There certainly were several average to forgettable titles in there. Totally average crime drama, a plodding literary fiction novel, and the cult A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole, which I hated. Did anyone else find this annoying to read, or am I only one?
But that’s the beauty of reading, you make a choice based on what you read in the synopsis and see on the cover, but you won’t know until you read it. It all adds to the experience. Read my post on reading bad books for more about completing or dumping books you don’t like, mid-read.
Looking at the graphic of what I read last year, I realise I read three George Pelecanos novels in 2013! That’s because I’m a big fan of the writer, who wrote several episodes of The Wire and Treme. His novels are everything I’d want my work to be (if I ever finish anything!) – taught prose, great narrative, and superb characters. In fact, I have another couple of his books to read this year.
Another thing I notice is that six of the sixteen books were read on Kindle, which is an increase on previous years’. The paper versus e-reader contest will continue I guess. I read at an average speed, and my opportunities for reading are pretty much restricted to evenings, mostly before going to sleep. I drive to work rather than use public transport, but if I did I’d probably decimate my to-read pile (although it would probably grow in proportion to my reading speed.)
Who else sets reading targets, either via Goodreads or just in general? What does your ‘already-read’ pile look like?