Two-thirds of the way through the year and it’s a good moment to take stock. Which authors read, what books completed, what goals reached, what satisfaction achieved. That’ll be the who, what, when, where dealt with, and maybe the how, but as to why — that’ll require some introspection and I’m always a bit wary of that.
The 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge required me to set a number representing the total titles I hoped to read this year. Rather timidly I plumped for forty, but pleasingly I’d nearly reached this figure by the end of August: thirty-seven books read, or 93% in total. As Week 36 of this year begins on September 3rd, it’s clear that I’m reading at the average rate of one book a week — bully for me! — but rather pitiful if I were actually into competitive reading. Which I’m not!
Another way to approach my reading was the 2018 Ultimate Reading Challenge, which required a total of fifty-two books in fifty-two categories read before the year’s end. (How many a week? You do the maths!) Following current form I theoretically can achieve this, but there are snags.
First of all, one of the categories — a book read in school — is mysteriously duplicated, meaning I can either read two different school books or else substitute a new category of my own choosing. However, a check on Hannah Braime’s original website page which detailed the challenge shows this as more nuanced: A book you were supposed to read in school but haven’t yet. As I was a day dreamer in school there’s bound to be a whole stack to choose from . . . if only I could remember the titles.
Secondly, not all the books I’m reading comfortably fit every category listed: I seem to have only fulfilled twenty-nine of these categories. However the odd other title has occasionally fitted in with my local bookshop’s monthly challenge, such as reading a book in translation or a book made into a film.
Finally, a goal I mentally set myself for this year: to read more books by female authors, so as to achieve something at least resembling parity. That seems to be going well as most of the first half year was spent alternating female and male; and in fact the ratio appears to be now weighted on the side of women. I’ll see how long that lasts…
It’s good to note such milestones as I progress through the year but, as always, I am careful not to let these goals or challenges become millstones round my neck. I’m just pleased if I manage to read a wide range of books rather than the usual options that simple laziness would plump for, and so far that has featured classics, graphic novels, contemporary fiction, short stories, fantasy, children’s fiction, crime, non-fiction, science fiction, fictionalised memoir . . .
How are you progressing with any goals or challenges you’ve set yourself? Or do you forego such artificial incentives? Do you earnestly tot up where you’ve got to, or just make a retrospective reckoning sometime in December? Are you a serial reader or, like me, play the field like some polyamorous lover? Tell me all!