I set a lofty goal this year: read one book a week.
I blame Goodreads for this insanity; when I joined the book tracking site earlier this year it encouraged me to set a reading goal. One book a week sounded attainable to me, so I set the goal using the Goodreads widget.
Ever since, I’ve been chasing after that goal. Although one book a week sounds quite manageable, it has turned out to be a bit too much for my schedule. As of right now, I’m 7 books behind my goal. I’ve tried to ‘cheat’ by choosing shorter books or books that I can read quickly, but despite my best efforts, I can’t catch up! I can only hope that I log some serious reading time over my vacation this year.
Although setting this goal has had ensured that I’m reading – a lot – it’s also changed the way I’m reading. The other day I picked up a literary journal I subscribe to (The Fiddlehead. It’s fantastic. If you’re into short stories/poetry you should check it out.), and found myself thinking, “I should read something that will show up in my Goodreads account.” It was then that I realised my Goodreads goal had defeated itself. I was reading lots, but I was reading to reach a goal. I’d stopped savouring finely crafted sentences and pausing to think about perfectly developed characters. I was no longer reading only for enjoyment.
Realising that I was consuming books like hot dogs at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest made me take a step back and accept that it’s OK if I don’t reach the goal – it’s the act of reading at all that counts. But I haven’t totally given up on my goal because it has had a positive impact on my reading habits as well. Trying to read one book a week has forced me to pay more attention to my reading habits, and I’m definitely reading more than I did last year. As a writer I know one of the best ways to improve my craft is to read, so my Goodreads goal has ensured that I take my reading seriously. It still drives me insane when I login to Goodreads each week and see ‘At your current pace, you’re 7 books (15%) behind,” but it’s motivating me to read, so it can’t be all bad!
How much do you read each week? Are you consistent in your reading pace, or do you binge-read?
Image source: By Mo Riza from Mo Town, USA (On the platform, reading) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons