Well friends, it looks like I will not make my goal of reading 75 books this year. It's taken me almost six weeks to read NW by Zadie Smith, even though it's not that long. And I haven't been reading a lot of e-books lately either. I feel like, despite my seriously awesome dedication to this challenge, 75 books was too high a goal.
This in itself makes me sad. Why is it that so many people I know can read 100 or more books in a year? For a while there, I felt like I was reading constantly. Am I choosing books that are too long? Am I reading too slowly? Am I just not reading the right stuff? I'm the person who has a MA in English, but I read more slowly than those who don't! I must just have different habits, or read at a different pace, or maybe I'm just different in general. Who knows why I can't read that many books? Does it really matter?
I have read many very long books this year, and for that I am giving myself a pat on the back. Little Dorritt was extremely long, as was Anna Karenina. Dan Simmons' Flashback was really great (not disappointing, just slow) but it took me more than a month to get through it. But looking through my list of read books, I've read a lot of shorter books, too. Where did the time go?
This is not so much a lament, as a musing, I suppose. Maybe next year I will reach 75. Maybe I won't. It is a goal I can set for myself, but just because I don't reach it doesn't mean I wasn't successful. I have read so many fantastic books this year, and even some that weren't so hot, and a few that were downright bad. I've been enriched by everything, even if I hated it, because I have learned more about what I enjoy reading and what I don't. I have given new authors, series, and genres a try and found that I liked some and not liked others. I have discovered new series that I really want to read, and pushed out a few others based on the first disappointing book.
It's not December yet, so I know I will at least make my previous goal of 50 books for the year. But I don't know that I'll reach the count of 68 from last year which led me to make the goal of 75 for this year. I don't know that the number of books matters when compared to the quality and content of the books I've been reading. Some books I feel I've wasted time on just because I liked their covers, but you never truly know what you'll like until you've tried it.
So next year I will set myself the same goal of 75 books. And I will work like hell to get there because it means a lot to me. But if I don't, it's okay. I know I've read a lot. And what I've read has often been great. A goal is just a goal.
PS - I didn't write a review of Flashback even though I really liked it. I found at the end that I didn't really have anything to say about it. Some books just have that effect on me, where at the end I feel great about finishing it, and I really enjoyed it, but I'm left feeling nothing in particular about the experience. So while it wasn't disappointing, it didn't leave me euphoric like the rest of his books did (except for Phases of Gravity, which left me with the same empty feeling at the end). So that's why I never wrote anything on it, in case anyone was wondering.