200 books

Just for fun, in January, I set myself a reading goal of 200 books for 2016. It seemed manageable at the time. I read a lot, I thought. I can read 200 books in a year, no problem.

You may be laughing at me right now. I'm laughing a little at myself. It's a crazy goal, I know.

I typically read at night, before I go to bed. I like my sleep. Still, I thought, I can do this.

After a month, I'm not sure anymore.

In January, I read 14 books. That's a lot, but not enough to put me on track to meet my goal. In the last few days, I binge read, trying to get my total up. I set aside longer books for shorter ones. It was a little intense.

Is this a reasonable goal? I asked myself. Why am I even doing this?

After some thought, I decided that the answer is yes, and I think I know why I'm doing this.

I read a lot, to be sure. But when I was younger, I ALWAYS had a book with me. If I had five extra minutes, I'd be reading my book. I was able to pick it up and put it down and stay with the story, even though my time was limited.

Now, if I have five minutes, I'm checking facebook or playing a stupid game on my phone. I'm always on my phone now. I suppose I'm still reading, but it's definitely not the same.

In my binge reading last few days, I realized that I needed a new strategy. I needed to have the book with me all the time. Five minutes free means five minutes of reading.

I won't lie, it was hard to put the phone down. But after the first few hours, I realized that I was so far behind on facebook news that there was simply not enough time to catch up. And, even better, I realized that it really didn't matter if I knew what was going on in facebook world. No one even knew that I hadn't read it, and that I was reading a book instead.

If I'm honest, it was a little freeing. Sorry friends, I have no idea what you all did in the last few days. I think you'd be ok with that.

I'm behind in my goal already. I have 186 more books to read this year. That equals 17 books per month, or half of a book a day. I don't know if I'll make it. I'll be bummed if I don't. Last night I tried very hard to stay awake finishing the book I was on, but the eyes don't lie and I fell asleep.

I have a busy life, and I really don't know if there are enough hours in the day to complete my goal. I've never tracked my reading before, it seemed a little pointless. But the goal now is to simply break my electronics addiction and put my "alone time" towards something that I see as more productive.

Also, I can give you some recommendations from the 14 books I read in January. I always feel like you need to read a certain book at a certain time to have it mean something to you. Books that my family and friends have loved I have hated, and vice versa. I almost always think that it's because of my mood at the time, or other books that I've read right before that were too similar, or something. So, my recommendations will be books that spoke to me at that moment. Take it with a grain of salt. I take book recommending seriously. That's ten years at a bookstore for you.

 

That said, my top 3 were... (in no particular order, other than the order in which I read them)

 

Her by Harriet Lane. Super, super creepy, and I couldn't put it down. A story about an obsessive woman with a hidden history with the object of her obsession. I found myself relating to both characters in different ways, and the end, although seemingly abrupt, felt just right after introspection. This book was very quiet and calculated. I think that it made it that much creepier, and I loved every page.

Rosemary: the Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson. Maybe it's the romanticism of the Kennedy family, I don't know. They are fascinating to read about. This book focused on Rosemary, the sibling who had an unknown disability, and her family's reaction to that. It's interesting to see how she shaped public perception of disability, simply because of her family connections. There's a fair bit of family history in the book, presented in a way that Rosemary is the center. It's tragic, for sure, but definitely worth the read. I held my breath in certain places. This book certainly hit close to home for me, maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. Maybe it was because I'd just finished the heavy story of Rosemary Kennedy, but I needed a light read, and this book was perfect. I love books about booksellers. I love quirky stories. I love small town Americana stories maybe best of all. I adored this book and it found me at just the right moment. It's about a Swedish girl who abruptly moves to a small town in Iowa and completely envelops the small town she resides in.

So there you go. I have a lot of reading experience. I am about to experience a lot more reading this year. I'll pass along the goodies, I promise. If I meet my reading goal, or even if I just get close, I'll be happy. Putting down the phone was the first (and hardest) step. I'll see ya when I can tear my eyes from my book.