I used to try, every New Years, to make a goal to read 50 books throughout the year. Why 50? Well, it seemed like a lot while also being doable. I’d always fail, though, and not only would I not get close, I’d become dejected about not being close and would ignore reading altogether.
In 2009, instead of just saying to myself that 50 books was the goal, I finally went a step further, and plotted it out:
12 months in a year
4 books a month would get me to 48
48 is *so* close to 50
Squeeze in 2 more along the way
Ok, so it’s not the most thoughtful plan, but at least it was a plan! Why I’d never thought to MAKE A PLAN before is beyond me and pretty telling about my goal setting skills.
ANYWAY. That year I did not read 50 books either. But I did read 30. That may be a difference of 20, but it was the most I’d ever managed to read in a year and I was truly delighted. Clearly, I didn’t keep up with 4 books a month, but I did spend a lot of time with my nose in a book. I started out 2009 living in a tiny little apartment in the basement of a grand old house in Asheville, NC. The “kitchen” was maybe 4 feet of counter space, with a tiny sink, a few cupboards overhead and a tiny gas oven and stove. The bedroom didn’t have a door to close or any windows for that matter, and the bathroom was so skinny and tiny that even I (at just a few inches over 5 feet) had issues fitting comfortably inside. Tiny and strange as the space was, it sure was cozy. I remember reading my first Neil Gaiman book as well as The Bell Jar. I remember reading a few Paulo Coelho books and then deciding his writing wasn’t for me. I remember staying up late to finish reading The Thirteenth Tale, which was deliciously creepy.
From that cozy basement apartment, where I lived by myself for the first time, I moved to an even cozier bungalow with 2 other roommates. We decided to be true pioneers and not splurge on cable or internet. That first month we lived there, September, I read book after book and got through 6 books that month. That month I discovered Isabel Allende didn’t do anything for me and that Barbara Kingsolver was absolutely one of my favorite authors. This house also had a big wrap around porch out front, which was perfect for cozying up with a book.
What I’m saying here is, in a rambling and drawn out way, that 2009 stands out in my mind as being a really good year in large part due to how much I read. Details of my personal life from that year are honestly a little fuzzy. I’m sure there were highs and lows, just like any other year of my life, but I think being focused on reading and absorbing stories and different lives and cultures filled in all the cracks that I might have normally stuffed with mindless TV or something less productive and interesting.
As I was driving to work this morning, it hit me that holiday decorations are just around the corner. 2015 is coming to a close. I realized I feel very similarly about this previous year as I do about 2009: to put it simply, it’s been a good year. Solid. Comfortable. Adventurous. It’s also been a year that I’ve been focused on reading more. Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so.
After reading books here and there over the last few years, leaving gaps of months where I might not complete a book at all, I set out in 2015 to read 2 months every month. 24 books total. And… I’ve done it! As of this past Monday, I completed my 24th book. There is still all of November and December, though. Things get a bit busier for Josh and I in December, as we leave toward the end of the month for our grandest adventure yet: EUROPE! But, if I can manage it (and I think I can), I have a new goal: 31 books! One more than I read in 2009.
You know what they say: First comes 31, then comes 50… right? 😉