On the ides of November, with forty-six days left in 2016, I achieved my self-inflicted reading goal. I have read seventy-five books so far this year. I will read more before 2017 arrives. I am currently reading four books simultaneously in various formats: an audiobook (classic mystery by Christie); an ebook (one of next year’s most likely to succeed Hugo Nominees); a hard cover (non-fiction Kansas Notable); and another ebook (bible study ongoing).
For the most part, I avoided reading duds this year. I only abandoned two books, both of them book club reads that I just couldn’t get into. I read a lot of books for discussion groups. That leaves me little room to squeeze in the must-read new releases that I buy to support my favorite authors. Of the seventy-five books read since January 1st, I added fourteen to my ‘loved-it’ shelf and forty-eight to my ‘liked-it’ one. The remaining thirteen books wallow on my ‘meh’ shelf, which is just slightly elevated above my ‘disliked’ and ‘abandoned’ shelves.
Since 2011, I’ve averaged eight-nine books per year, with peak reading occurring in 2013 (102 books read) and 2014 (136 books read). My lowest reading year occurred last year, where I only read a measly sixty-two books. I can’t remember why I didn’t get as much reading done last year. Still, that means I’m reading between seven and eight books per month. Makes sense when you consider that I’m involved in 3-4 real world book clubs and a couple of virtual ones plus tackling my huge to-be-read pile not associated with any discussion groups.
I should be able to finish another half-dozen books by year’s end. In fact, I’ll probably read another ten or so. I have several novellas I need to read, and those usually only take an hour or so to finish. Perfect for lunch time reading.
But what to challenge myself with next year? Should I play it safe, again, and set the bar back at seventy-five? That might be a wise decision as I’m returning to college after a decades long hiatus to complete my degree. I see the mist of my spare time for leisure reading evaporating before me. Perhaps fifty might be an even safer bet?
Only time and my capacity to absorb the written word will tell.