January 9, 2013

my "year of reading" challenge!

I have always loved to read, but the older I get, the less I seem to be reading. Since I am a goal-maker, reading always factors in as one of my New Year's goals, in hopes that I will turn the tide and become a more avid reader again. Last year, I set a very ambitious reading goal since I knew I might have a little more time on my hands. Once again, I proved that I am quite the overreacher (see "Idealist" or "ENFJ"... sorry, the New Year brings this up even more than usual!). Last year's goal? Oh, just a mere fifty books. "One per week, with a couple of weeks to spare," I reasoned logically. And my actual year-end count? To be honest, I have not been willing to calculate. I even avoided keeping track on Goodreads, which I typically love to do, because I knew I was horribly short of my goal. Without being willing to calculate specifics and rub my nose further in my failure, I would estimate that I read less than ten books last year.
As I made my New Year's goals this year, I tried to think this matter through so as not to repeat again next year. After all, I absolutely LOVE to read. I had a more flexible schedule last year than ever before. How did I not read more books?? And here is my realization: 

I have considered reading to be a "privilege" rather than a "priority."

I know, logically, that the best writers are also likely to be the best readers. I firmly believe this, and have always considered reading to be important in my writing practice. But since I truly love to read, I have thought of it as a reward that takes its place in line after all of the things that "need" to be done. I need to do housework, and keep up with my never-ending to-do list of errands and tasks, and even to work at my writing! Taking time out to indulge in habits that feel like "privileges" usually makes me feel guilty in the face of all those things that need doing. Reading has been something I will get to later, as a reward, when the rest of my tasks are completed. But we all know that the rest of those things never get done, especially for a person like me, whose list grows faster than its items are checked off. 

This year, I will make reading a "priority," and allow the "privilege" of it to be a bonus perk. I have amended my goal from last year, from fifty books down to just twenty-five, which is an average of one book every two weeks. I want to be certain I can achieve my goal this year! And I am setting very loose parameters, because I want to do everything possible to nurture this passion and see what will come of granting it "priority" status in my life. I have come across SO many different reading challenges online, from reading books you already own, to reading the classics, to reading particular authors. And there are so many ambitious and themed challenges to which I aspire to one day participate myself! But my reading goal for this year is another chance to start small. I would rather hit my goal and then go on to blow that goal away than set the goal so high that I give up before I have even tried. So I am committing here, to myself and to you, that in this "Year of Reading," I will read at least twenty-five books. I am not going to plan which books ahead of time, or limit myself to any genre or guidelines - I am going to read for the love of reading alone.
I would love it if any of you would like to join me in my "Year of Reading" Challenge! There is no particular reading list (although of course I will share what I'm reading in case you want recommendations) nor any more specific parameters than this: Read twenty-five books in 2013. Any genre, any length, any books your heart desires! Audiobooks, E-books, picture books, or re-reads: nothing is off-limits! And you don't even have to tell anyone what you have read, or review it, or do anything more than keep count on a list for yourself. If you are already participating in another type of reading challenge or book club, great! That will make it simpler for you to choose which twenty-five books will define your "Year of Reading!" And if twenty-five sounds like a higher number than is realistic for you, then I encourage you to create your own challenge of a reachable number that would make you feel proud at the end of this year. Let me know if it sounds like fun or if you could use a cheerleader along the way, and definitely look me up on Goodreads for lots of my reading recommendations!!

Here's to a wonderful "Year of Reading"!!!

(The books in the the pictures are some of my potential reads for this year to come! No promises though... hehe)


  1. Thankfully 25 is a pretty low number of books for me to read in a year, although I don't read too much lately during the semesters when I'm really busy at university. I do struggle with feeling like reading is a 'privilege' and not a 'priority', but I'd like to amend that. Thank you for the inspiration and best of luck!


    1. Lindsey- You are officially another of my 'reading heroes'!! :) It inspires me to hear that others have achieved more than 25 books!! I hope that this year of reading will be a great one for you! xo

  2. I've been really loving how you've been bringing out the inner writer in me. You literally keep going inside my mind it seems like. This is AMAZING <3 Did I mention your my hero? This is exactly the kind of thing I wanted to do this year.. I have a book self full of books that I absolutely wanted to read this year, I would love it if some one kept me accountable for doing it. :) Would you? I have my 25+ books picked out. This is going to be so amazing I absolutely love the motivation I get from you to take on things in life.. your a blessing to my life. God bless you, always.

    1. Aww thank you, Ariel! Keep reading and writing and best of luck working your way through your shelf of reading and writing picks for this "year of reading"!! xo