My readings for 2017 (II)

My readings for 2017 (II)
(maybe this can give some ideas to you)

(You can read the first part of this blog here: My readings for 2017)
2016 finishes today and my Goodreads' "My Year 2016 in Books" report says I finished 34 books out of 30 set as a goal in my 2016 Reading Challenge, books that account for 10,571 pages, being the shortest a short story by John Grisham of 53 pages and the longest the first volume of Jude Southerland Kessler's epic work about John Lennon, a book that has 1,035 pages, for an average of 330 pages per book.

Does this mean anything? That I should read 10% or 50% more books or twice as much next year? And if I did, what would it mean?

Maybe the challenge should be attaining the objectives one has when deciding to read such and such books.

For example, my objective for my 2016 challenge was multiple: to settle and get comfortable with my reading habit; to take advantage of commuting times by bus by reading and not wasting that time that in my case may easily be from 7 to 15 (!) hours per week; to read some classics that I have never read; to keep practicing reading in English and French (my mother language is Spanish); less TV, more reading; less social networks, more reading; to try to catch up reading many books I have "in line" in my bookshelves that grow faster than I read; to read again books that I read and liked when I was younger; to approach to some authors that I am ashamed to say that I haven't read; and so and so. If that adds up to 15 or to 150 books, it's immaterial for me. So I consider I met my 2016 challenge, but not because I read (more than) the 30 books proposed, but because I've met or inched towards those objectives.

My approach to reading and to set my reading goals is not the fast food approach, that is, eat as many burgers as you can, eat more than you ate before, eat more than your neighbors do. Rather, my approach is gourmet: savor the book, the page, the scene; think about why this character behaves as he does, anticipate, guess why she behaves so unexpectedly; get lost in the lucubrations that the author does: is he showing us how he thinks or how his characters do? Is he leaving us open questions or is he biasing our ways of thinking? Did I like the last paragraph, the last chapter? I can read it again to my enjoyment, not worrying to lose time to read more books. Because of this, I can stop and take notes, highlight quotes, draw family trees or maps of relationships among characters, or stop to write a review. If I was worried about reading many books I would deprive myself of these pleasures.

Sure, measuring this approach is not as easy as adding up the number of books or of pages read, and calculate some other stats, but it is more satisfying for me.

For example, my objectives for 2017 are the same as those said for 2016, which put in terms of Goodreads' Challenge are 27 books: 7 books and about 1000 pages less than I actually read in 2016. There's even a book from 2016 that I will reread. The number of books I read in 2016 serves to me only for not being so greedy, it shows me the realistic pace at which I can read when reading the way I like. If at the end of 2017 I find I read either less or more books than I had set will not say anything about meeting my objectives.

Anyway, enjoy your reading in 2017!

Bogotá, December 31st, 2016


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