Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Begin at the Beginning, or Thereabouts

Looking through the discussion group that got me started, I realize that they’ve generally begun their challenge on January 1, with the goal of finishing 50 books by December 31 of the same year. Now, it’s August already, and though I’ve been reading a lot over the past couple of months, and I *know* I read several books while I was visiting my family in March (nothing says “don’t talk, just stick your head in a book” like a visit to mom) – have I really read enough that I might conceivably finish by December? I go check my book list on

Not counting books I didn’t finish, or books of Emma’s that I reviewed, I have read 14 books since January. It feels like more, probably because I spent the month of July reading Gone With The Wind – a month well-spent, but in the context of counting books, not really productive, because all 900 or so pages only count as one book, when really, they’re the equivalent of two or three books (or more, depending what you read).

I briefly consider changing the rules to accommodate page count but just trying to figure that out seems like a waste of time that could be better spent reading, so I decide a book is a book. Anyway, GWTW isn’t really the problem, it’s more that for a couple of months I read literally nothing, or at least, didn’t make a note of it if I did (ok, I didn’t read anything except catalogs and Vanity Fair magazine).

Quick math: to finish by year-end 2009, I will need to read 36 more books, or approximately 9 books per month, or 2.25 books per week through the end of the year. A noble goal, but I feel rushed and stressed just thinking about it.

Looking over the list, I realize that nine of the books have been read since June 1. Since my personal goal is simply to continue reading regularly, I think – why not just pick June 1 as the start date, and read 50 books by June 1, 2010? That way, I have 9 months to read 41 more books, or about 4.5 books per month – or just about a book a week, which seems entirely manageable. Piece of cake.

Which reminds me, cookbooks don’t count.

My list of books read so far:

1. The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - Bill Bryson
2. Bitter is the New Black – Jen Lancaster
3. The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett
4. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
5. The Penny Pinchers Club – Sarah Strohmeyer
6. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley
7. Julie & Julia – Julie Powell
8. My Life on a Plate – India Knight
9. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

Currently Reading:
Sixpence House – Paul Collins

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