Another year, another reading challenge attempted. By lowering the bar for myself, I am back in the good graces of my Goodreads challenge! I actually got to start commuting to work for a few days this year, but unfortunately I was stuck on slower-paced non-fiction books so it didn’t help with my reading pace much.
Reading just always takes a backseat, so I’m going to think really hard about how I can set aside dedicated “hobbies” time and to make sure some of that time goes to reading for fun.
Quarantine led many people to read more books than they’ve read in a long, long time, with so much time freed up and a re-dedication to supporting local bookstores. Book clubs were a big thing this year for staying social, too, as reading became a lot more trendy in the social media circles I follow.
Well, for me… my commute remains my primary dedicated reading time and space, so when I stopped having a commute in March, I stopped reading for a long time, too.
Needless to say, it was another year of falling disappointingly short of my books goal, coming up shorter on my Goodreads challenge than ever before. It stings a bit to think of the years that I far surpassed the number of books I aimed to read, and that those numbers far exceed how many I got through this year. But I’m not too beat up about it, I know how difficult this year was and the only reason I read as much as I even did was because of many bouts of stressed and anxious insomnia. Probably half of my reading was done between 2-6am this year, hours that I am usually not awake for at all.
2019 was a great reading year for me in that I didn’t feel like I read too many painful books. However, I am disappointed that I didn’t complete my Goodreads reading challenge, breaking my streak of exceeding my challenge 3 years in a row. Last year, I read 29 books and thought that, with my past pattern of exceeding my reading goal by a few books, I would be able to get to 30 this year. It seems that I may have plateaued at 29 for the time being, however, so I’ll need to re-evaluate how much reading time I have to achieve these goals.
I wound up reading almost 30, coming in just short at 29 books.
A few quick reflections on my reading challenge this year:
I felt a lot faster finishing books this year, in large part because I was not reading the A Song of Fire and Ice series this year, having finished that last year. It took me weeks to finish each of those books with the scant amount of reading time I had, so the quantity of books I read last year took a toll because I read several 1,000+ page books.
The longest book I read last year was 1,177 pages, whereas the longest book I read this year was 818 pages.
That being said, I sped through my first five books and then really felt my decrease in velocity when I hit that 818-pager.
It typically takes me a few days to about 3 weeks to finish a book, given that I read almost exclusively on my commute to and from work. It took me almost 3 months to finish this year’s behemoth.
I enjoyed reading a lot more mindfully this year. There were days when I would steal away for a quick walk outside to clear my head during the workday, or take lunch by myself on a nearby bench, with my Kindle in tow to get some sunshine and reading done.
I much preferred the mindful reading to what I find myself doing often, which is walking to and from the subway while reading. This is, admittedly, not a very safe practice.
But! While doing this in DC one day, I walked past a friend who was doing the exact same thing! She was the one who looked up from her book to recognize me, but I felt so validated seeing her with her open Kindle in hand, too.
With the end of the Blogging for Books program, I didn’t feel as much of the obligation getting through books I didn’t enjoy but was reading for review this year.