Why Did I Put Myself through This Torture: My Resolution to Read 52 Books in a Year

As some or none of you may know, this January, back when I had free time, I made a New Year’s resolution to read 52 books in a year. That’s equivalent to one book per week, ladies and gents. At the time, it seemed like an awesome idea–I LOVE reading, I had free time, and I wanted to try some new authors. But little did I know that I would get a new job, start my own business, and have, in comparison, severely decreased free time. HOWEVER, since January 1st of 2012, I have been vigilant–vigilant, I say!–at keeping up with the reading. It’s been hard, and I’ve wanted to give up several times, but those of you who know me well know I NEVER GIVE UP AT ANYTHING! I’m a chronic finisher. It’s a blessing and a curse, according to Jacob.

So, just to let you know, here are the ground rules to my little resolution:

1) I can’t count books that I’ve previously read. I have to read 52 entirely new (to me) books.

2) I don’t have to keep up with the one book per week thing, as long as I have read 52 different books by December 31. So that means I could read two books in one week, none the next, or whatever.

3) Audio books count. I don’t have the time to physically look at 52 books, and since I heard and digested every single word spoken to me on an audio book, I deem that as a book that has been read. Although, I’ve only listened to 3 audio books during this challenge.

And that’s it!

To keep up with all the books I’ve demolished, I’ve been using Good Reads. If you don’t have it yet, you should get it. You can see on my home page that I have a Good Reads widget that shows my challenge progress, along with all the books I’ve read. It has been immensely helpful and fun to look at. Though the year’s not over yet, I like to look back at all the book covers and just think about how different or similar they are.

Here’s a picture of all the books I’ve read so far. The first book I read this year is at the end:

It’s interesting to me to look at them and think about what I was doing when I chose the books or read them. For example, at the beginning of the year, I took a marriage class, so there are 3 books on marriage down there. At the same time, I was trying to finish the Diana Gabaldon time-traveling series I was hooked on, interspersed with my guilty pleasure: Young Adult (no vampires).

Later, I was talked into reading Stephen King by a really awesome coworker, Amber, who has probably read everything he’s ever written. As you can see, I got really into Stephen King stuff, and it probably makes up a fifth of the books I’ve read so far. (I now give Amber weekly Stephen King updates to tell her what I think of his books–THEY ARE SO AWESOME!). I’ve almost decided to make a Stephen King category on my blog so I can make obnoxious fan posts about his work. I’ve become an enormous fan. So watch out for that.

The other thing I  really got into were Kathy Reichs’s books–she wrote all the books that the TV show Bones is based on. I’ve never actually seen the show, but her books are suspenseful, sexy, and smart. Plus they’re set in Montreal, where we went on our honeymoon, and I absolutely loved it there. So whenever I read the descriptions of the settings, I always think, AH! I know where that is! It’s so fun.

Finally, there are some non-fiction things sprinkled in as well. I like to feed my brain something besides junk now and again. I highly recommend every nonfiction book on this list (minus Who Moved My Cheese. Just read the Wikipedia article). They will all change your mind about the way you see the world or yourself.

But the hardest thing to do would be to pick a favorite from this list… But if I had to do it–gun to my head–I’d probably say…I can’t do it. But I can narrow it down to three: 11/22/63 by Stephen King, Under the Dome, also by Stephen King, and The Pawn, by Steven James. I promise I read books by people  named something other than Stephen.

And now the big question: Will I do this again next year? I honestly don’t know. This challenge has forced me to read more than I would just for fun, but on the other hand, this challenge is kinda fun! Plus, I’ve introduced myself to SO many new (to me) authors, that it might be smart to do this every year. But then the rational side of me remembers all the times I’ve wanted to quit doing this challenge, and I second-guess myself. The good thing is, I don’t have to decide for another 3 months! But I do recommend that YOU should try it. Especially if you’re not a “reader” (which, really, is just silly. Anyone who can read is a “reader.” That reminds me of a Mitch Hedburg joke: “Any book is a kids’ book if the kid can read!”). I promise that reading more often will improve your life. But in the words of Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton, “You don’t have to take my word for it.” 

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4 thoughts on “Why Did I Put Myself through This Torture: My Resolution to Read 52 Books in a Year

    • I think 14 left, but I’m a little ahead of the goal, so I think there’s only 13 weeks left in the year. WHICH IS CRAZY! Where did 2012 go? Fastest year ever.

  1. So, it’s awesome that you’re actually ahead of goal. I have read 28 so far, and despite what you say, I will never ever NEVER set a resolution to read 52 books in one year. There’s no way I could do it, and I don’t want that much pressure. However, I will reiterate my amazement with your impressive feat of reading. Also, 11/22/63 was the first SK book I read, and I loved it. Brilliant. But I won’t be reading any other SK books, I don’t think. I can’t do horror. You got me interested in the Bones books, though. They sound interesting.

    • I’m sure you could do it, Reese. But I can understand not wanting the pressure. It’s not fun and games every week. Not all of SK is horror. The Shawshank Redemption isn’t horror, and it was a fantastic book by SK. So don’t rule it out totally. The Kathy Reichs books are pretty good–there’s a lot of scientific information about anthropology, but there’s also just enough of the thriller and sexy relationship aspects to keep it interesting. Plus, there’s like 12 of ’em, so that can keep you busy for a while.

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