|3 of these are for Reading Challenges, 2 of those are from last year!|
...I don't feel any sense of urgency, I definitely don't feel the same way I did this time last year when a 50 book challenge loomed on the horizon. I wasn't sure (with everything that goes on with day to day living) I'd be able to do it, I was afraid that my zest for reading had died. I wasn't even sure that I really liked to read for pleasure anymore. Those were dark times.
And, why were they?
|You get pizza just for reading...pizza people!|
In college I read a ton of books many of them were required for classes, but were still fun for me. I appreciate Early British lit, dislike explorer narratives, worship The Scarlet Letter as the first American novel and read The Sun Also Rises every year. I love Edith Wharton and Thornton Wilder, Toni Morrison, Harlem Renaissance poetry, Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen.
Then it all just died.
|Don't kill me, I'm just trying to finish Vanity Fair|
I tried to get it back on my own. I assigned choice reading at the Honors level. This allowed me to have a list of books; a goal. I made it a point to read books from this list. I started assigning a Non-Fiction book project. It helped me read more non-fiction. It opened up a whole new world of books. But, I still wasn't reading like I used to...I wasn't make my own personal list. I felt like I was reading to survive.
And, then my friend Julie devised herself a plan--50 books in a year, and I soon followed with my own plan. I made it official on Goodreads, I made it official on my newly developed blog, I joined Goodreads reading groups, I joined challenges, I followed reading blogs. And, then I began to read. The reading started off kind of slow, but by summer I was ahead of my goal. I was ahead of my goal by 15 wonderfully, marvelous, glorious books!
I read everywhere and anytime. It felt like old times. I read my books to my kiddo at night. I read while she napped, I read while she was at daycare. I read on planes. I tried, unsuccessfully, to read in the car. And, people who are reading this, I read for pleasure!
It wasn't until school started that I realized I'd easily meet my reading goal, but not my challenges, and you know what I didn't care! Having those challenges just forced me to read outside of my comfort zone, having a goal of 50 just guaranteed that I'd read more than that. Having those challenges just meant that there was something on the horizon geared towards making me a better reader, thinker, writer, teacher...person.
And, then I read this lovely post by Gabe Habash and thought, "Oh, geez, what if I'm doing it wrong?" Seriously, I thought that literally for 5 minutes at least...you see Gabe (I feel like I can call him by his first name) counted his pages and I only counted my books. I read more books, but he friggin' read more pages (War and Peace in three weeks, really!? Gar, I'm soooo ashamed it took me 8 months to read Vanity Fair) and I stopped checking my challenge updates...I was *gulp* reading for pleasure. And, I realize, reading his post for the 15th time, that he was reading for pleasure to...he accidentally got caught up in the numbers.
And, I didn't feel any pressure...can you tell I did not play sports in high school? Can you tell I haven't a competitive bone in my body?
Will I continue my challenges? Yes, remember they've made me a better person. Will I do the new ones? Yes, to the best of my ability...there really are books I want to read! I've upped my reading challenge to 55 books (I could do more, but, then I'd lose all the fun of it!). But, I don't care if I don't meet my goal and I don't care if my challenges spill over into the next year or the next. If I'm reading just for the sake of reading who's winning? It sure ain't me!
I just finished a book last night and it felt so good to add it to my Goodreads list. It ain't pizza (there isn't a Book It program for adults or high school students, I know, sad right!?), but it's a start!
Oh, and I love looking at and reading my 50+ books list of 2011. I recall each moment, each feeling...it's fantabulous!