I’m generally more of a “the journey is the thing” person than a goal oriented person, but for the past few years I’ve enjoyed participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. In years past, I’ve set reading goals that I knew would be pretty easy to blow past. My biggest challenge during those years was actually remembering to log the books I read. For 2018, I decided to ramp things up and give myself a goal that would be more challenging. Now here I am, in November, eleven books behind my goal. And I can’t help feeling stressed about it. Totally ridiculous, I know, but true.
I brought up my reading shortfall to one of my “Walking Book Talk” buddies, who reminded me that I should focus on the books I’d read, especially the really amazing ones (which was very good advice). I also talked about my crazy, reading-goal-induced stress to my librarians, who have helped me find quick-read type books to help me make up my shortfall (because the best librarians, like mine, don’t care how crazy you are, they just help you find what you need).
Falling behind in my self-imposed goal has made me branch out and read (and listen to) books that I may not otherwise have picked up. I recently read a few lovely novellas translated from Italian into English. I picked them up because they were short and had a connection with Italy. They turned out to be wonderful. Especially good was “Like Family” by Paolo Giordano — a great choice if you’d like to read a complex, though relatively uncomplicated, story of family life.
Falling behind has also made me think a lot about how we turn so many students off to reading by quantifying how much they read, and when they must read it by, and whether they are allowed to check out books at certain levels. This is a post for another day — an important one that deserves its own space. I only know that even with a few decades of a love for reading as my foundation, I went through a phase two months ago where just knowing I had this goal sitting out there, ticking away how much farther behind schedule I was getting by the week, that my desire to read diminished greatly.
For now, with the perspective of my book talk buddy and with the help of my librarians, I’ve decided to just grab my reading glasses and get to work.
If you have suggestions for any quick-read books, I’d love to hear them. They don’t have to be short books, just supremely engaging ones.
I might just reach this reading challenge finish line!