The Challenges of a Reading Challenge

In late January, I was browsing YouTube channels, and saw some video book bloggers posting different videos about their New Year’s Book Resolutions.   When someone mentioned that she had resolved to read 40 books in one year, I was thrown.

Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve done any math at all, but by my calculations that sounded like a LOT. But maybe I could aim for 15 or 20 books this year?  After all, I already read one per month for my book club and I always seem to be finished first.  Maybe I could do 24: two per month.  I just rounded up to 30.  Then, I thought 30 just sounded lame.

If this YouTube blogger could do 40, I could do 40 too.

So this whole thing started as a competition between me and a girl from Indiana who was studying English literature whose name I have totally forgotten.  And since she has no idea that I’m in a secret competition with her, I’m pretty sure I’m winning.  This is lucky because I don’t enter contests that I can’t win.  I think if I meet my 40-book goal, I’ll probably have to award myself a trophy or something.

Pros and Cons of a Reading Challenge

Top Five Pros

  1. I have read some really, really good books that I probably would have told myself I had no time for.  Stay posted for my Absolute Favorite Books of 2014! Because I’m reading so much more than I ever have, I’m forced to pick books outside of my comfort zone.  I’m learning what I like and what I don’t like, and I’m able to pick apart a book with a little more experience because I’m always in reading mode.
  2. Reading has almost completely taken over my Netflix time, which I definitely count as a pro. 
  3. My bookshelf has gone from looking bare and unloved to being overflowing with great books!
  4. People are constantly asking me “What are you reading?”  Friends ask me for book recommendations, coworkers think of me as “someone who reads”.  Reading naturally makes you look smart, even if you’re just re-reading Twilight for the tenth time.
  5. Reading this many books has taught me so much about so many unexpected things.  In Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, I learned about his hospitalization for tuberculosis and how the nurses treated him with kindness.  In A Farewell to Arms, I learned about World War One culture and the life of a nurse during that era.  Although I am young and have a limited world experience, reading is constantly opening my mind and exposing me to new situations.  George Martin says it best in A Dance With Dragons: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…the man who does not read lives only one.”

Top Five Cons

  1. I have had to drag myself through some books that I was just not enjoying because I wanted the credit on my challenge.  To their credit, they usually came around at least a little bit.  No book that I picked was completely awful.
  2. I read a lot at work, and if it’s a really good book, I usually go antisocial.  I can’t ever express to them just how good that book is.  I just look like a weirdo.
  3. Reading makes me aware of the correct use of their/there/they’re and your/you’re.  Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed is torture.  I unfriended someone for posting about her “bowels” of mac&cheese.
  4. I have definitely spent more money on books this year, but that’s only because I’m way too impatient to wait for them to become available at the library.  I don’t really count book money as a con, more of a necessary expense.
  5. Not being able to read and walk, or read and drive.  Reading is kind of a sedentary hobby, and you can’t exactly multitask while reading.  During the summer, I was riding the Metro to various scenic places and reading there, but I started to just stay home and read in the air conditioned living room.

I hope there are readers out there besides my mom, because I’m pretty sure my mom doesn’t even read this.  If you like what I have to say or just like my selfies  please subscribe to my blog using the email box to the right!

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