Welcome to mid-November, when the pedal hits the metal – and every other cliche or metaphor I can possibly muster hits this blog post.
This is when things start to get real.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had Best Of lists on my mind lately. (I’ve been so remiss on reading blogs lately that I don’t even know if people are starting to think about this yet.) There are 20 contenders for my Best Books I’ve Read in 2013. I always feel like I need to limit this list, but I never can.
I’m also conscious of my self-imposed goal to read 75 books in 2014.
You see, I’m somewhat of a competitive type, even if it is with myself, and I like to achieve the goals I set.
As of last night with the completion of Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon, I’m at 61 books read for 2013.
Fourteen books to go.
At first glance, that looks absolutely doable. But here’s the thing: my reading has slowed down considerably in recent weeks. Not only was Await Your Reply the only book I finished this week, but it is the only book I’ve finished in November so far. At this rate, 14 more books won’t be happening – unless they’re really short.
(I’m also in the middle of Andrew Carnegie, by David Nasaw, which at 896 pages is anything but a short book. I’ve been listening to that on audio during my commute to work.)
I guess the lesson is the same that it always is. In this case, at least, it’s not about the numbers. I don’t know why I need to remind myself of that every year, but I do. Reading shouldn’t have to be a competition. If I feel like curling up on the couch with a stack of The New Yorkers, I shouldn’t have to worry that they “don’t count” for my reading tally. There are enough problems in the world; why do we make something that’s supposed to be enjoyable into a chore?
Maybe this is a beginning of a shift, like so many long-time book bloggers have already made, a change after 5 years and counting of book blogging. A time when the numbers no longer matter. I let many of my Reading Challenges go for 2013 and frankly, I didn’t miss them. I doubt they’ll be resurrected in 2014.
Whether you’re coasting or speeding toward the end of the literary year, the main thing is to enjoy the ride, isn’t it?