Sunday, April 3, 2011

Meeting Reading and Book Goals [150 Book Challenge]

So I'm reading 150 books this year. I've been doing pretty well so far, reading an average of 13 books per month so far.

Obviously, having a a huge goal like this is daunting. And reading goals are pretty common for people. (See Goodreads group) Having a plan can work wonders. Like in my original blog post, I had broken down how many books in a month I needed to read (12.5) or in how many days I need to finish a book (approximately 2.4).

Still, sometimes I get tripped up. Last year, it took me three weeks to read Stephen King's IT. I had just gotten into a rut, never wanting to pick it up on the way to work....instead vegging out to the iPod.

1. Be prepared to mess up

I messed up with IT. I really enjoyed it, but got tripped up because it was so long. So I just wouldn't make any progress on it, because I was so frustrated with never making progress on it.

Yeah, I know how that sounds, but it happens in other areas too. On a diet? Give up because you blew it? Or, in the habit of exercising a certain amount, and give up when you get sick and can't go, or get busy and can't go, or get lazy and can't go?

It happens. Forgive yourself and move on.

But how can you prevent stuff like that from happening?

2. Set an easy goal to accomplish

I was having trouble earlier this year with George R. R. Martin's books. They are so long, and I was getting close to be stuck just like I had been stuck on IT. During A Storm of Swords, I became resolved: read at least 100 pages a day.

Will that make me finish the book in 2.4 days? No, because the book was about 1000 pages long. But it made sure that I kept reading, kept at it. Of course, that can be different for everyone. Finish three chapters, finish at least twenty cetera. Its like having a saving goal: I will try to save X amount over the course of a year, but in order to achieve that, I need to save $2 a day, or $10 a week.

It might not seem like a lot at first, but it all builds up.

3. Define your goal

I want to read 150 books this year. But what does that mean? Can I just go to the local library, read 150 books for 8 year olds, and be done with it?

Well, no. I'm not trying to dupe myself: I mean 150 books that I would read normally in a year. This means a mix of sci fi, fiction and literature, YA novels, and fantasy. I don't want to waste a year just reading easy books: I want to read like I normally would. I've also done a pretty good job this year incorporating non-fiction; I've read four so far this year and last year I only read six total.

I'm also incorporating books that I re-read, but I don't want my re-read books to reach higher than 10% of the total books I've read. Thus far, the books I have re-read account for 7.5% of the total books read.

4. Don't be afraid to give up on a book

Right now, I have a book about settler's first impressions of Illinois in my To Be Read stack. I probably won't read more than a little bit of it. I'll never want to read all of it, and I don't want to spend time forcing myself to do something I don't want to. If I don't like reading it, I won't want to read it, and I'll stall out on my goals. Giving up a book is no big deal.

Sometimes, you just aren't in the mood for a particular book. I read the first few pages of Life of Pi and set it right back down.

A few year later, I picked it up and read it in one sitting.

Want to take a look at the book spreadsheet? Updated every time I finish a book.