Challenges

Last week I decided I wanted some more direction with what books I read. Remember I keep track of my reading with a really great spreadsheet? And a lot of years, I’ve set specific goals – sometimes the number of books I read or the total number of pages I read between January 1 and December 31. Once I read 26 books, each with an author whose last name started with a different letter of the alphabet. Last year it was just nice to be done with school (finally!) and have a chance to pick my own books, so I didn’t challenge myself.

I got carried away last week, though. I started by finding a few title challenges, where you have to read a book with a number in the title or something you’d see in the sky (airplane, sun, comet, parachute). I ended up with four or five of those challenges, at six requirements apiece, and dumped them all into a big list. Then I decided I’d combine that with an alphabetical title challenge – 26 books, with titles like Angela’s Ashes and The Broken Teaglass. I allowed overlap between these two lists: I could count The Broken Teaglass for both the alphabetical challenge (the letter B) and the keyword challenge (something you’d find in the kitchen).

But no, this wasn’t enough. On top of that, I added an alphabetical surname challenge like I did a few years ago, but made a rule that there couldn’t be any overlap between the two alphabetical lists. So I wouldn’t be able to count Emily Arsenault, author of The Broken Teaglass, for the letter A in my author list because I’d already counted the book for the letter B in my title list.

It gets better. I’ve now been keeping a spreadsheet of my yearly reading since 2004 and decided to set some milestone goals as well: 120,000 total pages read in the past 10 years, and 400 total new books read in the same time. My current numbers are 115,969 pages and 390 books, so this is doable.

Well . . . I should say, it would be doable if that were my only goal for the rest of the year. All of these challenges together, though – pretty overwhelming. I do still have to be a responsible parent and sleep and stuff like that.

My solution: make it a before-I-turn-30 goal. It gives me until next July, which is much more realistic, and it seems more monumental. Monumentaler, if you will. I’ve already picked out all the remaining books I need to complete these challenges, except one with a party or celebration in the title. Can you think of a good book that could fill this requirement? Let me know in the comments!

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2 Comments on “Challenges”

  1. Jaime says:

    Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Family and Friends by Pippa Middleton. Okay, so it’s a how-to book, but maybe it still counts? ;)

  2. Alicia says:

    All Tomorrow’s Parties, by William Gibson. I can’t personally recommend it, but Matt liked it (disclaimer: he’s a fan of all his sci-fi stuff).


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