Challenge unmet, challenge accepted


I gave myself two reading challenges in 2019. The Goodreads challenge was the same as any year: read X books in 2019. Happily, I did accomplish this one. Although at the moment, that’s not at all obvious on my Goodreads account, because somehow I forgot to mark four books as “read,” and so it looks like I didn’t quite make the challenge. I haven’t made myself sit down yet and compare two almost-identical lists of books read until I find the “missing” ones and update Goodreads.

A photo that has nothing to do with this post except that it’s of lots of books. And the books are pretty. Google Translate says “Geisteswissenschaften” means “Humanities.”

I truly didn’t meet my other book challenge, the one I’d dubbed “But I thought you wanted to (re)read this book.” I’d said I was going to read 40 books from my TBR pile and reread 10 books that I owned. I ended up reading 20 books from the TBR pile and rereading 9 of my owned books.

What happened? 2019.

No, I don’t mean that the year 2019 was so hectic, stressful, and/or hopeless that I didn’t read much. After all, I read 78 books for my 75 book Goodreads challenge. What I hadn’t been counting on were the books published in 2019 that I wanted to read. As I hadn’t heard of most of them at the start of the year, I hadn’t added them to the reading list. I knew about some of them ahead of time and listed them, but basically, I read 24 books published in 2019, and I only knew of about five of them in 2018.


So with that behind me, I’m changing things a bit for 2020. Again, I’m doing the Goodreads challenge, currently set for 75 books. But for the more customized challenge, I’m building on last year’s experience. Apparently I like freshly-acquired books over what’s been sitting around my apartment for a while, so this year, I plan to read as many of the books I acquire in 2020 by the end of the year as I can. It doesn’t matter if I buy the book, get it as a present, get it from the library, borrow it from a friend, or find it in a Little Free Library—I want to read it in the same year that I get it.* At first, I called this the “You Get It, You Read It Challenge.” But here we are on January 31 and I’ve already gotten 20 books. So this is also the “Read Faster, Damn It! Challenge”—I’ve only read 20% of my new acquisitions so far! 📚

*Common sense suggests that books acquired in December 2020 should be allowed to roll over to 2021. They’ll probably be balanced out by the books I got in 2019 that I haven’t read yet.

photo credit: Rosmarie Voegtli The Reader via photopin (license)

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