Reflections on a Year [of Reading]

As is often the case this time of year, we find ourselves reflecting on the previous year and planning for the next. It is a time of renewal. A time of new beginnings. A time of saying that “this will be the year!” Now, if you’re like me, some things still need a lot of work (I would like to eat less fast food, floss more, and keep my home cleaner). And if you’re like me, some things are just lost causes (remember my #nerdprintz challenge? That is not going to completed. . .probably in my lifetime). But if you’re like me, some things have been great successes.

You may have read about my reading life over at the Nerdy Book Club. Quick recap: I didn’t read in high school. Towards the end of college, I began to. Now I read like crazy. 2012 was my best year of reading. EVER. Let’s take a look at the stats [some of these stats are bound to be incorrect, but they’re pretty close, and come to us courtesy of Goodreads].

In 2012, I read…

  • 82 books (including 14 graphic novels, 6 picture books, 3 audiobooks [with a 4th nearly completed], and 5 novels-in-verse, all of which are formats I normally do not include in my reading)
  • ~22500 pages
  • all of the Delirium trilogy (it’s been since Harry Potter that I read all of a series in one year)
  • several ARCs, most of which I would not have ever come across were it not for Mrs. Heise
  • as part of #teamteacher for the #summerthrowdown challenges
  • a few books with Mrs. Heise, resulting in some hilarious and thoughtful e-mail exchanges
  • for pleasure

I’d like to compare that to 2011, in which I read…

  • 40 books (including 0 graphic novels, 0 audiobooks, 0 novels-in-verse, and 1 picture book)
  • ~12000 pages
  • all of the Hunger Games trilogy (okay, it appears I was wrong earlier when I made that Harry Potter comment. My bad.)
  • no ARCs
  • with nobody, aside from a couple books with my students
  • for pleasure

But then let’s take a look at that compared with, oh, all the years from 1998-2010 (that takes me from 8th grade through college, 3 years teaching math, and a couple months teaching literature). In that time, I read…

  • 54 books (I didn’t know graphic novels existed, I had no interest in novels-in-verse [despite liking poetry], I thought picture books were beneath me, and audiobooks were for blind or old people)
  • ~19000 pages
  • 2 series (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and The Internet Girls by Lauren Myracle [ttyl])
  • 1 ARC
  • with classmates, occasionally
  • for pleasure, sparingly

So when I look back at the 82 books I read in 2012 and compare that to what I read in the 13 years from 1998 to 2010, I can’t help but be overwhelmed. I know some people read more than I do, and they would look at 82 as a bit of a low number. But what I love about the people who I know who are like that is that they would not look down on me for having what would be a low number for them. And I know for some people, 82 books would be way beyond their wildest dreams. What I do know is that 82 books is a ridiculous accomplishment for me. I am so happy with that. Not because I read 82 books. But because I found 82 books I wanted to read, and I read them, and I enjoyed the experience, and I am better because of it. If someone told me I had to read 100 books in this coming year, I would either fail them or lose my interest in reading trying. But you know what? I just might read 100 books this year. We’ll see.

Here’s another stat I need to work on, though: reviews. I read 82 books this year. I wrote reviews for 23 of them. 28%. That’s not good enough. This coming year, I have three main reading goals:

  • read more non-fiction (I’m open to suggestions!)
  • write at least one review a week and post it to the blog
  • enjoy the heck out of the world of books in which we live

Thank you 2012 for blessing me. 2013: I’ve got my eye on you. Let’s do this.

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4 thoughts on “Reflections on a Year [of Reading]

  1. I’ve come late to nonfiction as well, but I’m discovering some of it is pretty good. One of my favorites from last year was Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine and the Lawless Years of Prohibition. If you’ve never read Maus and Maus II by Art Speigelman, add them to you list as nonfiction graphic novels.
    I think your 82 books is awesome. I just wish we could convince more people–adults and kids–that they, too, can find that many good books to read in a year.

  2. Nonfiction!!! I think my favorites this year were nonfiction, actually. 😀 BOMB by Steve Sheinkin was my favorite book of 2012. However, I also just finished TITANIC: VOICES FROM THE DISASTER by Deborah Hopkinson and it was amazing (even if you, like me, have already read many books about the Titanic). ZOMBIE MAKERS by Rebecca L. Johnson is my top kid-appeal title and INVINCIBLE MICROBE by Jim Murphy and Alison Bank was another favorite of mine this year. “Oldies” but goodies? KNUCKLEHEAD by Jon Scieszka is so, so funny (memoir). SHARK LIFE by Peter Benchley is his memoir (adapted for young people) about swimming with sharks and other sea creatures all over the world. I love pretty much anything in the Scientists in the Field series. Enjoy!!!!

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