I want you to look me in the eye and tell me that the little image above doesn’t haunt you like it does me. That it isn’t a stressor, a burden hanging over your head, becoming more and more condemning as the end of the year draws ever closer. That as Christmas nears and you should be planning joyous times with your loved ones, you aren’t frantically trying to figure out how to read as many books as possible during your time off.
Can you do it?
Last week as I was working my way through a chunkster of a Stephen King novel, I clicked over to Goodreads for some reason or other. Maybe to see what was next in the reading queue or add one of my roomie’s recommendations to my TBR. Regardless, I was drawn to the link that has chronicled my year in reading. For the first time all year, it noted that I was behind (behind!!!) on my reading challenge. That if I didn’t step it up, I wouldn’t achieve my goal.
So I did what any normal, rational person would do. I frantically scanned the lists of graphic novels I wanted to read. Requested 10 or 12 or 15 of them from my local library. Read a couple short stories online. All in the name of hitting that number. Crazy, right??
I’m going to hit my goal this year. And next year, I’ll set a new goal and try my best to hit that. But what I’ve learned about myself this year is that the best part of reading is often the journey, not the results. Not how much I’ve read, but how I’ve expanded my reading scope. What I’ve learned. How my favorite books made me rage or cry or laugh out loud.
So as we head into 2015, as that little button taunts me into choosing a new number, I’m going to scale back. Not on reading, exactly. But on my own expectations. I’m going to scale back my goal number to reflect new reading trends. Read more freely, instead of relying on read-alongs and challenges and must-reads (although I’m sure I’ll still do some). Read more diversely – not just YA and Kidlit, but nonfiction, literary fiction, chick lit or fantasy or whatever. Review less, if I’m so inclined. And just really enjoy my year in reading.
And hopefully, around this time next year, I’ll be able to look back and reflect on that great decision to cherish the stories I love instead of making them all about the numbers. I wish that for you as well in the coming year – that you don’t let the expectations of blogging or goals defeat the joy of reading for you.
All my best…and Happy Holidays!