The Challenge: Up to 100 in 2013

I like to read.

That’s an understatement, especially if you’ve met me in real life.  I studied books in college, and I’m in graduate school studying publishing.  It’s not so much that I like to read as much as it is that I am madly in love with books.

Last year, I participated in the 100 Books in 2012 challenge.  If you check out the challenge page I set up, you’ll notice I didn’t exactly make it.  I fell short by almost 30 books, clocking my final tally at just 71 books.  (Impressive for some people, but I didn’t find it particularly impressive at all.)

This year, I’m aiming for the same goal – but I know I need to look at what I did wrong if I hope to do better this time around.  There are a few things I didn’t do that I probably should have done:

  • Planning ahead for academic emergencies.  There are several months on my list that have a very short number of titles.  Two of them are ones I wholly expected: April — the month before I completed my undergraduate degree — and November — the month before I completed my first semester of graduate school.  I planned ahead that I would do poorly in April, since I read 12 books total in March, but I didn’t plan ahead in October at all.
  • Catching up when I had time.  After my one-book month in November, I did plenty of December reading to make up for it, completing a whopping 13 titles (plus one title started) that month.  But looking back at the year, there’s something funny: May, June, and July are all nearly empty.  As I spent that time working with no classes or homework to distract me, it seems strange now to think that I didn’t take the opportunity to catch up on extra reading.  What’s wrong with hitting the library in the summer?

Those were really the primary issues I had with the challenge in 2012.  Now that I know what’s going on, I can plan ahead better for 2013.

  • Reading while on trips.  I have at least two conferences to attend in 2013, and several of the titles in my list for December 2012 were completed while I was traveling.  If I’m going to be taking the train at all this year, which in all likelihood I will, I’m guessing I’d better bring a few books along for the ride.
  • Planning ahead for academic emergencies – and following up afterward.  Knowing that my greatest weakness was not before but after finals week in the early part of the year is a big help, and now I know to read a few books as I wind down from a difficult semester.
  • Don’t just catch up during downtime: get ahead.  I can read pretty fast, and I typically use that to my advantage.  Luckily for me, graduate school requires a lot of reading – and now I work at a bookstore.

Are you participating in any reading challenges this year?  If so, how many books will you be reading and how do you plan to accomplish that?


Published by Feliza

Feliza Casano is a writer and editor with a love of speculative fiction, graphic novels, and good books. She writes and edits at Girls in Capes ( and contributes to other websites on science fiction and fantasy topics.


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