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?

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