This year, I've woken up to the fact that I've been moving toward a goal for a number of years now: to read 1,000 books cover to cover. I did so by declaring that, at the pace I was going, I was well on my way to reading a thousand books. And, like that, it became a goal of sorts.
I've been enjoying this journey tremendously, especially given I get to share a lot of the "lightbulb moments" reading offers with followers of this blog.
What Counts As A Book I've "Read"?
- I have to have read the book since deciding to start the challenge (April 1, 2013).
- I don't count the many books I don't manage to finish, no matter how far I've gotten (and there are many).
- I don't count the books I've listened to on audio...I have to have read the actual words and absorbed the information they contain.
- There's no set rule about the number of pages a book has to be, though the average is 200+ pages (some have been as short as 50 pages, others near the 500-page mark).
Progress So Far
I average about 70+ books per year, that's 1.4 books per week:
- 67 in 2013-2014
- 76 in 2014-2015
- 74 in 2015-2016
As of this writing, I'm at 232.
How I Choose What I Read
My books selections vary tremendously, thanks to receiving book recommendations for multiple sources (including friends, other writers/blogger, favourite websites such as TED and from authors of books I've read). I mostly read non-fiction, though I make an effort to discover works of fiction because they provide a different type of insight that only good works of fiction can offer.
I don't tend to read eBooks. I prefer the old fashioned books. They're easier on the eyes and I'm big on using sticky notes to mark important quotes I want to review and possibly jot down once I've finished reading the book.
Each book I read usually results in about ten pages of notes or so, mostly favourite passages, or quotes I'm likely to want to use to inspire or support ideas I might explore in a future post. I'll admit it's quite a bit of work to get these notes done, but it does feel like I get to read the book again in summary form and it makes it easier for me to understand what I liked/took away from the book. Sort of like my own personal Coles Notes. I'll admit I thank myself for making the time to record these notes each time I reference them or reread them, which is often.
Where I Get My Books
The vast majority of the books I read come from the library, otherwise I'd be spending over $1,000 a year in books. Other sources of books include authors requesting I read their books (editing, reviews, etc.), books friends and family lend me, and used books I'm able to source online or from used book stores (usually reserved for the classics).
Why Did I Decide to Go Public with the Goal?
Other than having had this goal as an item on my bucket list, I haven't really spoken or written about it until July of this year. That's when I met Stephanie Staples. I have no idea why, but I shared the goal with her during our first conversation (I think she just has that effect on people).
Her eyes lit up. She wanted to talk books with me...on her radio show on CJOB. I thought "She has a radio show?!" Yup. Within a matter of weeks, we were discussing our love for books. Live. On the radio.
The opportunity to share my love of books with Stephanie was a wonderful experience. It made me realize just how much I read and how much more I can to do help others (re)discover books of all types or access the information and insights they contain. I'll definitely continue to use them as references and inspiration for Free to Pursue blog posts and other writing—as I've been doing for over 2.5 years—but I feel I can do more.
What might I have in mind? It's in the next blog post... ;)