I’m not going to finish Fifty Books in 365 Days

Yeah, I’ve pretty much known this was going to happen for a while now, but I spent this long trying to figure out how to say it. I’m not going to finish fifty books this year.

At the start, the project was designed to get me reading more. I love reading, have done since I was a child, but as more and more distractions like TV shows and video games have crept into my free time, I realised I was spending less time actually reading books. Whereas before I’d have read an hour or two before bed every night, I was doing it maybe once or twice a week. I needed something to galvanise myself into switching off the consoles and getting down to mowing through some of my ever increasing stack of books. Fifty in a year was just under one a week and seemed like an achievable goal. So, why did I stop?

The truth is, it stopped being fun and started becoming an obligation. Rather than excitedly getting down to reading a good book, I worried over the idea of reviewing it at the end. Rather than reading what I wanted to read, I started reading based on length, and what I thought I could fit in based on a rapidly approaching deadline. I’ve got George R.R Martin’s A Dance With Dragons, Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings, and Marisha Pessl’s Night Film on my shelf right now. All of which I’ve been itching to get to, but that will probably take the rest of the year by themselves. Guys, I really want to read those books. And I think at this point I’ll be better served doing that, and doing it at my own pace, than trying to fit in another ten books in two months.

Speaking of months, we all know we’re literally days away from November. And with November comes NaNoWriMo. Last November I barely managed two books (Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten by David Mitchell). Honestly, when working at a writing pace of close to 2000 words a day, the thought of reading afterwards is kind of exhausting. I’m much more likely to want to watch a film, or relax on the Playstation for an hour or two before sleep. If the choice really comes down to creating content or consuming it, I’m going to pick creating every time.

Last night I read before going to sleep. But instead of cracking open the novel I’d been struggling to get through, I started the first trade paperback of Jonathan Hickman’s East of West. And you know what? It’s really good. And I didn’t have to feel guilty about reading something that isn’t contributing to some sort of goal.

The whole point of fifty books in 365 days was to get me to read more, and in that sense it’s succeeded. But it also made me tired and resentful in the last couple of months, the exact opposite of what I wanted. I’m going to continue to read. And I’ll keep talking about some of the books I really like on here, just without the pressure of this ever looming target.

Stat Corner

Books finished: 40
Most common score: 4 (18 books)
Least common score: 1 (0 books)
Average (mean) score: 3.625
Longest book (pages): The Stand (1325)
Total number of pages read: 17,732
Average number of pages per book: 443
Average number of pages per day: 61
Most read author: Stephen King (6 books)
Highest rated author with more than one book read: Haruki Murakami (4.5 average over two books)
Most read genre: Fantasy (18 books)
Highest rated genre with more than one book read: Sci-fi (4.0 average over eight books)

Five Stars:

American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett
Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami
NOS4R2 by Joe Hill
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
The Stand by Stephen King

Four Stars:

The Age Atomic by Adam Christopher
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
Embassytown by China Mieville
Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
The Girl Who Would Be King by Kelly Thompson
Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Hollow World by Michael J Sullivan
King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
The Machine by James Smythe
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Pantomime by Laura Lam
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
The Returners by Mikey Neumann
The Shining by Stephen King
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

Three Stars:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman
The Cambodian Book of the Dead by Tom Vater
Carrie by Stephen King
The Devil is in the Details by Ryan K Lindsay et al.
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
A Fucked Up Life in Books by BookCunt
Joyland by Stephen King
My Not So Shameful Sex Secrets by Girl on the Net
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Redshirts by John Scalzi
Run the Day by Matthew C Davis
Tentacle Death Trip by Jordan Krall
The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

Two Stars:

A Feast For Crows by George R.R Martin
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King

One Star:

None! Hooray!

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