My 1,000 Book Goal

In 2010, I decided that I didn’t read enough books. This was a foolishly incorrect observation based on not previously recording what I read in some sort of list, and—when I joined Goodreads—not reading the same volume of books as my peers. So, led by a desire to have physical evidence that I was well-read, and misled by a brief and laughable desire to make long-term goals, my number one priority became reading 1,000 books within 10 years. Starting with 2010, that would make my deadline for a thousand books December 31, 2019, 11:59PM.

Reader, as of December 31, 2017, I have read 930 books. I have two years to read 70 books. And I’ve already read 21 books in January.

It sounds like a lot. It is. But they’re not all long novels and textbooks. I read a lot of YA, poetry, graphic novels, novellas, short stories, etc. If the library has it available and I don’t think I’ll hate it, I borrow it.

And now that I’m fewer than 50 books away from meeting my goal, over a year ahead of schedule, I’ve made some decisions.

1. I don’t have to read a book a week. I don’t even have to read a book a month. I mean, I probably will, because I like reading. But I don’t have to feel pressured to do it. Not just the pressure of having a goal to complete, but the pressure of needing to keep up with what I think my peers are reading.

2. I don’t have to finish a book I don’t like. I CAN MOVE ON TO THE NEXT BOOK I WANT TO READ. This revelation blows my mind.

3. I can definitely keep my “to read” list under 300 books. It’s not under 300 right now, though. Last I checked I had 373 books on that list, according to Goodreads. I culled it when I added a book and the update said it was number 999 and I thought, “Oh man. That’s so much pressure. I wanted to read 1,000 books in 10 years and I’m fewer than 100 away from doing that and I have another 1,000 on my to-read list. Hmmm. How about nope?” Then I started deleting. It was a glorious feeling. I deleted entire series except the next volume of it I wanted to read. I deleted ones that were already on my wish list at the library. No need to double up. I deleted books that I was always told were “Classics” but I was uninterested in reading a story about another older white dude having an existential crisis triggered by a younger woman. Then, my list was down to under 400, and a huge book burden was lifted off my shoulders.

4. If I make something my #1 priority, I’ll get it done, with time to spare. I should probably appoint a new #1, and it should probably be “finish writing that damn novel,” but I have a feeling it’ll be something like “visit every continent” or “complete 5 cosplay costumes.” Hey, I read 950 books in eight years, I deserve a fun priority. At least for a little while.