In 2017 I discovered Goodreads, that wonderful app made for bibliophiles, and fell in love with it. I found books to read and saw them on my “bookshelf,” tapped the “I finished it” icon when I completed a book, then rated the book from 1-5. It was immensely satisfying. When Goodreads asked if I wanted to join the 2018 reading challenge, I was all in, and set a goal to read 50 books.
With a goal of 50 books I had to make sure I read at least one book a week. I finished a fantastic book and checked it off Goodreads as read, barely digesting what the author had to say, then I started another book. I never came up for air. I would read in bed, in the bathroom, and during breaks at work. I consumed books, but it was mindless consumption, I wasn’t tasting what I was eating.
I read whatever I could get my hands on, mostly library books that I would request that I found on Goodreads. Sometimes all the books I requested would come in at once and I’d have a small stack to get through. There was so much to read and so little time.
I finished 2018 by reading through 68 books. Satisfied that I had blasted through my reading goal, I decided to lighten up in 2019 and put my new reading challenge at 40 books. But my 2018 habit snuck into 2019 and I was reading through books furiously. Blasting through the ideas that authors shared like a miner blasting through rock in a mine, getting through the mountain but not pausing to see the gold inside.
All the reading I was doing made me start to think I was taking a college course. I realized in November of 2019 that reading was becoming more of a checklist that I needed to complete and not a source of pleasure. I took the whole month of December off from reading and gave Goodreads a rest. It was quiet and peaceful with all the ideas of the authors I’d be reading floating around in my head being gone. I didn’t realize how consuming reading had become and found the month of December a welcome sabbath.
On January 1, 2020, Goodreads asked if I want help improving my reading by setting a reading goal. I gave this some serious thought, I learned that reading less is more, and I wanted to slow down my reading to maybe only 2 books a month which would give a total of 24 books for 2020. That would enable me to digest what the author wanted to say in the book and mull it over but I know that summer is made for mindless novels. I eat those up by the handful like potato chips, I wouldn’t be able to stop at two in the month of July. I realistically set my 2020 reading challenge to 40 books with the goal of keeping it under 40.