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Saturday, 12 October 2013

READING CHALLENGE.

In January I decided I'd do what I could to read a book a week over the year, demolishing 52 tomes.
   Quality never came into it. Book-size was unimportant. All I had to do was pick up a book and read the damned thing. Nail 52 books, come year's end. I achieved that goal at the start of October.
   Success?
   No. By my account, I'm pretty sure I bought something like 40 new (and old) books this year. So my overall book deficit is down by a round dozen.
   Put out the flags. Hire the band. Mock those afflicted by the bug of reading. I'd hoped to have the number of unread tomes down by 45. That hope was forlorn.
   I'm not counting electronic books. Dinosaur that I am, I tend to use the Kindle to vet my own work. To me, the Kindle is a writing and editing and formatting tool rather than a book portal.
   Just can't get away from reading paper, no matter how I try. Many of the books I ordered for the Kindle were classic tales I'd read. Quite a few sit on my shelves in dead-tree form. I wanted to check digital formatting against paper typography.
   Shuffling numbers, comparing titles, checking formats, how did I do overall? Sadly, I pretty much came out of the experience at about the same level as I went in.
   Except.
   I GAINED from reading those books. Story ideas came to me. Old words appeared. Plots entertained me. I laughed at jokes. Volume by volume, I came away enriched. Even when I read crap.
   The book I just demolished had the whole plot back-loaded into the final ten pages - an infuriating read, given that the last five pages were reserved for an explanation negating the only-just-uncovered plot.
   You can take a mystery too far.
   I read a lot of good stuff. Some truly great material. And that book from the other day. Where is the plot? When will we reach the plot? Blink, oh, you missed it. Here's another twist inside the tale, at the final rattling gasp.
   Blah.
   Where now? To the same challenge. A book a week, over a year. With a limit on purchasing books, so that my deficit drops by a far greater number next time around.
   No more mad sprees when sales come calling. It is lunacy to chomp through 30 books then immediately purchase another 30 in the sale.
   Old thinking. Awful lack of planning. Done with treading water.
   How about you? Do you set annual reading goals? Life intrudes, of course, so you are excused if you don't quite make it through your list. Stack. Pile. Mound.
   I made it, though still felt as though walking on the spot. Next time, I'll be running on the spot. Makes all the difference, I'm sure.
   So, with my library and office revamped, do I fall into the trap of installing new bookcases and filling them? No. I force my way through hasty purchases from this moment on.
   That's the real reading challenge. Avoiding hasty purchases.

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