Tackling The To Be Read Pile: A Year In Books

As we begin to conclude what remains of the year I have been assessing all the goals I have (and some I have not) accomplished. One of the goals I set out to do was tackle the growing pile of to be read books on my list.

With the help of the Goodreads app on my phone I made the lofty goal to read at least 20 books before the end of the year. When I made this goal initially I was a bit nervous. Was I overreaching? Could I really read that many books before the end of the year?

My ambitious goal to read a lot more books only started a few years ago after realizing I wasn’t reading as much as I used to like I did in my high school and college days. At least when it wasn’t part of my list of required reading for class.

The goals were modest. I started off with reading 10 books before the end of the year until I gradually increased the number each year from 10 to 18 and now to the 20 I set for this year.

Like any goal you start, you might be doing well in the beginning only to stumble and fail miserably toward the end of it. I didn’t reach the first goal of 10 but by the next year I made it up to myself and hit my mark with more books read than what I tried to do in the previous year.

When 2021 rolled around I figured if I managed to read 18 books last year I could probably manage adding two more additional books to that count this year. Thankfully, I’ve hit that 20 goal mark two months ago and added a bonus book, which I finished before the end of last month, to bring my total up to 21 books read!

A list of some of the books I finished reading this year that I kept track of on the Goodreads app.

What probably helped me hit that mark was the type of books I was reading. Other than reading the usual fiction novels, I also incorporated a number of graphic novels that have been sitting in my room unopened for a long time. Reading graphic novels are easier reading and take much less time to finish than a 300 or 400+ page book.

I don’t discriminate against the type of book I’m reading. If it has pages and words, with the addition of beautifully drawn images, then it counts as a “book”.

I am proud of how much my to be read pile has been whittled down, albeit, a little slowly. I finished all the graphic novels I have either bought or received as gifts, and I was able to fit in a number of classic literature books like The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

The books I have read this year has been wide and varied, and will no doubt be useful in my own attempt to write my own book. Every professional writer has said you learn the craft of writing by reading. You understand how to create a beautifully constructed sentence, how to make a character’s voice distinctive from the other ones in your story, and how to write emotions that “show” rather than “tell” what people are feeling. All of it is invaluable, and taking the time to read more books is a worthy, personal cause that will only benefit me as a writer. And it’s a cheap and easy way to travel to worlds you’ve never been to before, both real and imagined.

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