Annual Reading Challenge Update

I have twenty-four days left to read twenty-five books to reach my goal of reading one hundred and one books this year. I’m skeptical I’ll complete my self-imposed challenge.

I can possible finish another ten books, but I doubt I can do at least a book a day, not and work, clean, shop, etc. This will be the first time ever I won’t meet my reading challenge. I fudged a couple of years ago and lowered my challenge 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through the year due to work, school and home pressures. But this year I’m resisting the urge to adjust my goal post just to give myself a ‘fake’ win. I will suffer the shameful consequences.

Since my last posted review here on November 24th, I’ve listened to an audiobook edition of O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” as well as reading three non-fiction titles including A Woman of No Importance by Purnell (recommended), Selected Literary Essays by C.S. Lewis (recommended if you’re a fan of Lewis and/or Tolkien) and Interrupted Music by Verlyn Fleiger (highly recommended for Tolkien diehards).

In striving to reach my reading challenge goal, I started reading The British are Coming by Atkinson last night and continue listening to Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant at bedtime, which is a shame because I really don’t want to drift off to sleep for fear of missing something. Grant’s memoirs have been a surprising gem of a reading experience and wonderfully narrated by Robin Field. I should also finish listening to The Two Towers audiobook while commuting over the next couple of weeks.

I had a slight setback yesterday when I moved A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley from my Currently Reading shelf to my Abandoned one. I was not the only person in the Between the Lines book club that did not finish A Thousand Acres and for that I’m grateful. The only other book that I added to the Abandoned shelf this year was The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hess, which I attempted to read for this year’s Retrospective Hugo Award for Best Novel. I could tell after just listening to ten percent of The Glass Bead Game why it won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946 but not the Retro Hugo decades later in 2019 – way too much philosophical exposition.

I have four more audiobooks queued up in Hoopla as well as an audio CD of Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, which I might not start until after Christmas since I don’t need to discuss it until the second week of January 2020. I do plan to listen to yet another audiobook edition of A Christmas Carol, as I do every year. Just like I watch at least one film adaptation every December. In fact, with the exception of last year, our family has watched A Muppet Christmas Carol every year since it was released.

Hoopla Audiobooks waiting in the wings

While I’m disappointed in myself for falling short of my goal, I am satisfied that I never lack from something good to read and great people to discuss books with. This evening, I’ll be spending a few hours with good food and my great friends of the Tolkien Society of Kansas City at our annual Hobbit Christmas Party.

So how has your reading been this year? Any good recommendations? Any duds to avoid?

2 thoughts on “Annual Reading Challenge Update”

  1. My goal was 111. So far I’ve read 191, though that includes short stories, novelettes, and novellas read in anticipation of voting for the 2019 Hugo Awards.

    1. Even with all the novellas and novelettes from the Hugo Awards season, I didn’t appreciably increase my stats. I blame work. For the last few months, I’ve been working over sixty hours a week. With the holidays, I get a bit of a break because so many people in IT that I need to work with our taking time off, but it will pick up again in the new year.

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