The Wrong Way to Start a Reading Challenge

With the new year stretching out before us, anything seems possible. Because of that, I’m challenging myself to read 50 books this year.Last year was my first attempt at counting the number of books and I might have lost count, but it came to less than 50. It’s possible that I’ve never read anything close to that in a year. It wouldn’t be much of a challenge though if I tried for an easy number like 10 or 20, so I decided to go for 50.

Then I started reading The Brothers Karamazov. I’ve enjoyed it so far, but couldn’t help nodding off two or three times while reading it last weekend. I could blame the dog. She gets blamed for most things anyway and she kept me warm while making a quick nap look like a great idea at the time.


Still, I managed to get through 70 or so pages. While feeling pretty good about that, I checked to see the total number of pages in the book: 770. That means I’ve only got 700 pages to go before finishing my first book of a 50-book challenge. I’m feeling challenged already.

How many books can you read in a year? Will you be doing a reading challenge? Do you know of any easy reads that should be added to my list?

54 thoughts on “The Wrong Way to Start a Reading Challenge

    • You’ve read three already? Wow – I’m way behind! It sounds like you’ll get to 50 before I will. I’m already wondering if I should bring it down to a more manageable number. That’s great that you were able to do it last year though – it gives me some hope!

  1. Goodreads tells me I read 56 books last year, and that’s not including all the children’s books. Some books were longer, others were shorter. I think 50 books a year is very realistic (about one a week), unless you pick very long books every time. I’ve mixed fiction and non-fiction, humorous and sad books to bring some variety and I need get bored that way. It’s a new adventure in every book. Good luck with your personal challenge!

    • Congratulations on 56 – that’s a great accomplishment! I like to mix different kinds too, especially classics and more modern ones to keep from getting bored with the same type of book. I still want to read The Book Thief after this one, then maybe some shorter ones. 🙂

      • If you read The Giver series, you can probably read all four books in less than 2 weeks. Then you’re sure to reach your goal and enjoy some great reading along the way. The Book Thief reads very well too.

      • Thanks Milka! I’m really looking forward to reading those, and it would feel good to catch up a bit on the challenge!

    • Thank you – it looks like there are some good ones on that list! I’ve been thinking of reading Animal Farm again and I’ll hopefully be reading The Giver soon too.

  2. When all else fails, blame the dog… 😉

    I finish a book every 1-2 weeks. I’d like to read more, but that’s about all the time I have. I read every day over my lunch break and sometimes in the evening while I walk on the treadmill.

    Have you read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn? It was my favorite book of 2012. It’s a psychological thriller, and I found it so hard to put down. But it seems people either loved it or hated it–not much in between.

    • Hahah – dogs are great for that! I think my reading rate is about the same. Those are great suggestions to fit more reading time in. I usually end up blogging during lunch, but I really need to exercise more so it makes sense to combine the exercising and reading. I haven’t read Gone Girl yet so I’ll have to add it to the list -thanks Carrie!

    • Yes, I’m already wondering how it will be possible. 🙂 I have a pretty long reading list and there aren’t many short ones on there. It’s probably better to read slow and really enjoy the book anyway, so I won’t really be racing too much. Good luck with your reading!

  3. I did read 50 books last year and am gearing up for 50 this year. I haven’t picked short/quick books – rather, have selected books I know I’ll enjoy. Then I focus more on the book and less on the statistics. Are you on Goodreads?

    • That’s probably a better way to do it – to read ones you know you’ll enjoy instead of just picking books because they’re short. I am on Goodreads but haven’t done much on there yet other than try to track the number of books read. I’ll look for you on there – congratulations on reading 50 books!

  4. I average reading about 25 books a month – I know I have a serious problem. Easy reading check out Nora Roberts (The Witness), Danielle Steel (Friends Forever), Nancy Thayer (great beach reads) and Claire Cook (Must Love Dogs and great beach reads). Good Luck – Have a Great One:)

    • Wow – 25 books a month – I’d love to do that! Those do sound good and I don’t think I’ve read them. Thank you – I’ll add them to the list!

  5. Sounds like when I read Moby Dick. That was a beast to finish and turned me off reading for a while because it was such a chore. Good luck getting through your first book. I definitely think you deserve some smaller ones after this.

    • Hahah – thanks Char! It is fun to mix those classics with more modern ones. I don’t think I’ll be doing another classic for a while after this one! 🙂

  6. I got the urge to start reading more of the classics this year. Just started “Bleak House”….it may be the only book I read all year!

    • That’s funny – I’ve been wanting to read that one too! I really loved A Tale of Two Cities – that might be a little bit shorter. Good luck with Bleak House – at least winter hibernation seems to be a good time for these things.

  7. I don’t read fifty a year, and I haven’t accepted any challenges, other than the ones life throws at me. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a book you could slip in easily.

    • That’s true, life throws those challenges at us anyway so it’s pretty crazy of us to make more up for ourselves! 🙂 Thanks so much for the book suggestion. I like the sound of that title and will make sure to check it out.

  8. Hi Sheila,

    How are you? It’s good to be visiting you again, as you’ve been missed while I’ve been away! 🙂

    I usually read at the end of my night before I go to bed…and my favorites are romance (with depth) and suspense, sometimes, combined. I love Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks, Sandra Brown and for more suspense/thriller, James Patterson is really good. there are so many that I can’t remember them all. I do remember reading The Book Thief years ago because my son recommended it and it was good also! I think 50 is fine, unless you add some longer books, then maybe you should lighten the load for your own sanity! 🙂 Enjoy and relax and you can also blame the dog! Hugs! 🙂

    • Hi Lauren! I’m so glad you’re back – I’ve missed you! I was just thinking about you this morning before I saw this. I hope everything’s going ok with you. Thank you for those suggestions! I’ve been wanting to read The Book Thief for forever so I think that will have to be next. I forgot about some of those other authors and will have to take a look at their latest ones. Hugs to you! 🙂

      • I’ve missed you, too, Sheila, and am glad I’m back. Life is not the same, but it’s a new year, new phase of mind set. I wasn’t able to write at the end of last year and whether it will be good or not, that wall has been broken! So, have a wonderful day and enjoy your books! Hugs to you, too! 🙂

  9. Try The Fur Person and As We Are Now. Both books by the late May Sarton and about 100 pages each but well worth the read. I suggest reading As We Are Now first as it gets pretty dark and then The Fur Person which should give you quite a few laughs. The two will help to add up those numbers and I really doubt that one would doze off reading either! 🙂
    After all that, treat yourself to Jasper Fford’s – Thursday Next Series starting with The Eyre Affair! While each is about 300 pages, you wouldn’t notice as they go almost too fast! You won’t be sorry!

  10. I’ve never counted but I’m more along the lines of cravesadventure. Not quite as much tho – maybe ten a month? I read fast and I pretty much never watch tv. My reading challenge this year is to read a bit less and write a bit more!

    • That’s great – I’d love to be able to read that much in a month! I don’t watch TV either and try to read at night but by then I usually end up nodding off again. Writing more is always a good challenge. I love reading and writing both so much that sometimes it’s hard to decide which to do.

      • I’m hoping if I read a bit less my craving for stories will lead me to write them! I’ve been toying with the idea of seeing if I can cope for a whole weekend…or even a day…without reading. Still, it’s a healthier addiction than many 😉

      • That’s funny – I think I’m the opposite because when I read a lot that makes me want to write more, as if reading is filling me up and then I need to empty out with the writing. That would be hard to go through a weekend without reading, but it sounds like it would be worth it to fit more writing in. It’s too bad we can’t do both at the same time. 🙂 Good luck with those writing and reading addictions!

  11. I set myself a reading challenge. Not so much number of books, but trying to add variety to my list. I usually read mainstream fiction and I really want to spread my wings and try new authors, different genres. I don’t have a lot of reading time in the day, which is problematic, but I love taking even just 15 minutes to escape into a good book. Good luck with your current book. You’re definitely starting off strong! 🙂

    • Thanks Kate! I’m trying to go for variety too, so I’ll do more mainstream ones after this one. I like trying out books from different countries and will have to add more of those along the way. Then maybe it’ll feel like I’m traveling while reading. Good luck with your challenge! 🙂

    • Hi Meg! I think I’m going to have to, especially since I can’t get The Brothers Karamazov to count as two or three like it should. 🙂

  12. Er, I’m sure I was nowhere near enough books read last year. 😉 I’m trying to do better this year. I’m sure my husband’s read nearly every book by Dostoevsky and other Russian writers.

    Kindle, Nook, and iBooks make it easy to read so many of the classics by making them free. But they do tend to be longer works!

    • That is the great thing about the Kindle and I’ve added lots of free classics because I really do love them, even if they are long. Scarily enough, the 770 pages are real book pages, not even Kindle pages. At least it kind of goes along with the frozen tundra outside, even though maybe something a little more tropical would be a better escape. 🙂

  13. I’ve read 20 books so far this year. Mind you, they were all comic books (or graphic novels, which gives them a little more gravitas). I must dust off my Dostoevsky this year.

    • Hahah – comic books must count too! I’m glad you’ll be dusting off that Dostoevsky, but it might slow your book count down a bit. 🙂

  14. Excellent decision and total of books! I adore Brothers K– this author is always absolutely captivating so, stick to him, as well as George Elliot, and a suggestion is “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” by T.S. Elliot. Good luck friend !

    • Thank you so much for those suggestions! The Brothers Karamazov is starting to pick up now and I’m really enjoying it. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is another one I’ve been wanting to read for a long time – thank you for that reminder. I guess it’s a good thing I’m trying for 50 because there are always so many books to read!

  15. I can’t read close to 50 books a year. I write most of the time, so reading is something ‘rare and special’ for me. Best of luck with the rest of the book (and the challenge!) 😉

  16. I have done 50 a year, but I don’t even keep track any more. I think I burned out a little. Classic novels make it a little more difficult – I hang on to every word! Balance it out with some trashy suspense novels or a nice sci-fi and you’ll be fine 😉

    • Thanks Brian! I do the same with classics or I’ll reread certain paragraphs so it does take a while. I have a feeling I’ll be failing miserably at this challenge, but might as well give it a try since there are always so many books to read. That’s great that you got to 50 – it’s good to know it’s possible!

    • Hahah – that must have been a really long book! You’re already ahead of me on this year’s count too – I may never get past one for this year either.

  17. Napping with the dog sounds like a nice way to take a break. I don’t have a reading challenge, but I have manage to read 3 books already this year, I love crime fiction and can lose hours in a day getting sucked into the suspension 🙂

    • You’re way ahead with three books already! Napping with the dog is always tempting, but I’ll have to plow ahead and catch up somehow. 🙂

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