A notch in your bookshelf

How many books do you read in the course of a year? Do you even keep count?

In my experience, we keep count. Some readers take up a reading challenge with the goal set at a specific number; others just note how many books they have read. I belong to the latter group of readers. I usually have a loose goal. As a teenager and young adult, the goal was 50 books a year or approximately one per week. Now as a single, fulltime working mom, I am happy just to be reading. (I still keep count though and read circa 30 a year.)

Why should it matter how many books we read in a certain amount of time? Sure, it shows, whom is the more prolific reader, but what does that mean? It shows, whom has the time and discipline to get some reading done, and of course, who has mastered the ancient art of page turning. In addition, every business consultant would applaud it as a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound).

I venture that a book isn’t just a book – or a number in a statistic. Case in point: Twilight v. Ulysses. Need I say more? A mere number doesn’t measure the enjoyment of stories read, the thoughts provoked, or the knowledge gained by reading. It is just a number.

I would like to challenge you to set your numeric reading goal aside and concentrate on the book in front of you. Read it because you’re interested in this specific book, and not because it is another notch in your bookshelf.


  1. The Brain in the Jar

    The problem with such a goal that is length. It could be someone read only 3 books in two months, but these were Gravity’s Rainbow, Mason & DIxon and Against the Day.

    Personally, I think it’s important to read everyday. It’s an intellectual activity and you need to get your brain working. Just like how you need to work out every day. It’s oka if on some days you work out a little less, especially if you worked really hard the day before. Just make sure you’re always reading.

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