Can I Read 52 Books This Year?

by Dan Walsh

I think I’m in the majority when I admit that the number of unread books living on my bookshelf far surpass the number of books I’ve finished. They’re all good books (I assume, having never read them) and I want to read them, “I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.” I purchased them with good intention, and sometimes it feels like the wisdom of a book can be imparted just by owning it. Obviously this isn’t the case, but I think it contributes to my delinquency. Although, I have to say that to the casual observer, having titles like The Origin of Species, and Dante’s Inferno on my shelf definitely makes me appear smarter. Regardless, I am launching a massive attack this year on the armies of unread books occupying my spare bedroom.

I read Julien Smith’s article “How To Read a Book a Week in 2012″ and am now attempting to read 52 books this year. I am behind so far, but I think I can catch up. It’s week 11 and I finished my 9th book this morning. I was 5 books behind in February, so things are looking up.

As a side note, I found it refreshing that Smith didn’t claim to have a secret shortcut to success, like “practice speed reading,” or “only read the first sentence of each paragraph”. Instead he broke it down into realistic chunks of work:

The average book I read was maybe 250-300 pages. Some were larger, some were smaller. I broke this down to 40 pages a day, which I read early on so I can get it over with. It’s an easy, manageable goal, which doesn’t seem nearly so daunting as 52 books in a year. This is critical to managing your emotional state, making it feel like it’s totally reasonable.

All the books I read will be posted on my 2012 Reading List Kill Shelf.