Friday, January 01, 2010

Cannonball Read: From One Who Almost Made It

The age old question goes like this: how do you measure a year? Some believe you can measure in sunsets or cups of coffee; me, I think a year is best measured in books.

On January 1, 2009, I embarked on a major undertaking: read 100 books in a year (for you non-math majors, that averages out to two books a week). And for a while, I was right on track. The first quarter was the easiest - I finished 22 books in three months, just a tiny bit behind. But then I started to slip. By October, I had only read 75 books - leaving me two months to read 25 books, when the most I had read in any given month was nine. But I wouldn't quit - and I wouldn't change my self-imposed rules. I almost punched my husband in the face this weekend when he said I wasn't "in it to win it." He clarified by saying that, if all I wanted to do was read 100 books in a year, I would have chosen ALL young-adult books, or ALL books that barely cracked the 200-page minimum, or I would have re-read some of my favorites so that I could skim. So he was right - I wasn't just in it to win it, I was in it challenge myself, to STOP reading some of my perennial favorites, and to read things I had always wanted to, no matter the length (case in point: Middlesex, one of my favorite books of the year, coming in at 544 pages; in fact, my best-reviewed books of the year were all over 400 pages). But as recently as December 28, I thought I might make it. 8 books in 4 days? I could do it... but I didn't. And that's OK. It was about the journey, and the awesome books I read this year. I will wrap up 2009 having read 94 books - not too shabby.

I'll probably never get to get up onstage and thank a bunch of people for helping me along the way, so allow me this indulgence:
- Shannon, Mark and Sarah; Charlie and Kevin; Pat, Nat and Elliott (twice!); Bill & Justina, for living far away and allowing me a visit - those train and plane trips made for lots of uninterrupted free time to read
- Brian Prisco and AlabamaPink, the original Cannonball Readers - you inspired me
- all the 2009 Cannonball Readers, particularly the lovely Mrs. Figgy Lockwood-Figueroa - a little healthy competition never hurt anybody

- the Ann Arbor District Library - word up!

- anyone who loaned a book, gave a book as a gift, or recommended a book - I couldn't have done it without you

- the Natester - for all the uninterrupted time on the couch, and for not talking to me during dinner

What did I learn from this challenge? Reading is AWESOME. Seriously. You should read more! I've also learned that I need quantity isn't as important as quality. Some of these books I gobbled down; I didn't get to savor nearly enough of them, and I plowed through some excellent books just to have time to read some not-so-great books . So for my final six books of the challenge, in 2010, I'm going to go back and re-read some of my all time favorites, as well as the three A+s that I gave this year.

Cannonball Read - A-


queenb2u said...

Great job, DIL. You inspired me to read 100 books too, but I didn't reach the goal either. It will always be "The Year of the Book/Books" whether I'm challenged or not. Good reading!

Andy said...

You did a GREAT job! It was fun reading about all these books. I am really proud of you.

This sounds a lot like "Julie and Julia" which I watched with my wife last night (regrettably). I can't believe that you hit the 90's mark...that is no small feat!

Figgylicious said...

I can't believe I'm just seeing this!

And thank you! It was so much fun doing this, and you were always encouraging and I loved knowing you were also going through the crazy last few months. And seriously, reading THAT many books in a year is a hell of an accomplishment, so congratulations :)

Shannon said...

I am going to measure my year in "times I have told Sarah to take that out of her mouth" (which is approximately 525,600). Seriously though, good job! You have given me many things to add to my to-read list on Goodreads...