Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Fifty Book Challenge...

Fifty Books/One Year
Begin April 24, 2009
End March 31, 2010

On April 24 of last year, I challenged myself to read fifty books in one year. I didn’t think it would be hard. I knew that I was easily capable of reading four books a month. What I didn’t realize was how the challenge would affect my enjoyment of reading them.

I started by making a list on my iTouch where I could keep an ongoing tally of books I read. I joined Good Reads. I wrote down titles of books every time I heard someone mention their love of a book. I got suggestions from friends, family, internet acquaintances, amazon, NPR, and even my kids.

I assumed I would sail right through and be done well before the end of December. After all, I love to read. Something I don’t particularly enjoy though is a competition. The feeling of having to read fifty books sort of killed the joy. I had a harder time getting into books I thought I’d like. I felt the enormous pressure of my ridiculously long library hold list and each person that was waiting to read the book after me. I LOVED keeping my lists and linking my Good Reads links to my blog and always having a suggestion when someone was looking for a good book. I just didn’t enjoy the actual reading as much as I usually do.

In all, I read:

32 - Fiction
17 - Non-fiction
1 – book of Poetry

1. The Princess Bride
2. Next
3. Bless Your Heart, Tramp
4. Bitter is the New Black
5. Dewey
6. Firefly Lane
7. The Age of Reason
8. First Family
9. Mommywood
10. The Offer
11. Saving Faith
12. Handle With Care
13. Losing My Religion
14. The Doctor’s Wife
15. The Art of Racing in the Rain
16. Tailspin
17. Me & Emma
18. Finger Lickin Fifteen
19. The Woman in White
20. The Book Thief
21. The Outliers
22. The Solace of Leaving Early
23. The Nineteenth Wife
24. The Lost Symbol
25. The Red Tent
26. Long Lost
27. Permission Slips
28. Saving Sammy
29. The Possibility of Everything
30. Forest Born
31. The Book of a Thousand Days
32. The Blind Side
33. The Help
34. Year of Wonders
35. The White Queen
36. SuperFreaconomics
37. Unlikely Allies
38. True Blue
39. The Lightning Thief
40. Push
41. Hunger Games
42. Catching Fire
43. Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me
44. Women, Work and Auto Immune Disease
45. The Weight of Silence
46. Woe is I
47. The Checklist Manifesto
48. The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes
49. Open
50. Time You Let Me In

I truly enjoyed far fewer of these books than you would think. Several stand out as favorites, one was complete trash. I learned something from many, and was simply entertained by others. Over there ----- on the side, you can link to my Good Reads site where all these books are listed. You can see my reviews, other’s reviews, write a review yourself. It’s fun keeping track of all the books you’ve ever read. I’m going to get the kids started too. How fun would it be to have a chronicle of every book you’ve ever read back through elementary school? The geek in me would enjoy that.

In January I started a new list, just the list that I would keep as a tally through the year. I’m not aiming for a certain number, I’m just keeping track. I like it much better this way.


  1. I know what you mean about the pressure and the competition, it just takes all the fun out of anything for me. My boyfriend really likes it though, he loves the competition element to it. I like the idea of a reading challenge but I'd need to make it smaller than 50.

    Well done for completing the challenge, hopefully you'll find more books you enjoy now. I read a lot more when I travel, it's the only way I can cope with long haul flights, but they can't be too complex for that environment.

  2. Wow. Sometimes it takes me no time at all to read a book and others it drags on forever. Guess i need to stop reading at bedtime. Seems the book hits me in the head before I get very far! Yes keep track of the books the kids read!

  3. Wow, out of all of your list, I've only read two on there! And I consider myself an avid reader! Although there is no way I'd do 50 in one year. The best I could hope for is 25. It takes me about two weeks of reading since its hard to find the time lately!

  4. Jess - which two have you read?

  5. Thanks for the list. Looking forward to having a go to recommendation list.
    I just finished "the girl with the dragon tatoo".
    It's a thriller which isn't my usual choice but it was excellent. Coming out as a movie in a few weeks.


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