If Lynn weren’t my middle name, I’m pretty sure it would be “Competitive.” For the most part, I’m completely unable to do things halfway — and once I’ve signed my name to something, you’d better believe I’ll come through. I’m not one to commit to a project without a clear intention of finishing, and that’s why it pains me to say . . .
I’m dropping out of all my reading challenges.
Yes, friends, the pressure has officially gotten to me. After years (years!) of trying to wrap up certain bookish competitions, I’m wiping the slate clean. Gone is my goal of reading 100 books in a year (I’m at 83 — and more on that in the future). I’ve said adios to reading more young adult, chick lit or historical fiction . . . just because. In a post from January, Rebecca at The Book Lady’s Blog called 2010 her “year of reading deliberately,” and I’m pretty much in love with that phrase. That’s what 2011 will be for me.
That’s not to say I don’t still enjoy seeing others complete challenges — or value them myself! In trying to complete reading challenges since I started blogging in 2008, I’ve had tons of fun reading new authors and setting goals for myself. I like goals — I enjoy goals — but I’ve decided I need a break. I need to relax and not be so . . . intense about my reading schedule. I need to allow myself to start a large book if I want to, never fearing that I won’t be “reading enough” and filling a book quota if it takes me a week or two to complete one novel rather than my standard two or three days.
As I’ve said: I’m super competitive. Once I start something, I want to win, darn it! I want to vanquish — and conquer! I’m a sore loser and, occasionally, a bad sport. And I know myself well enough to understand that in order to recover a modicum of my sanity, I need to make 2011 The Year I Read Whatever I Want.
I’m not going to stop accepting review copies, taking suggestions or welcoming new books into my home; I’m humbled and grateful for those sent for my consideration. But what I am going to do is strike more of a balance between reading what I want — books I’ve chosen — and those sent for review. I’m going to work steadfastly to clear some space in my super-tall bookcase, which is now at capacity once again. I’m going to grab novels that strike my fancy and buy a book at a bookstore Just Because. I’m not going to check a thousand and one reviews of it first, then weigh the pros and cons of making an “investment” in a paperback.
I’m just going to buy the darn book.
Or, you know, borrow it. That’s something else I’d love to do more of in 2011: visit my local library, which can be a treasure trove of both lesser-known and new books. I want to wantonly choose a novel and finish it whenever I feel like it (without accruing library fines, of course).
In short, I want to read Whatever I Want.
How about you — are you making any reading goals for 2011? Planning to participate any challenges that might make me re-think my whole “OMG No Challenges!” thing? Are you going to Read Whatever You Want, too?