Last March, I began a blog challenge to read 100 books in a year. That year isn’t over, but I failed miserably and almost immediately. I made it through approximately five novels before I experienced a series of radical life changes, including a divorce, a move, a new relationship, and a pregnancy, which shelved the idea of reading to the very back of my mind. This is so silly, of course, because it isn’t especially difficult to make reading a constant. Who doesn’t have twenty or thirty minutes before bed each night to wind down with a book? How much time do I really need to spend playing Words with Friends? The truth is that I do spend a lot of time reading, but it’s not always the right kind. I spend many, many minutes every day reading the news or sometimes, you know, every single article that Slate and Salon publish on their websites. (Don’t worry guys, I’m great at time management and prioritizing.) Sometimes I get stuck in a worm-hole for several hours reading archives of Dear Prudence columns. I read a lot of student papers. I read many academic essays and short stories to find the few that will make the cut and be incorporated into the courses I teach each semester. But I also own a Kindle, which I’m sad to say has now sat untouched and drained of battery life for many weeks. Over the years, I’ve amassed a decently impressive (and incredibly expensive) home library, of which I’ve maybe read 3 or 4%. I’m out of excuses. I just have to read more.
So, in the spirit of New Year’s Resolutions (who doesn’t love a little peer pressure?) I’m restarting my year of 100 books. Some will likely come from this original list I made last spring. Maybe I’ll add a few from the Man Booker Shortlist or James’ top ten picks from 2011. When my daughter arrives at the end of March, I’ll try not to switch over exclusively to cardboard children’s books. : ) As always, your suggestions are welcome in the comments section below.