Sunday Salon: Measuring my reading

Word Lily thoughtsI’ve felt a touch overwhelmed a few times with my reading this month. See, I’ve completed all of 2 books so far this month, and that’s likely the way January will end. When, in 2010, I averaged 8 books per month. (In 2009: 7.4 per month.)

While I wouldn’t say I’ve spent a ton of hours reading, this month, I don’t think it’s been that much less time than normal, although it may fall a little short.

I’m placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of all the books I’m in the middle of. I kind of forced myself away from my serial book monogamy this month, and that, I think, is why my numbers are short. Specifics? OK.

Before the first of the year I started a collection of P.G. Wodehouse short stories, The Man Upstairs. My thinking was that the short stories would be more easily set aside than a novel, and I wanted to, once it was 2011, start one of the books for my list swap with My Friend AmyMiddlemarch by George Eliot. I wanted to get started immediately on the list books because I know my reading later in the year will be weighed down with other obligations. And I knew Middlemarch was intimidating, if only because of the page count, so I decided to start with it.

  • Middlemarch is going great. I’m still not half done with it, but I’m really enjoying it. It’s not the simplest read, is all.
  • The Man Upstairs is brilliant, funny. But it’s been ignored for several weeks now.
  • Certain Women by Madeleine L’Engle is the latest addition to the in-progress pile; I’m reading it for the Faith & Fiction Round Table discussion, which starts February 6. It, too, is really good.

I really think the multiple-books-going-at-once scenario is part of my reading failure this month. I’ve sworn off the approach in the past, but here I am again, aiming to avoid it, at least.

In the end, though, it’s not about the fact that I’ve only completed 2 books in 30 days. Nope. Instead, it’s more about the fact that I want to be OK with that. I’m meeting my commitments, my obligations and promises. I’m reading good books, that matter to me, and I’m enjoying my reading. Shouldn’t that be enough? I want it to be, for me.

I’m a little scared that I picked poorly on one of my challenge books, though. Maybe Les Miserables was a bit much for 2011?

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11 responses to “Sunday Salon: Measuring my reading

  1. It’s okay! It’s not a race. You sound like you’re enjoying your books and that’s what counts.

  2. I read only four books and on my fifth. But that’s ok!

    Here is my Sunday Salon post!

  3. I am a “multiple book” reader…. I think more so as of the past six months… I seen to have several going at all times. Currently I sit with these books surrounding me that are partially done: The Kitchen Boy, Certain Women, This Book Is Overdue, Night, and Butterfly Garden. Then there are the three audios: The Art Of Mending (car audio), Testimony (kitchen audio) and Unspeakable Journey (bedroom/bathroom audio).

    For some reason this works for me and then I will suddenly have a lot of books finish at once. Its crazy – and I can not explain it but it works for me.

    I think reading what we enjoy and at the pace we wish to enjoy them is exactly where we all should be. Happy reading Hannah! 😀

  4. I think one of the most frustrating parts about surrounding yourself online with readers–and if you’re like me, different kinds of readers–is that sense of always being behind. Like Marie said, it’s not a race, but it’s frustrating to see how much other reading is being done that you want to do! 🙂 Even when I love everything I’m reading, I am always aware of all the awesome stuff I’m not reading. And I don’t want my life to be only reading, so it’s just going to be a constant sense of loss, I think.

  5. Les Mis is my great white whale – I really want to read it, but the size scares me to death! Are you reading the unabridged?

  6. I’ve found that when I read polygamously, I finish fewer books too, and so, like you, I usually try to avoid it. I rarely get through more than 4 – 5 books per month, and I think I’ve come to accept that as my pace.

    Looking forward to the F&FR discussion of Certain Women – I think there’s a lot to talk about there!

  7. It sounds like you have read more, but just haven’t completed them? I read a lot of books at once, so I have months where the number read feels really low. You’re reading some great stuff though!

    By the way, I hadn’t seen your new look for your blog. It’s very nice!

  8. I so know how you feel. I’ve completed ONE book so far this month but am concurrently reading 3 others at varying speeds. I marvel and admire those who read so many books per month but I’m not one of them. It takes all sorts to make a fun and interesting book blogging world!

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