I’ve been under the impression that I don’t read as much as I used to. I can remember sitting down with a novel and finishing it in a couple of days, then waiting until the weekend for another trip to the bookstore to get my next fiction fix. But in the past few years I can count the number of novels that I read on both hands, which both worried and puzzled me. Why was I not reading as much? I still like books, so what had changed?
Now, I’ve been in school pretty much nonstop since January 2003, when I went back to college to complete a bachelor’s degree in communications. I finished that in late 2009 and by the time I attended the commencement ceremonies in May 2010 I had already finished my first graduate class. At this point, I’m just halfway through the masters’ program. So, it’s not like I haven’t been reading anything. And I work as a copy editor, so I read at work. Maybe I just needed a break.
It wasn’t until a friend invited me to join Goodreads that I started paying attention to the list of books that I was reading. Then I realized just how much I was reading: it’s just that most of it is nonfiction instead of novels. But the numbers speak for themselves: within the past year I think I’ve read at least 3-4 books for every class I’ve taken just as required materials, plus numerous journal articles and assorted books that I’ve read and/or scanned for research papers. Most of these I haven’t even included in my Goodreads list because that’s going to be like a part-time job!
In the interest of making sure that I keep reading, I’ve taken on the Reading Challenge. So far I’ve read 10 books, and 4 of them were novels. I cheated a bit because two of the books were required for a class and we did not read the entire books, but I’m adding them to the list anyway. Two 1,000+ page books should count for something, right? And because I’ve read a few classics in the last six months, I’ve decided to make 2012 my year for reading English literature (mostly nineteenth century works). So far I have read Dracula and Pride and Prejudice. In the reading queue are Little Women, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes. And I’m trying to decide which of Charles Dickens’s novels to read first, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.