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Why 'Reading 52 Books A Year' Is A Terrible New Year Resolution

For those of you who have read my previous post, you know that I’m absolutely against New Year resolutions. If you aren’t willing to get things done today, there’s a thin chance that you’ll do it from 1st January. Having said that, I’ve had my fair share of failed resolutions.

This year, it was simple, achievable, and even exciting to a certain degree. Inscribed in gilded letters on the wall of my mind, it said: Read 52 books this year.

Now, being a 14 year old, I have way too much spare time. 52 books a year meant one book per week. Once the assignments and tests were out of the way, I could devote all my time to reading. And for bookworms like me, this wasn’t even a chore, but more of a way to slack off. Until it wasn’t.

To start off, I opened google and hunted for the most efficient ways to read books. Time is money, after all. And I did all I was told. Screen time was replaced by reading time, hours that could’ve been spent with friends were spent holed up in my bedroom, and I sacrificed sleep to get through books that didn’t even remotely interest me. All of this to prove that reading 52 books a year was a walk in the park.

Now that I look back, I barely remember what I read. The plot and characters are a fading silhouette, and don’t get me started on the symbolisms and historic references. They might as well have been written in Greek, for all I know.

Now, fellow bookworms might hate me, but I love annotating books. There’s no greater joy than underlining your favourite quotes and writing your thoughts on the slim margins of a book. There’s just something about personalising every book that you read.

And that’s exactly what I couldn’t do. Let alone annotating, I read classics like The Great Gatsby, The Picture Of Dorian Gray, and Kafka On The Shore, without understanding what any of them were trying to convey. Reading was a constant wait of finishing one book and beginning another. Somehow, I had managed to transform my hobby into a chore that I dreaded with every fibre of my being.

What’s funny is that I thought I was the only one crazy enough to do it. When I stumbled upon a goodreads group, there were people eager to get through 50, or even 70 books a year. Now, I’m not criticising anyone’s reading goals. If it works for you, do it.

Nonetheless, I find it that some of us are more thrilled about the idea of reading 52 books a year than actually reading those books. And this could be daunting, especially for newbies in the reading community. If you think that reading a certain number of books is the only reason to read, then there’s no way you’re going to enjoy it. Let alone build your way up to rich literature.

In the end, I let go off the resolution. Spending hours and hours reading books that don’t make sense to you, just to boast about it on the internet is, to put it nicely, stupid. Regardless of whether you read 12 or 50 books a year, what matters is how much they impact you. Or, to quote Mortimer J. Adler:

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”

In the end, I only read 40 books this year. It didn't matter to me that some books took 3 daunting weeks to read, while some ended within a mere 3 days. My point here is, we all here read for pleasure, and most of the time we can't devote an ideal amount of time to this activity. Instead of creating echelons in the reading society, why don't we appreciate anyone and everyone who's making an effort to get back into the habit?

Till then, Happy Reading and Happy New Year! Here's a list of Resolutions that you could actually take, without stressing yourself out and creating hindrances in your every day life.

If this post inspired you to pick up a book, or made you feel less guilty about reading only a handful of books this year, please leave a like below and share it to your friends!

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1 Comment

Aquaria Austin
Aquaria Austin
Oct 05, 2023

When you grow up, you'll realize that everyone reads for different reasons, they do it in different ways, and it's all good. It's easy for you to be a long-winded and judgmental jerk like this now, but wait until you have a job, kids and a home to take care of. Let's see how much annotating you get done then.

Hint: It won't be much, if any. That's something else you'll learn when you grow up at long last. If ever.

o sStop being such a judgmental little wanker, and learn to live and let live. You'll be happier for it, and very much less annoying.

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