Why My 2016 Reading Goal Has a Cap


In 2015, I read 78 books. My goal for 2016 is to read at least 50. And no more than 75.

I love books. Reading is my favorite thing. So why would I put a cap on my reading goal? Because I don’t just love books, I’m obsessed with them.

I read in the morning. I read before bed. I read while eating lunch. I read while standing in line at the post office. I listen to books in the car. I collect books and stack books and decorate with books. When I can’t sleep at night, I count books.

Is it possible to read too many books? No! Of course not! Except… maybe it is. At least for me. Because I’m not only obsessed with books, I’m obsessed with lists and crossing things off them. I rarely leave breathing room between books, rarely read only one book at a time. And sometimes—I don’t like to admit this—sometimes I opt for the shorter, faster, easier read instead of the longer, more challenging title just so I can add another checkmark to my list. When I try to remember every book I read last year, several titles slip my mind. Good titles. Good books.

So this year I’m trying something different. This year, I am still going to read a LOT of books, but the second part of my goal will make me pace myself a bit, consider my choices, slow down. Slowing down is not a bad thing.

Of course, there’s still the possibility that I won’t be able to make myself slow down. It’s possible I’ll still be tempted by those short novels or that I’ll fly through even the most dense of texts. So what happens if I finish book #75 in November? What will I do when faced with an entire month of no reading? Holiday travel without a novel? Christmas gifts I can’t open until the new year?

Maybe I’ll write. Maybe I’ll watch movies. Maybe I’ll catch up on articles and blogs. Maybe I’ll learn to sew. Maybe I’ll bite off all my fingernails and eat copious amounts of chocolate while counting down the seconds until I can finally get my fix. Honestly, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m a little bit scared and a little bit excited to find out.

Here are a few books I hope make the cut this year:

  • The Thing About Jellyfish – Ali Benjamin
  • Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
  • Misery – Stephen King
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
  • Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation – John Phillip Santos
  • Parasites Like Us – Adam Johnson
  • Now and Forever: Somewhere a Band is Playing & Leviathan ’99 – Ray Bradbury


* * *

Weigh in! What do you think of my reading cap?
Is it possible to read too many books? What’s your goal this year?


Published by Carie Juettner

Carie Juettner is a former middle school teacher and the author of The Ghostly Tales of New England, The Ghostly Tales of Austin, and The Ghostly Tales of Burlington in the Spooky America series by Arcadia Publishing. Her poems and short stories have appeared in publications such as The Twin Bill, Nature Futures, and Daily Science Fiction. Carie lives in Richardson, Texas, with her husband and pets. She was born on Halloween, and her favorite color is purple.

12 thoughts on “Why My 2016 Reading Goal Has a Cap

  1. This is some major self-awareness you have going on here, Juettner. Specifically that wanting to check things off a list is part of the problem. I would have never realized how heavily that could affect one’s reading over indulgence, but the funny thing is, I totally get giddy when I get to mark somethng as finished in goodreads. 🙂 I think this is a good plan for you. I can imagine it would be hard to make sure that you dedicate your time to only the best, most fulfilling reads if you read fast and like checking things off lists. True, you can’t ever read too many books… UNLESS you want to get other things done. And I know the Juettner. She has A LOT of other things she wants to get done. So good job. Good luck with your restraint when you get that 75 book mark, because you WILL get to that 75 book mark before the year is out 😉

  2. Reading cap: good idea since you feel you are missing out on some of the lengthier books just to get more off your list. What about a resolution of adding lengthier books to the reading llist? Or at least after the 75 books….

    1. That’s a good idea. I don’t want to get too specific with my lists though. I love reading YA and middle-grade books and those are often shorter. I hope to just read what I want to read, but not shy away from some of the more challenging stuff. For instance, I just put Wuthering Heights on my to-read list. I didn’t like it and never finished it in high school, but I’m thinking I might appreciate it more now.

  3. The reason you’re capping your goal is the same reason I never set reading goals for myself: I’m way too goal-oriented. Like you, I’m very tempted, but don’t want to succumb to checking off a number rather than reading for quality. I want to choose long, difficult books because they can be so amazing. I want to read slow, to re-read to study craft, to read things I’ve already read just because it’s so fun. And I find myself avoiding all of those things when I put reading pressure on myself. So, no goals for me. A cap sounds good! I hope it works. If all else fails, you can always re-read House of Leaves. That ought to slow you down. 😉

    1. That’s a good point and something to think about in the future. Although, while there definitely ARE longer, more challenging books I want to read, in my line of work (kidlit) most of the stuff on my list is pretty short. But I’m slowing myself down by not trying to read so many at once and by taking a break between audio books. (You know that song by Adele that EVERYBODY has been talking about? Yeah, I just heard it for the first time last week. Lol.) Oh, and that’s a good idea about House of Leaves. I got hubby to read it about a year ago and had fun re-experiencing it through him. 🙂

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