Posted in Lists, Reading

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


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