In 2018, I tracked every book I read. Here’s what I learned about reading, and about myself.
See every book I read on Goodreads.
1. I read more than I think I do
113 books. 38105 pages. That’s an average of 105 pages a day.
Of course I didn’t finish books in a linear fashion. There were weeks without the time or drive for reading. But apparently I had enough sick days and quiet moments to make up for them.
2. There’s nothing like an old favorite
“The sure mark of an unliterary man is that he considers ‘I’ve read it already’ to be a conclusive argument against reading a work.” CS Lewis
Revisiting an old book is like catching up with an old friend. Why deny yourself that?
5 Star Rereads: 12, 10.6% total read
Shadow of the Hegemon
Panic in Level 4: Cannibals, Killer Viruses, and Other Journeys to the Edge of Science
The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
Drums of Autumn
A Breath of Snow and Ashes
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood
The Screwtape Letters
The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus
3. Never be afraid to quit a book
Life is too short to read bad books. Don’t waste your time, attention, and emotional energy on a book you don’t like.
Books I gave up on after at least 50 pages: 8, 7.1% of total read
Wasn’t the right time: 4
The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order
Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture
The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise
Fire Within: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and the Gospel – On Prayer
Disliked too much to continue: 4
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
I’ve Been Thinking . . . by Maria Shriver
The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst
4. Read like no one is watching
Ostensibly, I’m a faith blogger. My most-read genre though? Sci-fi/fantasy.
At the beginning of the year, I stacked by to-be-read list with challenging Christian books. But such proscriptive goals inevitably fell apart. I still enjoyed many of the books on my TBR, but I’m comfortable following rabbit trails too.
New to me 5 stars: 15 books, 13.3% of total read
Not Of This World: A Catholic Guide to Minimalism
In This House of Brede
In the Heat of the Moment
The Poisonwood Bible
One Beautiful Dream
The Man Who Was Thursday
The Contemplative Rosary: With St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila
The Romanovs: 1613-1918
The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring
5. Be honest with your opinions
It’s ok to not like a book.
Even if everyone is reading it, your friends loved it, and the New York Times adored it.
It’s ok to not like a book.
1 Star books: 4, 3.5% of total read
Girl, Wash Your Face
In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day
Unafraid: Mary (Lineage of Grace, #5)
6. More detail = better data
I wish Goodreads gave you half-star increments. 4 stars is a catch-all category for me. It includes books that were very good, but not the best (4.5). And books that were just better than ok (3.5).
My average rating: 3.41. Reader’s average for my books read: 4.05
7. Everything counts
I should track books I quit no matter how little of it I read. Previously I only tracked it if I read at least 50 pages. But those first 49 pages count too.
The first few chapters of a nonfiction book can give you all the information you need at that time. Conversely, the initial chapters of a novel can turn you off a writer entirely. You can learn as much from the books you quit as the ones you finish.
Please don’t feel intimidated by other people’s goals, or reading stats. But if you want to create a habit of reading in 2019, you’ll love my free email course. It’s full of practical advice to help you achieve reasonable reading goals in your busy life.