Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Thirteen Books

Who set 2018 reading goals this year? And did you meet them? Come on, you GoodReads power users, fess up. What was your goal? Seventy-five? One hundred?

Me? My goal this year? Twelve books. My goal was to complete the #ReadICT program, which identifies twelve categories. That's it.

Now I knew I'd exceed that goal, and of course I did. As of today, in late November, I've finished . . . are you ready? . . . thirteen books.

What now? Thirteen?

Yes, thirteen. I admit, I thought I'd read more than that, but I'm 100% comfortable with that total. After all, it's been an intense year. I've taken Spanish classes, re-launched Sunflower Editorial with some gratifying results, started a(nother) blog with a mostly weekly publication schedule, completed an editing certification program,* and, oh yeah, helped move an entire library into a brand-new facility. I mean not literally. There were professional movers. But still.

But surely, you ask, you read to relax? With all that stress, isn't reading even more important?

Nope. Not for me, not right now.

With the exception of the PG Wodehouse I keep next to the bathtub (Hot Water, har har, thanks for asking), trying to concentrate on a book can feel like torture. When my brain is exhausted, as it has been for a good chunk of the year, I listen to podcasts, rewatch Parks & Rec (except for season one), knit, draw, knit or draw while listening to podcasts or rewatching Parks & Rec, anything but follow words on a page.

Does that make me less of a reader?

Hell no.

Are you any less of a reader because you didn't even set a reading goal this year? Or because you didn't finish your library's reading program? Or because your GoodReads goal was one hundred books and you only finished seventy-eight?

Hell no.

Are you more of a reader because you met or exceeded your goals?

Of course not.

A reader is someone who knows when to pick up a book to make her world better. A reader is someone who knows better than to force himself to meet an arbitrary goal when it doesn't make sense.

Someone who powers through book after book just to say that she did it? That's not a reader. That's just a show-off.

I want to be a reader.

Life is settling down around here and I'm getting excited about reading again. Our library is running #ReadICT again, so I'll set my 2019 "goal" in line with that, but I don't really care how many books I read next year. I want to savor my books. I want to absorb other writers' creativity and use it to fuel my own. I want to read because it makes me happy, not because my social media reputation depends on it.


*I mean I assume I finished. I submitted the final project yesterday. Unless something goes seriously off the rails, I'll be officially certified in copyediting by the University of California at the end of next week. No, before someone asks, you don't need a certification to edit, but we all need continuing education no matter our field, adding professional training to your CV never hurts, and doing well in a challenging program has been a nice confidence boost.


On an unrelated note, I am looking for a way to donate to charities assisting the migrant caravan. I'm considering UNICEF or the Red Cross, but if you know of a legitimate charity providing direct assistance, please let me know and I'll update here.