About two months ago, I wrote a post about my summer reading list. Obviously, I was expecting to read more books than I put on the list – I only chose seven books, and even though we were more than half way through the summer when I wrote the post, it was still very reasonable considering I’m a fast reader and I had more than a month of holiday to go – yet I write now, somewhat forlornly, that I only read two books of the seven on the list. It wasn’t even like I was one or two off finishing the pile; I was less than half way through. To be honest, I’m quite disappointed about that, especially when I proved in the SundayYAthon that I could marathon four pre-chosen books in four days.
I was having a think about why some of the books got read and some of them didn’t, and I have created a list of reasons as to why I think my success with my summer reading list was limited.
- YA was in the minority in the pile. I don’t enjoy books exclusively because they are YA, but as I generally find YA easier to read, they take less time, which means they have quite a lot of appeal to me, as I find it quite satisfying that you can read a book so quickly. Non-YA tends to take me quite a bit longer, and so sometimes I am less drawn to those books than I would be otherwise (although I have been making an effort to read more classics recently!).
- I’d owned these books for a while. Often many of these books made the list because I’d been meaning to read them for a while, but this had a negative effect. Library books have a time limit on how long you have to read them, and new releases have often had a lot of hype around them, so they’re easy to prioritise. Books you’ve owned for months? Not as much.
- I did very little to monitor my progress. Apart from tweeting about it when I’d read one of the books on the list, I didn’t review how I was doing or even really spare it much thought once I’d created the post. With hindsight, it probably would have been sensible to have checked in with the list every now and then, or even set myself specific targets – for example, I could have aimed to tick one book off the list every week until the end of the summer, which probably would have been a sensible system.
I still really want to read the other books on the list, as I only ended up getting round to Freakonomics, probably because I’d bought it recently and the chapters were unrelated so it was easy to pick it up and read it every now and then, and My Heart and Other Black Holes, because it was a YA book I’d seen talked about before, so it had caught my interest in particular. I’ll have to try again at some point with the other books, though, as they all look really good!
On another note, I decided to call this post an unsuccess, because obviously it wasn’t a complete success when I didn’t finish the list. However, I didn’t want to call it a failure, because it doesn’t feel like a failure when I did read some (okay, two, but still!) of the books on the list, and it’s led to me analysing my reading habits and learning that I need to challenge myself with non-YA more often, and also that I should track my progress if I want to do a reading challenge, like with the SundayYAthon. Seeing as have achieved something from this, I don’t view it as a failure – hence ‘unsuccess’ feels more appropriate.
Did you aim to read certain books over the summer? How did it go?