Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. I haven’t managed 365 yet. But that’s the goal.
It may be somewhat obvious by now, I’m not talking about people. I’m talking about books. My reading goal for 2015 is 365 books. And no, I’m probably not going to fall in love with all of them. I’m pretty far along with this goal so far, and I haven’t fallen in love with all of them.
You may already be thinking, Maxxe, why are you reading for quantity? Shouldn’t you be reading for quality?
If you’re wondering that, you might have a point.
But I’m not just mindlessly swallowing every book I come across. I promise. What I am doing is pushing myself to go outside my comfort zone, and to occasionally pick up something that I know absolutely nothing about. I’ve made a deal with myself to not read the reviews on Goodreads, and to not look any further than the cover synopsis and the blurbs before I check it out of the library. On that note, I should mention that libraries pretty much give me life. My school has a rather excellent one, and the librarians have excellent taste.
So yeah, I’ve come across a lot of books that I probably wouldn’t have normally read, if I had known more of what they were about when I picked them up.
This includes (get ready for the wall of book that will be below) M.R. Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts, Melina Marchetta’s On the Jellicoe Road, Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun, the entire Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, the Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi, and Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy (I can’t wait for book three, Morning Star, which I desperately want).
(Wall of book. There you go. creds to Goodreads)
In other words, I’ve encountered some titles which have rapidly become some of my favorite books of all time. I’m talking books that have made my cry, little tears and wrenching sobs. Books that I love so much that when I finished them, I refused to put them down, and just clutched them to my chest. And to think that I might never have picked them up at all.
I’ve pushed myself way, way outside my comfort zone, and it’s definitely paid off.
I’ve also fallen in love with some books that don’t fit that category, of course. Some of my favorite authors ever have come out with new books this year (I read them and adored them, as expected). I read some older books that I didn’t know existed, but were beyond fantastic.
I followed some recommendations—that’s how I found Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance (Thank you Mom!!!) and Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, as well as Wolf in White Van, by John Darnielle.
(More image creds to Goodreads. In case you can’t tell, I really, really like Goodreads)
It’s a lot of books. I’m not going to list them all (If you really want to know, you can go check out my Goodreads shelf called 2k15).
I’ve fallen in love a lot of times. Not just with the characters, although I do have to admit that there are some pretty kickass protagonists, and some deeply flawed people–villains and protagonists– who I can’t help but treasure. I’m in love with stories. Not just the heart-racing, blood-pumping action scenes, or the heart-stopping romance ones.
I’m also in it for the tragic moments, the ones that make me feel like there’s a hole in my chest where something alive ought to be. I’m in it for the moments when something inside of me wants to swell, up and out through my throat along with the tears working their way through my eyes. Sometimes it’s a sob, sometimes it’s laughter. I’ve encountered both.
I’ve also been disappointed. Kind of inevitable, really, with the large number of books that I’ve read.
Some of the disappointments have even come from some of my favorite authors (Looking at you, Jacqueline Carey. I’m not a Moirin fan). Others have come from authors that I’ve never even heard of, but the covers looked interesting, and I thought, why the hell not.
There have also been books that I didn’t love, didn’t hate, but definitely did enjoy.
And that’s the think about reading so much. I get to live 365 lives in a year. I get to see those ups and downs, those love stories and vengeance stories. I can go as far outside of my comfort zone as I’ve ever been, and then return to it a day later. Yes, there have been disappointments. But the shining stars among the rubble render the chunks of rock nearly invisible. Every story matters, but the truly transcendent ones stand out. And I’ve gotten to see, love, experience so many of them.
That’s why I have a quantity-based reading goal this year. I refuse to discriminate between genres. I refuse to say that I’ll only read something if I know a lot about it.
If I do those things, I’ll never get to do what I’ve done, or what I hope to continue doing.
I’m in love, maybe not 365 times over, but pretty close.
And it feels good.
(Image creds to guess who? Goodreads again)