I’ve decided to try to read 100 books in 2018.
I know this seems overly ambitious – some may say quixotic – but I’ve done the math and I think I can do it. 100 books divided by 12 months works out to 8 books per month, with 10 each in July and August. I think this is achievable for a few reasons:
- Even though I’m an English teacher and Newspaper adviser (and a member of just about every committee in existence because I lack the gene that enables one to politely decline anything), my schedule will allow for it. We have short breaks throughout the year and summers off*, so if I lag behind during the school year, I’ll make it up then.
- Many of the books I plan to read are in the Young Adult and graphic novel genres, and are hence fairly quick reads.
- I already read a ton – at least an hour a day, and often more – and this is the sort of weird, insane goal that I find highly motivating to begin with.
I’m also doing it for my students. Any high school teacher can tell you about the inverse relationship between age and engagement, and it’s been my unfortunate experience that reading for pleasure also follows this trend. With some notable, beautiful, gratifying exceptions, the amount of time students spend reading books for non-academic purposes steadily dwindles as they move beyond the primary years, and by the time they get to me as sophomores and juniors, most of them have stopped reading altogether.
So I figure, if I can read 100 books in one year, with all I’ve got going on, surely you can read one. And maybe you’ll enjoy reading that one book so much that you’ll be tempted to pick up another, and then another one after that, and pretty soon you’ll be writing your own book blog.
In one of my all-time favorite books, To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout says, “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” My greatest hope for you is that reading will become as natural and necessary as drawing breath. I know that, like my 100 books goal, it is ambitious. But just as I believe in my own ability to accomplish this task, I place the same audacious faith in you. Just start with one. See where it leads.
I’ll leave you with another quote about reading, this one from Ray Bradbury. My students will recognize it from the poster on the wall of my classroom:
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
It doesn’t matter what or how many or how long it takes you – just find a book and make a start. The stakes have never been higher.
*It’s a common misconception that teachers get a 12-week vacation every year. Technically, we’re unemployed and our paychecks are prorated so we don’t run out of money by the 4th of July. Most teachers do something – either work a part-time job or take classes or work on curriculum writing – throughout the summer. [shooting star animation] The more you know.