Soon after starting my job in February, I joined some co-workers and their friends in a reading challenge. It sounded like fun. I am, after all, a librarian with a competitive streak. What could possibly go wrong with something that combines those two things?
I started reading and filling in categories (a book over 700 pages, a book by an author you hate, a book set in a place you’ve always wanted to live, etc.). I was on target to reach my personal goal of reading 52 books in one year, and I was happy. That would be a record for me, so cheers all around. Then I found out at some point in June that everyone else in the competition had already finished 100+ books. I hope you’re as shocked by that as I was!!
How can you possibly finish more than four books a week, have a full-time job, and do anything else with your time? I talk to these people every day, so I know that they do things outside of work besides read. I’m just not sure how.
I continued with the challenge, moving at what seemed like warp speed through my books while everyone else moved at warp speed squared (eight times the speed of light, according to some impressive Star Trek fan websites). How did the final tally look when we talked about it a few days ago? Well, I did read my 52 books, bringing the points total to about 650. You’ll see why I don’t care about an exact number in a second. My co-worker had a grand total somewhere around 1400 points. She didn’t even win. One of her friends got 1445 points, and another friend was somewhere around 1200.
Yup. I’m the short bus kid at the library. But that brings us happily to the new year. There’s a new reading challenge circulating among those same co-workers and friends, and I’m not getting sucked in this time. This could be a sign that I’m a sore loser, but I like to think that I’m just planning lots of things other than reading for 2010. The new personal goal is 24 books for the year, and I’d like to make them books I already own. My “to read” bookshelves are getting kind of out of hand.