A reading challenge for 2017

Completing a hundred and three books in 2016 felt good. Challenging, but good. There was, however, one problem that became apparent over the course of the year: the challenge inherently favoured short books over longer ones.


It wasn’t so much that I was consciously padding my numbers with sub-200 page books. It was more that, when confronted with a choice between an 800 pager and a 150 pager, the latter (at least towards the end of the year) was going to win every time. Many excellent books are short, of course, and reading a 180 page classic that I hadn’t read before was certainly no loss – but if I am wary of taking on a longer book, I am missing out on another type of story.

In light of this, a repeat of the hundred book challenge in 2017 would lead to another year of predominantly shorter books, peppered with the occasional doorstopper (I did read the Kushiel’s Dart trilogy last year – the exception that proves the rule). After giving it some thought, I think I’ve devised a challenge structure that alleviates this.

Basically, my goal in 2017 is to read at least fifty books, at least twenty-five of which must be at least 500 pages, and at least five of which must be at least 1000 pages. A “fifty/twenty-five/five” challenge, that actually ensures I don’t pass over the heftier tomes. OK, it still doesn’t differentiate 490 pages from 120, but it’s a start.

I’d also like to think that cutting the target from a hundred books to fifty gives me more time to devote to writing. I definitely want to have Old Phuul as a coherent draft over the next twelve months.


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