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The 26 Book Challenge: Can You Read 26 Books in One Year?
Recently, my husband introduced someone to me and told me the man reads 26 books per year. I didn't have much of an outward reaction to that fact. Honestly, when he first said it, I didn't think it was much of an accomplishment. What's the big deal about reading 26 books in a year? That's one book every two weeks, right? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that in this busy and technically overloaded period in history, reading one book every two weeks is quite an accomplishment. Especially for the parent with a job and children. Or the businessman who is a workaholic. Or the entrepreneur who is a jack of all trades while getting his/her business underway. But, it is a goal that can be accomplished. One only need to recognize it as a goal and keep it posted somewhere it will be seen daily, to keep it at the forefront of one's life and accomplish that goal.
But, it is a goal that can be accomplished. One only need to recognize it as a goal and keep it posted somewhere it will be seen daily, to keep it at the forefront of one's life and accomplish that goal.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to try this challenge over the next year:
Keep a List of What You've Read
* Keep a list somewhere easily accessible so when you finish reading one book, you can write it down as number 1, and then number 2, etc. and see yourself accomplishing your goal. Keep it on a notebook next to your bed, or on a list on your computer, or in your daily calendar. Part of the fun in completing a challenge such as this is to be able to write it down and look back it. Maybe by the end of the year, you will read more than 26 books. Or you will read only 20 books. But chances are if you don't write your completed books down, you won't read as many and your goal will get lost among the many play dates you drop your children off at, the trips to the grocery store, the eBay sales you have made, the articles you are busy writing, or the business meetings you have to attend.
Make a List of What you Want to Read
* Make a list of books you want to read. No one says these have to be the longest and deepest books ever written. Do you have a list of books that you have always wanted to read in the back of your mind somewhere? Write your list on a piece of paper, then find your books. The first one should be easy to locate. Maybe you already have it on a shelf somewhere, just waiting for the time when you have time to read it. That time is now. Just get it and start. But keep your list with you. When you happen to be near a Goodwill store some day and have a few extra minutes, stop in and see if they have one or two of the books on your list. Or make a sojourn to a second-hand bookstore near you. Or peruse Amazon.com or half.com for books on your list. It is always good to have one or two books waiting for you. If you finish a book and don't have another one to start right away, you might drop the ball for awhile and miss a couple of weeks of reading. That could put you way behind schedule. Always be prepared...to read.
Involve Your Children
* Read aloud to your children. You can pick your own books for this project. Do you have a teen aged daughter who is romantic? Read Wuthering Heights to her aloud each night before one of you goes to bed. Do you have middle school kids that love books about history? Read a Laura Ingalls Wilder book to them before they go to bed. Even though it's simple reading, it's enjoyable to read about the simple pleasures of living in that period and great for a family to read aloud together.
The Books You Read Can be Short or Long
* Short or long, you get to decide. One of my favorite books is a small little book called, 'Christmas Joy" by Susan Branch. It's a 5 inch by 5-inch book that I like to read each Christmas season because it gets me in the holiday spirit. It's not a novel, but I keep it near my bed and read a few pages every night before I go to bed. It brings me a great deal of joy and is still a book so would count as a book to read out of my 26. I also have another five by 5-inch book about happy couples who have been married for over 50 years. They give great advice on how to keep a marriage happy.It's called, " Married For Life." It is small but it is powerful, and I read an excerpt to my husband in the mornings after breakfast. Again, a small book that adds a lot of meaning to my life, and so don't forgo small books thinking they aren't worthy of your list.
Keep Your Book Handy
* Keep a book with you at all times. Or if you have a Nook or a Kindle, keep that with you wherever you go. It's surprising how many pages you can read while...waiting to pick up your child from an after-school practice, waiting to pick someone up from work, waiting for them to change the oil in your car, or even waiting in line at the grocery store. Keeping a book with you helps you to make better use of your time, and will keep you on your 26 books in one-year goal.
Houston, We Have Liftoff...
Personally, I just completed the book, 'Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell that my college-aged daughter had recommended. I didn't think I would like it, but it opened my eyes to a new way of looking at things. Malcolm Gladwell is one of my daughter's favorite authors. I can see why now that I have read Outliers. This author really makes you stop and think!
I have started another one now called, 'Working" by Studs Terkel. I read it in college and found it very interesting to read about what people do for a living and whether or not they like their work. The ones who are stuck in dead-end jobs and don't like their work are rather sad to read about. I have decided that February 1st will be my one-year goal, and I have started to write down my books already. As soon as I finish this one, my husband has a book I have wanted to read, so there's my third one. I am looking forward to a great year full of reading and also full of some enlightenment from the good books I will be reading. I will let you know how I did on February 1st, 2014. I warn you; I am an overachiever, so I am secretly going to try for a minimum of 30 books in this upcoming year. Good luck to you if you decide to try your own 26 books in the next year. Please let me know how you do!
I have decided that February 1st will be my one-year goal, and I have started to write down my books already. As soon as I finish this one, my husband has a book I have wanted to read, so there's my third one. I am looking forward to a great year full of reading and also full of some enlightenment from the good books I will be reading. I will let you know how I did on February 1st, 2014. I warn you; I am an overachiever, so I am secretly going to try for a minimum of 30 books in this upcoming year. Good luck to you if you decide to try your own 26 books in the next year. Please let me know how you do!
Update: I only read seven books in this year because we spent a lot of time getting ready to put our home on the market to sell it and move south. Oh well. It turned out that magazine reading worked better for me since I could read an article quickly and then put the magazine down without being in the middle of a chapter and having to remember where I left off. I do think reading one book every two weeks is still a good goal though.
© 2013 Karen Hellier