As some of you may remember, a while back I decided to give myself a reading challenge during my winter hols by reading 15 unread books from my bookshelf. Well, I’ve been back at work for two days now, so how did the challenge go? Well, it went… so-so. I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed myself reading, but I only read about half the book I’d intended – a grand total of 7. The ones I ended up reading were: The Five People You’ll Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, Linsey’s Story by Stephen King, Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite, Gösta Bergling’s Saga by Selma Lagerlöf and the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.
So what happened? Why only 7 when the aim was 15? Sounds like quite the miscalculation of what a reasonable goal was, no? Well, first of all Gösta Berglins Saga happened. Now, misunderstand me correctly. I think this is a great book and I really enjoyed it. But the thing is that while, in most cases, I’m perfectly capable of sinking into a couch and reading until I’m falling asleep, even for several days in a row, once in a while I run into a book that I just can’t read like that. Gösta Berglins Saga is one of those books. It’s a book I would’ve found more enjoyable if I had read a chapter here and two chapters there, more like how I’d read a poetry collection than how I (normally) read novels. Since I had my challenge on my mind I pushed through it in maybe 3-4 days, which put me quite behind schedule but still felt like I was reading it too fast. I think for future challenges I need to keep in mind that not all lend themselves to be read so quickly and perhaps only pick books that I think I’ll be able to plow through at speed. Anyway, the second things that slowed me down was quite unpredictable and not something I can take steps to avoid in the same way in future: I got some unexpected freelancing work translating. I don’t freelance often and with it being just after Christmas and me being quite broke, I couldn’t say no and there went the last 2 days of my holiday. Well, the job didn’t take two days but after the intense screen-staring translation requires I was just not up for reading in the evenings.
In spite of this mediocre result I really enjoyed my challenge! Will certainly be repeating it, a bit less ambitiously, in the future. Strictly in terms of entertainment value, The Hunger Games was the best read. There’s just something about dystopian YA that pulls me in almost every time. If I look past simply the entertainment factor, I connected most with The Five People You Meet in Heaven on an emotional level and Gösta Berglins Saga on some vague, cultural-spiritual level. As for the King and the Poppy Z. Brite, they were both all right but will be donated to the local charity shop.
I’m not sure when my next reading challenge will be. Probably at Easter. Not that I won’t read between then and now. I will, just not as intensely. And of course, I’ll have lots of writing to do, too!