Summer 2012 Book Reading Challenge

Ever heard the phrase “if your friend jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?”  You probably heard it from your mother when you did something bad and used the “but he did it first!” line to try to get out of punishment.  Your mother was always right, as much as you’d wish to deny it, most often your friend had made you do something stupid.

I apparently never learned…..

My good friend and fellow member of my university’s photography club Simone set herself a challenge which she broadcast to the Facebook world in the form of this status:

“My reasonable goal for the summer: Write twenty poems, read fifteen books.”

Simone, I should explain, is a student in the Creative Writing field, so 20 poems is not unreasonable nor insignificant as she puts countless hours into her craft.  Reading 15 books is what impressed me.

Reading 15 books between May 4th and August 31st (17 weeks) sets a pace of 0.88 books per week, or let’s say a book a week with a two-week margin for error because of travel or a long book.  Now I’m not sure what books Simone plans on reading, but if we say an average book is 300 pages long (totally arbitrary round number), that makes 4,500 pages to read in 17 weeks (a pace of 37.8 pages per day).  But can she do it?

Only time will tell if Simone accomplishes her goal.  Sadly, it only took three minutes for me to jump at the opportunity to take on this challenge and set myself up for complete failure.  I took that challenge, said I too could read that small number of books, and changed 20 poems to 20 blog posts.  Well she did start it mom!

Here’s my biggest problem: I spend way too much time on the computer or in front of the TV and I don’t read quickly.  Will I be able to keep pace?

The blog posts will not be a problem, in fact I should really set my goal at 40 because I’ve written three in the past five days.  I will be blogging regularly about my summer job working at an art gallery (part of a co-op education program requirement) and I will most likely write up my thoughts about whatever books I do read, whatever concerts I attend, CDs I listen to, etc.  The books on the other hand…

To help try to keep me on track I am keeping a journal which will remind me to read 39 pages a day and tell me when I missed a day and need to catch up.  I have also registered myself for a Goodreads account, a fascinating online program which tracks what books you’ve read, what you rated them, and what your friends are reading/recommending.  They have a 2012 book reading challenge where you set your goal (a lot of people have set 50 in a year, so one book a week seems possible) and I have set mine at 15 for the summer.

You can follow along, or create your own, here:

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Ben has
read 1 book toward a goal of 15 books.

I will also add the “My Shelf” widget to the main blog format so you can see what I’m reading (just scroll to the bottom of any page).

I’m hoping this bar will fill up as the summer progresses and in September I will be able to say I completed my goal.  I am starting by cheating a bit.  I’m currently reading Season of Darkness by Maureen Jennings and I’m about 50 pages from the end, but to instill some motivation I will count this as my first book completed.

Simone, game on.  You jump, I jump.  See you in September.


To learn more about Goodreads visit their website at


4 responses to “Summer 2012 Book Reading Challenge

  1. Pingback: Reading in Defeat « @befaster·

  2. Pingback: Going Postal: What to Write? or, Simone’s Summer 2012 Attempt « @befaster·

  3. Pingback: Summer 2012 Book Reading Challenge: Conclusion | @befaster·

  4. Pingback: Book List Summer 2013 | @befaster·

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