As year is changing, there is always a reminder to set goal you want to achieve in a year.
“Want to read more in 2021? Create a goal and Goodreads will help you stay on track.”
As a regular user of Goodreads apps, I get used with Goodreads’ yearly message to set the number of books I want to read in a year, like the number of kilograms you want to reduce in your weight. Which makes me immediately pondered How people are so obsessed with number. Why people are so obsessed with number? As if the value of person is measured by the number of books they read. I am sorry, but reading five erotic books or conspiracy books, doesn’t make you more intellectually sophisticated than those who reads one classic book such as War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t criticize Goodreads for asking people to set their reading goal. I believe they have genuine purpose to motivate people on reading more. I just personally think it might actually demotivate people. I know there is a mother who has two child, wanting to read 20 books in a year. But in the end, she doesn’t even manage to read newspaper because of her tight schedule taking care of her child. And it makes her feel embarrassed.
It is getting usual to see book recommendations appear on my Facebook and Goodreads newsfeed. My weakness is how easily I am to get attracted by a premise and ended up disappointed finding out the book is not as good as it is retold by its premise because of the poor delivery or bland ending. My other weakness is how easily I trust Goodreads rating and book club’s recommendation. And finally got my time, money and bookshelves space wasted and got nothing. My rule of thumb is that book (or even TV) should be either educating or entertaining. If a book has none of those aspects, I pass. So, I finally create my own reading (habit) goal that I want to achieve within two years (Yes. Two years. There is one point below that hints why I need longer period to achieve my reading goal). This reading (habit) goal is created based on my own evaluation on my reading habit from previous year. Here is my version of reading (habit) goal I want to improve:
- Read at least 1 heavy book (contains at least 700 pages)
When I start reading a book, I always commit to finish it before reading something else. That is why, I feel a little bit intimidated on reading heavier book. I know deep inside, I want to read them, but somehow I am worried to get demotivated and have reading slump in the middle of progress. For me, I need to reserve few months only to read one book. While we are still amidst pandemic, I think this is ideal time to read this kind of book, since I don’t need to carry them anywhere.
Potential Candidate: Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa, Taiko by Eiji Yoshikawa, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
- Be more analytical on reading
I believe there is always a reason books are written. I believe there is a reason a book won an award. I believe there is a reason book becomes classic. I believe there is message the Author wants to emphasize. Take for example, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Although, some people find it boring, the book is popular in America. The book interests reader to observe and study the Prohibition-era America during the Jazz Age through its implicit details. The book becomes one of the books that is taught at school. Hence, I want to be more analytical on reading, observe the meaning of its metaphor/allegory/personification, its structure, its register, its cultural/scientific/ political/historical references. Make note of it and write my own thought in blog if necessary.
- Read at least 1 non-native language book
My native language is Indonesian. I mostly read books in English. Since I am also fluent in Dutch and currently studying Russian, I need to read at least one Dutch/Russian book. To understand what books that are taught at their school. What kind books that influence their mindset. What books that represent their value as a country. Although, this category can actually be read in its translation, I want to feel the authenticity of the books. I need to know how the writer crafts his/her words to deliver his/her message through the book.
Potential Candidate: De Kleine Johannes by Frederik van Eeden.
- Read at least 5 books from my To-read-list
There are books I already put in my To-Read-List years ago and always distracted by other books. It is time for me to read them. As my To-Read-List will continuously increase, depending on the hype, I will prioritize the books that have been staying in my To-Read-List (at least) 1 years ago. My Potential Candidate: Any books that I put on Goodreads To-Read-List.
- Finish at least 3 books on my bookshelves before buying another books
This is additional goal in order to also maintain my financial improvement by becoming responsible reader. I am guilty for being an occasional tsundoku that keeping the unread book for years. Since we are still required to stay on confinement, I could not go to bookstore as freely as I used to, the safest ‘bookstore’ I can reach is our library and there contains book that we have been investing for years.
Potential Candidate: The Hollow Needle and Arsène Lupin vs. Herlock Sholmes by Maurice Leblanc. Books by Eka Kurniawan and Seno Gumira Ajidarma.
- Read at least 1 scientific literature
I tried to read On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin and fail to finish it. My problem is that I barely understand when the explanation is getting too scientific and technical (I don’t like pretending to understand it). In order to finish this book, (I mean by fully understanding what the writer tries to elaborate) I need some strategies. Whether to provide supplements to refer the explanations (from Wikipedia or other relevant sources) or support myself with simpler version or with editor commentary.
Potential Candidate: On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin and The Inventions, Researches, Writings of Nikola Tesla.
Knowing that I might be reading some other books that is not classified as one of the points mentioned above, I tolerate myself to achieve at least 3 from those points in a year. (The rest of them are saved for the next 2-years) In total, I want to read at least 10 books. Not an impressive number, especially to achieve in two years. but I don’t care.
The goal I have set seems right, reasonable, attainable and realistic.
If I fail to reach the goal, I will grant the consequence by whipping myself with belt. Just Kidding, lol.
This is just my personal reading goal, you don’t need to agree or follow it, of course. I rather suggest you to create your own version of reading goal. If putting number on Goodreads is effective on helping you to achieve your reading goal, then go for it. My only message from this post is: “Read book like you drink tea. No matter how fast or how slow the pace you need, you are at peace.”