One Dozen. No Dozin’.

Goodreads, the self-professed “social network for book nerds,” sent me an email recently encouraging me to sign up for their 2016 Reading Challenge. This involves setting a goal for yourself to read a certain number of books during the course of the year. Simple enough, I figured. So I followed the link, gave it a few seconds’ thought, and settled on a personal goal.

I’ll read 12 books in 2016, I decided.

And then I saw my friends’ goals and felt stupid. 50 books, Robyn? Nice. 55 for you, Jess? Overachiever. And Alice: seriously? You’re planning on reading 100 books this year?! Way to make me feel inadequate, guys.

Twelve. Jesus. Way to commit yourself, Mark! One a month? Hardly pushing any boundaries there. And I consider myself an avid reader.


But, when the bulk of your reading occurs in bed, when your eyes are already growing droopy and you have to reread the same paragraph three times because you keep nodding off mid-sentence, it’s tough to make inroads. Honestly, even twelve books might be a stretch.

A few nights ago, we were in bed before 8 PM. I don’t think that’s ever happened before! Tara nodded right off, but I figured, great! I can make a real dent in the book I’m reading tonight! Right after I check my Instagram feed…

But Instagram led to Words With Friends (my move!) and then to Facebook (I wonder what happened on this day six years ago!) and before long I had tumbled down the social media rabbit hole, sixty minutes had passed, and my eyes were too heavy to absorb more than a few pages of the book.

See my dilemma here?

I really need to set some goals with the phone. Make it off-limits the minute I climb into bed. Actually, I think I’ll make that a belated New Year’s resolution. Could you guys please hold me accountable? If that means barging into the bedroom at 7:58 10:00 and making sure I don’t have my phone clutched in my hand, so be it.

Thank you in advance, and please ignore the pile of laundry next to the closet.

Me, too often. (Image courtesy of
Me, too often. (Image courtesy of

9 thoughts on “One Dozen. No Dozin’.

  1. Goodreads got on my nerves with their constant emails (as an aside). I read one or two books a week, but I don’t work, so don’t be too impressed. It’s hard to carve time out of social networking, isn’t it?


  2. 12 seems reasonable to me. I have the same problem as you. I love to read, yet I have very little time to actually sit down and do it for more than 15 minutes at a time. The majority of my reading time is in the staff lounge at work doing my darnedest not to slob my food either on myself or on the page of the book I’m reading. Last year I was able to read 8 books. Of course, in between the reading I was working on one of my own novels, proofreading another, and somewhere managed to drive 1/2 way across and back. It a shame I can’t read in the car. Would you feel better if I set my goal to 10? I have a wedding to plan this year so reaching 10 would be quite the feat for me.


    1. If you set your goal to 10, then yes, Pamela. I’d feel much better about myself. 🙂

      I wonder how many books I actually read last year? I’ve never tracked them before. If I had to guess, that number would probably be somewhere around 10. And of those ten, I slopped food on maybe 2-3 of them…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Mark, I applaud you for reading 12 books a year because I haven’t read a complete book in probably TWELVE years – HA!

    And OMG…the thing I was frightened of what would happen if I got a Smartphone DID happen. Yup…in only two short months I’ve become addicted. You should have seen me in Starbucks on yesterday afternoon, I had my laptop on the counter and my Smartphone right next to it. And I kept going back and forth using the laptop and then the phone. I’ve turned into one of those people who I used to sneer at because they were constantly on their phone; checking emails and social networks.

    Yup, I’m addicted 😦


    1. Welcome to the club, Ron! It doesn’t take much to get addicted to a smartphone, huh? I think as long as you can carve out some boundaries and set limits for yourself, you’ll do fine. I’m one week into my self-imposed bedtime exile from social media, and it’s going very well. I’m making pretty good headway through the book I’m reading, as a matter of fact!


  4. LOL. I got called out. You know I think I started with 12 back in 2011 when I joined. And then I went to 24, and then like 36. Last year I read 60 books, but was on a time crunch to complete that. So I thought 55 was manageable. Audio books. That’s my secret, that’s not really a secret at all. I listen to audio books while I get ready for the day, when i get ready for bed at night, and while I’m in the car. So I can usually have 2 books going at once – one on cd/ibooks and one paper book for reading in bed or on weekends. I think you’re challenge is great and perfectly acceptable. My push to read more came when I seriously started writing, so I could listen to great voices and learn, as well as being in a book club that we rotate who chooses the book, so a lot of times it’s nothing I would normally pick up. In order to tackle my own shelves, I had to read 2 books at a time.

    For example, my book club picked The Paris Wife this month which is all about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley. It’s very well written, but I hated it and it was a chore to listen because I really hate Hemingway. He was not a good person in my book. Thank goodness I have Voyager (from the Outlander series) and Anne of Avonlea to keep me happy. LOL


    1. I’m not much of a Hemingway fan either, Jess. I’ve long said he’s the most overrated writer of the 20th century. He might have told a good story, but I personally feel like his style leaves much to be desired. Hemingway is the king of short + simple sentences. Probably he couldn’t come up with longer ones because he was too busy reaching for whatever stiff drink was next to his typewriter, so he just decided to shorten his prose accordingly. Seems a reasonable enough theory, don’tcha think?

      There was one point last year where I read two books simultaneously. One was a travelogue and the other was fiction; I find it’s easier to do so when you’ve got opposing genres like that. Good luck on hitting your goal! I remain impressed.


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