Reading Rampage

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to read. For the past 3 years, I’ve been keeping track of how much I’ve been reading and here are the results:

2011: 10,551 pages

2012: 12,213 pages

2013: 10,000 pages

Total: 32,764 pages

Overall, not bad. I haven’t always been this obsessive about reading, I’ve mostly been a sporadic reader but a few things contributed to what I called my Reading Rampage.

One factor was that I was buying a lot of books and meaning to read them at some point but never seemed to get around to it. I figured, I bought all these books, I might as well read them.

Another thing was that I was working at an elementary school as a teaching assistant and the teacher I was working with would set aside about 10-15 minutes a day for the students to do silent reading and I joined in with them.

There was also the fact that I like to write. Some of you might be wondering how reading got me into writing so I’ll tell you that happened. When I was going to UVic, I took a creative writing class and one of my instructors said the following: the best writers are often the best readers. That’s something that really stuck with me and I’d always meant to read more but, again, never really seemed to get around to doing it.

The last contributing factor happened when my father passed away in 2007. He went through books like nobody I’d ever seen before. The day after he died, I started reading a book series that I knew he liked: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That was my way of dealing with his death; I didn’t mourn his passing, I celebrated his love of reading. I never realized how much his reading influenced me until I started really making it a priority in my life.

One problem was, though, I didn’t really have any structure in my reading. I was still reading sporadically but I was doing it more often. As I went through a few books I was still buying more and it started to look like I was never going to catch up at the pace I was going.

How was I going to do it? It took me a couple of years to figure it out, but in the middle of November 2010, I started keeping a running total of the number of pages I was reading. Then I figured I should probably set a quota on the number of pages I should read.

The problem was, how much should I read a day? 10 pages? 100? I couldn’t really decide on a number so I set a monthly quote of 1000 pages per month. It seemed like a lofty goal but I was confident I could do it.

I managed to do it. From November 10, 2010 to November 10, 2011 I read exactly 12,000 pages.

I kept the same goal for 2012 and again managed to average 1,000 per month.

This year, however, I decided to dial it down and set a daily quota of at least 25 pages per day. Overall, I wanted to hit the 10,000 page mark for the year and while I fell behind last month, I managed to reach that goal.

As 2014 approaches, I think it’s time to stop the Reading Rampage. Not entirely, but just pulling back and not forcing myself to try and read every day. The problem with daily, monthly or yearly quotas is that if you miss 1 day, it sets you back significantly and you’re left scrambling to try and catch up. It usually happens toward the end of the year and I find myself trying to read 300 pages in the last 2 or 3 days. It can be done, but it’s stressful.

While I love to read, the biggest drawback is that it’s very time-consuming. I’m a busy man and I find it really difficult to dedicate 2-3 hours a day to reading so I’m no longer going to try and do it every day. I’ll still keep track of how much I’m reading but I’m not going to set any goals to reach.

So ends the Reading Rampage, I’m sure my dad would be proud. I’m not sure if I put up anywhere near the numbers he did but I’m pretty proud of myself.