At the beginning of 2020, after seeing a Goodreads challenge, I decided to read twelve books that year. And I did read some wonderful books and novels. In Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman paints a pretty picture of the Norse pantheon. Letters to a Young Writer, by Colum McCann, advises young writers on how to hone their craft, and itself exhibits excellent writing.

The Problem

While I loved what I read, I only completed seven out of the twelve I had planned to read. Initially, I was disappointed that I didn't meet my goal. Reading one book each month should not have been hard for me to do. Why couldn't I have just read more?

Looking back, I find that I didn't want to rush through any books. In order to read a 300-page book in one month, I would need to do at least ten pages per day. That's great for fiction or light-reading. But some of the books I had lined-up were full of information which needed processing. My system was faulty.

A New Goal

If I'm going to up my reading game in 2021, I need to devise a different challenge. I could separate my books into light-reading and heavy-reading. Or maybe my goal was fine, and I need to widen my selection of books.

As I write this, I realize that the issue is about my choice of books. You see, there are a couple things I'd like to accomplish by reading. I want to take an emotional journey through a fabricated world. I'd also like to learn more about certain concepts and ideas. To me, this distinction is similar to that of fiction versus non-fiction.

Here's my new goal: I'd like to read ten books this year. Of those ten, four must be novels or light-reading. The remaining six are be up to me.

Parting Thoughts

Honestly, though, every book can be a novel. Every book should be a journey, broken into both logical and emotionally-provoking sections. How else did Lin Manuel-Miranda transform a scholarly work into the acclaimed broadway musical, Hamilton? You don't need to be a writer to tell stories, but you should tell a story when you write.

Full List

Here's my full book list from 2020.

  1. Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman
  2. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia #5), by C. S. Lewis
  3. Writer's Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing, by Kerrie L. Flanagan
  4. Letters to a Young Writer, by Colum McCann
  5. Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom
  6. Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom #1), by Garth Nix
  7. Grim Tuesday (The Keys to the Kingdom #2), by Garth Nix

I ended the year in the middle of A Universe Made for Two, by Jack M. Daniel.