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The Sunday Salon: 3000 Pages in 30 Days?

The Sunday Salon.com I have three different set of to-be-read books in my apartment — the fiction shelf, the nonfiction bookcase, and the “books I want to read right now” pile sitting on a chair by my desk. Every time I sit down to blog or do homework or just fiddle away time on Facebook, the growing pile of books I want to read immediately mocks me.

I really, really want to do something about this pile.

For about a month now, I’ve been telling myself that I’ll get through this pile when I finally get to Winter Break (December 20 – January 18, about). But that might be a lie too. I’m going to be at home for most of break, and when I’m home I never seem to read. I get distracted by stupid things like NCIS rerun marathons on the USA Network or pretending I’m a surgeon on my Nintendo DS.

book stack november How, I wondered, can I prevent myself from wasting my break so I get done with it and still have a massive pile of books that demand my attention RIGHT NOW?

Why, a personal reading project, of course! (Some might call this a challenge, but I resist that term. It stresses me out.)

I’m still working out the details, but basically my goal is going to be to read 3000 pages over the 30 days of my winter vacation (extending the idea of winter vacation just slightly into next semester). For most books, I read about 60 pages an hour, so that will be about 50 hours of reading over my entire break. That’s not easy, but it’s certainly possible.

I still haven’t decided if I’ll count audio books, and if I do how I will count them. I’m also not sure how formal I want to make this — certainly not daily updates, but some sort of accountability might be nice. And I want to make a nifty little graphic, I just haven’t done that yet either. But it’s a germ of an idea still, so it’s ok I don’t have it all figured out.

But anyway, enough of this. I have a ton of homework to get done before Thanksgiving, and even more to get done before I can think about reading away all of my winter break. Does anyone else in school feel like this week was the week that you-know-what hit the fan? Bah!

Anyone else have a pile of books demanding to be read immediately? What’s your plan to lower the pile? How has your week been?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Heather November 15, 2009, 5:12 pm

    My reading stack is beyond control. a few months back I said that I wasn’t allowed to buy myself any new books. I’ve almost kept to that, but it didn’t stop me from borrowing library books.

    • Kim November 16, 2009, 9:24 pm

      Heather: Library books are making my stack worse! Right now I only have 2 or 3 that I’m on a list for, which is a lot better than before. I hate requesting books then having to return them unread.

  • Fyrefly November 15, 2009, 5:28 pm

    This week was one of my easiest of the semester for me, actually. I’m sure my students don’t think so, but when they’re busy working and studying, I don’t have anything to grade.

    If you want accountability, at least for yourself, I think I could modify my read-a-thon spreadsheet to keep track of daily progress and make you a graph of pages per day. I’ve been thinking of doing something similar anyways… so let me know. 😉

    • Kim November 16, 2009, 9:25 pm

      Fyrefly: Lucky you! I’m glad you had a nice week of school 🙂

      I would love to use a spreadsheet if you don’t mind sharing. I love charts and graphs, but I hate designing them and figuring out the math. So if you don’t mind, that would be awesome!

  • Kathy November 15, 2009, 5:34 pm

    If I really wanted to lower my pile, the best thing for me to do would be to go to the beach. For some reason, I get tons of reading done when we’re at the beach. I have a feeling my reading will take a hit over the holidays.

    • Kim November 16, 2009, 9:26 pm

      Kathy: The holidays are a hard time to read. I used to not care that I was ignoring my family to read a book, but now that I live far away I feel rude doing that (and I want to talk to them since I don’t see them often!).

  • Bernadette in Australia November 15, 2009, 7:55 pm

    My TBR stack is an entire bookcase all of its own. Plus a few strays around the house. Seriously it’s close to 150 books which is obscene. So about a week ago I decided that’s it – no more buying books and no more going to the library and no more mooching – until I get my TBR number down below 50 at least. My once exception will be that I’ll allow myself to borrow a book each month for my F2F bookclub. So far I’m going OK but it has only been a few days – I can’t actually imagine how I’m going to not buy a book for 6 months or more but I’ll be giving it a good try. Good luck with your 3000 pages challenge.

    • Kim November 16, 2009, 9:28 pm

      Bernadette: I have a whole bookcase too — this pile is just the books I want to read right now. I don’t know how many books it is, not 150 I don’t think, but at least 50. I made an exception for book club books in my buying/library ban — I need some excuse!

  • Carrie November 15, 2009, 8:48 pm

    I might be up for joining you on this project. I’ve got 5 books on my nightstand and 5 more books checked out from the library right now and I haven’t been letting myself buy any new books lately because I know I’ve got all those books in the queue already.

    • Kim November 16, 2009, 9:29 pm

      Carrie: I’d love a fellow reader. Maybe I’d feel more accountable that way. I think I’m going to formally start on December 20 and go to January 20, but I suppose any 30 days would work.

      Once this pile is done, I’ll feel slightly more justified buying more books (only slightly though, I don’t really have spare cash to just spend on books).

  • Suey November 15, 2009, 8:59 pm

    I have the same sort of mocking piles, and I wasted my whole weekend. I don’t know that I can commit to the same sort of “personal reading project” as you have because I’ll be crasy busy from now until Christmas… but AFTER Christmas, for that whole week, I’ll read my heart out!

    • Kim November 16, 2009, 9:30 pm

      Suey: Yeah, I wasted all of yesterday afternoon watching Hulu. In my defense, school started to stress me out and tv was my defense mechanism… but I wish I’d read books instead. And yay for after Christmas — I’m so excited for vacation!

  • Vasilly November 15, 2009, 9:18 pm

    I have the same plan for Christmas break. I would love to get my pile unread books down some. Someone is hosting a challenge of this but they’re only doing it until the end of December. I plan on reading until the 10th of January, the day before the new semester starts. Good luck on your homework.

    • Kim November 16, 2009, 9:31 pm

      Vasilly: Yeah, I looked at the challenge. It’s not really my days, and it’s number of books versus pages. So I figured I’d just make this a personal project thing and go from there.

  • Aarti November 15, 2009, 10:42 pm

    Wow, that is a great goal! I have a very stressful TBR pile (though I count any book I own and have not read as TBR). My main method of dealing with it is by ignoring its size and just reading one book at a time 😉 I’m all about avoidance…

    • Kim November 16, 2009, 9:31 pm

      Aarti: I am all about avoidance too. That’s why this pile has gotten so big — I’m avoiding them! But one book at a time, that’s all you can do 🙂

  • Beth November 16, 2009, 11:25 am

    I dropped cable. No lie. With so much on hulu, etc. I can catch up on my shows when I feel like it anyway, and I never get trapped in front of the tv watching the same things (House reruns or Burn Notice marathons for example) over and over. Instead, I find myself reading for hours or watching the movie to be watched pile instead.

    I have a huge reading pile. I’m a librarian so it pretty much never ends, but it’s going faster now and I feel so much better about it 🙂

    • Kim November 16, 2009, 9:33 pm

      Beth: I don’t have cable in my apartment, but my parents have it at home. I think that’s why I got on a cable binge whenever I’m home (even if it’s shows I’ve already seen or don’t care about at all). It’s a problem, for sure. When I’m here in Madison I usually find time to read (minus school-stress induced Hulu binges), but at home I just get distracted. I should never, ever get cable for myself.

  • Eva November 16, 2009, 1:27 pm

    Sounds like a good plan! 🙂 I hope it works for you!

    • Kim November 16, 2009, 9:33 pm

      Eva: Thanks!

  • Care November 16, 2009, 2:53 pm

    Good luck with your project. yea, that’s what I need to do – strike that word CHALLENGE from my vocabulary and call myself a project manager. DONE. 🙂
    SO reading Fear and Loathing sometime next year. after Jan!

    • Kim November 16, 2009, 9:34 pm

      Care: Challenge makes me feel guilty when I don’t finish. Project seems like something that I can make plans have steps tp finish. It’s attainable.

      And yes, Fear and Loathing next year. Maybe in February…. “Fear and Loathing February” has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

  • Hazra November 17, 2009, 12:05 am

    I’m going to use my winter break similarly: to read books I really want to read and haven’t read because I was surfing the Net or something like that. I usually have no-Internet holidays, so that should give me ample time to catch up on my reading.

    • Kim November 18, 2009, 9:22 am

      Hazra: A no Internet vacation would be great for reading, but probably not for my sanity. I feel like I’d be really anxious about e-mails and stuff I might be missing. But in reality, I probably wouldn’t be missing much.

  • Rebecca Reid November 17, 2009, 6:41 am

    How fun! I am planning on dedicating my December to a specific long and challenging book, but I’m hoping to stop feeling the pressure to read SO MANY books, because I don’t think I’m reading them properly.

    I hope you winter break reading goes well!

    • Kim November 18, 2009, 9:22 am

      Rebecca: That’s interesting. I know the feeling of wanting to read but feeling like you are missing something by reading quickly. It’ll be nice to slow down a bit over break. What long book are you reading?

  • Mindy Withrow November 17, 2009, 12:43 pm

    My pile is toppling, too. I’m looking forward to 4 days off work (usually don’t even get 2 in a row) over Thanksgiving and plan to read 2 books then. It helps that I’m going to a friend’s wedding in another state, so I’ll have time to read in the car!

    • Kim November 18, 2009, 9:23 am

      Mindy: Nice, car reading is awesome! I don’t know what I’d do if I became someone who gets nauseated reading in the car because that’s something I’ve always loved to do.

  • Kay November 17, 2009, 2:48 pm

    My piles are out of control too! I tried to restrict my buying (and I still do), but despite those rules I buy about as much as I read – which means that the piles don’t move down. And I know it will be worst by winter break, since I won’t have much time to read in the first 3 weeks of December!

    I think you have a great goal there, and I’m confident you can do it! And even if you don’t reach exactly the 3000, I’m sure the challenge will keep you motivated to read more than you usually do. Be sure to update us on how you’re doing so we can come and cheer you up!

    • Kim November 18, 2009, 9:24 am

      Kay: Yeah, reading more that I normally would is basically the point. I hope having a goal will keep me from wasting my vacation doing pointless things and instead help be do stuff I actually want to do 🙂

  • Kailana November 17, 2009, 3:21 pm

    Good luck with your challenge! I don’t read at home, either, it seems. I get distracted by Twitter, Blogger, and annoying TV shows!

    • Kim November 18, 2009, 9:24 am

      Kailana: It’s so weird! I don’t like any of the shows I end up watching, but because they are on the DVR I just get sucked into them. It’s so distracting!

  • Jeanne November 17, 2009, 8:03 pm

    This is the last week of classes in my 10-week quarter and what with me having the flu last week and all my students having it and getting over it, it’s been absolute chaos. I have the same sort of thoughts about reading over winter break, only not as organized as yours!

    • Kim November 18, 2009, 9:25 am

      Jeanne: I’m sorry you (and your students) were sick! That’s such a pain. I’m not exactly organized yet, but hopefully by December 20 I will be 🙂

  • Louise November 20, 2009, 1:08 pm

    Yes I certainly have a pile almost demanding to be read 🙂 But I try not to stress because of it, and have accepted that sometimes I can read a book a day, other times I barely read for months. That is just how my reading-cycle is I guess. But since those periods tend to take over from one another, during the not-so-much-reading periods the tbr grows and grows.

    You will definitely race through The Nanny Diaries. I read that one several years back as a book club read, and while it isn’t the book of the century by any means, I actually felt that there was a lot of good stuff in in for discussion.

    I have never managed to read for pleasure during my breaks when I was a student. I never got around to read any study-related stuff either, but picking up a non-study related book during breaks really made me think only of: Oh, you SHOULD NOT be reading for fun, you should be studying. So I guess it was easier not to read at all, since there was no way I would “waste” valuable time off studying 😉 So in goes the dvds or the WII or whatever instead of reading anything 😉

    • Kim November 27, 2009, 4:07 pm

      Louise: My reading has gotten more consistent recently — I don’t go weeks at a time without reading anymore, I think because I want to make sure I have something for my blog 🙂 And I totally get the avoiding pleasure reading because you should be studying. luckily I won’t have any school reading this break, so I don’t have that excuse to hold me back.

  • Callista November 21, 2009, 6:34 pm

    Oh wow I know the feeling. I’ve had to turn down lots of possibly good review books because I am so behind it’s not even funny. So much for my goal of 2009 to catch up and stay up to date. I haven’t even remotely gotten near that goal. Maybe I should do something similar. Or hold some mini readathons of my own. Hmm.

    • Kim November 27, 2009, 4:08 pm

      Callista: I’m one review book behind now, but since I only read a few review books every year I don’t fall behind that often. I love the idea of mini-readathons. I like giving yourself permission to just put everything aside for part of a day to read. I haven’t done that in awhile either, but oh well. Good luck catching up!

  • Jennifer November 27, 2009, 3:27 pm

    I am definitely in a similar situation. And I know what you mean about getting distracted during break. Still, I really like your plan. I like the idea of pacing myself and holding myself accountable to that plan. Still, I’m notorious for giving up when I fail even if its just a minor slip up. I look forward to seeing how you craft this and might even try hopping on board. It’s ambitious, but it sounds like fun and I’m sure that you’ll make quite a dent in your reading pile.

    • Kim November 27, 2009, 4:09 pm

      Jennifer: I do better with things if I had a pace and schedule — that’s how I got through Infinite Jest this summer. I’m really, really excited for break so I can get started!