One of the habits I’ve successfully integrated into my life is to keep a reading log. It’s extremely simple (as I find less data means more likelihood of keeping up with it): every month I write out a numbered list of what I’ve read, just the title and author(s). Once a year I gather up some statistics for my own interest, namely, number of books read, how many were fiction or non-fiction, how many were new reads or re-reads, and my monthly average. I keep a notebook in my dining room for this purpose, and have so far recorded every book* I’ve read since January 2013.
Back when I was blogging more-or-less exclusively about books, I’d try to do a reading round-up post about every month. That’s a little much for me now, though — so here’s what I read during the first third of this year.
January: My annually-in-December reading of The Lord of the Rings bled significantly into January this year, for I believe the first time ever. Well. I had a newborn, what do you want from me?
1. The Two Towers (J.R.R. Tolkein)
2. The Return of the King (J.R.R. Tolkein
3. A Voice in the Wind (Francine Rivers)
4. Echo in the Darkness (Francine Rivers)
5. As Sure as the Dawn (Francine Rivers)
6.The Tales of Beedle the Bard (J.K. Rowling)
February: Not a lot of reading in February — a lot of schoolwork was done instead, which is probably a good thing.
7. The Tower of Geburah (John White)
8. A Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula K. Le Guin)
9. Devices and Desires (P.D. James)
10. The Practice of the Presence of God (Brother Lawrence)
March: When I look at this list I’m a bit surprised that I read eight books, because in my memory I was reading Martin Chuzzlewit approximately forever. Apparently not. It helps, of course, that March is a long month.
11. Celebration of Discipline (Richard Foster)
12. Martin Chuzzlewit (Charles Dickens)
13. The Rebel Angels (Robertson Davies)
14. What’s Bred in the Bone (Robertson Davies)
15. The Lyre of Orpheus (Robertson Davies)
16. As You Wish (Cary Elwes)
17. The Princess Bride (William Goldman)
18. Decline and Fall (Evelyn Waugh)
April: The bulk of my reading in April was taken up, by far, by Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell — which is brilliant, and also huge. Devotional Classics is a textbook that I had been reading throughout the semester and finally finished.
19. Dad is Fat (Jim Gaffigan)
20. A Circle of Quiet (Madeleine L’Engle)
21. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (Susanna Clarke)
22. Devotional Classics (Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith)
23. These Strange Ashes (Elisabeth Elliot)
I’m pretty happy with these numbers, although I have to remind myself not to compare them too much with other times of my life. In undergrad I was averaging about 18 books/month, but I was also doing a literature degree and so my school reading contributed heavily. There was also one summer in highschool where I wasn’t working, so I was reading two novels a day: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Two novels a day. Can you imagine?
Well, I’m not in the position to read two novels a day, any more, or even two novels a week (at least until summer!). But I feel like I’m reading at a good pace right now, which doesn’t take up too much of my [school/family/etc.] time but still gets me through enough books that I feel as if I’m making progress. We’ll see what the next few months bring. (My prediction: the numbers will go way up June-August, and then drop down again when the new semester starts. Really going out on a limb here…)
* Every book except for one in August 2014. There’s a number for it, I know I read something, but I had a pretty big case of pregnancy-brain at the time and I’m afraid it is lost forever.