December Reading – the Month Ahead (aka “Crunch Time”)

Imagine my horror this past weekend when I reviewed my “Rainman Spreadsheet” (where I keep track of everything, which of course includes which books I have read and when I have read them) and discovered that I’ve only finished 42 books so far this year. Maybe ten or fifteen years ago this would have been ok, but in my “book blogging” era of the past several years it’s “entirely unacceptable” (and please imagine these two words as being said by Clint Eastwood in the film, Absolute Power).


I’ve been averaging (comfortably averaging) 50 books a year the past few years so why I am I about a month behind that pace? Laziness? busy-ness? Other interests? Too many short stories and not enough books? Which is it? Actually, it’s hidden answer number five – “all of the above.” BUT… I have a plan by which I can still get there. (For, you know, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail -right?)

So here’s what I will be attempting to read/finish this month:

1) Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Is should go pretty fast since its a re-read (and it’s not that long anyway). Two local book clubs are discussing it this month. The first one meets on 12/4.

2) Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
I’m already halfway through this one, which is technically my “current read.” About two hundred pages to go. I should wrap it up by this weekend.


3) Becoming Ray Bradbury by Jonathan Eller
A great biography, which I’m already two thirds of the way through with, but inexplicably put down many weeks ago and haven’t picked back up again yet.

4) Never Let and Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
A fairly short book that a friend recently read for her book club. She assures me that it’s a fairly easy read, and that I will enjoy it. I’m counting on her to be right.


5 & 6) Taran Wanderer and The High King by Lloyd Alexander
Earlier this year I started a re-read of this favorite five-book series from my youth but got distracted after just finishing the first three. These were YA books of my generation and will be pretty easy going too.


7) I Am No One You Know by Joyce Carol Oates
This will be kind of cheating since I only have a few stories to go in this collection, but I’ve been reading it now for three years (because I’m as savoring them, not because I don’t like them) and I haven’t counted it in prior years so – technically – fair game, yes?

8) Haunts: Reliquaries of the Dead by Stephen Jones
More cheating, as this is a collection of ghost stories, and I’ve already read more than half of them, some this year, some last year.

That gets me to fifty. I also may read Melville’s novella, Benito Cereno in preparation for a discussion in January. It’s only about 150 pages but I will count it also – if I finish it in time. 🙂


What about you? Are you meeting your reading goals for the year? Or do you maybe not set specific goals? How do YOU keep yourself on track in your reading endeavors? What are you hurrying to finish up by year’s end?