I enjoy reading, so like many people I have set a goal for myself to read at least 50 books a year for the last couple of years. I read 45 last year, you can see my list on GoodReads. As I was getting ready to publicly commit to another year of 50-in-52, though, I realized that I’m not really ready to move on from the books I read in 2011 2010.
It’s not that I don’t want to read anything new, I do. I’ve got several new books on my list, including David Siteman Garland’s Smarter, Faster, Cheaper, Neal Bascomb’s story of FIRST Robotics, The New Cool, and Hal Needham’s Stuntman! I’m also looking at some older books that I’ve never read.
But well over half of the books I read last year are still bouncing around inside my head.
In a blog post last October, Harold Jarche expressed a similar sentiment in the context of conferences that he attends:
One thing missing in these discrete time-based events is that there is little time for reflection. … This presentation is followed by some immediate questions & discussions and a coffee break. Then it’s off to see the next presentation. Reflection, if it occurs, comes much later, and usually after the participants have gone home.
Replace “presentation” with “book”, and that his how I am feeling about the books I read last year.
During a pre-launch webinar for his new book Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson also talked about the state of reading.
Bill Gates takes a “reading vacation” to read. Ray Ozzie does the same thing. A very interesting strategy; usually when we read it is at night, when we are tired and have 20-30 minutes before we go to bed. Takes a couple of weeks to read, you lose the possible connections between the books you read.
All of this is my overly long way of saying that I’m not committing to 50-in-52 this year. Instead of moving on to the next conference, in my case a new year of reading only new books, I’m also going to spend some time quality time reflecting on the books I read last year.
What are your reading plans for 2011?
Update: Check out my 2010 Reading List lens on Squidoo.