My 2012 Reading Challenge

So many books, so little time.

“So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.” 
~ “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” 

Sometimes I feel like William of Baskerville at the end of the film version of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, tragically clutching a library’s worth of books as they slip through his fingers, unread. To paraphrase that wonderful line from “Willy Wonka”: So many books and so little time.

And that is why, after talking with friends and checking out blogs by readers who’ve gone before me, I’m ready to undertake a reading challenge in the new year.

The first reading challenge I’d heard about was 52 Books in 52 Weeks, which immediately seems so daunting as to make me want to not even start. I checked with a friend, who said she’d altered the challenge to 50 Books in a Year, although she also admitted to reading slim volumes and lots of genre (which tends to be shorter or divided into serials), and to avoiding making herself feel guilty if one week’s reading seeps into the following week.

“I just read a shorter book that week,” she reports. But, she keeps going – the more important part of the deal.

I’ve seen challenges that focus on genres – from science fiction to YA – though I’m guessing this is not the year to tackle the Victorians and/or Russians, and that seems a bit of a shame to deliberately exclude something because it’s long.

I just slogged through Haruki Murakami’s 925-page epic 1Q84 and, while I found it not terribly interesting or well-written, I kept going till the end. I feel bad when I give up on a novel. I always hope there’s something awaiting me in a later chapter, and I prefer not to pass judgment on something I haven’t experienced whole.

As with last year, I also want the opportunity to explore the profession of communications and the practices of social media and audience engagement through reading. There must be room for business books as well as novels.

So, what to do? Perhaps, for me, the practical approach is to set a goal of one book a week for two weeks out of every month, with the other two weeks dedicated to the completion of a longer work or perhaps a long book and a play or graphic novel.

As you can tell, I’m still rolling the possibilities around my brain, and would love to hear if you’ve set yourself reading challenges and how you managed them, especially across long periods of time. How did you choose your reading selections? What did you learn about yourself? What did you discover about the joys (or tribulations) of reading and reading challenges?

Thank you for any guidance you can share with me in the Comments!