Platforms like Goodreads are flooded with reading goals at this time of year. Ambitious bookworms like myself mark down a New Years resolution of sorts, aiming to consume a certain number of books before the earth can complete another lap around the sun.
Last year, I read/listened to 107 books (I'm told audiobooks count). So it would be reasonable to think that my 2022 goal would be similar, if not even more ambitious that that.
I set my 2022 reading goal on Goodreads to one book.
It's all bullshit. The number of books you read in read is absolutely no indication of whether you are a "real" reader or how "good" of a reader you are. But the biggest reason I've set this goal, is so that I can free myself to read anything I want without giving it second thought. I might want to read Riot Baby, by Tochi Onyebuchi (176 pages) or The Stand, by Stephen King (well over 1,200 pages). In the pure bullshit world of "hitting a goal", it is more advantageous to read shorter books). In the time it takes to read a behemoth like The Stand, I could read seven or eight more average length books. Who cares? Does that make Stephen King less worthy of my time? Absolutely not. And I'm sick of feeling guilty or rushed just because I've chosen to consume a longer book.
So I set my goal at 1, meaning I will hit my goal by later today (January 3rd). And then, an enormous weight comes off. From that point on, I can read anything and everything with zero guilt. There will be no little voice in the back on my mind trying to remind me of some arbitrary number I'm supposed to reach.
I could read a long book. Re-read the same book several times in the row, trying to glean the craft of the author. Take a hiatus from reading altogether. There are a million reasons that having a reading goal of 1 is healthy for me, and zero reasons against it.
So, here's to a year of stress-free reading.
First up for me: These Violent Ends by Chloe Gong.