Can I read 75 books in a year?


Last year (2010) I completed the “50 Books in 52 Weeks” challenge and finished with a total of 62 books read in the year – not too shabby considering I did not read one single book in September and I really only read on my  Monday to Friday commute.

I started the challenge, not to encourage myself to read more, but to motivate myself to record what I actually read.  I now have a lovely spreadsheet with various columns and tabs which makes a really handy reference file.  There was a time when someone could mention an author and I’d remember all the titles I’d read by them  – well,  those days are gone!   As long as I remember to record what I read I should avoid multiple purchases or borrowings of the same book in my dotage years.

To more fully entrench the habit of recording I’ve decided to continue this reading challenge through 2011.  I see that some people challenge themselves to 75 books after they’ve completed the 50.  That might be a bit ambitious for this rush hour only reader but I’m willing to give it a try!

On a recent walk I came across this “reading room” ……  set up exactly as I’ve photographed it!


January started off well with 6 books finished:

Cadillac Jukebox by James Lee Burke   –  the 9th book in the Dave Robicheaux series.  I feel like I am following an old friend now when I read these and am so glad they were recommended by a couple of people back in the Vox days.   Characters pop in and out of the books and I love the way James Lee Burke writes  –  I can almost “feel”  the character interactions.

The First Rule by Robert Crais  –  a Joe Pike story.  Crais wrote for  Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, and L.A. Law; the first books I read by him featured his Elvis Cole PI.   Joe Pike works alongside Elvis and this is a book where he takes centre stage for the first time.  A crime novel which is witty and fast-paced.

One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson  (Jackson Brodie).  In December I read Kate Atkinson’s  Case Histories where she introduced policeman turned PI Jackson Brodie which I just loved, loved, loved.    This is the second book in the Brodie series and he has retired and  followed his girlfriend (relationship developed in the first book) to Edinburgh where he spends the whole book being in the wrong places at the wrong times.   Another great read.

When Will there be Good News by Kate Atkinson.  When you’re onto a good thing stick to it!    The third Jackson Brodie book –  the books are loosely interwoven and I think this is the best of the three (I think there is a 4th coming out soon).   Great crime fiction and hard to put down.   I would suggest reading the books in order.

Sunset Limited by James Lee Burke.  The 10th book in the Dave Robicheaux Mysteries.    I think this is one of the weaker books so far in the series.   Broody and volatile Robicheaux is taken back to the murder of a union activist decades old when the activist’s son & daughter come back to the area.   It was still a quick read but there were things in the story that did not tie up well.

Purple Cane Road by James Lee Burke.  The 11th Robicheaux book  – at this rate I’m pretty sure I will finish the  series of, currently, 18 books by the end of the year!   This story was a really good thriller;  a woman on death row for killing a man who molested her as a child;  corrupt police;  an attorney general with a shady past and a revelation about Robicheaux’s mother……


37 responses

    • Funny you should suggest that…. I’m still slightly in shock to find I had so many hoarded! Upon a more thorough critical inspection of the books there are probably about 10+ that I will never read and have no idea why I bought.

  1. Love the colors in your photograph.

    Great goals – I’m a slow reader (I guess you could say I relish each word if I truly like a book) so there’s no way I could do that!

  2. I think it’s great that you’ve decided to renew the challenge and push harder. We should all do that in every aspect of our lives each year.

    I love the “Reading Room!” The things people do!

    • Yes we should all push ourselves a bit harder – it’s so easy to slacken off though. 🙂 I had a good laugh when I saw the chair and books – the books must not have been there long as they didn’t have any snow/water damage on them.

  3. I’m sure you can do it. 75 in a year…no problem!!

    I’m so glad you’re still enjoying the Robicheaux series. I remember Purple Cane Road as one of the best.

    The outdoor reading room is very compelling. After I post my comment I’m going to clicky on the the photo so I can see it better.

    • I’m so glad I started at the beginning of the series – it’s interesting to follow both the developments of the characters and of Burke. I was a bit disappointed with Sunset Limited but then I don’t suppose all of them can be great 🙂 I loved coming across the chair and books – one of those wonderful random things. The chair looks a bit chilly though with that snow on it!

  4. I love all of Crais’ books. The Atkinson sounds good.

    This would not be a challenge for me — I’m an incredibly fast reader; i think I read 4 books last week alone. I’d get more done if I didn’t have internet 😉 and if I had a public transport commute.

    • Ooooh – you’d have to go for the 200+ book challenge. If I read too fast I don’t absorb things properly and forget who people are when they don’t appear for a couple of chapters. I should spend more time reading at night instead of watching TV – I watch too much of that! 🙂 I think I’ve read just about all of Robert Crais’ books – I have Chasing Darkness and First Rule in my to-read drawer. I’m looking forward to exploring more Atkinson – she has written things other than the Jackson Brodie series which look interesting.

  5. I bow in awe. My attention span is shot. I haven’t read a book in months. I’ve tried but I just can’t do it. I can’t watch movies either. At least I can still read poems. If they’re not too long.

  6. Wow. At school I had to read a book every two weeks. And I thought I was in for it. I wish was a faster reader, but I get confused if I read too quickly. XD I admire your book-reading skills. 😀

  7. I love the Jackson Brodie books. I love how they can be so dark and awful but then have bits in them that make you laugh out loud. Like when he had to get out of the car and push the cow off the road. Thats still makes me laugh when I think of it. There’s another one, it’s been out for a while called Started Early, Took my Dog. Have you read any Mark Billingham books? He has a recurring character Tom Thorne so you need to read them from the start.

    • You’ve finished British books before they even become available here – “Started Early……” comes out on Amazon in March here! I’ve preordered it for my kindle – it should just “pop” in on 21st March. Yeah I laughed out loud about the cow and also when he was killing himself trying to get the dead girl out of the ocean. When I’ve finished all the books I already have I will investigate her other books. Haven’t read any of Mark Billingham – will add him to my fancy spreadsheet under the “investigate” tab.

  8. I love the outdoor reading “room.” I’m more apt to suspect some poor employee set that chair up so s/he could have a spot to take a break: so many places don’t give their employees a place to sit and have lunch or a cup of coffee in peace, which is irritating if you’re in an area where there’s no coffee shops, restaurants or parks within walking distance.

    I gave up on recording all of the books I read, because I simply read more than I can remember—not all of them books either, but journals and newspapers and blogs as well. A book gives you more to comment on, but like my father I love opening the paper and spending a couple of hours just reading the day’s news.

    • This little Church memorial garden is next to a housing “estate” – little cement blocks on top of more cement blocks. Perhaps it’s a resident’s respite space – though I think some ‘wag put the books there 🙂

  9. How about ‘’? It’s pretty easy to handle and you get a book cover together with looking up the book on their lists 🙂
    I admire you for wanting to top your own achievement. If I could read while riding the bus to work (get nauseous) I might get in some more books during a year too.

    • When I first started riding the train; I couldn’t sit on the seats that went backwards and once I got past that it was ages before I could read going backwards. I still can’t read if I have to stand up though lots of people do.

  10. Good luck with this year’s goal. I’m sad to say that I’ve not read one book this year (fiction or non-fiction at least – I’m not counting baby related books)!!!

    • The manservant’s office has a trolley (like a library cart) where employees put books they don’t want and others take them. I usually send mine along with him. I also donate them to our local school’s fetes etc. I will have to see what “bookcrossing” is….

  11. I have a hard time motivating myself to read, so he fact you read over 60 books last year is incredible to me! I think I am on book #2 for the year. sigh. Maybe I will set up a challenge for myself, maybe that will help me get motivated if I have a deadline. Good Luck with the 75! I think you can do it!

  12. I was going to suggest Goodreads too. I am sure you have seen my mention that I have been keeping a journal of the books I have read since 1987, about 6 mos. after I graduated high school. You would have been on a second or third journal by now!
    You can definitely read 75 books if you just read in September and set aside a little time at home on top of your commute time. I changed my challenge from 20 to 24 books so that hopefully I would set aside more time to read and less time on the internet. I’m doing pretty well so far, 2 in January and I’m more than halfway through the first one of Feb. I could have gotten another one or 2 in for last year but December, as (somewhat)housebound as I was, killed my attention span and I did more spider solitaire playing than reading or movie watching.

    Love the reading room too!

    • A lady at work showed me the journal she kept for her books – it was really impressive. I never thought about keeping a record of books – I must’ve thought I’d always just remember them – and in 1987 I was having babies so I probably wasn’t doing much reading LOL 🙂 I think you will read 24 easily this year…..

    • You would think I’d get more read when it’s just me in the house but I tend to watch all the things I’ve recorded from TV when the manservant is home and which he won’t watch. Such a waste of time really but I have my favourites… too many of them!

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