Progress Log

March 8th:  68 books complete, and 68 days into the year – yikes! I didn’t make up my lead, and now I’m going to erode it if I don’t hurry up and get reading! (My wife is at 72 books, which means she is now ahead of me, despite her busy schedule!)

I’m actively working on the following books:

  • The Long Short – I’m reading this one now.
  • Sister Wendy’s 1000 Masterpieces – I just had to renew this one so I can finish it.
  • Usagi Yojimbo Collection Book 1 – I just started this one.
  • Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection 1987-1991 – Now, where did I put this?

I have a few other non-fiction books to read as well, and it’s time for a new audiobook. Here’s to hoping I’m finished with many more books soon!

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February 15th:  55 books complete, and 46 days into the year! That means my lead is slipping a little bit, but I’m confident I’ll make that back up by the end of February. (I’m shooting for a solid 2-week lead at this point.)

I’m actively working on the following books:

  • Sister Wendy’s 1000 Masterpieces – I just had to renew this one so I can finish it.
  • The Coen Brothers, Second Edition – I’m still struggling through this one.
  • Usagi Yojimbo Collection Book 1 – I just started this one.
  • Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection 1987-1991 – Now, where did I put this?
  • The Complete Elfquest Volume 3 – I’m eager to start this one
  • The Contract With God Trilogy – I need to return this one soon

I have a few other non-fiction books to read as well, and it’s time for a new audiobook. Here’s to hoping I’m finished with many more books soon!

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February 9th:  51 books complete! Sure, half of them have been graphic novels, but a good chunk of those have been very large omnibus collections or lesser-known works. I still have yet to read a traditional superhero graphic novel, and if I do, it’ll likely be an omnibus edition just to justify the effort.

I’m working on the following books:

  • Sister Wendy’s 1000 Masterpieces – this one’s required a lot of time to read through.
  • The Coen Brothers, Second Edition – this one’s been a slough for me.
  • Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success
  • Lewis Black: Nothing’s Sacred (Audiobook)
  • Usagi Yojimbo Collection Book 1
  • Wonder Woman: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine
  • The Story of Hong Gildong

Here’s to hoping a week from now, I have all of these finished!

I also have a number of library books waiting to be read, including a book on abstract art, a book on teaching kids Shakespeare, a book on video game history and a book on teaching relativity to one’s dog. I’ve got some more graphic novels (Zot!, Contract With God Trilogy and Elquest Vol. 3, as well as a few others) to read. And I keep hoping to make time to read The Phantom Tollbooth, a book I’ve owned for a long time but never gotten past the first chapter on. It’s going to be hard to keep up with my busy travel schedule, but I’m going to do my best to keep my 11-book lead… and maybe even get it up to a solid 2-week lead for March!

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January 31st:  42 books complete! See my first Monthly Report to learn more about how I’m feeling.

I’m nearing the end on Hidden Figures (audiobook) and am currently reading Zot!, The Complete Elfquest Volume 2 and Why Photographs Work. I also still need to finish The Phantom Tollbooth and that book about the Coen Brothers. I’ve got plenty more queued up on my list, and I’m hoping February proves a fruitful month for lots more reading!

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January 20th: 29 books complete, and possibly 30-31 by the end of the day (depending on when I finish my Monkey audiobook). There’s no denying that I’ve slowed my pace a bit, but it’s been a busy week, and I’m revising my goal for the month to a much more conservative 42 books than the 59 I was shooting for.

I’m currently working on reading The Phantom Tollbooth and a book about the Coen Brothers (the famed duo behind O Brother, Where Art Thou?, No Country For Old Men, Fargo and many other great films). When I trek to the library later, I plan to find some more non-fiction to read, but I also need to finish reading about teaching relativity to one’s dog in the meantime.

Looking at the category statistics, I’ve read a lot of graphic novels this month, but I’m happy with the variety within the category; there’s not a superhero book in the stack yet, and some have used the format for telling personal stories, exploring history, offering unique perspectives or even retelling Shakespeare. The next graphic novel I’m planning to read is Saga, which I’ve heard very good things about, and I also have Zot! and Elfquest in my stack for next week.

Given how out of control life feels right now, this personal challenge has been very good for me. It’s given me a sense of achievement and helped me keep my mind off the news (which I’m now persuaded is designed to make us stupid and scared) and binge-watching bland entertainment on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon. I’ve never felt quite so creatively inspired to WRITE as I have been this month, and the short story I’m working on for January is going to be great. (I’m planning on authoring a new one every month this year, though I’ll be publishing them elsewhere).

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January 14th: 23 books complete, and I’m still working on that Good Omens audiobook, which I hope to finish soon.

My family and I went to the library today and walked out with around 40 books. Only 10 of those were for the kids; my wife and I fairly evenly split the rest. She’s got around 14-15 books read for the month, which is impressive given that she just got back from a trip to London and is starting another class for her MBA; the truth is that she usually reads 3-4 books a week anyhow, so this challenge isn’t so far out of her realm of experience.

I’m trying to get through my initial glut of graphic novels and focus on more substantial fare, but I couldn’t help today but pick up The Complete Elfquest and an omnibus of Will Eisner’s Contract with God trilogy. I’m a sucker for good graphic fiction, and I’m at least happy to say I’m not burning through frivolous superhero graphic novels just to keep my count high – every graphic novel I’ve read thus far has been qualified by its critical acclaim or popular impact.

At the same time, I picked up some more nonfiction (including a book about teaching kids about Shakespeare), and I’m currently reading How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog via my library’s eBook portal. These sorts of books are enjoyable to read because they’re designed to make complex topics easier to understand; when you’re reading for quantity instead of quality, they can provide a valuable foundation for those topics if you decide to delve in further.

My current goal for the end of the month is to be at 52 books so I’m a solid three weeks ahead. (If I’m really diligent, perhaps I can reach 59 and be a full month ahead.) The good news is, I’m well on my way, and well-stocked with books to get me there!

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January 10th: The first ten days have been a great experience. I’ve enjoyed reading books from so many genres, and while I’ve been loading up on some of the easier books, I’m also at a point where I’m a week ahead (or will be, once I finish Mockingjay today). My hope by the end of January is to be a month ahead, because I’d really like to have a buffer for the Spring when life will get busier and I’ll be lucky to finish a few books a week.

I’m still listening to the Good Omens audiobook, which is a little longer than average (instead of the normal 9-11 hours, it’s around 13), but extremely enjoyable. It makes my commutes and housework much more fun to endure.

I’ve also been looking at my collection of books at home and in my office with a more critical eye. “Have I read this?” I’ll ask as my eyes fall on my bookshelves. At work, the answer is usually, “Yes,” because the books on my bookshelves here are those I brought for reference or to share with co-workers. At home, however, the answer is quite often, “no,” and that’s because I loaded up on a lot of books I wanted to read, but never made the time for.

Hopefully, that will change this year – after all, part of the point of this challenge is to read in quantity, and that means not being too choosy about what I pick up! Books that are easily at hand will be much easier than those I have to think to track down through the library, and the fact that I bought them to read in the first place means they’re pre-qualified to be great reading material.