52 books in 52 weeks - goal reached!

Posted on December 12, 2012

Last updated on February 13, 2013

One of my goals for 2012 has been to read one book per week, for a total of 52 books. Just a couple of days ago I have reached my goal, still with a couple weeks to spare and read a bit more.

I have read both fiction and non-fiction, but with fiction books having a much higher proportion. It is much easier to read more and get through fiction books with an interesting story line, rather than at times dense non-fiction.

As of this moment, and per my Goodreads profile, I have this year read 53 books, totalling 13652 pages, and averaging about 260 pages per book.

The longest, and I will say the most fulfilling fiction book I’ve read this year was “Brother Karamazov”.

My favourite non-fiction book this year was a very obscure title, “Cannons and Flowers” by Gyorgy Cziffra, a Hungarian pianist. It is an autobiography detailing the extremely harsh conditions Cziffra was raised in, his many difficulties in life including going to war and not being able to play the piano for a number of years, and then still coming back and becoming a world renowned pianist. It was a sad read due to all the horrors Cziffra went through, but the reading was a motivating experience.

Another non-fiction book which I found useful were “A Guide to the Good Life” and “Letters from a Stoic” by Seneca. Do not think that the first book is your standard self help book. It is a rewording and application of old Stoic principles to the current day and age. Stoic philosophy is something I have gotten interested in this year. This philosophical system will teach one to keep calm in dire situations, understand what in life is important and what isn’t, and what you should be doing every day to ascertain yourself that you had a good life the end. The Stoic system was advocated by a number of important historical figures, for example Seneca, Cicero, and Marcus Aurelius. Even though it is an old system, it is highly applicable to this day and age, and I see it as more helpful than any self-help book I have read. I advise reading the secondary text “A Guide to the Good Life” first to gain a general understanding of Stoic philosophy before advancing to primary texts such as Seneca’s “Letters from a Stoic” or “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius, which are a bit less accessible, but still highly recommended.

For the interested, here is a list of books I have read and given a 5/5 review this year.

Here is a selection of my 4/5 book reviews this year, which I also recommend reading.

While it is very rewarding to have reached my goal of one book per week in this year, I believe next year I will not set myself such a large goal, and will aim for maybe 20 books with which I can engage more, take notes, and leave time to let the message sink in. With this sprint this year, I at times felt like the reading was akin to watching TV - just sitting there and reading, neither really enjoying or disliking the content, but doing just because, or in my case, because I wanted to reach 52 books read.

It is important to decide for what reason you want to be reading and what, or otherwise you might end up thinking you have wasted your time. But if your goal is to simply read some interesting fiction for pure enjoyment (I do not think reading should only be for pure learning of new content), then go ahead and do that! Don’t consider that time wasted time. I have at times considered it wasted time to have read a whole series such as “Hunger Games”, but then I remembered that time you enjoyed wasting is usually not wasted time :)

I hope this motivated you to set your own reading goal for the upcoming year!

For inspiration on what to read, have a look at my Goodreads profile!

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