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Friday, September 23, 2016

My reading marathon

Beginning of 2016, I had given myself a challenge: read 42 books in a year.  This, was A LOT for me... I was not such an avid reader... I was always kind of an on-and-off reader. I could read 3 books in a row and then nothing for months...  If I wanted to read 42 books in a year, I could not afford to do that...

I had set a few rules/directions for myself

1) I could read in English or French
2) I could read anything... as long as it interested me... novel, science, psychology, biographies...
3) Books that were more then 500 pages were equivalent to 2 books, more then 600 pages, 3 books and more then 900 pages 4 books.  I have only read 2 books that fitted in those categories, they were respectively 530 pages and 639 pages...
4) I'd have to read books that are currently in my home - whether they belong to my son, husband or myself  - or get them from the library or borrow from a friend (After all, I am right in the middle of my 367 days shopping ban, I did not wanted to use this as an excuse to buy stuff).
5) No need to keep track of the actual list of books I read... only the number. (I wanted to see what would stick to my mind naturally)

I had no idea on how I would find those 42 books.. which ones would I read and why... I had no list of books I wanted to read before hand - Now, I have a list of 60 books!!!

So here's what I did: I started with a book taken from the library... I honestly can't remember which one but I am pretty sure it was from Alexandre Jardin.  Then, I let my reading, and trips to the library, guide me to more books! I would write down books from an author I was reading, I would take note of authors or titles mentionned in a book I was reading (not listed as "in the same collection" or "by the same author" but actual books the characters were referring too in a novel - that THEY were reading)... I would note down the title of a book someone was reading in a coffee shop if they seemed "similar" to me... In the library, I would always check the section "New books" and "Books you may have forgotten" ... If I discovered a new author, I would note another book title they wrote... And last but not least, I would take down suggestions friends made to me. I also noted down a few books that inspired movies or TV shows.

Therefore, one thing to another, I ended up with always more then enough books to read.... way more!

Why would I do that challenge?  Not sure...  but I remember, Jan 2014, I wanted to train to run a marathon - an actual one.  My body, which is in pretty good shape overall, does not like me getting to "warm" - it has to do with MS.  This really disappointed me...  and for some reason, this year, I had already been reading 5-6 books by the end of January, I decided to do a reading marathon...  Which, I was sure then, would be challenging enough... in another manner but challenging.

I had not idea what to expect... but here's what happened...

And you might think I am crazy for that...  but it is REALLY what happened...

With no pre-established list of books to read... and with the method I had to select books, believe it or not... it seemed like one book would flow into the next...  And I am not sure I can explain this well here...  but it seemed as though each book would prepare me for the next one AND each book would find a way to answers "questions" and/or "concerns" I had at the time of reading it... I would read really anything... in NO specific orders... sometimes a classic followed by a very recent novel and then a philosophical assay and then a more scientific one and somehow they would "melt" into one bigger thing in my brain! Links would create themselves from one book to another... I would see things more clearly... Life seemed more "understandable" - if it can be.

I think this will be a lasting effect... my life will never be the same...  after reading some 10k pages (assuming books averaged 250 pages) in only 9 months, it is as though I have become another version of myself...  They say you remember on average 10% of what you read... This means, that somehow, I have created my own 1000 page book... in my mind... it cannot not have an effect on one's life.

It also made me realize what type of books I like to read... I like to read things about psychology, sociology, anthropology, some personal development stuff, nutritions (but with a science base), novels (but not any type - I am now better at knowing that books I will love or not) and some biographies (but then again not systematically all of them).

And this is why, I will take up another challenge a friend of mine gave me:  to keep on reading, in the same manner, at the same pace, with the same "rules" another 108 books - apparently, once you get to 150 books something happens...  I am up for it!  I have already seen such a huge difference in my life those 42 books have made, I can't wait to see what another 108 added to that will do! It's a good thing I have a list now... but I am afraid that list will keep on growing... because the more I read, the more references I see, the more new authors I discover, the more I'll go to the library and leave with books that were not on my list to read and the more people will give me suggestions...  Is this ever gona end? It doesn't really matter... I have many more years to enjoy reading... now that I can afford to work part-time!

Be who you are... DREAM your life... LIVE your dream...

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