Size Does Matter :: Observations on Reading Goals

Last week, while talking about my failed attempt to achieve my 2011 reading goals, I realized something: numbers are deceiving. “Books Read” numbers, that is. Last year, I read more books but fewer pages than in 2010 – therefore, I read less (even though it looked like I had read  more)! I’m not the only one. Several people commenting in the discussion found that they, too, had this experience. One even read 2,000 pages FEWER while having read more books.

So (for reading goals) why do we look to the number of books a person has read? Should number of titles really count – considering that equal weight goes to a book with 10 pages as to one with 1,000? Some of you are rolling your eyes already. You either don’t care or pretend you don’t care about how much you read. That’s fine… this article is not for you. This is for those of us who do care; as vain or stupid as it may be. And, a few weeks ago, when I got an e-mail from GoodReads letting me know that I would get a badge if I completed my goal of 100 books… I wanted to fulfill my goal even more! Too many years of traditional schooling with gold stars and letter grades? Probably, but who cares about the why when I WON’T HAVE A BADGE ON MY PAGE.

In this new year, I will not be using the number of books I read as a goal – I will be using the number of pages. If that means I won’t get another badge because GoodReads doesn’t offer page number goals, so be it (I say that through clenched, competitive teeth). Because I have found that page number is far superior to book number when it comes to noting reading progress.

I guess you could say I’ve finally learned that size does matter.


Wallace Yovetich reviews an eclectic mix of literature spanning from graphic novels to classic literature on her book blog, Unputdownables. Follow her on Twitter: @BookishWallace