Why I Did Not Sign Up for a Reading Challenge in 2016

By Piyushi Dhir

My readers may remember my article from last year, How I Read 85 Books in 2015. At that time, I had received a large number of responses marveling at the sheer number of volumes I had bagged under my belt in a single year.

While I felt a sense of pride in my achievement, I also knew the other side of the story, which I hadn’t shared with you- how the challenge I had set myself had hindered my life!

In a heady moment, some time in the beginning of the year, I had set myself a fairly difficult target of reading a 100 books within the next twelve months. I was, after all, reveling in my new found freedom after quitting my job and joining my husband in Africa. I set about the task with unrestrained enthusiasm. To the bookworm in me, the target was something like having to eat a 100 chocolates within a year.

Reading in 2016

Here’s what happened during the year. For one, achieving my target became such an obsession, that it put a lot of other things on the back seat. I was not writing as much as I should have and would have, were I not busy in the pursuit of books. Even while conducting my daily walks or while traveling, I would listen to audio books. This was time I would have otherwise devoted to ideating. I was even picking up some books, which were short and easy to get out of the way, just to tick off more numbers.

So when 2016 began and Goodreads repeatedly tried to get me to sign up for another challenge, I was tempted, but did not give in. It was not that I did not intend to read a lot, but what I was avoiding was ‘forced’ reading, even if that was self-enforced reading. Moreover, I had just discovered that I was in the family way. And while I was not sure what to expect with a baby, I was pretty sure that time would be at a premium.

In retrospect, I am glad about my decision. I spent the first half of the year focusing on freelance writing assignments and did better than I had expected. I got published on a couple of international platforms and experimented with a new genre, short stories. By the end of the year, I was able to release a collection of stories, Silent Promises.

Without any pressure, I was able to read more than 40 books in 2016. While this may have been only half of what I had achieved in 2015, it is a significant number given that I had a tiny baby on my hands. Accordingly, I have set myself a similar target for 2017, reading 40 books, since I know that this is a number I can achieve at a reasonable pace.

Like last year, I have also published a post on The Ten Best Books I Read in 2016. Look out for the list, you may find something that interests you!

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About the Author

Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.