04 Jan 2024 – Reading 100 books in 2023

I didn’t start the year with this goal. It was, as always, 52 books, one per week. Enough to make me choose a book over Netflix, but that not much of a stretch.

January kicked off with the final module of my MA, which was both intellectually and emotionally challenging. I found myself tearing through all kinds of literature to make sense of it — books and papers, fiction and non-fiction, audiobooks and podcasts, from dense academic texts to bestsellers.

Come April, I had finished well over 30 books, and it seemed exciting to aim for 100.

Screenshot of Storygraph stats showing the number of books and pages read per month, with the highest month being April 2023
Number of books and pages by month

I finished the year with 100 books over 25,607 pages.

Of these, there were 55 non-fiction/45 fiction. 47 were audiobooks, thanks to Libby. Aside: I remain perpetually astonished that Libby isn’t more widely used. It offers free audiobooks through libraries (I have both Barbican and my local council library for maximum selection).

It was great, but I wouldn’t do it again.

In the beginning, I read what I wanted (or needed) to. I wasn’t aiming for numbers and so it wasn’t influencing the choice of what I picked up. By September, trying to finish ~2 books a week on top of a full time job and a consistent training schedule was a lot of pressure. In the last few months, I found myself choosing shorter books and enjoying the act of reading a bit less.

Still, it is exciting to look over the list and remember each of the books. My head feels absolutely full of stories. No regrets.

Reading is everything to me. It’s how I learn, how I process my feelings, how I make sense of the world. Books are an axe for the frozen sea inside me.

As bell hooks says in Teaching to Transgress

I came to theory because I was hurting—the pain within me was so intense that I could not go on living. I came to theory desperate, wanting to comprehend—to grasp what was happening around and within me. Most importantly, I wanted to make the hurt go away. I saw in theory then a location for healing.

True not just for theory.

Next year, I’ll be back to my normal 52 books. And picking up a few of those fat bricks, as a treat.

Here are my roundups of the most memorable books of the year: January-May, June-August and September-December