50 in 2022

How I read 50 books in twelve months

A new years resolution can range from working out to setting a new goal. Others consist of reaching a certain number of something to reach that goal, such as reading 55 books. (Isaiah Benitez)

Go to the gym more often. Eat healthier. Have less screen time. Spend more time with family. Sleep earlier. These are examples of New Year’s resolutions an individual would set for themselves. Last year in 2022, I decided to take on a New Year’s resolution: read 50 books in one year.

A New Year’s resolution, according to the Cambridge dictionary, is a promise you make to yourself to create or stop new habits at the beginning of a new year. According to a survey of 651 students conducted by the Crusader, 260 students created a New Year’s resolution and 207 stated they were able to complete it for a significant period of time.

There are many reasons why people would choose to try their hand at creating a New Year’s resolution. However, there is a distinct difference between creating a resolution and accomplishing it. Some may feel that participating in resolutions can provide conversation starters such as asking each other what their future goals are. Others claim the new year is a perfect opportunity to completely revamp their whole persona.

In past years, I have not felt necessarily compelled to start or attempt a New Year’s resolution. However, last year, I wanted to feel some sort of accomplishment; the feeling of telling people I stuck to my resolution. 

In order for me to do so, I needed to choose a resolution that was attainable, reasonable and a goal that I would be motivated to finish. Thus, I began my 50 book reading list in the span of 12 months in 2022.

One of the challenges I faced was finding the 50 books I wanted to read. Firstly, I had a wide variety of books on my to-be-read list, which included classics such as Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and more contemporary books like The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. 

I also actively looked for books that piqued my interest in my local library and bookstore. Personally, I looked for relatable books such as teenagers who experience a quarter-life crisis while navigating high school. One of my favorites was The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan that featured a teenage girl going against tradition and dating a girl all while in high school. I managed to expand my horizons by reading books that explore social issues that affected my reality. We Had to Remove This Post by Hanna Bervoets was one of the few translated books I read that delved into the “dark web”. 

The biggest challenge was finding a way to manage my time effectively, since it was difficult to find time to read and stay on top of my school work. For example, my International Baccalaureate (IB) English class syllabus required me to be reading a school-assigned book. This made it difficult for me to read one of my own personal books. I remedied this by including my IB books as part of my quota (thanks to my IB teacher). 

In addition–whenever I had the chance–I would read a book. Whether it would be at work, in the car or eating. I did sacrifice a lot of my free time to be reading, but I found it to be more relaxing rather than stressful. 

I also found that my resolution led to me to hold meaningful conversations with the people around me. Even after junior year, my IB English teacher would stop me in the halls to ask what number book I was on. My friends would be interested in what book I was currently reading and which one was my favorite so far. It led me to have many insightful discussions about my favorite books with the friends I valued the most, such as discussing who were our favorite characters and what plot points intrigued us the most.

I also found that my resolution led to me to hold meaningful conversations with the people around me.

— Maddie Almodovar

For example, over the summer, I was able to meet someone who had not read Pride and Prejudice and I was able to lend them my book. Since then, my friends and I have met up once again to exchange books we think the others would like.

On Dec. 31, I read my last and 50th book of 2022, The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. I concluded and completed my resolution with a few hours left on the clock. I felt a sense of accomplishment as I closed the cover of the book and felt relieved. I had realized I made it to the end of the year, both physically and emotionally together.

I took some time to reflect, coming to terms with the fact that I achieved the goal I set for myself 12 months ago. I applauded myself for the time, hours and emotional investment I devoted into finishing all 50 books, leading me to accomplish my personal goal. 

50 books I realized I gained new insight and perspective. Recently, I look for the issues I read in books about the world around me. Furthermore, as someone who writes in their free time, I always looked for new phrases and vocabulary to employ in my own stories.  

Although the first month of 2023 is nearly over, I decided on a new resolution: to read 55 books this year. I am currently on my third book of Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow while also reading The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino for my IB English class. 

Creating a New Year’s Resolution is a tradition I encourage everyone to participate in. Not necessarily as a way to “change” or “improve” who you are–since I believe you can start growth at any given time–but as a way to accomplish a goal that makes you feel good about yourself. This year, I look forward to expanding my book genre and exploring new social and cultural topics.