It's early January. You're still feeling a little sick from the binge eating and drinking you did until 11:59 PM on December 31st, after promising you weren't going to do either in the new year.

Okay, it's a few days later, and you've already had 24 donuts and a dozen mimosas. I mean, you tried. Resolutions were meant to be broken, right? The “new year, new you” can start in 360 days. One thing you will absolutely do this year, though, is follow through on your resolution to meet your Goodreads reading challenge goal.

To accomplish this, you've set an underwhelming number that you could have demolished in one month's worth of Boxcar Children books when you were eight. The bar gets lower every year, and you still haven't managed to clear it. But this one. This is the year. You can feel it. It's the year you're totally… going to somehow fail in spectacular fashion yet again.

When you first registered your Goodreads account after spending more time reading reviews than actually choosing a book, you had starry eyes. You imagined tackling a book a week, writing dazzlingly funny reviews that would have enough likes to validate your existence. Oh, the other users would laugh, and you'd couple your biting literary wit with deep insight into how each novel examined the human condition.

Six months later, you'd tackled three books, forgotten your log-in once, and decided it was too much effort to sign into your email and reset the password. Also, one of those books you'd read was a collection of Mad Libs that someone had already filled out with black ink, but still. You had three books down, only 49 to go. You could manage that in six months, no reviews needed, with the help of a few picture book volumes. Hey, the Berenstain Bears provide meaningful insight into ursine family dynamics.

Unfortunately, the Berenstain Bears prompted Google searches of “Can bears really have nightmares about space grizzlies?” That led to an internet rabbit hole about apex predators in space that meant by October, you had only managed five books. Those Google searches are time-consuming, and that was definitely what the problem was… not following a bunch of Bookstagram accounts so you could read about reading without actually reading.

At this point, tackling 47 books in a little over two months was out of the question, so next year, you figured you'd go with 24. Two books a month was totally possible!

Well, it would have been, except that you spent the first three months of the next year going to the bookstore whenever you had free time. It was more collecting books than actually reading. You bought about 48 books, which would surely be good motivation to read half that, right? You only had nine months left after wasting the first three, which put the total at more like three books a month. That was possible. Just read the novellas your cousin wrote and uploaded to Kindle that you'd already said you'd read. (How could you have, though, when you had so many other book titles to peruse and not ultimately purchase?)

Well, that plan didn't work either, because by September, you hadn't read any of the novellas, despite giving your cousin very generic and enthusiastic praise consisting entirely of the synopsis on Amazon. Also, you had only tackled two books. To be fair, one of them was War and Peace, which you really only read because you were binge-watching Full House instead of reading, and Uncle Jesse was told it was considered one of the best novels of all time.

So your second year's goal was D.O.A. The third year, you'd make it easy: twelve books. That lofty goal didn't account for the very busy time that was the second year of quarantine, though. When you're holed up at home with little hope of outside escape for nearly six months, how could you find time to read?

It's not your fault, really. Everyone kept recommending shows you needed to watch on streaming services. You may not have listened to them and just watched 30 Rock all the way through another 17 times, but still. Plus, when Liz Lemon started singing about her night cheese, you decided to become a cheese connoisseur and threw yourself into investigating all the classy night cheeses you could have.

It was a gouda way to spend time, am I right?

Long story short, you're entering another year after failing to even come close to your reading goal. This year, your goal will be a totally reasonable six books. You can do this. Just keep your phone away from you while you read.

Actually, that's a little excessive. I'm sure you won't Google anything at all.


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