Sunday, December 29, 2013

And so it begins...

Project 84 will begin with a confession: I’m not sure how to write an introductory blog post.

To make an even more embarrassing confession, I started working on this blog post back at the beginning of November, and have spent the past month and a half perfecting the entry. NANOWRIMO writers spend November writing a 50,000 word novel; I spent it writing a 500 word blog post.

All the same, Project 84 requires some sort of introduction.

The Backstory

I conceptualized Project 84 in the middle of 2013, but the groundwork was laid several months before. You can find out more details about me and my history in the "Contact Information" section, but I’ll provide the short version here. I graduated from college in 2009 with a degree in English and Journalism. I don’t know how many people reading this blog were English majors, but, like most humanities degrees, my major classes were reading intensive. With a full course load, I averaged 500-750 pages of reading a week.

What happens when you have that much required reading is simple: you get behind. In my 4 years at college, I alwayshad reading I should be doing. And the constant feeling of having reading hanging over my head meant one thing: pleasure reading was out of the question. If I had a few hours of spare time, there was some class reading that I was neglecting. So, years went by when I didn’t read a single book by choice. How could I? I was an English major.

The real issue arose after graduation. I was burnt out on reading. I had read so many of the classics in college, which I both enjoyed and suffered through, but there were still so many books that passed me by during my time at school. And I no longer possessed the energy to read them. But when New Year’s came around in 2013, 3.5 years after I’d graduated, it had finally happened - I was starting to miss reading. So I made what I thought was a conservative goal: to read 12 books in 2013.

In May of that year, I sat down and took a long, hard look at my progress: I had read 1 book in 5 months.

My approach to reading wasn’t working. I loved reading, but I had lost the habits I built up in college that made me rip through great books and comprehend them. So, I made a new goal. I received the book 1001 Books to Read Before You Die for my birthday in April, and I went through it to find the books that I hadn’t gotten to while slogging through English classes.

I also made it a point to find some "fun" books that had fallen through the cracks over the year. Book series that friends had recommended, best sellers that had long since fallen of the New York Times list, a few young adult books that I suspected wouldn’t be good, but I was confident I would devour. I made a plan to read 60 pages a day (30 from two different books), and on June 1st I got to work.

At the end of the summer, I had read 19 full books, and I had barely even noticed. Because, when it comes down to it, I do love reading.

And thus came the birth of Project 84.

If I read books at the rate I was going last summer, I should be able to read 84 books over the course of 2014. But if I was going to read 84 books, I wanted to share it, and what better way than to start a blog and rediscover my love of reading while also rediscovering my second love – writing.

How It’s Going to Work

As I mentioned above, my MO is to read 2 books concurrently. The reason for that tactic is: if I don’t like one of the books I’m reading, there’s a good chance that I will enjoy the other one, thus upping the chance of having something to look forward to.

Project 84 will work the same way.

I plan to read 2 books at once – one from the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die collection, and another that is not on that list. I am hesitant to put these "other" books into any specific category, because they really do run the gamut. Some are easy "chick lit" type books, some are young adult books, some are great, newer pieces of literature, some are nonfiction. But they’re all books that look interesting to me, if that counts as a category.

The reviews will be posted within a few days of finishing a book (don’t worry, they won’t be anywhere near as long as this post), which means there will be a new post just about every 4 days. The rate will, of course, vary based on the length of the book. At the end of a review I will inform my readers of what book is up next and include an estimated post date for that review. That will not only give you an idea of when to expect the next post, but will give me a deadline, and I do better with a deadline (that’s the journalism part of that double major ;) ).

So that is the plan for Project 84. If it strikes your fancy, I hope you will follow along as I go through this journey? I know, "journey" borders on pretentious, but I can’t come up with a better word for it!

There are a few options for how you can follow along. The first way is to go up to the trusty "Subscribe" form at the top right of the page, and you will get an e-mail for every new posting. Option B is to follow Project 84 on Facebook, at the following link:

Project 84 Facebook

Option C would be to follow Project 84 on Twitter:

Project 84 Twitter

And I suppose Option D would be to bookmark this page and check back periodically to see what’s new!

Please let me know that you’re reading. I’ll do my best to respond to every comment. Part of the purpose of this blog is to connect through literature. I can’t predict what this blog is going to become over the course of the year, but I do hope that people will, at the very least, enjoy following along on my reading adventures and discover some new literature.

Lastly, if you would like to see a preview of the 84 books I will be reading this year, please check out the "Want To Read" section of my GoodReads page:

Project 84 GoodReads Page

Welcome to Project 84 :)