An Ambitious Reading Journey… and Its Crushing Weight

I do a lot of reading. If you’ve been a fan of the site for a while this shouldn’t come as much as a surprise for you. I feel like I’m frequently here talking about what books I’m reading, have read, or thinking about reading and relaying them to my Good Reads account which I might have a slight obsession with. Seriously, life before Good Reads consisted of me carrying around a notebook where I would write the name of the novel I was reading, my start date, and my end date. This was how I loved keeping track of the books I read for the year, but then Good Reads made it so I didn’t have to carry the notebook anymore… it just made life easier. And who doesn’t like the Reading Challenge feature? That thing is a motivator.

About a month ago I decided I was going to embark on a very ambitious reading journey. I love those. You know the kind where you’re reading something so tremendous that you’re going to feel super accomplished once you finish it. Think of it as the climbing of Everest reading adventures. At the completition, there are some serious bragging rights in your reading circles. “What have you guys been reading? Oh, that’s cool I just finished War and Peace read mostly by candlelight. No big to do.”

Now, my very ambitious reading journey was not War and Peace. I think I tried it once in high school and it resulted in a whole bag of nope. I’m at peace with the fact that there are just some things in this universe I’m not going to read. I’m okay with it. No, this reading journey concerns the A Song of Ice and Fire books. I’ve been slowly re-reading them in preparation for the possible one day release of Winds of Winter. While I’m not overly optimistic that the book will be released any time soon, I do like to stay fresh with my Westeros content which makes the re-reading very helpful. You may not know this, he said sarcastically, but the show and the books have some differences. Quite a few as a matter of fact and if that fabled Winds of Winter release day ever comes, I don’t want to confuse the book content with the show content. Think of this as homework for an exam that might never come.

I’m not really a fan of the fourth book in the series, A Feast For Crows, as it’s missing a large portion of my favorite characters and kind of drags a bit. On the other hand, I do rather enjoy the fifth book of the series, A Dance With Dragons, as it includes a bunch of my favorite characters and has a narrative that moves at pace with the earlier books. The thing about Crows and Dragons is that they take place mostly at the same time. These are two timelines that intersect near the end of Dragons when all events come together. Because the timeline works this way, a group of geniuses meticulously devised a plan that you could read the books together creating one mega-book and the ultimate reading experience. They call it A Feast With Dragons, and it sounded like the best possible way to read these next two books. If nothing else it would break up some of the “ugh, would something just happen already” of book four.

I was here for it. You know I was riding that Game of Thrones hype train pretty hard and I figured if there’s ever going to be a time for me to do this particular reading journey… it was now. And that’s what I did. I just dove in. I have a Good Reads goal that I set for the year (fifty books, a list that includes graphic novels, what whaaaaat) and figured that this reading adventure would take about a month and a half tops and then I can move on to other books and collect my award at the end of the year.

I was wrong.

This particular reading journey is quite the task. I can’t remember when I started this journey, sometime in May, but it feels like I’ve been doing it forever and getting nowhere. Seriously, I’ve read over five hundred pages, between the two books, and over thirty chapters and I still have like eighty chapters and twelve hundred pages to go. The weight of this journey is crushing me. I’m hoping that I can maybe finish it by the end of the month but now I’m worried that it’s going to put me behind for the rest of the year. On top of that, the reading isn’t going as smoothly as I would like. Yes, the inclusion of the Dragons chapters helps but none of these chapters are short. There’s no five-page chapter to be found anywhere, and considering that I’ve been basing my progress on chapters read… you get the point. I can read two and a half sometimes three chapters in an hour, usually at lunch. If I try to read at night I’m finding myself falling asleep. I can’t win.

I started thinking, my gym is offering two free months of Audible. Would it be possible to switch to the audio versions of the book to finish them? Would that be cheating? That still counts towards my reading list for the year, right? Somehow I think that would go quicker than the pace I’m traveling at now. I can just jump back and forth between books and even listen to them while in the car. Bonus reading! Although I’m a little apprehensive when it comes to pulling the trigger on that. I don’t know. I don’t have a great relationship with audio books. As soon as I feel like they’ve got a character’s voice wrong I check out. Can’t do it.

What started off as this epic quest to check something off the ole reading bucket list is quickly turning into this never-ending epic quest, and I know that I don’t want to abandon ship… yet. I want to read these books. I want to read them as A Feast With Dragons… I just don’t know if I have the stamina for them.

Send all suggestions to the comments or throw me a line over at Twitter @iamgeek32. Do you guys think the Audible idea is cheating or does it work? Should I just give up? Any and all opinions wanted.

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