I started counting my books even before I started blogging. I counted them in my journal--I'd make a list in the back of all the books I'd read that year.
After I created Classics and Beyond, I started using Goodreads to track the books I read. (I had a Goodreads account before, but I didn't use it regularly.) I loved this easy way to see what I'd read, and just as importantly, how many books I'd read in a year.
At first, I was a little surprised at how low my numbers were, but as I looked over my books, I found that I usually read a few long and/or difficult books each year; the majority of my reading wasn't just breezy novels. Of course, being in school, I'm often assigned to read long and difficult books in a short space of time.
Up until now, I would only count a book in my year's reading if I finished every last page of it. But I've become dissatisfied with that. Of course, I'm not going to count DNFs if I only made it through the first 30 pages. But I often get pretty far in these books before I have to give up. I have a ton of reading to do, and although I really want to finish every book I'm assigned, sometimes I just don't have the time, especially nowadays. So far this semester, I've already put aside How Green Was My Valley after about 200 pages, and I'm suspecting the same is going to happen to Angela's Ashes, even though I only have about 100 pages to go.
The thing is, I don't love these books, and I know I'm not going to love them after getting 200-250 pages through. I've spend a good deal of time on these books. And I'm going to have an honesty moment here: If I didn't care so much about being able to "count" these books in my yearly total, I wouldn't care whether I finished them.
I like that I try to finish books. I think it's a much better habit than tossing them aside after the first chapter. But sometimes it's just not worth it to me--the book is just another number. I just want to be able to add it to the total; I don't really care about the book itself. I feel like if I don't finish the book, I've wasted my time reading those first 200 pages.
I think I'm going to change my personal policy on this. Of course, when I originally considered this, I was worried about the book police coming after me--and then I reminded myself that absolutely no one but me would even care how I counted my books. So I've made a decision. From now on, if I've read at least 200 pages of a book--since many respectable books are that length--I can count it as "read," even if I didn't finish it. (But I'll also put it on a "DNF" shelf on Goodreads.) That way I can still continue my habit of giving books a fair shot, and I won't feel so much like I'm cheating, but I won't have to put myself through the misery of a boring 500-page book if I really don't like it. I'll have spent a fair amount of time reading a single book, and I think that deserves to be counted in my yearly total, since I could have read a 200-page book in the same amount of time and counted it.
I'm sure some of you are probably rolling your eyes and asking why I'm getting so defensive when honestly, who even cares. Well, okay. You're right. But in the little easily-guilt-stricken world of Emily, this book-counting thing is a serious business, and I want to do it right.
What do you do? Do you count DNFs? Do you change your habits just for your book total? Do you even count your books at all?