To me: $1/book.
"What?" you say, "that's crazy. You can't put a monetary value on the experience of reading a book!"
Sure I can. Because in the reading contest my sister and I are having in 2017, that's what each book is worth. $1.
I like to say I was born a reader. Now, obviously I don't mean that literally, because that would be just silly. What I mean is I was born with something inherent that compels me to read. Throughout my life, I've read books from every genre (except horror. Well, bloody horror, anyway. Because I don't care if you are a big 'fraidy cat, you still have to read Stephen King), and count books from each of them among my "most very favorite books of all time forever and ever". So there is no shortage of books in the world to hold my interest. Sure, I have my preferred types of books (see this blog post) and I read extensively in that genre, but that's not to say I'm not up for a good western, either. And though non-fiction isn't really my cup of tea per se, I'm not above picking one up every now and then. All this to say: I consider myself fairly well-read.
My sister came to her love of reading later in life. My childhood memories of her reading don't extend past The Berenstain Bears or The Babysitters Club: Little Sister. I don't really know what she wasted her childhood on, but it certainly wasn't reading. Barely able to contain the excitement generated by the most recent Black Stallion book I had finished, or by The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew (the Super Mysteries were *literally* the best of both worlds - Nancy and Frank totally had a thing), I would try to get her to read some of my books so I could talk to her about them. Sigh. It never happened. Until... she found herself married to a man whose job required them to move frequently and all over the country, making it very hard for her to maintain a job or friendships. That is to say, SHE GOT BORED. I still remember the phone call: "Hey, I need something to do, and I'm thinking about reading a book. Can you tell me a good one?" ONE? Try a hundred. It was like Christmas and my birthday got jiggy wit' it and had a love child. I can't actually recall which book I initially suggested she read, but it must have been a good one, because she hasn't stopped reading since (she claims it was Lauren Kate's Fallen, but you'll have to take her word on that one). It's been about three years now since my sister became "a reader", and though she will never catch me in the number of books she's read (to be fair, I did have, like, a 30-or-so-year head start), she's making a valiant effort.
So, back to my claim that a book is worth $1. At the beginning of 2016, I started the year determined to fulfill a reading resolution challenge (see this blog post). Though I read continuously through the year, the challenge fell by the wayside. I just didn't have anything invested in it to keep me going. I ended up the year having read a lot, but I couldn't tell you how many books, or which ones. This year, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to be able to look back and see which books I read, and how many books I read, in 2017. I saw this cool thing on Facebook one day about putting a dollar in a jar every time you finish reading a book, and then at the end of the year taking those dollars to the bookstore to buy new books. Brilliant! And now that my sister reads, and we recommend books back and forth, I thought it may be fun to include her. But, you know, sisters, so it had to, in some way, become a contest. So the end result was this: Each of us would a) write down the title and author of each book we finish reading in 2017, and b) put a dollar in a jar for each finished title. Then, at the end of the year (Christmastime, to be exact), we will count the dollars to see who has more. Whoever loses (it WILL NOT BE ME!) has to buy the winner the book of her choice. So, not only will I get to buy a million dollars worth of books, but she also has to buy me one! Bwahahahahaha!
13 weeks into 2017, I have a tidy little sum of $18 in my book jar (so much more fun than a swear jar!). That's like a book every, uh, I don't know because math, but it's pretty darn good. Not too shabby a clip, if I do say so myself. As I finish books I particularly like, I'll post reviews and recommendations in an attempt to get back into regularly blogging. I recently finished A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro, and I'm itching to talk about it before I begin book 2 of the Charlotte Holmes series, The Last of August, so keep an eye open for that (probably early next week).
And all jest aside, don't ever give up hope on something you believe may never happen. I never in a million years believed my sister would one day share my love of reading. I've never been so happy to be wrong about anything in my life. But I'm still going to whip her in this reading contest.