Where to start? I suppose an explanation would be best. The idea – reading 100 books in one year – is simple enough, if not particularly original. I first considered it when The Wench told me about a friend of hers who had embarked on an identical exercise, and it seemed like a good idea for someone, ie me, who loves reading but frequently finds himself without the time or the inclination to do so.

I imagine there are a lot of people in a similar position to me. Who feel that modern-day life is becoming so hectic that there isn’t enough to pick up one book, never mind 100. As The Friend Of The Wench implied in his own overview at the end of his year’s reading, why bother reading a book when there is a re-run of Friends to collapse in front of on the sofa after a hard day’s work? I like to think that my own television-watching habits includes a bit more quality, but the principle probably applies and, with a bit of effort, I am sure there are many times when I am frittering away time which could be better spent immersed in a good book.

Of course, it’s not a new idea. Although it was brought to my attention by The Friend Of The Wench, a cursory Google search – to which I may return in future blogs - reveals such challenges have been undertaken for several years. New York comic Leo Allen did it in 2006 (or started it, at least), and more recently there is apparently something called the Cannonball Read, which amused me greatly.

I’m not setting any hard and fast rules. There are no bets to be won, no contests from which to emerge victorious – it’s just me and my books, so if there is any cheating, I’ll only be cheating myself, as my mum used to say. That said, clearly it won’t be much fun if I read 80 Mr Men books, so each book is obviously going to have to be of a decent length to qualify. Given I’ll be posting details of each book online here, I suppose the worldwide web can judge for itself. Any complaints will be ignored.

I’m not yet sure exactly what I’ll be reading, either. I don’t intend to re-read any books – I’m fairly positive there are enough new ones out there to get me to my target – but equally, there are no rules, so if the mood takes me, then so be it. I tend to read contemporary fiction by choice, but I’m sure there will be compilations, autobiographies, historical works and much more en route. Feel free to make recommendations – I do believe that an element of reading is to further yourself, to learn something, perhaps to appreciate something you didn’t before, so having a pre-defined list would seem to be defeating the purpose of the exercise at the first stage.

After that token bit of intellectualism, I should make clear at the outset that there will definitely be some - how shall I put it? – easy-going books along the way. For example, at the insistence of The Wench, who has a decidedly unhealthy interest in the Twilight series given she is a 34-year-old woman, I have already read Twilight and New Moon (in 2009, in case anyone has started counting yet), and feel I have to complete the series. I’ve also got a thing for Dick Francis books, and having been loaned the latest at Christmas by my mum, expect that to feature early on. There will be some more highbrow stuff, though. Young Stalin, by Simon Sebag Montefiore, is certainly on the list, and I also intend to read some classics I seem to have missed out on.

Given this is my opening blog, I’d better get some excuses in nice and early. Reading – and writing – forms a substantial part of my day job, so I generally read thousands of words (most of which I enjoy) every day, anyway. I also get incredibly busy for periods that can extend to five or six days, so I’m not sure how much time will be left for ploughing through the list. The above means completing the exercise is probably a tall order (The Friend Of The Wench managed 94, by the way), but, in my favour, I am a quick reader and I’m pretty determined when I put my mind to something.

That said, I don’t want this to become a chore. Given the concept behind reading 100 books outlined earlier, it would be a bit pointless, not to mention self-defeating, if I start dreading opening the pages and am doing so just to complete a task rather than for enjoyment. If I fail, I fail, but at least it will be a pleasurable failure.

So, throughout 2010, I intend to do my best to read 100 books. I don’t intend to review them all (after all, I’m hardly going to have time to get a century of literature in if I also have to write reviews of them all), but I will give them all ratings and supply some hopefully pithy analysis. I’ll also blog about anything that crops up along the way.