findingtimetowrite

Thinking, writing, thinking about writing…

Not a Book List as Such…

It’s not yet that time of year to make my ‘definitive book list’. I like to leave it until the last 2-3 days of the year, just in case that world-shattering read comes along at the last minute. However, Goodreads is congratulating me that I have reached my (upwardly revised) reading goal of 140 books for the year, so I had to celebrate.

dailycreativewriter.com

dailycreativewriter.com

Statistics: Want cold hard figures? Look no further. 140 read and a few more to squeeze in before December 31st (not enough to claim 150, though).   10 books a month on average (childless and workless August was the personal record with 27, but there were quite a few months with just 5-6). A respectable reading speed of 2.5 days per book, with some devoured in a single day (or night).

Challenges Completed: The Global Reading Challenge (for crime fiction), with two books for each continent, including a wildcard 7th continent – excellent for broadening my palate. Sadly, I was unable to complete the Translation Challenge – which sounds crazy when you look at the 27 translated titles on my list. However, most of them were crime fiction for review, and of the remaining there was only a small handful I reviewed or mentioned in any detail. So that doesn’t count. I did manage to read roughly one French book per month (in French) – my personal Holy Grail, as I try to improve my vocabulary. Sadly, literary works do not seem to equip you with the right words for dealing with tax offices or other bureaucracy. Perhaps I should stick to the swear words in the BD?

Lessons Learnt: What would I forget, borrow and learn from this year’s reading and take forward to next year’s reading?

1) When you set yourself such a high target, re-reading goes out the window. I would like more time to revisit old favourites.

2) You become cynical and less patient about clichés – and you have no qualms about abandoning a book if it still doesn’t move you after 50 pages.

3) Whether you sign up for a challenge formally or not, it is such a good idea to broaden your horizons and try out new things in literature. Some won’t work, but some will and then you have the pleasure of entering a whole new realm you had previously sealed off.

4) Although I always have 4-5 books on the go at any point in time, this simultaneity is a bit of a myth. I cannot enter, exit and parachute into other worlds quite so easily. I may not be in the mood for the same book during the day or in the evening, though, so having a couple on your bedside table makes sense. I usually alternate between a paperback and an e-book.

5) I must NOT buy any more books until I read all those I bought this past year. In 2014 I need to be ruthless about reading the books I have, instead of always reaching out for new ones at the library. I have 50 on my Kindle, 20 on my shelf and 8 on my laptop waiting to be read. And I suspect there will be many more ARC to review for Crime Fiction Lover too. Plus I have a few challenges of my own up my sleeve (am thinking of reigniting my passion for Japanese and German literature).

BookPileAnd now I have a goal of 140 to beat in the New Year…

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15 thoughts on “Not a Book List as Such…

  1. Bravo! I reached my goal of 60 books and seem to have ground to a halt with that, as it coincided with life squeezing in on my reading and writing margins, but I am sure I’ll get through a few more before Christmas, in the meantime I am enjoying the excellent edited koans of twenty-five centuries of awakened woman, spiritual and literary sustenance – though that mulled apple concoction sounds like good sustenance too!

    I doubt I will increase my goal, but will try to read more off the shelf and more in French, and not get tied down with too many obligatory reads as they can have the effect of awakening my resistance buttons. :)

    I started me year off with a re-read and that was the only one, but I learn enough from doing so to realise I don’t need to go there unless I really need to.

    Bonne Continuation for 2014!

    • I agree, obligatory reads can sometimes take the fun and spontaneity out of reading (does that remind us of school, I wonder?). I always feel a wonderful sense of freedom when I read a book not for review, no matter how much I like the reviewed ones.

  2. Marina Sofia – Well-done!! And thank you very much for sharing the lessons you’ve learned. I couldn’t agree more about making the time for old favourites. And you’re right; there’s definitely something to challenging yourself to broaden the reading horizons. I think joining memes and challenges is an excellent way to do that.

  3. congratulations! I usually reach only between 100-110

  4. I so agree about making room for re-reads. I’ve hardly re-read anything this year and my plan for next year includes leaving space for some.

  5. Congratulations on that achievement! With such a large number I’m all the more curious which ones you’ll put on your most memorable list. Re: #5 I had the goal to challenge myself to new horizons this year and that was surprising as well as difficult sometimes (had to fight not to drop some books by the side).

    • I originally had 100 books as a goal, never dreaming that it would be possible to achieve it. (It hasn’t been possible in previous years). And yes, I know what you mean, that sometimes it’s a struggle to persevere with certain books. Have you had your baby yet? I wonder how that will impact your reading time…

  6. Congratulations on such a large total and on being happy with what books you discovered along the way! I’m still wrapping up my reading challenges for the year, and I think I’ll ease up on them for 2014 so I too have time to clear my TBR shelves.

  7. I wish that I would finally develop the ability to quit a lousy book, but I just can’t! Oh, the wasted time!

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