My reading year has been off to a bit of a slow start so far, but I’m already keeping pretty much on track. It probably was not the best idea to start out with 4 books in a row that were about 500 pages each in terms of balancing things out, but I’ve been enjoying them so that’s what really counts. A couple of weeks ago, the Top 5 Wednesday group led by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes asked about our Top 5 goals for the year, which I posted about here. When I first saw today’s topic, I struggled to come up with anything since I’d already mentioned my most important goals. I decided to break things down a little further to some of my less quantitative goals.
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
1) Read more recent releases
By recent, I mean books that were released in the past 3 or 4 years. I’ve never really kept track of the publication date of the books I read, but there have been so many newer releases that I’m very excited for and I’d love to prioritize. In part, this will be covered by my goal to finish off some of the series I have in progress, many of which had books that were released within the past couple of years. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a habit of avoiding books that seem to be overhyped although I often end up enjoying them. I’m trying to learn to stop letting the hype get in the way. I don’t have a specific number of books that I want to read, but looking ahead at what I have planned for the year, I’m definitely noticing a lot more recent books.
2) Read more books that have been on my TBR for more than 2 years
This probably seems contradictory to my first goal, but I have a lot of books that have been on my TBR since 2015 when I started my Goodreads account and that I still haven’t read. I think it’s somewhere in the range of 400 books added that year, although many of those are more long-term TBR books (ie. lengthy classics). I go through my TBR frequently, and I have yet to find any books that I’m that motivated to remove completely. I decided that since I’m still interested in reading them, it would probably be a good idea to prioritize some of them so I don’t go another year with the same books as always sitting there. To be fair, some of the books that I haven’t read yet are because my library does not have copies available. Like my first goal, I don’t have a set number that I want to read, but it is nice to see some of the books I’ve been meaning to read for ages lined up.
3) Read more thrillers
I think “more” might be an operative word here, since up until now, I have not kept track of how many books I read per genre. I enjoy thrillers, especially psychological thrillers, but for some reason I never seem to pick up very many of them. My go-to genres still tend to be YA contemporary and fantasy, but I definitely want to make an effort to read a few more thrillers in 2018. I didn’t want to attach a specific number to it because I wanted the freedom to mood-read and change my plans if needed to fit what I’d like to read, but I’d like to squeeze some in. Looking back quickly over my Goodreads pages for my last three years of challenges, it looks my number of thrillers have been quite low. In 2015, I read only about 3 thrillers. In 2016, I read about 4, and in 2017 I read about 8. I think part of the increase each year is that in general I read more books each year, but given that I’ve enjoyed all the thrillers I’ve read, I’d like to try some more.
4) Read some graphic novels
If you had asked me a few years ago, I probably would have said that I never read graphic novels and probably wouldn’t enjoy them. Through my reading challenges, I’ve discovered quite a few amazing graphic novels that I probably never would have tried otherwise. It’s really opened my mind to a new kind of reading and I now try to build a few graphic novels into every year of my challenges. Aside from pushing me outside my comfort zone a little, these books are a great way to pick up the pace when I feel like I’m falling behind since I can usually read them in a couple of hours. Last year in particular, many of the graphic novels I read ended up being my favourite books of the year. I have quite a few lined up for this year also, including finishing off a manga series that I’ve been meaning to finish for a long time. Again, I was hesitant to quantify this with an actual number to allow flexibility, but I definitely want to read at least a few this year.
5) Be less intimidated by longer books
I have a hard time getting started on longer books sometimes, and by “long” I generally mean anything over 500 pages. I think part of the problem is the whole reading challenge mentality, where I know I want to finish my books in time and it sometimes feels like these books take forever. I can generally read between 100 and 150 pages per day during the week, which is pretty good considering I have a full-time job! Sometimes just the thought of a book taking me a week to finish puts me off because I feel like it’s going to put me really far behind on my challenge, but I don’t want to let that scare me away from reading a book that I want. I think my goal to finish off the series I have in progress will help because several of the books are long and are books that I very badly want to read. I just need to time them out properly so I have the time to devote. I already kind of regret not reading Our Dark Duet over a weekend where I could have had the time to read most of it straight through.
6) Participate more actively on my Goodreads challenge groups
I used to very actively participate in my Goodreads challenge groups, especially one which seemed to really welcome participation and was set up in such a way where discussion seemed to be encouraged. Many of my other groups tend to use a thread format that just asks what we are reading for each prompt, which doesn’t seem to leave much room to discuss. This one specific group has always been a lot of fun, but I found myself not participating much last year. In part, it was because partway through the group people started complaining of an overall negative atmosphere, which led to myself (and presumably others) being essentially reprimanded by moderators and cautioned to ensure our comments were a bit more positive. I was very offended to be singled out, especially after the moderator specifically mentioned that I was not one of the worst culprits in terms of negativity. At least it was done through private messaging. It led to an atmosphere where it seemed that people were being censored, and I got tired of second-guessing every message to make sure it was positive enough for their standards. I’d like to get back into it because it was fun to discuss the books I was reading!
7) Keep blogging consistently
I’ll admit that I’m sometimes not very motivated to keep up with my blog. Up until now, I’ve loosely committed to doing Top 10 Tuesday and Top 5 Wednesday every week, plus another post of my choice sometime over the weekend. Sometimes the last thing I want to do by the time I get home from work is sit down and write a blog post. Whenever I can, I try to pre-write my posts over the weekend when I might have a little more time and I think I’ve been good about keeping up. I find that with habits like this, as soon as I start to let it slide, it is not too long before it falls apart completely (ie. using my exercise equipment). I would love to be able to keep my routine through the year. For me, blogging has never been about getting a ton of followers or becoming any kind of famous, and I want to keep doing it as long as it is fun for me and doesn’t start to feel like a chore.
8) Get more variety in my blog content
I know most bloggers tend to feature a lot of reviews, but I tend to find them very difficult and annoying to write. I’ve tried out a few features over the past year, including Stacking the Shelves, Book Tags, and my Reader Struggles series. Some of these posts have been the most fun for me, and I’d love to branch out and come up with some new ideas to keep the blog fun for myself, as well as for everyone else. Strangely enough, I find it more fun sometimes to write about the books that I haven’t read yet than about books that I’ve already read. I’m always looking for ways to talk about different books and avoid repeating the same ones I’ve already discussed to death. Suggestions are always welcome!
9) Buy some books!
I know most people tend to put themselves on a book-buying ban, but I’m the opposite. Up until recently, it had been quite a long time since I had bought myself more than a book or two. I’ve complained before about the cost of new books, and that’s definitely a factor! Another big issue for me is my complete lack of shelf space, but I still want to own copies of the books that I love. I’ve recently made my first order from BookOutlet during their Boxing Week sale, and I was quite impressed by the quality of the books I received. I would love to try them again next time they have a deal going on. I’m quite picky about the quality my books when I spend hard-earned money on them, so it was a bit of a leap for me to even being open to BookOutlet. I’d still like to buy some of the books I’m most excited for brand new, but I think BookOutlet could be a good compromise to buy some of the books I want at a more reasonable price.
10) Enjoy what I’m reading!
This one seems straightforward but it may not always be so easy. I’m generally pretty good at picking books that I’m going to enjoy, and I’ve had a pretty good streak over the past three years of challenges, with most of my books earning at least 4 stars. There are very few prompts this year that I’m dreading, and even fewer books that I’m not at least a little excited for. Of course, there’s always the chance that a book I’m expecting to love will completely fall flat, but I’m not too worried! My main goal is to make sure reading stays fun and relaxing for me. I spent so many years while in school where I had no time to read what I wanted, so it’s great to have the chance to get back into it now!