It has been interesting to see how my reading life has been now that I decided not to participate in any challenges that involved numbers of books read this year. I don’t have a number to beat so I’m not reading anything to boost my numbers. I am still buying books and wanting to read more from my own shelves so I think I’m going to try to come up with a Read Your Shelves challenge for myself (and anyone else who wants to join in) in 2023.
Hello, wow it is almost Christmas time as I sit at my desk and write this. I don’t know about you but I have been feeling overwhelmed (of course about variants and the virus and life in the pandemic) but I have been feeling really overwhelmed and a little stressed about reading the past couple of weeks. I look at the number of books that I read last year and I look at the number of books that I have read this year and I want to BEAT the previous record. I have been reading for the sake of finishing a book to add it to my “read” list and you know what? I’m not loving reading like I usually do. I have also been feeling like I needed to keep posting on instagram multiple times a week. Why? Likes don’t really matter (they really don’t) and the friends that I interact with on there will interact with me whenever I post.
I need to take a step back and really look at what my motivation is for reading as well as what will make it enjoyable for me. One thing that comes to mind is that I don’t think I will try any reading challenges next year. I will continue to read from my own unread shelves because I do enjoy that, and I also feel like I have actually accomplished something when I do. I won’t be setting a reading goal on Goodreads (or anywhere) else for 2022. The pressure of seeing the little notification “you are behind on your reading goal” is an added stress that I don’t need.
I will continue to use my paper reading journal because I really like being able to see the books that I have read and what I have thought of them. Plus I really enjoy the ceremony of writing in my reading journal and organizing it. I love keeping lists of what books sound interesting or books in a certain genre that I haven’t yet read.
Next year I think I will keep track of the genres I read, mainly so I know what I can read to switch things up if I hit a slump. As for Bookstagram, I will try to post a couple of times a week but I will (try) to not let it control me.
Have you made any resolutions about your reading life? Are you looking to change your reading life in any way?
Do you read spooky books in October? I always have grand plans that I will finally read The Historian and Night Film (which are both books that have been sitting on my unread shelf for years) and then October passes by and I haven’t read them again. I am a bit of a chicken and tend to only enjoy Halloween things meant for kids. Maybe I should stick to those books and leave the scary books for a sunny summer day?
I didn’t write a post for January. At this point this blog is probably more for me than anyone reading it but I will try to at least write a monthly recap of my reading going forward.
February’s prompt for the Unread-shelf Challenge was a book you got for free. I chose a Maeve Binchy book, Irish Girls About Town which is actually a book of short stories by Irish authors. Reader, I hated this book. It was from the early 2000’s and it just reminded me of the time that women’s fiction was branded as “chick lit” and how superficial that whole time could be. The actual short story by Maeve Binchy was okay, not as sweet and comforting as some of her full length books.
The March Prompt for the Unread- shelf challenge is a book you got on a trip. And I am stumped for what I will pick. I am not a big traveller, even before COVID so I will have to really think about this one.
On to my favourite reads of the month. I either really loved what I read this month, or I really didn’t love a book. There wasn’t a lot of okay books which I am okay with.
Ohh 2020. What a year this has been. So much heartbreak, and stress and rage. It has been a year filled with so many emotions and feelings.
Through it all the one thing that was consistent was that I liked to read. Some months I went through times when I wasn’t reading a lot, and some months I read SO many books.
I started off the year being really good and reading a lot from my unread shelves as well as reading library books. Then Covid happened and I started reading A LOT of ebooks from my library. Once curbside pickups started happening at my local library I took advantage of the new and newer books available and went a little crazy with the library holds in the summer. And then the slumps started. I was either not in the mood, or didn’t have the right book, or was easily distracted by streaming content. From August-December I didn’t do a great job of reading from my unread shelves BUT I did discover that short stories, graphic novels and romance novels helped me get out of my slump.
I started off the year with 136 unread books and I ended up reading 50 books from my shelves. I bought 26 books this year which should still leave more with less books than I started the year BUT a bunch of books were given to my parents and I picked through them and added more to my tbr list.
I will now start 2021 with 152 unread books. 102 physical books and 50 ebooks that I have picked up when Kobo, Kindle and Apple had sales. I can’t wait to start reading them!
I feel like I say this every month, but I can’t believe that July is already over. Time is going by so quickly and yet also so slowly. 2020 is a weird weird year.
At a glance it would seem that I had a pretty great reading month- I read 15 books. But when I was going over the books I read and thinking about them I realized that I went a little wild with the library holds (my library had curb side pick up) and trying to read titles from the Modern Mrs Darcy Summer Reading Guide. Looking back I felt like I was in a competition with myself to read as many books from the guide that I could, plus new releases that I had seen on Bookstagram. I only read 1 book from my unread shelf which was a little disappointing.
I did enjoy many of the books I read this month. The Jane Austen Society, 500 Miles From You and The Last Train to Key West were some favourites.
I really liked that Clap When You Land was told in verse it made for beautiful reading and I don’t think I have read a book set in the Dominican Republic before.
I need to listen to all the songs mentioned in The Happy Ever After Playlist.
Sex and Vanity has me wanting to read or at least watch A Room with a View.
The Vanishing Half still has me thinking about identity and what makes us us. It is a really timely read.
28 Summers, Grown Ups and I was Told It Would Get Easier are all books by some favourite authors that I was happy to visit again.
Beach Read was the perfect steamy beach read that has me wanting to read some romance books.
The End of October. Weird to read about a pandemic while living in a pandemic filled world. But still enjoyable because it was a bit of a thriller and I always enjoy those books.
A Baby’s Bones and A Shroud of Leaves I had hoped to find a new series that would be similar to the Ruth Galloway series. This wasn’t it. But I have hopes for Kate Ellis books.
The Leftovers, the one book from my unread shelf. I liked it, even though it made feel a bit panicky and anxious. I tried the first episode of the tv show and didn’t love it. But I should see if the next couple episodes get better.
I hope that August will be filled with more books from my unread shelf and that I slow down my library borrowing (only in that I tend to be too enthusiastic and push aside the books I already own).
I can’t believe that June is almost over and that 6 months have gone by since 2020 started. Time really has lost a lot of meaning while living in this new social distancing pandemic life. I don’t know about you but I have had periods of time where I am reading A LOT of books. And then I have some days/weeks when I can’t focus and reading seems like a chore.
I think I have been making pretty good progress in reading more from my unread shelf. I have completed the prompts for every month so far, although I did struggle with June’s prompt. If I had stuck to my “rule” of only reading one Louise Penny book a month in May this prompt of “a book from a series” would have been easy.
My local library opened up this month for curb side pick ups of books on hold. And I may have gone a little crazy putting books on hold. I have been able to put holds on and have read a couple of books from the Modern Mrs Darcy Summer Reading Guide this year. Some I have liked, some I haven’t but none of them have been books that I have loved.
I have noticed that since the pandemic started I have been reading a lot of mysteries. I have especially liked reading books in a series, there is something comforting about them (even though they usually feature a gruesome murder). I have also noticed that I don’t enjoy “chick lit” or women’s fiction books as much as I used to. I don’t know whether my tastes have changed or I’ve become a different reader, or my mood/stress level has been different this year or a combo of all of the above.
Some of my favourite reads from the first part of the year: ** book from my unread shelf
A Rule Against Murder- Louise Penny **
Little Fires Everywhere- Celeste Ng
The Book that Matters Most -Ann Hood**
The Brutal Telling- Louise Penny **
The Janes- Louisa Luna
Recipe for a Perfect Wife- Karma Brown
Bury Your Dead- Louise Penny**
All the Ways we Said Goodbye- Beatriz Williams
Two Girls Down- Louisa Luna
Other People’s Houses- Abbi Waxman **
Bibliophile – Jane Mount**
Comfort Me with Apples and Tender at the Bone: Two Culinary Treasures- Ruch Reichl
A Little Princess- Frances Hodgson Burnett**
A Garden of Small Beginnings- Abbi Waxman
How the Light Gets In- Louise Penny**
A Great Deliverance- Elizabeth George
The Watsons go to Birmingham- 1963- Christopher Paul Curtis
The Unread Shelf challenge for March is to read the book that has been on your shelf the longest. I did a lot of thinking about what book that might be and I figured out that it was The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. I pulled if off of my shelf (well book cart) at the beginning of the month. And I opened it up and…. I haven’t gotten past the first couple of pages. I don’t know if it is the size of it (over 800 pages) or something about the characters names and the way the first page was written but I have NO desire to read this book. None whatsoever. I think this might get a pass and go to a Little Free Library where someone else might appreciate it more. So did I fail the challenge for this month? I don’t think so because I am making room on my unread shelf and I am learning about the type of reader that I am and the types of books that I enjoy reading in this season of my life.
I also don’t feel too bad about not reading this giant hardcover book. I didn’t buy it, and it wasn’t a gift from anyone in my life. I won it from the library in a summer reading contest a couple of years ago. So I have no guilt about letting this book go. It feels pretty good!
Wow, January is finally ending! This month has seemed like it was a million days long. Being sick for the last week or so has made it seem even longer. Boo. It’s now time to take a look at how my Unread shelf project is coming along!
I read 11 books in January, 4 from my unread shelf and the rest were from the library- either books that I had out at the end of December that carried over or holds that became available. I didn’t sweat the library book ban because at the beginning of the month I was on a roll reading from my unread shelf. And then I got hit with a cold that has now turned into a sinus infection and my attention span has left me along with my healthy immune system booo. The goals for the UnRead Shelf this month were to read one book from your unread shelf and to go on a library and book buying ban. I did buy one book this month BUT it was a copy of a book that I read a few years ago from the library, and it was $8 at the bookstore. Oh and I picked up Gold for $1 from the discard bin at the library (But Anne Bogel had just recommended it and I figured if the library was selling it and I wanted to read it, then it needed to come live with me. I have noticed that I am paying far more attention to the books that are available to read from the library, in the bookstore and in the different book emails that I get every day. I am finding that the books that I already own look far more appealing now.
Books read in January
The Break – Marian Keyes- library ebook from December
The Golden Hour- Beatriz Williams- from my unread shelf
Criminal- Karin Slaughter- library ebook from December
Ghost Ship- James Rollins- ebook from my digital unread shelf
A Rule Against Murder- Louise Penny- from my unread shelf
Fall of Poppies- various authors- library ebook
The Wicked Redhead- Beatriz Williams- library ebook
We All Fall Down- Daniel Kalla- my unread shelf
Bryant &May: The Lonely Hour- Christopher Fowler- library book
Twice in a Blue Moon- Christina Lauren- library ebook hold from 2019
Little Fires Everywhere- Celeste Ng- library ebook (skipped the line).
These six books are books that I would really like to read in 2020. I should say that I want to read all the books that I own, that’s why I own them. BUT I tend to pick my books based on what I am in the mood to read and sometimes that means a book from the library rather then a book I own. So I’m sure that at a different time during the year this stack would look different but right now these are books that I am really looking forward to reading!