Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Thoughts on Last Year's Reads and a Reading Challenge for 2015

I spent the last couple of weeks during Christmas vacation trying to read as much as I could to get some books squeezed into 2014.  In looking back over the year of reading and comparing it to other years, I was behind.  Way behind.  As in a dozen or more books behind.  And this was bugging me.  Really bugging me.  I kept telling myself that numbers didn't matter.  But all of a sudden in my mind they did so in the midst of being sick and Christmas I was cramming in as much reading as I could get in to add a few more books in there.  And as a result, I missed posting the reviews of the last 4 books of 2014 that I read.  And now I'm not only bummed about not reading as much but also about not staying on top of my reviews.  I like to have record of the books I read and what I thought about them.  So was it worth getting the extra numbers in at the expense of missing reviews?  The jury is still out on that one.

I'm still pondering a bit on why I got so behind in the first place.  As I look back it was a bit of an odd reading year for me.  There were many books which I absolutely loved, some that were alright, a study book that though I didn't really enjoy had to finish because it was done in a group and I sorta had to read it as I was leading the group.   And there were actually 3 or 4 which I set aside because I just couldn't get into them.  I think that was a huge part on why I didn't read quite as many books.  I tried to give these books a good chance before I put them down and that took reading time out of ones that I actually liked.   And when all is said and done I really, really miss the spring and fall reading challenge that a lot of us used to participate in.  I used to to love those and always looked forward to picking my books and setting that bar a little higher in my intentional reading for 2 seasons of the year.  This year I tried to put a spring goal out but doing it by myself was just no fun and not nearly as challenging!

So for this year I found this little challenge for the whole year on Pinterest here.  You'll have to click on over because for some reason I cannot make this any bigger no matter what avenue I take.

I have no delusions that I'll be able to do all of those books within the year but I also want to challenge myself to read as many books out of own piles that I can this year.  I have got to chip away at my stockpile.  I won't even tell you how many I have in my closet and in a box under the bed.  Suffice it to say it's a lot!  Like, lots and lots.  So I was thinking I could accomplish reading quite a few of those and knocking some of these off this challenge with the same read.  

I've started the year well by just today completing The Book of Negroes.  (I believe in the States it's called Someone Knows My Name and it has a different cover). It's out of my closet and at 474 pages including the author's notes I'm going to cheat a bit, call it good and check off the first one:  a book over 500 pages.  Actually I could cross off quite a few off with this one book, now that I look at the list...a book that made me cry, a book by an author I've never read before, a book based on or turned into a tv show, a book I own but have never read.  In fact, that is one of the reasons I wanted to get to this book and finish it right off the bat this year because the tv mini series started last week in Canada (and in the next couple weeks in the States, I believe)  and I didn't want the show to ruin the book for me.  I've watched two episodes now and though a valiant effort is made the book is sooo much better.  While based on actual historical occurrence and an actual Book of Negroes penned after the Revolutionary War,  the story built around it is fictional so I guess I can't check off a book based on a true story but I am tempted.  So all that to say I am done book 1 of this year and will have a review up soon.  I am bound and determined to stay on top of those reviews this year.

How did you all do with reading last year?  What was your favorite read of the year and what's on the reading horizon for this year for you?


Barbara H. said...

I wrestled with reading plans this year, too. I do like to have some intentionality in my reading, but I don't like to feel pressured by a reading list or feel like I have failed if I don't complete it. I finally got some goals listed earlier this week.

I posted my top ten from last year here: It would be hard to list one over-all favorite. I'd say, for non-fiction, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi and Weight of Glory by C. S. Lewis, and then for fiction Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good by Jan Karon and Dr. Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay.

Love Bears All Things said...

I read the book you mentioned. It was one my Book Club read and I'm not sure who chose it. Could have been me but it wasn't 2014 so I don't remember. I enjoyed it and I think I learned from it.
January is the month my Book Club chooses books for the year. Each member brings at least 2 recommendations or books they want to read. We discuss and try to choose one from each member's list. I like to note the ones not chosen that interest me and put them on my own list. I read more than one book a month so this works for me. I'll do a post after our meeting tomorrow with the list.
Mama Bear

Susanne said...

Barbara: that's why I was sort of pleased to find this reading challenge. There's lots of room to play within it and yet still sets some intentionality (is that a word?) to my reading with a year.

Mama Bear: Looking forward to that post.

nikkipolani said...

I'm so impressed with all of you who participate in challenges and make amazing goals for yourselves. I tend to be much more impulsive.

Faith said...

what a fun plan! i would add the category of Nobel Prize for Literature and totally recommend Nipmthe Buds, Shoot the kids which won in 1994'was written in the 1950 s by a 23 yr old man and was his very first novel! I only read books that really grab me and don't worry about categories although I do tend to gravitate towards historical fiction.