2020 was a funny reading year for me. I actually read more books than I have since I started recording my reading but partly that was because I had more time and partly because so much of that time was spent re-reading old favourites. I also got through a lot of audiobooks! The year started off very well with me reading through my unread shelves but that tailed off dramatically as we headed into lockdown and I needed comfort reading.
This year I intend to do better. I have given up setting myself specific goals as for me they always make reading feel too much like homework. Especially if I have a definitive list of titles to read – then I feel I can’t read anything else until I have got through the list but I’m never in the right mood for those books and I end up not reading at all.
However, it would be nice to get through some of my unread shelves so I have recreated them in my reading journal in the hope that being able to see my progress will motivate me to read more. There are 99 books there after all – surely I should always be in the right mood for one of them!
That number is considerably lower than it was last year as I have had quite a ruthless turnout. It is always hard getting rid of books but at the same time very freeing to no longer feel obliged to read something. The counting was problematic – I have a lot of books I bought to sell and there are many of those I would love to read but haven’t got around to yet. For simplicity though I chose not to count them and just stuck to my personal collection. There are bound to be some I missed but this is a start.
There are certainly enough to keep me going – not that I will put myself under a book buying ban. I will just try to only buy books I know I will read straight away. I will also be attempting the monthly challenges set by The Unread Shelf Project – hopefully those will ensure that I read at least one of my unread books a month!
My main aim for my reading this year though is just to enjoy it. To read whatever I want and not worry about the numbers or how literary it is. As Samuel Johnson said, ‘A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good.’
I’m a little late with my round up of last year’s reading because I wanted to post about Christmas last week. It is still nice to reflect on the year though so better late than never!
2019 was a good reading year for me. I’m not overly driven by numbers – it is much more important for me to feel that I have been enjoying my reading. There were a couple of times when I got bogged down in a book I didn’t much like and which really slowed down my reading but on the whole I can say that I read a lot of books I loved. Most of the time I just wanted to get back to my books.
That being said, I do know that I read 128 books last year – of which 16 were re-reads – which was a big jump up on the 91 of the year before. Of course, part of that is because I listened to 44 audio books – up from 14 in 2018. That definitely helped!
I am not at all good at picking favourites – they change so much depending on my mood. There are a few which stick in my mind though – I loved Alan Bradley’s The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and Waverley by Walter Scott. Hallie Rubenhold’s Five was fascinating and I was completely hooked by it.
As for reading resolutions for the new year, I have stopped setting myself firm reading lists as for me they creates too much pressure and stop me enjoying the books so much. The only resolution I really have is to read the books which bring me joy. I so much loved reading my cosy books over Christmas that I want to carry on doing the same all year round and not pressure myself into reading books I think I ought to read. That sounds like a pretty good year to me.
Last year I had a big clear out of books. Most of them I had read but some had been languishing on my TBR for years. Genuinely years. Books were taking over the house and so I tried to be fairly ruthless – if I’d had it for years and wasn’t likely to read it any time soon then it was a candidate to go. If it was also still in print or otherwise readily available then it was almost certain to go – when (if) I was ready to read it then it could be replaced.
It wad quite hard to do but was also very freeing. For the first time in a long time I didn’t feel guilty about buying a new book because there were so many others waiting at home that I just had to read. Of course, the idea of having to read something is really nonsensical – reading should be fun.
I was very proud of myself and kept my physical TBR down to a strict minimum (the list of books I want to read has always been ridiculously long but at least it doesn’t take up more room than a notebook). However, I have recently started to notice that it is growing and as I don’t want to have to cull them again I have made a resolution – over the summer I will do my utmost to only read books that I already own.
I am very much a mood reader so do not usually have a set TBR for any given month but, as you can see, there is quite an eclectic mix to keep me going. Some of these are re-reads (Artemis Fowl) and a couple are ones I started last year, put down and never picked back up again (Sylvia’s Lovers and The Italian). It would be so good if I could finish one of those!
There will be a couple of exceptions though. I need to read Erebus by Michael Palin for my August book club meeting and the new Murder Most Unladylike book is published next month. I will almost certainly be buying it as soon as it comes out!
The books on the bottom shelf are too tall to stand upright!
Did I buy a couple of books sooner than I might have done otherwise just because I knew I would be setting myself this challenge? Yes. Yes I did. I am the one setting the rules after all.
Do you see any favourite books? Any you think I should read first?