Tag: New Year Resolutions

2021 Reading Resolutions / Goals

Hi guys! Happy New Year! I can’t believe I’m writing my first post of 2021 already. Last year seems like a bit of a blur. I’ve enjoyed a lovely break over Christmas and I’ve had plenty of time to think about my goals for 2021 and today’s post. 

Before I get into this year’s goals, I’d like to take a quick recap over 2020. I’ll probably be writing a more detailed post on this in the next few days, but I think it’s only appropriate that I briefly talk about last years goals. This is the first year that I’ve not met my reading goal, but to be perfectly honest, I’m still proud of the number of books I managed to read in the circumstances. I ended up taking on far more than I ever imagined when I set my goal in January. Yet despite this, I still managed to complete 55 books last year, as well as ending the year reading Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. I also DNF’d a surprising number of books this year. It’s rare that I give up on a book, but this year I’ve DNF’d a total of 5 books.

Inevitably, I have been thinking about my goals for this year. It’s funny because as a person I’m not a huge celebrant of New Year. Call me miserable if you wish, but I’m just the kind of person who is all too aware that the 1st of January is just another day. And most likely, it’s just like the last. Obviously, things are a little bit different with my blog, as setting new goals is kind of ‘the done thing’. If I’m honest, I started thinking about the goals I’m setting back in November and over the last couple of months I’ve convinced myself that this is the right thing to do. So, here are the ‘reading goals’ I’m setting myself for 2021: –

 

Goodreads Challenge

I have taken part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for the last six years. Granted, 2014 and 2015 were distinct flops. This was before I started blogging and getting into reading full time, and so I only read 10 books out of the target 55 I set myself over the course of the two years.

Since getting back into reading and then beginning my blogging adventure, I’ve had a lot more success. I have met my reading goal every year until 2020. Admittedly, that goal of 80 books was very ambitious when I set it. I did that deliberately because I’ve always underestimated myself in the previous years. If I hadn’t taken on things that I ended up doing in 2020, I might just have reached it. I don’t beat myself up for not reaching it though. Towards the end of the year, I burned out. I am fully prepared to admit that to myself now. Between all the different things I ended up juggling, it all became a bit too much for me. Something had to give, and ultimately it was the reading aspect of my blog that ‘suffered’.

I worry that if I were to carry on in this manner, I’d end up not reading at all. Of course, I don’t want that to happen, so I’m doing something I never expected I’d do as a book blogger. I’m going against the grain and not setting myself a reading goal in 2021. That may sound a bit odd to you, but it’s the right thing for me. I’ve decided that I need to get back to my grassroots, and that’s reading what I want, at my own pace, and doing it for the enjoyment of it. It’s easy to forget that it’s supposed to be a hobby, as blogging ends up becoming like a job. It’s a full-time commitment, and when you’re trying to do other things like hold down actual paid employment, study and complete renovations on your home (to name just a few examples), it’s a lot of work. There are so only so many hours in a day.

The point of setting a Goodreads challenge is that it is supposed to be that – a challenge. This year, I don’t want to put that pressure on myself and risk a prolonged burnout. It’s as simple as that. I don’t see any point in setting myself a ‘challenge’ that isn’t going to be a challenge… hence why I’m not setting myself a goal at all.

 

TBR

Last year‘s goal of trying to chip away at the TBR ended up being a bit of a flop. I started off well, reading a couple of books a month. However, my problem is that I keep adding new ones as quickly as I read others. I was also taking on blog tours last year, which meant that I wasn’t reading enough of the TBR to counteract the books I was adding.

So, this year’s goal is to only read books on my TBR. I already know I’m not going to religiously stick to this one. I’m sure there will be new shiny books and catch my eye and I want to fast track them and read them there and then. The sentiment behind this goal is that I want to read exclusively off my TBR as much as possible and bring the number of books on that list down – significantly more than in previous years!

With this in mind, I’ll also be taking part in fewer blog tours – at least the number I provide reviews for. I will probably still take part, but I’ll be providing promotional posts or extracts as opposed to reviews. This means I can spend my time actually reading the books on my TBR without distraction or deadline. For the most part, I have deliberately not been signing up to them this year. There is one exception, and that is for a book by an author I have read a lot of historically. I have really loved her books to date and I didn’t want to miss out on providing a review for the second book of a series I’ve already started. I’ll be taking part in that tour this month, but aside from that, I have no obligations to review for a blog tour.

 

Review Requests

Technically, I haven’t really been taking many review requests over the last few months. Although, being the person I am, if someone approaches me with a really good book and say there is no time deadline, I can’t help myself to say yes. I love a good book – what can I say!

Well, now I’m saying this. I’m not taking any review requests in 2021, no matter how good the book sounds or whether there is a time deadline or not. I ended up taking on a couple of books towards the end of last year that were ‘non-time-sensitive’, and yet I still ended up getting chased on them. This is exactly what I was looking to avoid when I initially closed myself off to new review requests. My lesson has been learnt, so for this year, I won’t be taking any at all. I’ll honour the ones I have, and that is all l. At least, until next year.

 

Re-read: Harry Potter

My last goal of the year is to re-read the Harry Potter series. 

I had said to myself that I was going to do this sometime after I finished my re-read of A Game of Thrones. Now feels like the perfect time to do so. Harry Potter was one of my favourite book series’ growing up. I read Harry Potter throughout my teenage years, and they have a huge part to play in my developing a love of reading. As I am taking the opportunity to re-capture that essence and love of reading without the demands of competing against myself, or trying to reach that next target, it feels like the right time to re-visit one of the very series’ that kindled my love for reading in the first place. 

 

Have you set yourself any reading goals this year? What are your ambitions for 2021? Please let me know in the comments!

 

 

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My 2019 Year in Books

In today’s post, I want to take a look back at my progress and achievements against my goals in 2019. If you didn’t see my goal setting post last year, here’s a link to my … post so you can check out what goals I set for myself this time last year.

Of course, if you are also interested in checking out my goals for 2020, I’ve also shared those details and you can find that post here.

 

Goodreads Challenge

Initially, I set myself a goal of 50 books in 2019, but I managed to reach this reasonably early on and so upped it to 70. I’m pleased to say that I managed to beat this target and read 72 books, which is great in its own right. What makes it better, however, is that it’s a new personal best! I’ve beaten my record of 60 books set in 2017 and honestly, I am over the moon!

Across those 72 books, I managed to read a little over 26,000 pages, which is pretty mental when you think about it! Want to make things even crazier? If you work on the assumption that each page has an average of 375 words on it, then I’ve read approximately 9.8 million words… yikes!

Here’s a very quick glance at the 72 books read in the last year: –

 

Read more non-fiction

Last January I set myself a target to try and read a few non-fiction books. 5, in fact. Not many… should have been totally achievable, but no. I’m just not a big reader of non-fiction and so I totally failed this one.

 

Star Ratings

If you are also interested in my review breakdown, keep reading! I had a really good year for reading with no real major disappointment with books. During 2019, I rated my reads as follows: –

5 stars – 30
4 stars – 36
3 stars – 6
2 stars – 0
1 star – 0

To be honest, if I categorise a book as having a two-star rating or less, then I probably won’t even finish reading and reviewing it. Okay, so maybe I am a little biased on my ratings. Even so, there are only a few “it’s okay” 3-star ratings. I’ve had a look back though, and I can’t find any books I didn’t finish.

I plan on publishing a Top Ten Reads of 2019 post at a later date. I feel like that’s a topic that will need its own post entirely just for the amount of content it’ll have!

So, that’s my 2019 in books! I hope you enjoyed this post and I look forward to seeing you again soon!

 

 

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My 2020 Resolutions

A new year and a new decade are upon us! 2020 is finally here, and with a new year comes new opportunities. I’ve been considering my New Year Resolutions for a few weeks now… it’s time to share my plans with you all!

I’ve decided I want to take part in a few challenges this year. I have taken part in one of these challenges since 2017, the year my blog began. That’s not the only challenge I am setting myself, however.

 

Goodreads Reading Challenge

As I mentioned above, this will be the fourth year I take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. I will be going into the challenge with a larger goal than previous years though. Every year so far I have massively underestimated myself and set myself a goal that I achieve easily.

Year Original Goal Revised Goal Total Read in Year
2017 20 60 62
2018 40 50
2019 50 70 72

Fair enough, in 2017 I went from reading rarely to almost every day, without fail. Naturally, that goal ended up being really unrealistic and I revised it to 60 books at the end of April that year. That doesn’t really excuse the fact that I have underestimated myself in subsequent years though.

This year, I am going to be more ambitious and set myself a target that I have not reached yet. I came pretty close to it in 2019, but it means trying to set a new personal best.

In 2020, I want to try and read 80 books.

Up until the last couple of days of 2019, I’ve had 75 in my head. However, I think it’s too close to 2019’s final count to pose as a challenge. I don’t want to go too much higher than that; I don’t want to put myself in a position where I feel inclined to deliberately choose shorter books just to complete the challenge. That’s cheating a bit. This is where my second challenge will come into play and prevent that, to an extent…

 

Beat the Backlist

My TBR (To Be Read) list is seriously out of control. Often, I find myself swept up in new releases, blog tours and the like. Consequently, the older books on my TBR get neglected, and they really need some love right now. I’ve been hovering at around 200 books for a long time now and I need to work on that.

That’s why I am taking part in the Beat the Backlist challenge this year. As part of that challenge, I want to take on my TBR by reading, at the very least, the oldest 25 books on it. Sounds very abstract as it is, so to quantify it, here are the 25 books that I am challenging myself to read this year:-

  • Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
  • City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
  • Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
  • Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  • Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Talisman by Stephen King
  • Good Omens by Terry Pratchett
  • Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
  • The Psychology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained by Catherine Collin
  • Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
  • The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • The Women’s Room by Marilyn French
  • The Thief Taker by C. S. Quinn
  • The Feedback Loop by Harmon Cooper
  • Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
  • The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
  • Hild by Nicola Griffith
  • The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob Grimm
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

If I can squeeze in some more recent TBR additions as well as the above list, then that’s great. I want to have a lot fewer than 200 books on the TBR this time next year!

 

Borrow From my Local Library

Despite having a library membership, I’m not that good when it comes to making the most of it. I’ve only borrowed three books/e-books from the library in 2019. Dreadful right?

I want to step up on this in 2020 for two reasons. Firstly, I’m conscious that I am going to have to be mindful of my finances this year. There are some pretty big (and expensive) changes planned for this year and I don’t really want to be careless with my money. I won’t begrudge myself the odd book, but don’t be expecting mass book haul posts because it’s not going to happen.

Secondly, the advantage of using the library is that you can branch out of your comfort zone. I’m only really happy to buy books that I really like the sound of, or those by authors I have read before. However, if you’re only borrowing books you can try something new. There’s no obligation to like it and if you really don’t, you can take it back!

Those are my resolutions for the new year! Have you set yourself any resolutions? I’d love to compare them with mine!

 

 

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New Years Resolutions and Reading List – January 2019

Happy New Year everybody! I would like to wish you all a fabulous 2019!

I’m not one for setting myself New Year Resolutions… aside from a reading goal. I find them difficult to stick to. That being said, I am setting myself two bookish and one personal resolution this year to see if I can do it: –

  • Reading Goal: 50 books
  • Read at least 5 non-fiction books
  • No alcohol in 2019

Yep, you read that right! A lot of people are attempting dry January, but I’ve decided to step up the challenge. I can go a month without alcohol easily… I must do it at least six times a year without trying. Truth is, I’m not fussed. I only drink to be social. So, we’ll see just how much I miss it. I don’t think I will at all, but only time will tell.

As to my reading goals, I really ought to read more non-fiction. I last read a non-fiction book in November 2017 – over a year ago. Since I really like history, I expect that I’ll probably dip into this genre in order to complete the challenge. I’ll keep an open mind though. I have been known to read an autobiography or two in the past.

Last year I read 46 books, beating my target of 40 with about a month or so to spare. After I hit my target, I did lose a bit of motivation to read more. With that in mind, I have decided to increase my target to 50 books. The most I have read in one year is 60, however, I read 20 of those before my blog came into existence in April 2017. I don’t think that is achievable this year, but I’ll happily aim down the middle with 50.

So, which books am I going to read in January to get myself started on that goal? In previous months I haven’t set myself that many books to read in a bid to give myself more freedom. I’m not convinced it’s working though. January’s list is going to be a full one though because I have a number of blog tours coming up in the next couple of months.

 

The Road to Alexander – Jennifer Macaire

Goodreads – The Road to Alexander

This is a carryover from last year; I began reading this last month in an attempt to get ahead of myself. With personal matters the way they were, I’ve lost a lot of this advantage, but I’m still well on track to finishing this book in time for the tour mid this month.

 

Black Matter – G. D. Parker

Goodreads – Black Matter

I’m looking forward to reading this book as the synopsis sounds fantastic. I expect it will be a combination of a thrilling crime novel with a futuristic setting, which for me will be a shakeup on the books I normally read. I have read some brilliant crime novels recently, so I have high expectations for this one.

 

You Can’t Make Old Friends & Choose Your Parents Wisely – Tom Trott

Goodreads – You Can’t Make Old Friends

Goodreads – Choose Your Parents Wisely

You guessed it, another blog tour! This one isn’t until February, however, on that date I am reviewing three books in one post. I told you, I’m a very busy girl. This month I am going to read books one and two, with number three making an early appearance in next month’s list.

 

A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads – A Clash of Kings

I recently re-read A Game of Thrones, beginning my mission to re-read all of the books before watching the final season of the show, due to air this year! Can something not come around quick enough and too quickly at the same time? I am excited but also gutted that this will be the end. I’ll be that person who binges a season every so often once it’s over, I bet. A Clash of Kings is quite a long book, so I am going to have to get my skates on!

Those are the books I am reading this month! Is anyone else re-reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series this year? As always, I would love to hear from you!