Due to my extended hiatus I haven’t been able to (or rather haven’t gotten around to) wrap up last year. So here goes that, and don’t worry it’ll be pretty quick seeing as I didn’t really read all that much last year.
So, for anyone who wants more explanation as to why I set these goals, check out my post in which I set them for myself.
Challenge 1: Goodreads
I set myself the goal of reading 75 books in 2015 and I didn’t make it. It looked like I might be making my goal in the first half of the year, and then I got into a slump and things got out of control. In any case, I ended up reading 64 books. Which is not that bad if you look at it, numberwise. But I have to admit that a good part of these were comics, and it’s not that I don’t think they count, I just want to be honest about these numbers. So I failed this challenge, but not horribly so. And to be honest, I don’t feel that bad about this! Of course it would have been nice if I had succeeded, but hey, it’s not the end of the world.
Challenge 2: Popsugar
So this challenge consisted of 50 books that had to fit a certain criteria. And while I really liked the criteria and the idea that it could push me outside of my reading comfort zone. And if I wasn’t such a moodreader that might have worked out better for me. It’s just that I don’t pick up books based on these criteria but on what I feel like reading at the time. If I were to pick up books that I wasn’t feeling, that wouldn’t really work out for me, because I would constantly have to force myself to pick up the book. If I tried I could match a good amount of my 64 read books this year to a lot of the criteria (though perhaps not the one about reading a book by an author with the same initials as yourself. How does one even go about finding this type of book? you can’t really search that, can you?). But I’m not going to force those matches, because I know that I didn’t pick these books because they fitted the criteria (it wouldn’t feel fair).
My goals for 2016
So for this year I actually toned down the challenges a bit. This is definitely due to me being stuck in a reading slump at the start of the year as well as my failure to stop being a moodreader. So I set the bar at 52 books on the goodreads challenge. That equals one book a week, which is very do-able for me, or it should be. On the other hand, I am already far behind right now as I am writing up this blogpost. But hey, maybe I’ll finally get out of my reading funk one of these days and just blaze through books at a previously unseen speed! And although the popsugar challenge for this year looks just as good as last years, I just know I won’t do any better than last year, so I just decided not to go there.
So if you yourself have set goals for this year (though for you that was probably some time ago) link them in the comments and I’ll see what you are planning for this year!
So, at the start of this year I told you about the reading challenges that I would be taking part in 2015. So let’s check up on my progress a little and see how I fare.
The Goodreads challenge:
So far I have read 8 books out of 75, which is 11%. Goodreads also tells me that I’m 4 books behind on schedule. I know I can definitely catch up on this seeing as I’m reading a couple of really chunky books at the moment (yes that’s more than one chunky book at the same time, it amazes me too). I’m also planning to read some graphic novels, so this doesn’t worry me all too much just yet. I still have a lot of time and more importantly, a lot of books that I want to be reading.
The Popsugar Reading Challenge:
I am making only a little headway on this challenge, not only because I’m not reading all that much, but also because I don’t know which books I will be putting for which challenge. So I’m actually having a bit of a hard time matching books to challenges so far. Maybe it’ll be better for me to just wait a while. Because 1q84 could be matched to so many different challenges (it takes place in a different country, it’s a trilogy, it’s the first time I’m reading this author, technically it’s also a one-word title, it has a number in the title, it’s a book my mom loves) so I might just have to shuffle it to wherever I need it the most I guess.
But here is where I’m currently at: (very unimpressive, I know):
A book with more than 500 pages – I am currently reading the luminaries ( Eleanor Catton) which is well over 500 pages. Once I get through this beautiful book, I can justifiably cross this item off the list.
A classic romance
A book that became a movie
A book published this year
A book with a number in the title: 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami) definitely has a number in the title, so soon this will be done.
A book written by someone under 30: I was thinking of reading Vicious (V. E. Schwab) for this challenge
A book with nonhuman characters
A funny book
A book by a female author
A mystery or thriller
A book with a one word title
A book with short stories: For this challenge I was thinking about reading The Angel Esmeralda (Don DeLillo)
A book set in a different country
A non-fiction book
A popular author’s first book
A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet
A book a friend recommended
A Pulitzer Prize winning novel
A book based on a true story
A book at the bottom of your TBR list
A book your mom loves
A book that scares you
A book more than a 100 years old
A book based entirely on its cover
A book you were supposed to read in school and didn’t
A book with antonyms in the title
A book you can finish in a day
A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to go
A book published the year you were born
A book with bad reviews
A book from your childhood
A book with a love triangle
A book set in the future
A book set in high school
A book with a color in the title
A book that made you cry
A book with magic
A graphic novel
A book by an author you’ve never read before
A book you own but never read
A book that takes place in your hometown
A book that was originally written in another language: This could be pretty much any book I read in Dutch…
A book set during Christmas
A book by an author who had your same initials
A banned book
A book based on or turned into a tv show
A book you started but never finished
So it’s another year and with that comes the decision of picking a new reading challenge on Goodreads, or even deciding against a reading challenge as a whole. Last year I had set my reading goals on 50 books in the course of the year. I only barely made it with 54 books in 2014. And I say barely made it, not because I think that 54 is not a lot. It’s just that in 2013 I read 112 books. So it’s pretty obvious that last year wasn’t the greatest reading year for me. And that’s where my doubts sprung into life.
Was 2015 going to be a better reading year for me? Was it going to get worse? If I was going to set myself a goal, was I going to choose a goal that would push myself to read more or was I going to take the easy way out and set the bar pretty low? Or would it be better for myself to not set a reading goal in 2015, because it might become an obstacle too big to cross? Or is 2015 perhaps the year that I venture onto a different reading challenge? Maybe something not quite focused on numbers but on the contents of what I’m reading?
In the end I decided on two different challenges for 2015.
CHALLENGE NUMBER ONE
the Goodreads Challenge. In 2015 I hope to read 75 books. I opted to push myself back into reading a bit more. I really enjoy reading and I just didn’t get around to it as much in 2014. So by setting my goal on 75 I hope to make reading a bit more of a priority this year.
CHALLENGE NUMBER TWO
The Popsugar Reading Challenge. This challenge will widen my horizon in reading while still allowing me the freedom that I crave as an emotional reader. I could never choose 50 books to read up front. But just having certain criteria to meet would definitely act more as a stimulus to broaden my reading comfort zone while not giving me the feeling of being trapped. I might do some updates during the year to keep everyone up to date as to which books I end up picking for the categories.
Challenge 15 is one of the challenges that I was dreading a little since first reading a list. It’s not because I have so many mentors that I can’t pick one. It’s that I don’t really have any, just as I don’t have a real friend group online either. This is just so tied with challenge number three for me. But I really don’t want to just end the last challenge with a fizzling disappointment, so I’ll give you some of the bloggers that I religiously read and look up to.
- The Book Rat: I found her through youtube and I love her videos but sometimes they get a bit lengthy. That’s why I love her blog, I love reading more than watching vlogs so that really helps. I also have to say that she really does a lot of stuff on her blog even though she really has to put a lot of effort in.
- A bookish heart: I love her discussions and the pure honesty dripping from her reviews. They are also always extremely insightful and worked out very well.
- good books and good wine: pretty much the same as above. She has great rants as well. I love it!
- Between the lines is an endless story: I especially love her as well because she tends to review books in a non-snarky way. I enjoy that as well because it’s less harsh sometimes. She just has a very pleasant writing style as well. And she reviews some of the same books which is a nice way to compare notes. But she also reads things that I’ve never even heard of, making me want to check them out!
This is the end of the 15 day blogging challenge and it was a lot of fun. Some challenges were a lot easier than others, some more interesting as well. But all in all I think this was a good way for me to break away from reviewing, even if it was just for a little while. I hope that this challenge has also helped people to get a little more insight into me as a person. Because I think that knowing the person behind a blog helps you see whether they have the same taste in books as you, or the same habits. It makes it clear whether you will like the same books they did or not at all. But on the other hand I’m happy that I’ll be going back to regular blogging starting next week. This challenge made me post a lot more than I usually do and I realize that this is just too much for me. Daily blogging is not for me. Biweekly blogging however is exactly my thing. So look out for that!
We all have those things that when you read it in a book, it makes us angry. Here is my list:
**quick disclaimer: all of these things bug me about 90% of the time, but of course there are exceptions when I don’t. This is usually in really good books written by great authors**
- Weird names for the sake of being weird/special. I can also add to this that I really, really don’t like the fact that (especially in contemporary novels) everyone needs to have a nickname. And most of the time it doesn’t even make a lot of sense to constantly use the nickname because the character’s actual name isn’t that much longer. For example: Mer as a nickname is not okay if the character is called Merry. However if it were Meredith I could see the point of a nickname. If the name is easy to say and not very long, just stick with that instead of forcing the nickname.
- Boring characters. You know, the ones that have no personality or have no life outside of their friends or boyfriend or whatever. Or the very stereotypical characters that have no real role in the story except for their very specific role (read: a jock, a token black kid, a ditz, etc.)
- Trends in books. I mean this in the sense that certain things seem to come in waves. Suddenly ALL THE GUYS have crooked smiles or a British accent or something. I just notice that there these trends that kick in, especially in YA books that were published around the same time. I don’t mind a guy having any of these things, but it becomes boring if it’s the third protagonist in a row to have one.
- Tough subjects brought in bad ways. If you can’t handle a tough subject (for example: rape, drugs, etc.) don’t do it. There are books that try to go there but just can’t go the distance. They portray it too lightly or very one-sided. The worst however is when they just skim over certain bad things while focusing on another issue.
- Romance being the main storyline in non-romance books. I like reading a romance book from time to time. What I’m not looking for however is that book that promises me a lot of sci-fi space battles to revolve around the silly girl falling for the captain. If the synopsis gets me ready for a historic epic war-tale that is what I want. I’m not saying that there can’t be a bit of romance involved. I am a sucker for cute stuff. Just not as a main story arc.