Hello Again




After an embarrassing year and a half hiatus from book blogging (and a 10 month hiatus from blogging in general), I’m baaaack. As much work as reading, reviewing and updating a blog was, I really miss recording my thoughts and using TNATR as a pinboard for all my favorite book related things as well as the fun feeling of spreading the news about good books with my friends.

So. I’m back. Hopefully I can create and stick to a somewhat regular writing schedule. And even more importantly, READING schedule.

Which brings me to the topic of today’s post, which feels especially timely as this year winds to a close: Reading Challenges. Not “I tackled a challenging book”, but more along the lines of the yearly Goodreads Reading Challenges. Do you do them? I’ve kept and recorded all the books I read in a year informally since I graduated college and every year it’s fascinating to see the depth and breadth of books I’ve devoured in the past year. I always like to look at which months I read the most, how many non-fiction vs fiction books I read (spoiler alert, I BARELY read non-fiction) and how many of these books are graphic novels or comics.

Some years are better than others and this year was probably my worst in my 8 year history of record keeping. Right now I’ve read a total of 40 books. And if I was going to be really, BRUTALLY honest, I only finished half of 3 of those books before giving up but I wanted them off my “currently reading queue” so desperately that I just marked them as read and moved on. Those books are: Lonely Jim by Amis Kingsley (oh god, this was NOT as amusing as advertised), NW by Zadie Smith (I wanted to love it, I really did, but the characters were so one dimensional and boring) and What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander (a good short story collection that I stalled out on because I hit a dull story and then the library book became due and I never renewed it. Embarassing.)

This year was such a whirlwind that reading fell by the wayside most of the year. When I got my new job in April, I was busy working hard and re-adjusting to what it meant to have a full time job again (meaning I had to wear REAL clothes during the day (!) and couldn’t spend all day reading in between applying for jobs). I also realized how difficult it is to balance work and life while training for triathlons and a marathon, which meant my free time to read completely disappeared in an effort to just function as a human being.

Now that I’m engaged and taking on the daunting and overwhelming task of planning a wedding without the luxury of an unlimited budget, I’m not really sure I’ll have any MORE time in the coming year unless I quit running completely (more realistically I may take a year off running marathons to keep my sanity), but I need to make a much more concerted effort to read. I realize that when I don’t read, something very fundamental about myself feels off and I slide into a weird quasi-depression without realizing what’s wrong. Inevitably it’s that I just haven’t had enough time to sit down with a good book and just READ. Does that happen to anyone? I know there are usually peaks and valleys with reading, but when your whole year is mostly a valley of crappy reality TV and falling asleep at 9:30pm, well, something is off.

Anyway, I’ll wait to post the finally book tally and statistics until the close of the year because I’m anticipating a small rally to push up my numbers a bit, but until then, how are the rest of you doing with your year-end book reading goals? Are you going to hit your number? Do you not care at all? Already thinking about your book goals for next year? Share!

3 Responses so far.

  1. I've never been able to remember to track my reading on GoodReads, so I've kept an informal list taped to the inside of a cabinet in my bedroom for the past 6 years. As of right now, I'm sitting at 47. (Although, that's actually a low tally, because I combined a couple kids books into 1 entry. If I can finish it in 2 hours, it doesn't count as a whole book to me.) My goal for the year is 60, which I can pretty much guarantee I won't get to. But I'll try again next year.

  2. This is the first full calendar year I've actually kept track of the books I've read. I really wish I would have started doing so sooner, but this is the first year I've ever read this many books -- I think I'm totaling 36 books so far, which is mountains more than I've ever read in previous years. I agree with you in that I don't feel like myself when I don't make the time for reading on a regular basis... reading is very much a part of who I am now. I can't wait to read your future posts... Thanks for restarting this blog!

  3. andy says:

    I'm not going to miss this opportunity to trumpet the fact that I'm only one book away from accomplishing my goal of 52 books in 2012! I honestly didn't think I would be able to pull it off, what with the toddler in the house and opening two new businesses, but somehow I seem to be within sight of pulling it off.

    I do have to say, though, that I don't think sheer volume (no pun intended) is the best measure of successful reading. Reading a book a week has definitely limited what I allow myself to read to shorter, easier works, so I'm trying to figure out a better goal for 2013 that focuses more on quality than quantity.

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