Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Year of Reading Whatever the Hell I Want: The Other Side

The Year of Reading Whatever the Hell I Want (click the link for an explanation of something that sounds self-explanatory, but isn't) is going swimmingly.

I've read ten books, which isn't exactly a lot, but I chose every damn one of them myself. No review books, no challenge books, no desperate-to-diminish-my-TBR books. That breaks down as:

2 rereads
1 non-fiction
3 young adult
2 classics
7 that would have counted towards a TBR challenge anyway

The average year of publication is 1971. 

It's quite pleasing to note that my TBR pile will diminish without me needing to make a concerted effort to help it along. I know this is always easier towards the start of the year, but if I willingly chose seven TBR books without trying, maybe all hope is not lost.

I'm so happy. I'm reading more because I'm reading what I want to. I also feel more like blogging, more like talking about my books and more reading of other blogs because I'm not as afraid to find something else I want to read!

Or so it was. And then The Shining happened. I was really looking forward to this book - I quite like Stephen King, and I knew that Ellie loved it. And Laura. And Katie. Three bloggers whose opinions I trust! So I began, absolutely certain I was going to love it too.

I did not. I'm not going to review it because at least one of the above will sulk, but we did not get on. It took me a fortnight to trudge my way through half of the book, but still I persevered. At one point though, I threw it across the bed and turned to glower at all my other books that I could be reading, were I not lumbered with this boring, irritating, confusing pile of... pages.

Then it hit me - surely The Year of Reading Whatever the Hell I Want works both ways? I did not want to be reading The Shining - following my own logic, I should therefore no longer be reading The Shining? This is tough for me as I really dislike giving up on books, but when I thought about it, I realised that I hadn't blogged for as long as I'd been reading it. I hadn't commented anywhere else. I hadn't done anything bookish, because that damn book was bringing me down.

So I stopped reading it and I do not regret it. I read a different book in pretty much one sitting and, oh look, I'm writing a blog post.

Maybe 2016 is the year that I finally learn something about reading. Hey, it's only taken 26 years. I'm so grateful I decided to embark upon The Year of Reading Whatever the Hell I Want.

How are you choosing your books this year? 


  1. I liked The Shining, and I hate horror....

    That said, I completely agree that you shouldn't read stuff if it's making you throw it. I'm doing the #ReadmyOwnDamnBooks thing that Andi (Estellas Revenge) started and I'm doing fairly badly so far, but I am pretty much reading what the hell I want - one review book I accepted was Dumplin' which I super wanted to read anyway. I'm trying to do the indie publishing thing but it turns out that only like 30 of my 300+ books are published by indies, so I'm having to buy some stuff to balance my numbers... *looks shifty*

    1. Eurch. I thought I was signed in as me. It's Bex (obviously) I can't be bothered to sign out and back in again...

  2. I mean... I... Wouldn't sulk if you reviewed the shining and explained what you thought was wrong with it? (I might. I probably would. But seriously, whyyyy Hanna?!)

    The point is though, I'm really glad this is a thing that's working, and and and I so fully wholeheartedly agree with giving up on books- I have a thing now where I have so many unread books that I don't feel bad at all for giving up on the ones that don't grab me. NO TIME.

  3. I'm a Stephen King junkie, but totally agree - why read something you're not enjoying? Glad your strategy seems to be working! :)

  4. I wouldn't sulk! I really like some of Stephen King's work and am completely "meh" about some of the rest (and just don't even MENTION Dreamcatcher) so different things work for different people. I read it at uni in my Gothic Fiction module, found it fascinating, but my housemate borrowed the book from me and gave it back unfinished, she hated it so much. She couldn't be having with the psychological horror, while I found that the most interesting part. Out of curiosity , which was the bit that made you throw it across the room?

    Reading Whatever The Hell You Want definitely includes guilt-free Not Reading What You Hate. Life's too short for bad books (even though I disagree about the badness of The Shining.) Pass it on to a charity shop, sell it or give it to someone who will love it.

    1. Give it to me, I accidentally dropped my copy in a puddle of pool water in Fuerteventura and left it at the hotel when I was done! I've been meaning to get a new one. :D

  5. I don't know why we didn't see this coming. I don't know if you've noticed, but although we BUY AND READ a lot of the same books, a lot of my 5-starrers are your 2-starrers, and vice versa. I can almost predict what I'll see now when I wander through your LibraryThing recent reads. Haha, c'est la vie, I've almost given up listening to what other people think of books now and just decide based on the synopsis and the way they describe the style in general. Seems to work much better for me as a recommendation system. :)

    1. P.S. Was Room the next book you read? It's on my 'imminent TBR' as well as my 'desperately want to finally read this year' list, AND I'm doing an Instagram readathon next week, so maybe I'll take it to my sister's as a housesitting read... Nowt else to do while I'm there really! I sort of have a feeling that might be one of the rare books we both like, like Kevin and Austenland. Fingers crossed!

  6. Way to go! Work's been crap for me lately so I've been reading EVEN MORE (to escape, probably), but blogging has also felt like work lately, so there's that.
    I'm so sad that you did not get along with The Shining, but I'm glad that you were able to walk away. I should give myself a "100 pages" deadline, where if I still hate the book after the first 100 pages, I better chuck it. Is 100 pages too soon? Too generous? I'll have to test this out!

  7. I'm trying to be better about putting books aside that I'm not enjoying but I'm still not great at it. I think because I worry that the bit where it gets good might be just around the corner! I don't regret ditching the Hislop book recently, though, so maybe I *am* better! I still might try The Shining one day but there are an awful lot of books in the world that I'm more convinced will by my thing so maybe not.


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