Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Year of Reading Whatever the Hell I Want - How Did It Go?

Very well, thank you.

You may remember that in January 2016 I made a revolutionary change (or what amounts to one for us book bloggers) in my reading habits. The whole post is here, but the gist is that I was so sick of reading for challenges and TBRs, and feeling guilty about reading new books, that I just decided to not bother. Crazy, right?

This year has been great.

As a comparison:

2016                                                  2015

Books read: 71                                     Books read: 63
Rereads: 15 (21%)                                  Rereads: 9 (14.3%)
Pre-2016 books: 27                              Pre-2015 books: 25
 Non-fiction: 11                                       Non-fiction: 5
Average date of publication: 1992           Average date of publication: 1952 

On one hand, it's clear that I've read a lot fewer classics than I would have if I were monitoring my reading more closely, which is strange as I didn't have any challenges going for date of publication or classics, in particular. I have read some this year, but I've read a lot of books from the nineties (Terry Pratchett, etc). Oh well, it's hardly the end of the world.

I've clearly read more books than I did in 2015. I do remember the days when I could easily read 100+ books in a year, but that was before my hectic schedule kicked in - boyfriend, Scouts, language classes, sewing classes, WI, career... Probably shouldn't have put career last, but there you go. I think I just need to get on board with the fact that my life just simply doesn't allow me to read that much anymore.

That makes it even more important that the books I do read are good ones. Another reason is the following:

The above is part of my car after I had a could-have-been-worse-but-still-quite-serious accident on the M62. The Police shut the road and the paramedics arrived and it was all quite stressful, to be honest. I was fine, bar moderate whipash and an inability to sleep, but it shook me up quite badly. For some reason it bothered me an awful lot that I could have been reading a book that I didn't want to be reading. It's twee, but life is genuinely too short to do things you don't need or want to do.

The thing I've enjoyed most about this year is being able to read linked books. For example, I read Curtain: Poirot's Last Case, which is set in the same place with the same characters as the first Poirot book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which I'd read in 2008. It felt wonderful to be able to reread that book right after finishing Curtain, just to round off the whole experience. I didn't feel guilty, or like I should be rereading something new to whittle down my TBR.

Another example was after I finished The Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey. It's an amazing book about a ballet dancer currently in the midst of dancing Swan Lake. That made me want to reread The Black Swan, which is a retelling of Swan Lake by Mercedes Lackey. So I did.

This year I've felt so free to read. I was surprised that I hadn't read more, but that doesn't matter. I plan to do exactly the same in 2017 - I'm going to read what I want, regardless of TBR, date of publication, author origin, story theme... I'm just not going to care and it's going to feel great.

Will you be monitoring your reading this year? If so, how?      


  1. I've set myself a reading goal this year, and I'm hoping it pulls me back into reading. ^^

    Um.. I also had a pretty nasty-but-not-really crash on the motorway this year, back in August. So I absolutely get you, there. *hug*

  2. You belong to the WI? I want to belong to the WI. And I want to know about your sewing classes!

    Reading whatever you want is fine with me. I'll go back to it someday, just not yet; I'm still feeling the good effects of setting goals for fact I just started a long-term project (not a challenge!) inviting people to read around the world with me.

    1. Oh, I love my WI! It depends massively which one you go to. Mine has an average age of early 30s, and we do Zumba, go fossil hunting, etc, and as well as the occasional baking contest. Conversely, the one in the next village spent their last meeting looking at slides of steam trains and has an average age of 60-odd.

      I love my sewing classes too :) A lady near my work runs them and we essentially just sit and gossip whilst sewing our dresses or whatever.

      Hey, that's great! I love challenges too, but I think I overdid it for so many years that I just burned out.

  3. I "unofficially" stopped trying so hard to track reading recently too and it makes a massive difference. Although actually, in 2016 I also stopped beating myself up for buying new books and I think I acquired more in 2016 than I actually read off my shelves but hey ho! I think generally it's just so nice not to have any aspect of book buying or reading being associated with any guilt. I know that it sounds trite but I totally agree that life's just too short. Obviously it would be super nice to have a reminder of that without the RTAs but still...

  4. I had a busy year and bailed on my challenges after a few months, then it turned out over the year, I'd read enough books for 2 out of 3 of them anyway. I think I like something to redirect my reading when I get stuck in a rut, which a challenge can do but I'm not going to worry about hitting targets. I mean I quite like my goodreads badge but I adjusted my target so I would definitely meet it!


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