It’s not a Competition

In many years I have opted out of joining reading goals.  I had erroneously believed them to be competitions, where people read anything and everything they can get their hands on and not care what it is, as long as they can tick off as “done” for a number. If that were true, I likely wouldn’t join. I am not often into zeitgeist, or with mindlessly joining trends for attention.

But at the end of many years, I realized that it would have been nice to have a written record of my reading life for the year, to reflect on it.

The irony of this particular year, is that I am now starting book #7. Last year I wasn’t on book #7 until July or August.  The first week I had a power outage and read because there was nothing else to do, and I had a few really good books that I just couldn’t put down.

This has inspired me to try to read more books. I see it as an interesting challenge, not a race, not a competition, but something I will do to improve my own reading life.

My favorite read this past week was The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  I had previously read another book by that author, so was skeptical after I purchased it. (I had an e-mail alert that it was $1.99 for a limited time, a few months ago).  However I found myself magnetically glued to my Kindle the entire 5 days or so it took me to read. It was about the plight of two sisters in France during WWII and was heartbreaking and thrilling to read.

I also really enjoyed a light, fluffy read called “Twelve Days of Christmas” by Debbie Macomber.  It was about a woman who is hoping to get a social media job, and the criteria being, can she make a blog that generates the most hits? She is a sunny extrovert with a positive attitude who lives across the hall from a man who is the opposite. Her good friend encourages her to “experiment” on this man by being kind to him no matter what, and to blog about it and see what happens.  I like easy to read romances, and this fit the bill after the heavy emotional read of The Nightingale.

 

I will continue to post more about my reading this year. I don’t think I have any readers. but it will be fun to look back on this year to reflect on my reading choices and what I thought. It is making time fly a little faster.

Reading in 2018

In looking at my previous post, I realize I did kind of overshoot, and the year is only a couple days old so far. I do plan on using this as a reference for a few reading goal ideas, anyway. The purpose of it was just to brainstorm ideas for what I might decide to read. But life isn’t always on a linear curve and even with things that are optional, like my hobbies, I change my mind a lot.

However, I have finished my first read of 2018. I am going to call it that, because even though I started a couple of days before New Years Day, I did read the bulk of it (at least 75% of it) in a few hours on New Year’s Morning (yesterday).

The title is A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson.   A couple of days before Christmas I purchased it for my Kindle and put it on my queue. The author was on a few Facebook groups, and I had heard a few good things about it, so for $0.99 it was low risk.

The main character, Sukie McClaren, is an independent single woman in her 30s. She is a long time fan of the movie “The Sound of Music”. She is sent away on a business trip to Salzburg in December, and decides that while she’s in the neighbourhood, she may as well extend it for personal vacation time too, so she can see some attractions from where the movie was filmed.

Through a comedy of errors, she winds up meeting and making friends with pop star, Pete Wallace, who is there on tour and on a press conference.

There is a sub-plot with a man named Eduardo who is seeking revenge for the pop star. Three years prior to the story, his sister was injured at a Pete Wallace concert, and Eduardo has spent the years leading up to the present day plotting for how he is going to carry through with his plan.

I tend to prefer books that are low in expletive language, and focus on the story, rather than on bedroom scenes. This book fits the bill. There are a few expletives and there is a passing acknowledgement of bedroom activity. The story has a real depth of friendship and the character development is amazing. It kept me turning the pages and I really got to know and care about the characters.

I look forward to writing about more books that I read this year. I also have signed in with the Goodreads reading challenge as well as the 50 Book Pledge, both of which I have found fun and low-pressure over the past couple of years. I want to read more each year, and enjoy books, but I have no desire to make the “count” be the main goal. I want to read for pleasure. The “score-keeping” is just for fun, and I have never felt any sense of failure if I don’t follow through on every idea that crosses my path.

Starting to Compile my Goals for 2018 Reading.

I have a Kindle and I also read on my Overdrive app on my phone (Overdrive in Canada does not loan Kindle books). I also do occasionally borrow physical copies if I can’t afford or can’t borrow the e-book.  But my Kindle is where the love remains, mostly.

While I do have a goal of “Number of Books” to read, I’ve also decided to create topical goals to keep me interested.

  • Read a Book or Series Recommended to me by my In-laws.   They have good taste in literature and I’ve rarely been disappointed reading something they’ve put on my radar. This year it is the Gamache Series by Louise Penny. My husband has been reading aloud and I’ve been reading along with him on my Kindle.
  • Read at Least 2 new (to me) Public Domain Reads from Project Gutenberg.  I have already read a great many classics and have favorites. However there is always more to discover in literature that has stood the test of time and become “classic”.
  • Read a Book that Appears to Sympathize with a Concept I Disagree with.  The title “Adultery” by Paulo Coelho. I noticed a comment by someone who is currently reading it that says it looks like the author is making excuses for reasons why people commit adultery.
  • Read a Cozy Mystery Series in order.  My current choice, subject to change, is the Savannah Reid series by G.A. McKevett.  Even if I don’t finish all of the books, I want to read them in order.
  • Re-read one Old Favorite.  This will be the least difficult goal to accomplish. I mostly reread so this is not really a challenge, but a no-brainer.
  • Read 2 or more Young Adult novels.  I like young adult novels, and this will be fun. I hope I read something new that I will enjoy.
  • Read one Stephen King Novel. I’ve only ever read one novella of his. “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” (from which the 1994 movie was adapted). This is contained in his Short Story compilation “Different Seasons” I want to read a whole novel. I’m pondering the most recent one “Sleeping Beauties” that he co-wrote with his son Owen. (Again, subject to change). His genre is usually not something I am attracted to.

This is very different from last year. But last year made me realize that I needed to give myself specific goals rather than just “randomly pick whatever” (Using the “Smart Goal” way of thinking).