2017 Reading Goals

We are 22 days into the new year, and I am finally getting around to writing my reading goals.  This year’s goals are a bit different, but I am hoping they prove to keep me motivated to read and, most importantly, encourage my love of reading to grow further.

As some may know, I am a grad student in an online program.  I will complete my program on March 12th, which means that roughly the first two and a half months of 2017 are dedicated to my Capstone and not personal interests such as reading.  2015 and 2016 were slower reading years for me because of school work and working full time.  In 2016 I didn’t even set a Goodreads goal.  Which brings me to the fist 2017 reading goal.

  1. NOT setting a Goodreads goal.  It may sound crazy and even counter productive in some ways, but not setting a goal has allowed me to choose more books that I’ve been wanting to read but have put off because of length or just simply because I felt they were too much to tackle to get through and process in a quick fashion.  No posted goal where I log in and the website tells me I’m behind x number of books means I don’t feel stressed about something I shouldn’t be stressed about anyway.
  2. Read books I already own.  Between my husband and I we hover somewhere around 1,000 books in our home.  While some of these are technical and DIY books my husband uses for his various interests and projects, many of them are books that should be read and loved.  I spent so much time in the last few years trying to grab all the best and newest releases I learned of from BookTube videos, that my own personal collection – each that has been chosen for some reason by my husband or myself – has been falling to the back burner.  This means shelves of books I haven’t read, or books that I read so long ago but don’t recall much of because I was trying to cram so many books into a year.  While I won’t stop buying books all together – especially at library book sales – I won’t be purchasing like a crazy lady like I was for a while there.
  3.  Purge the bookshelves.  I’ve done several unhauls over the past few years, and I want to continue doing so.  Instead of holding on to books that I won’t read again, I am going to be getting rid of them.  If I loved or really enjoyed a book, then I can keep it.  I want my bookshelves to tell their own story of our literary tastes, and that cannot be done with mediocre books that we won’t be picking up again or recommending to anyone.
  4. Don’t force myself to read anything.  I get this idea in my head that if everyone loves a book I have to at least finish it.  I hate to DNF a book, but sometimes it happens.  Too many wonderful books to read out there in the world, no reason to stick with something that isn’t appealing to me.

And that’s about it… I think.  Basically I want to enjoy reading for fun again and focus on my own shelves.

Hopefully I will be back soon with another update… but that will depend on how fast my brain goes to mush from this Capstone.

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Cultivating my literary life.

“I was horribly bookish, to the point of coming right out and saying it, which I knew was not socially acceptable. I particularly loved the adjective bookish, which I found other people used about as often as ramrod or chum or teetotaler.”- David Levithan, Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

Ah, the bookish life.  It’s one I know well.  Ever since my childhood I have been in love with books.  Merely seeing a stack of books has always brought joy to my heart.  Going to the bookstore or library is a fun adventure for me every time.  When I was in grade school we always got the Scholastic/Arrow/etc reading club paper flyers we could order books from.  I would purposely wait to pull it out of my bag until my Uncle Joe was at my house because I knew that while my mom may allow a book, or two if I was *really* good – Uncle Joe would buy me five more.

My tastes have varied over the years.  I was REALLY into Fear Street back in the day (none of that Goosebumps stuff, thanks).  Christopher Pike was a favorite, as well.  Because of my love for those, at a very young age I was reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz.  At that time I also loved series like Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik books… the occasional Sweet Valley or Babysitters Club were mixed in as well.  For a while, I didn’t read as much, still more than a lot of people I know but not as much as I was used to… and then I began to devour everything with vigor.  Adult series like the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella.  Stand alone titles that were along the same lines.  And then began my several years long love affair with YA books, the last year or so of which was fueled by BookTube videos… however this has recently come to somewhat of an end.  Now I’m falling more into a steady stream of fiction and classics.

My point is, I love books.  I have varied tastes and I never know what type of book I’ll want to pick up next.  Because of this I tend to, *ahem*, collect books (my husband calls it hoarding books).  We went to the last library sale which was a bag sale and left with 97 books for us.  97!  Granted some were DIY and project books for my husband, but I had quite a few novels in there.  I look at my TBR shelves (I have a TBR soon, and a TBR eventually, maybe… both are not very reliable since I buy books like they will be unavailable soon) and feel a sense of pride in my small library (we own over 900 books – I just counted a few weeks ago).  Not to mention the unhaul of books I did a few weeks prior to that bag sale.

But, as much as I love my books… I want my shelves to have meaning to them.  They do now, but I don’t need to obsessively collect books whenever they are presented in front of me.  I am a firm believer that having a book on your shelf for years without reading it is fine as long as the intention is to eventually read it.  To buy a copy of a book I loved that I had gotten from the library is fine – but I don’t need to own every book I’ve ever read.  Same goes for my favorites from childhood.  If I see one at a booksale, grab it.  But no need to grab every single one by the author regardless of if I read it or loved it.  I guess my point is I want to cultivate my bookshelves into a story of my literary life and not just have a small library of things I may never read.  To the same tune, if I don’t enjoy a book then it’s okay to get rid of it.  Hand it on to someone who will love it or get a stack together over time to turn into Half Price books for a trade in.

I need to go through my lesser seen shelves and really decide if some things are worth hanging on to.  Will I ever read it?  If I did read it, did I enjoy it enough to keep it around?  Next step is to find my reading mojo and, despite work, grad school, and other adult type things… start to read voraciously again.