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Bookish Confessions: Reading Resolutions

Ah, the start of a new year and traditionally, a time of reflection.  So, where am I at in my reading goals and trends?  Last year I participated in three reading challenges and this is how it stood at the close of 2017:

Classics Club 50 Book Challenge in 5 years — year 3 out of 5; 6 additional titles read this year for a grand total of 11 out of 50.  Have to step up the pace!

Pop Sugar 2017 Reading Challenge — 26 out of 40 categories read.  I didn’t really look at the list during the year, so not bad…

GoodReads 2017 Challenge — set at 100 books, with 108 read.  Yippee!

Although I continued to use my handwritten book journal citing the title, author, genre, and summary of the books I read, I did not track the place setting (state, country) like I did in 2016.

My reading goals for 2018 are to:

  • read 9 more classics this year (I really have to up the ante this year in order to reach the 50 book challenge by 2020.  Right now I am listening to Dickens’ David Copperfield which is 27 CD’s long (!), so it’s a good thing I find it humorous and am enjoying it.  
  • read more diversely and keep track of such things as setting, genre, author and characters’ nationality, ethnicity, gender, etc.   Rachel Manwell from Bookriot created a comprehensive reading log that I may use to track this data.
  • read 100 books in the year
  • keep PopSugar’s 2018 Reading Challenge book prompts in mind just for fun!

What are some of your reading goals for 2018?

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Best Books of 2017, Part 1

Now that 2017 is coming to a close, all the purveyors of books, reading choices, and good taste have tallied up their votes for their favorite books of the year.  For those of us listmongers who can’t pass up another list of books, check out the links below to find out what people enjoyed reading this year.

Warning:  have your library account open to request books, or your book journal ready, and/or your “want to read” goodreads screen open because you’re going to find books you want to read in 2018!

Cover image for PriestdaddyPublisher’s Weekly Best Books 2017 lists top Fiction and Non-Fiction along with genre heavy hitters, teen, children’s and picture books.

New York Times “The 10 Best Books of 2017” lists their professional reviewers favorites and NYT’s Readers Recommendation Their Favorite Books of 2017 takes into account their reader’s choices.

NPR’s Best Books of 2017 has a dazzling visual display of 350 titles NPR staff and critics loved this past year.  Use the filters on the left bar to zone in on your interests.

The votes are in for 2017 GoodReads Choice Awards,  “the only major book awards decided by readers.”  Check out the Nevins Library’s GoodReads page to see what we’ve been reading this past year!

Elle Magazine’s list of their Best Books of 2017 range from “hysterically curmudgeonly essays to raw novels about love and loss”.

What were your favorite reads of 2017?  Inquiring minds want to know!


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Bookish Confessions: my year of reading challenges

I’ve always been a voracious reader, but it wasn’t until this year, that I put myself to the test and signed up for several reading challenges.  For the past decade or so, I’ve been keeping track of the books I read with the title, author, and basic plot description in various book journals.  Thank goodness I did that because I am now, prematurely I think, at the stage where I have to go back through the journals to see if I already read a book that looks somewhat familiar.  How many of you have read 3/4ths of the way through a book before realizing that you already read it?  Sheesh!

This year I decided to put the pedal to the metal and get competitive with myself and see exactly how many books I can read in a year.    In an effort to educate myself, a couple Image result for booksof years ago I started to read classic books that I missed out on in high school.   How could I have gotten through 10 years of higher education and not read George Orwell?  Aren’t all librarians required to read Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”?  When my colleague introduced me to the Classics Club and their reading challenge, it was a match made in heaven — reading classics for my own erudition and getting external credit and praise for it!  Thus, my first challenge is a doozy — reading 50 classics within a five year period.  This year, my first, I have read 5 classics, so I have to step up the pace in the remaining 4 years of this challenge.  I do feel smarter, though!

Next up, the GoodReads challenge.  As I write this post, I have read 97 out of 100 and I am on track to finish by the end of the month.  I have also combined efforts with our Nevins team on GoodReads, so you can check out what your librarians are reading.

Since it sounded fun and I thought it would bring my reading in new directions, I printed out the PopSugar 2016 reading challenge and chose to follow it privately.  Even though it had interesting parameters to meet like reading a book with a blue cover, a book based on a fairy tale, a romance set in the future, I still read what I wanted to read and let fate decide what “fit in” with this challenge.  The final result:  25 out of 40 book categories read.  I didn’t really challenge myself with this.  Maybe it was because I already had to read books I wasn’t comfortable with for the book groups I belong to?

Finally, since I was curious and place setting appeals to me, I recorded what states and countries my reading led me to.  In the United States, my reading took me on a cross-country trip through 26 of the 50 states.  Louisiana garnered the most titles, 5, most probably because I visited New Orleans in March and it is such a colorful, dynamic place to read about.  Internationally, good old literary England won out with 9 titles, although there was a good showing from the African countries (6 titles). Over all, 16 countries, not including America, were represented in the final tally.  Going outside my comfort zone, I read 6 titles that largely took place in outer space, and even one book that took place far beneath the sea — 20, 000 leagues under, in fact.

All in all, this has been a good experiment and one I am willing to embrace again for next year.  Where will your reading take you in 2017?

Happy New Year of Reading!