FAIL!

Well, I’m not going to meet my reading goals for this year.  Not a single one of them.  I’ll likely finish out the year with about 55 books under my belt…a little better than one book per week.  Not bad, but definitely short of the 100+ books I had set as my goal.

Neither am I going to complete my “TBR Challenge,” which was the simplest of all.  Read 12 books that have been languishing on your “to be read” list for at least a year.  I read two.  Now to be honest, I have a very difficult time creating a list ahead of time and following through on reading those books.  My moods change.  My tastes meander around.  I go through periods of time when I do a lot of heavier reading – classics, spiritual reading, psychology – and then I’ve got to knock off and read some fluff.  Most of what has been hanging around unread for a year or more is not fluff.  And I did read a lot of good, solid (if not heavy), quality lit this year.

  • For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway (halfway…but I’m counting it as half)
  • This Side of Paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • On the Road – Jack Kerouac (notable because I had once said I would never read it)
  • In Cold Blood – Truman Capote (currently listening)
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
  • The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison (reread)
  • The Gambler – Feodor Dostoyevsky
  • Complete Stories – Flannery O’Connor (some, not all)
  • Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro – Ernest Hemingway
  • The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson – Mark Twain
  • The Help – Kathryn Stockett
  • The War Prayer – Mark Twain
  • Casey at the Bat – Ernest L. Thayer
  • Helen’s Eyes: A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller’s Teacher – Marfe Furguson Delano
  • The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
  • The Plague of Doves – Louise Erdrich
  • Homer & Langley – E. L. Doctorow
  • My Reading Life – Pat Conroy
  • Remarkable Creatures – Tracey Chevalier
  • Amy & Isabelle – Elizabeth Strout
  • Shanghai Girls & Dreams of Joy – Lisa See
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
  • Sister of My Heart – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (currently reading)

The rest was light weight (for me).  Some of these are probably fluff for a lot of readers, but fluff or not, they are quite beautifully written and excellent from start to finish.  I’d recommend any of them to anyone, especially if the request was for something of a bit more depth than usual.

All in all, not a bad reading year, but it could be much better.  I want it to be better.  My goal is…always…100 books per year.  One day I will reach it, and perhaps that will happen in 2012.  To that end, I think I’ll revamp my reading blog a bit for the coming year, as I’ve been tossing around the idea of a fun (little) challenge that will consume (hopefully) more of my free time and (hopefully) less of my expendable income.  It was all inspired by a little book called Howards End is On the Landing by Susan Hill, a book that chronicles Susan Hill’s year of reading through her own personal library.  She committed to not purchasing any books for herself for a year.  I think find that to be a grand & daunting challenge.  There are so many great books out there…so many that I want to read, some that I actually want to own.

But…

I am committing (kinda…sorta…maybe…ok, yep) to concentrating on my own library this year, with some (occasional) supplementation by the public library or a friend’s library (Bri, Gail).  I don’t think I’m committing to never purchasing a book, because frankly that’s akin to cruel and unusual torture for me, but I am committing to the following:

  1. Pull from my shelves first.
  2. If I can’t find something I’m in the mood to read, check the library.
  3. Borrow from friends.
  4. If I do buy the occasional book, it is either for my Kindle or used (and I mean thrift store used).
  5. Try not to do #4.

I’m telling you, if you saw my library (six bookshelves of varying sizes full to overflowing with books, plus a few stacks here & there), you would see that I could spend the next several years reading from my stacks and never run out.

Wish me luck, and if you recommend a book to me, please please either lend it to me or tell me it’s in the library.  If I had ever tracked my book spending like I do my reading, I dare say this promise alone should save me a bundle.

So…here we go.  I welcome comments, recommendations, and snide remarks.  Tell me what you’re reading.  Tell me what challenges you’re setting for yourself in 2012.  Maybe we can read along together on some things & share thoughts.

Happy Reading to us all, and a very well-read & literary 2012. 🙂

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4 Comments

  1. Well, this was inspiring. My reading year is from March to March, so I still have time to fit a few of these in, hopefully and especially “My Reading Life.” You are always welcome to my little library; after all, you have notably increased its size. It’s almost zaftig-like!

    • Heh heh…zaftig-like…that just makes me smile. And I love that your reading year is March to March. That bit of assymetry on the traditional 12-month period also makes me smile. I may very well cull your bookshelves for a choice from time to time, especially if a recommendation comes my way from a good friend who loves books!

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