New Year, New Goals

I didn’t get to do my end of the year stats because the post I had all ready to go…I forgot to publish. I wrote it before the year was up so I didn’t have my actual totals. Then I went on vacation and read a bunch. So when I got home and realized I needed to publish said post…my stats would have to be recalculated because I gorged on a ton of historical romance. I read the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn which was 9 books (counting the one she wrote with second epilogues for each sibling). Let’s face it. I’m lazy. Especially coming back from vacation and already into the new year so I was trying to look forward instead of back. I debated posting what I had, but I didn’t want to misrepresent my numbers. Obviously my inclusive reading stat went down even if you only count the aforementioned series alone.

I can tell you I still need to do better on reading more inclusively. (*Side note: notice I’ve changed from saying diverse to inclusive. Courtney Milan was on Twitter recently making some amazeballs points.) I’m always going to be working on this. Publishing as we know doesn’t do a great enough job marketing these authors and I need to make sure I seek them out. I’m so angry at publishing because there are so many great books out there that include marginalized people (both characters and authors) of all walks of life, and they’re not getting the recognition they deserve. I definitely need to up my LGBTQIA+ numbers. So I’ll be scouring those lists this year.

I can tell you a stat that didn’t really change was how many lady authors I read. It was about 87% before I left and I’m assuming it rose a bit after all those historical romances. I can say I don’t really go out of my way on this one, it just tends to happen organically. I can’t explain why. It’s always been that way for me. I have lady author radar.

If I have time this year I’d like to try more poetry and short stories. They’ve always been a category that I’ve had a problem getting into and I know the right ones are there just waiting for me. I loved When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams last year and No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay, respectively.

I did read about 60-70% on ebook rather than print. I think it’s because I read primarily on my phone (even though my husband reminds me I have a perfectly good iPad mini) which is always at hand. I’m not concerned with changing that number too much. I share the philosophy of Douglas Adams who said “Lovers of print confuse the plate for the food.” I do have to make sure I’m reading almost as much as I’m bringing in and then culling what I’m not. We have a relatively small place and as much I wouldn’t mind being surrounded by books, my husband and kids disagree. Well, my oldest probably wouldn’t mind.

I noticed my preference has starting leaning towards front list rather than backlist. Again, rediscovering historical romance skewed it a bit because I’m playing catch up on authors I never got around to reading and those ladies are prolific. This is another stat I’m not looking to adjust one way or another except there is that part when I buy a book at full price in hardcover and then don’t get around to reading it until it comes out in the less expensive paperback. Maybe I’ll work on not buying unless I really really am interested…I know. I laughed too.

Which brings us to today. I decided I’m not setting a goal for how many books I want to read. I think these goals are great, especially when people have a hard time getting books finished because of, well life. But since I already make reading a huge priority (sorry kids, dinner is going to be late), that’s not a good reason for me. I also don’t like the feeling that I’m reading just to fill a number, like reading a bunch of novellas I’m barely interested in just to get to my goal instead of reading something bigger that I actually want to read.

I also want to work on not using Goodreads to track my stats. I was using it and then later filling in my own database which is actually a better database because it keeps tracks of the things I care about. It seems a little counterproductive. So I’m using Goodreads for keeping track of what I want to read, and my Filemaker for what I’ve read and my inventory.

How did your 2015 reading stats go? What are your goals for this year?

For those unfamiliar with my Tumblr I’ve been keeping track of my books read this year in the form of a challenge. It started off as what I had dubbed “The Great 2014 backlist” challenge and has since just turned into “A Lot of Books I Want to Read.” I had divided up my 225 book goal into sub challenges like “read 36 of the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list” and “1 Pulitzer Prize winner a month” among others. That got old super fast. I did start the year strong and blew a chunk out of those numbers, but I burned out way before the halfway mark. I wasn’t not reading, I just couldn’t prescribe myself books. Just because something is award winning doesn’t mean I’m in the mood and I found out this year that I have zero interest in A LOT of the books on the 1001 List. So I reread a lot of my favorite urban fantasy series, discovered new to me backlist through Oyster and new books out this year. Basically reading whatever the fuck I want, as it should be.

I think I’ve done pretty well for myself, I’m at 146 out of 225. I lost a bit of time last week due to being on vacation in Rome/Florence, but plan to make up for it this week since I have a week without my kids and the husband will be at work. But I’m not going to push myself. I also have some gaming I want to do and napping will also be high on the itinerary.

My future plans involve catching up on my review copies. Some books have been out for awhile, but I got caught up and never got to them so maybe we’ll have a Week in Review. I also want to explore the short stories genre as it feels like I haven’t given them as much as a chance as I should. Thinking July will be the month of the short story. There are backlists of authors that I would like to explore, Chimamanda Ngozi Achidie for example. I fell in love with Half of a Yellow Sun this year and also have Americanah and Purple Hibiscus on standby. So I’m still keeping plans…just loosing up a bit.