Overachieving 2020 Reading goals

There is nothing like a global pandemic to make a person find time to stay at home and read more books than they thought possible in a year. So many bookblogers and booktubers have had to remake their reading goals for this year since they have managed to read their goal in half a years time. Since I fit into this category I got inspired to make an update to my reading goals for this year as well.

Rising the number of books I want to read this year seemed the logical step and choosing the right number proved to be a bit of a challenge! I tried to keep the number of books I want to read in a year as realistic as possible. I used to want to reach that magical 100 books in a year mark but few slow reading years made me vary and fail miserably. The number 55 was chosen because I knew I could read 50 books in a year and wanted to add that extra few books to push myself a little bit.

I used to believe that with a few years of reading I could cut my TBR to single digit numbers but that soon proved to be a fools errand. My TBR is a living and growing organism that has remained mostly the same for years now even thou I have read at least the third of it in that same time frame. I made a conscious decision not to try to curb my TBR and add books to it as freely as I want. For me reaching a number of books needed to be read in a years time to make a serious dent in my TBR is like running under the rainbow – it gives you a goal to strive to but will never really happen!

This brings me to my problem with numbers: since I read around 60 books in the first six months of this crazy year do I translate that into doubling the number of books I will read this year?

For some reason I am not that optimistic and the number that comes to mind is adding 50 more books to my reading goal for 2020. This will bring my starting reading goal up to 105 books. Since it has been a few years since I’ve actually read that many books in a year I am a little apprehensive.

Adding another 50 books to my reading goal will mean I will have to stick to reading around 7 books a month! Since there are some serious books I want to read this year that might be a real challenge. What worries me is that in the first half of the year I have read more books a second time than in the last five years combined. I have never given much thought to rereading books since there are so many new and exciting books that come out each year. It takes me a lot longer than most avid readers who blog and post videos about books to catch up with what is new and hot in the book world.

But then again this is no normal year and trying to judge anything by it might be the dumbest thing I can do…

Right now I am doing only what is logical to do: admit that my reading tastes and habits will be influenced by this crazy year 2020. Change is inevitable and necessary. Since I already did my reading goal for the year I should give myself some more challenge to continue reading by the end of the year more than I thought I would. This will give me some interesting results and I will feel better about this rereading phase I found myself in. Who knows maybe I get an idea for next year and make some more changes on my bookshelves future and present!

Reading in first half of 2019!

I’m gonna make a breakdown of the books I’ve read in 2019. up until today. Thanks to the Goodreads site I can track the books much easier and I need all the help I can get to win in this apathy struggle I’ve gotten myself into.

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For some reason reading takes more effort for me as of late. I’ve set the bar for reading books challenge relatively low and the results are even lover that that so far.

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There are only 15 books I’ve read this year and I will go trough them one by one:

First book I’ve finished in 2019 was a graphic novel Perzepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

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I’ve often used graphic novels and mangas to cut corners at getting my reading numbers higher. But the truth of the mater is that I honestly enjoy graphic novels and mangas. While I will not jump at a book with a more serious topic, graphic novels with documentary or biographical theme interest me. I love the visual representations that provide me with more honest and personal understanding on the topic and I choose graphic novels often for that same reason.

Second book of 2019. was a book club assignment Pohvala starosti by Pavao Pavličić.

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The title loosely translates into ” the praise to getting old”. The beginning promised some humor but the book was mostly frustrating since I did not agree with most of the things author wrote about. For every promising idea and thought provoked there were another 4 that just irritated me since I could find real life cases to dispute the author. It made for a good book club discussion in general because it gave some general topics on the process of growing old and elderly in general. Did not enjoy the reading experience because I found the book not serious enough to tackle the topic and not humorous enough to be entertained.

The third book of 2019. was Burn Bright (Aplha & Omega Series) by Patricia Briggs.

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This is one of the book series that made me love and enjoy reading in my free time. Urban fantasy genre just simply does it for me! I love when an author can tackle an urban setting and characters with relatable shortcomings and flaws while keeping it up with technological and other more modern issues. I loved this book and the glimpses into so many characters that did not have the opportunity to shine in previous instalments. I love the character growth and plot advancement.

The fourth book of 2019. was The Reader by Bernhard Schlink.

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While my reading in the book club has been highly irregular in the last year or so this was one of the books I was very excited about to read and discuss. It is a thought provoking book with plethora of moral issues to talk about and it gives ample opportunity for the reader to think about the past, the present and the future. While some issues are specific to the aftermath of World War II, this book offers a new perspective to our own human judgemental nature and pride.

The fifth book I’ve read in 2019 was a short story collection Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges.

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This book had a certain reputation and standing among my fellow students while I was in college. It took me a decade after graduation to actually get to reading the book. I was surprised it was a short story collection. The themes were interesting but I did not enjoy the multitude of names and references I was not that familiar with. I had a hard time separating the South American and Muslim references in particular and following the metaphors. It was a very difficult and challenging reading experience. The documentary style was not something I particularly enjoyed and made the short stories hard to follow.

The sixth book of 2019. for me was the All Souls Complete Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.

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I’ve read the first book sometime last year so I can freely enjoy the TV adaptation on HBO. After a few months pause I decided to watch the TV series again and got inspired to read the book series trough. I had some issues finding a second book in the edition I wanted so one night I finally caved and got myself the whole trilogy Kindle edition. It took me a few months to finish it all up due the considerable number of pages but I’m happy and pleased to have it finished and I’m awaiting for the second season of the show guilt free!

The seventh book of 2019 by my Goodreads account is The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

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While I’ve read the whole series as a trilogy I’ve found the third book on my TBR list on Goodreads and went to fix it. In an attempt to motivate myself at not failing the reading challenge this year like I failed last year I went back and added it as a separate book in my Read books section. Is that cheating or not I do not know or care. As far as I’m concerned I’ve read three books and put down only two and I’m still one book short for the counting purposes if need be!

The eighth book in 2019. was Comme un roman by Daniel Pennac.

91lUehA+fJL“A well-chosen book saves you from everything, including yourself.”

The English title of this book is The Rights of the Reader and it’s taken from the second part of the book where the Rights of the reader are listed. This is not a story but more a testament to reading. It is my big wish to find this book in Croatian and buy it but sadly there was only one edition in the nineties and they are very hard to come by. It is a book that inspired a many librarian’s projects and helped to promote and understand reading as an activity, life choice and necessity.

Ninth book I’ve read in 2019 was The Treasure Keeper (Drakon book 4) by Shana Abe.

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I have the best boyfriend ever and one day he decided it is time to raid my Book Depository wishlist. Among the book we ordered was The Treasure Keeper the fourth book in the Drakon series I have only nice memories of. It is for once a fantasy series in a sea of urban fantasy I usually prefer. I like the idea of dragon shape shifters and how this author writes them. It might not be the best fantasy out there but it is a guilty pleasure of mine! I would have loved to have bought the edition with the cover on the left instead the right one. The shiny and gaudy is very much part of the charm for these books!

The tenth book I’ve read this year is Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

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This was a bit unusual pick for my mostly very serious book club. And it came from one of the more serious book club members. This book made me feel old and tired at times. The truth is I love YA books and while the fast paced dialogues and witty remarks that go with them I had trouble with keeping up with the account of a teen life in the age of social networking and mostly well off western teenager to young adult view on life. I had a revelation that I prefer my books and stories a bit more darker and angstier that this one was…

The eleventh book in 2019. was The She-Hulk Diaries by Marta Acosta

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I’ve got my eye on this book ever since it came out and one of my friends at Goodreads loved it. I liked the idea of actually reading about She-Hulk and some other Marvel heroes in a book as opposed to watching the movies and reading graphic novels. The book had it’s bright moments at that but in the end it was more in lieu of Bridget Jones Diaries than expected Marvel hero action. I sure like the design and the cover. The spine and the rest of the book is bright green and it poops out nicely on the shelf!

The twelvfth book in 2019. was Pretty Reckless ( All Saints High book 1) by L.J. Shen.

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This one was another Kindle spur of the moment buy that provided much needed dose of drama and angst for a period of PMS and opened a door to a period of more reading for me. I’ve checked out the rest of the books in the series but I’m not all that interested in them as of now. Looking into this book on Goodreads I realized that I’ve missed to count another short story that came out as a prequel to this book series!

Thirteenth book and one I missed in the first count was Defy ( All Saints High book 0,5) by L.J. Shen.

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A short and smutty prequel to the All Saints High book series. The main characters are actually the parents of the main character of the Pretty Reckless book. Most of the books that feature the characters who are into sports are not that appealing to me and I still have trouble visualizing all that comes with American football. In my country people play soccer…

Fourteenth book I’ve read in 2019 was Devil’s Daughter ( The Ravenels book 5 ) by Lisa Kleypas

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This one was a must have since it features my favorite characters. I am very picky when it comes to historical romance as a genre. In case of Evie and Sebastian I do not miss the opportunity to read more about them and their children and grandchildren in this case. I’m very happy with how the author finds ways to revisit favorite characters and include them in the new books. It inspired me to once again read the source material as well!

Fifteenth book I’ve read in 2019. was Devil in Winter ( The Wallflowers book 3) by Lisa Kleypas

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One of my favorite books ever and the characters I like to revisit each year. While I rarely choose to reread books with so many unread on my TBR already this is the book that has found a way to my reading schedule at least once a year. While the last reading was inspired by reading the newest book by the same author it has also inspired me to finally but the physical copy in English. I already poses the said book in Croatian but I prefer reading it in English.

And by the corrected counting the last and the sixteenth bok I’ve read in 2019 so far is
I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire (Ravenloft book 7) by P. N. Elrod

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From all the editions of this book and theme I’ve seen so far this one is the most hideous one. I was not at all pleased with the cover of my edition – the artwork looked very much in the opposition with the main character and it bothered me a lot. As for the story – I enjoyed learning the story behind Strahd von Zarovich. It all inspired me to go back to my Ravenloft RPG books and get ideas for a some campaign that will probably never come to life …I am now even more interested in the rest of Ravenloft novels! There are few things that were missing in this book! The most important one was a map for me to enjoy the geography of Ravenloft and Barovia. I hate when the production of the book is not well made!

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I am currently playing around with some creative ways to inspire myself to make more choices for reading books instead of some other activities. Soon I’ll post more about that!

Sorry not sorry about the long post!

After the disappearance…

Having a job that is mentally challenging consumed all the time and energy that I used to spend on reading and creative projects. I decided to try getting back after a long period of hiatus.

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I have a lot of work to do with clearing out my reading lists. I’ve reached a point where I don’t even remember what books I started reading or what they are all about! So sure, with some I have the bookmarks and the number of the page I last opened but all this has kept me wondering that maybe it’s time for a clean slate.

I stopped with the reading altogether when reading started to feel like running with no end in sight. I was left with anything else being a more appealing option than reading a book. And that is simply sad since all I need to do is turn around the room and I can see books that I was happy and dancing with joy at the thought of reading them when I got them. That desire is still there.

So what went wrong?

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One major thing I decided to do this year is to stop trying to finish the books that make me feel bad in any way. Keeping to reading a book that is not sitting well with me out of some silly notion that I must not quit is doing me some serious harm.

I get very emotional in my reading and while some stories inspire me; some others just drag me down and make me emotionally depleted. I had no will to read, no books to write about and no energy to create content or even talk about books in general.

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Before I can decide to focus on all the books I love I need to do some clearing of the books I’m stuck on.

Last four books I’ve kept on my Currently reading shelf on Goodreads without making any progress for months on are:

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The Joke by Milan Kundera

There is nothing funny about this book. Especially if you ever lived in a country where telling a bad joke to a wrong person can get you incarcerated. I remember watching a movie based on one of other Milan Kundera’s works The Unbearable Lightness of Being. All I remember of it is the unbearably anemic scenography and a boring plot. This was one of the last books I picked up for my reading club in August last year I think. And it was the last one since then because I went on a hiatus form the book club as well. I’m well over two thirds in and I just cant stand the characters or the themes in the book. I’m officially putting and end to it and letting it go.

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Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics

by Erich Fromm

This one has gone on for well over a year. Truth be told I can’t even remember the last time I picked it up. This one might stay since the problem was not in the reading experience. The problem is being concentrated and having the time to read it without rush. If I’m willing to make changes to my reading in general then this might prove to be a rewarding experience in the end. I must make a triage of the books I like the thought of reading and the books I actually want to read. This one is somewhere in the middle.

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Serpent’s Kiss (Elder Races #2) by Thea Harrison

I generally like the UF genre but this book is going back to the shelf. While I liked the first book of the series and the writing style in general the characters in this one have left me disinterested. I might go back to it in some other time in my life.

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The All Souls Complete Trilogy:

A Discovery of Witches is only the beginning of the story

(All Souls Trilogy #1-3) by Deborah Harkness

I have so many great books I’m looking forward to on my shelves and after I watched the first season of the series I had to read this one again just to compare it to the show. While i liked the first book of the trilogy I never picked up the other two. After getting a Kindle for present and having issues with buying the translated edition I wanted I got this trilogy as a bundle combo on Kindle. This is the only book of all those above I’m actually reading. i’m reading it before bedtime sometimes when I can’t fall asleep and I’m taking my damn time with it.

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I realized that I need to be honest with myself about my reading needs and interests. Conserving my emotional and creative energy takes precedence over finishing a book that makes me struggle and brings me no joy. This does not mean I will give up on books as soon as I have problems with it. It means I will consider my issues with the book in question more seriously and not pin it on the quitting shame.

I do this in hope to have more exciting reading moments in 2019.

Happy New Year in reading and all the best!

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