When I started blogging I was thrilled beyond words that authors and publishers wanted to give me books to read for free. I'm just a little more aware these days that, even though no money exchanges hands, there is a cost to those books. It's an obligation to read them sooner rather than later, often by a specific date. It's an obligation to be honest but with the awareness that a publisher and an author will be looking to see what you've written about the book. Feelings are involved and I hate to hurt anyone's feelings. More and more, it turns out, I'm not all that thrilled about the obligation of having to read books on someone else's timetable.
Andi, of Estella's Revenge, has been talking for years about reading her own books. In 2016, she's taken it one step further and set herself up some goals to really push her way through her own books It's not a challenge (having decided she didn't want to follow anyone else's rules), just some guidelines to read by.
Which is right in line with what I'd like to do heading into 2016. There are too many great books languishing on my bookshelves; to many books I'd really love to have time for sooner rather than later. Andi's effort allows anyone who wants to join in to make up their own rules. For me those will be:
1. Work to satisfy prior obligations (a.k.a. read the review books I accepted prior to 2016).
2. Read 20 of the books on my Classics Club list (all of which I already own). I can't believer there's only 15 months left to read the rest of the 50 books I originally designated to read in five years!
3. No more than 2 new books can come into my house in a month - that includes review books and those irresistible great deals that come into my mailbox every single day.
4. Read at least half of the books that others have previously loaned me. They might actually want them back and I need that guilt off my shoulders.
5. Any challenge I sign up for has to be one that will help me stick to my goals.
6. Don't forget the ereaders!
Clean Your Reader 2016 Challenge, hosted by Kerry of Entomology of A Bookworm is perfect. Because, somehow, there are sixty books on just my Nook. Even given that I've picked up most of those for only a couple of bucks, I figure to have spent at least a couple of hundred dollars on them in total. And there they sit, unnoticed. And there are some great books there! I'll really be looking knock out half a dozen nonfiction titles off of that (including those on my winter reading list) and at least a half dozen fiction titles including The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, and Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.
I'm not one for making resolutions at the beginning of a new calendar year - I've never been good at sticking to them. On the other hand, there's no time like the present to start making changes to make life better. That being said, Joy's New Year's Resolution Reading Challenge is just the thing to help me find the tools to do that. I'm fairly certain that this will revolve around Gretchen Ruben's work, including getting caught up on her Happier podcast. In fact, if I were to choose a word for myself for 2016 it might just be "happier."
As for other challenges, we'll see. I'll certainly join in if The Introverted Reader again hosts the Nonfiction Reading Challenge. But I want to make sure I have flexibility to join in readalongs, Readers Imbibing Peril in October, Diversiverse and other blogging events.
To my non-blogging readers, does it ever occur to you to make a reading plan for a coming year? For bloggers, what are you looking forward to reading in 2016?