Sunday, 6 January 2019

Reading goals for 2019

Mark Twain said once: "In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them".
Following that, I must be one wise woman indeed. In our house almost every room is a book room.

Last year I wrote a list of the so called non-resolutions to give me a rough plan for the year. When it comes to books, I completely failed my good intentions on so many aspects.

Having banned myself from buying books last January, I think I lasted no longer than a week before splurging on more books.
It doesn't help that we have The Works in town, with their ever so tempting 3 for £5 offers. Every time I pop in, I end up buying three more paperbacks.
Someone just has to tie my hands behind my back to stop me.

Though I have been good at parting with books - taking them to the charity shops and giving them to a friend who shares my love of ghost stories and thrillers, I still managed to buy more books last year than I managed to read.

I also blame The Book People with their email newsletters and paper catalogues. Perhaps I should unsubscribe from temptation.
And of course, when I buy books from charity it is ever so easy to convince oneself that you're doing a good thing and are helping a charity.

If you have a look at my 2018 Reading challenge on Good Reads, it shows 58 books. I have actually read many more, just didn't want to add them to the list. For example, we went through the whole set of 19 books in Goosebumps Horroland series. If I added them all, I'd look like a Goosebumps addict, which I suppose I am. :)
There were also books which I started and never finished.
This year's Reading Challenge will be to read another 50+ books.

I was unsuccessful achieving my goal re the cook books as well. I knew I needed to look through my cook books and try to bookmark some of the recipes, and actually use them.
"If the book just takes space, perhaps it is more sensible to take it to the charity shop and let someone else enjoy it. There are some cook books which I bought when we still lived in the States (14 years ago) and which I haven't opened for many years", - I wrote a year ago.
I managed to get rid of a couple of cook books, but I did buy a few new ones, though not as many as I used to, so that's a minor adjustment.

Calling the resolutions non-resolutions didn't solve the problem.

I need to nudge myself gently (or not so gently) to be more pro-active regarding the books' haul issue.

A. Read some non-fiction. How about a goal of 5 non-fiction books this year?
I used to read a lot of history and art books, and would like to go back to that.
Starting with "Poirot and Me" by David Suchet which I'm reading now, so as to neutralise the unpleasant aftertaste after watching The ABC Murders with Malkovich.
In my Reading challenge of 2019 I added 50 books as my goal. 5 books out of 50 would be quite do-able, don't you think?!

B. Start reading books in Russian again. My Mum keeps bringing books from Russia with her, when she comes to visit me, and I always think I would have time to read them at some point.
The last time I read something in Russian was about 3 years ago, after I watched War and Peace and decided to tackle Tolstoy's masterpiece (the previous time I read it, we studied it at school for a whole term).

C. Classics!!! Time to revisit some old favourites and discover those classics which I've never had a chance to read. When I was in high school and at Uni I spent many hours devouring all those big fat volumes - Thomas Mann, John Galsworthy, Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens etc etc.

D. Read what you bought. Go through the stash of paperbacks. Do not allow yourself to buy new books until you read at least three from the stash you already have and take them to the charity shops.

That's only one small pile of purchases in the last year

E. Let them go... If you cannot finish a book, don't feel guilty about it. That particularly relates to books given to me as gifts.
My late friend J and I had shared a love of poetry, and even studied Russian poetry together. She had much more sophisticated tastes when it came to fiction than me. And she gave me quite a few books which I've either started reading and couldn't finish or would pick up, read the blurb, and put back on the shelf, trying to convince myself that one day I will read it.
I've read about one half of Reading Lolita in Tehran, and never finished it. It's not that I didn't like the book, it just I didn't click with it.
I feel bad about it, and perhaps it's time to let it go... J will always be in my heart as a dear friend and a gentle soul, and wouldn't want me to feel guilty about not reading the books she has gifted to me.

Are you a fellow book addict? How do you manage to restrain yourself? What are your reading resolutions for 2019?


  1. Congrats for last year and, of course, good luck for this year's challenge.
    Unlike you, I rather read non-fiction, last year I've read almost 60 non-fiction books, and I loved them. But, like you, I've added 3 fiction books on my to read list, Russian authors. It's about time I read a few classics.
    I was thinking of reading books in other languages too. The last time I've read something that was not in English was before moving to UK from Romania, 7+ years ago. I don't even own a Romanian book. I was pondering if a book French or Spanish should be appealing. Who knows? Maybe I will add it to my reading challenge next year.
    As for buying books... I can't help myself. :))

    1. Thank you, Anca! Reading your reviews made me realise that I'm missing on a lot of good books, and you've inspired me to add non-fiction to my to-read list. I used to read abridged books in French when I was at Uni, but now don't think I can manage even a children's book, I've completely forgotten the language.

    2. It's lovely to hear that, thank you so much. I'm glad I've inspired you to read non-fiction. xx
      I forgot French too, despite getting a A* at my A-level (the equivalent). But I can read and understand when listening, so I might be able to read it, even though it will take a long long time to finish it. :)

  2. Your bookshelves look a lot like mine - I can see many of the same cookbooks I have. I keep telling myself that I need to make them earn their keep, but I suppose they do in a way in that although I seldom actually cook from the recipes in them, browsing through them gives me ideas and inspiration.
    As for fiction, although I'm a voracious reader I can't resist a book competition or freebie, and I've still not finished working my way through the massive haul of 60 e-books that I won this time last year. Yet I carry on entering the comps and eagerly awaiting each month's Kindle First choices as if I'm short of something to read!

    1. Thank you, Jane! I also use the cook books mostly as inspiration, but some books are never even open after the initial perusal, especially the diet books, which were bought with very good intentions of going on a diet. The photo is only a part of my cook books' stash. Would love to see your collection. And yes, I also tend to enter as many book competitions as possible. I do read ebooks too, especially if I get some sent for reviewing, but prefer to read the actual paper copies, as it's easier on my eyes.