2015…Deja Vu All Over Again

It’s a little disheartening to sit down to write the last blog post for the year and realise you already wrote it. This time last year. Alas 2015 – at least the second half of it – has been even more personally trying than 2014 which has impacted unfavourably on my bookish goals (on loads of other aspects of life too but that’s for a whole different blog that, you should be grateful, I’ll never start). In summary the death of my mum in August led to much emotional upheaval and wrangling with bureaucracy. It’s hard to say which of those has been more draining.

Nevertheless I feel obliged to report my achievements against my bookish goals for the year which were to…

Read and Review 25 books for the Australian Women Writers Challenge. Fail. I read 18 books and reviewed 13 of them. Some fabulous books among the 18 though.

Read at least 6 books by new (to me) authors set in different states of the US as part of my ongoing Reading USA Fiction challenge. Fail (though I got close) I read only 5 eligible books this year to bring my total to a paltry 8 books after two years! I’ll be retired before I make it all the way around the US at this rate.

Read at least 6 books that aren’t crime/mystery/thrillers. Fail (though I got close). I can legitimately count 4 books in this category and will give myself a fifth though some look at it as crime (a book about decluttering, a dystopian novel, my first romance in two decades, a book I thought was crime based on its adaptation but really isn’t and an almost-crime novel about the difficulties of escape .

Read books set in at least 10 different countries (not counting Australia, America or England). Success. Although Australia and England once again provided the most popular settings for my reading I virtually visited the USA 10 times and 18 other countries at least once.

Read at least 20 books I owned at the start of the year. Fail. Only 15 of my first time reads this year qualify (I did a bit of re-reading of comfort books but that doesn’t count for this purpose).

Buy no physical or eBooks from non-Australian stores (audio books excepted). Fail. I bought one eBook from Amazon that I just could not obtain locally <insert shame faced emoticon here>.

Participate in at least 6 of the monthly classic crime challenges hosted by Past Offences. Success. I managed to read and review books for 9 months this year (and had a good go at a 10th) and thoroughly enjoyed this challenge. Even the not-so-great books generated interesting discussion.

Two out of seven is a fairly poor showing but on the bright side there is loads of room for improvement in 2016. Did you have any bookish goals this year? Do you find this kind of goal helpful?

Wishing everyone a safe, happy and (for fellow Aussies) a cool and fire-free New Year.

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19 Responses to 2015…Deja Vu All Over Again

  1. greenspace01 says:

    I am so sorry about your mother’s death. Dealing with bureaucracy while grieving is horrible.

    I think you’re being a bit harsh in using the word Fail against many of your goals. If you look at it another way, you exceeded two goals, and reached 75% or more of several others.


    • thanks for the kind words greenspace01. I do appreciate that point of view regarding the word fail but it felt a bit like obfuscation to claim the other goals as anything but not achieved. It’s OK though…I really don’t feel too bad. Before I actually did the maths this week I thought I’d done even worse 🙂


  2. tracybham says:

    I appreciate your honest appraisal of your reading and goals this year, but under the circumstances you experienced, to meet the goals was probably unrealistic. My only stressor this year was how much my job affected my ability to blog and read; I am older, I like working but it is harder to do the demanding work of a programmer at my age; but I would dearly miss the rewards of work. Plus of course the fact that we would not be able to afford to live in the beautiful but expensive Santa Barbara area without my income, for the present. What I learned this year was that I need to be less goal oriented in reading and blogging and enjoy those aspects of my life for what they are for the present… entertainment and learning from other bloggers. I enjoy every one of your posts on your reading.


  3. Tracy it is the knowledge that people like you are reading my ramblings that made me decide to keep going with the blog when I was thinking about giving it away all together this year. Not that I think you wouldn’t all find something else to occupy those few moments of your week but your comments – especially on some of the classic crime posts where you have shared your real world experiences of being a pioneer woman – are what make the whole thing worth doing as it helps me to keep learning about the world and reminding me to be grateful for the things I have.

    You make a good point about being less goal focused for these leisure activities…I will be re-thinking my approach for 2016.


  4. Margot Kinberg says:

    I am sorry you had such a horrible year, Bernadette. I give you credit for keeping going and dealing with it all. I hope that 2016 is kinder to you; you’re about due, I’d say. And as to your reading goals? Considering everything, I think you’ve done fine. No matter how well things are going, there’s never time to read it all, and when things aren’t going well, then it’s all the harder. And anyway, reading is supposed to be about enjoyment, not pressure.


    • Thanks for the kind wishes Margot…I’m sure 2016 will be better. There’s definitely never time to read everything I want and I don’t get too hung up on the goals but I do like the way they prompt me to read certain types of books. It does me good not to read only my favourite authors 🙂

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  5. Patti Abbott says:

    Your failure (in reading) would be a great success for me. I doubt that i read more than 40 books this year. I spend far too much time on here. NYR to spend less time online.


    • LOL Patti…in one of the books I read this year the internet went down for an extended period and I couldn’t help but think “oh that actually sounds pretty good…pity the zombies would have to eat all my friends for it to happen”


  6. I think you’ve done amazingly well, with such ambitious targets. Not sure I’m ready for the challenge – I tend to read eclectically, and I get through a lot of books each year (about 65 this year). Maybe I could group some of them and pretend that was my goal the whole time. Christmas books, anyone?


  7. Rebecca says:

    Best wishes for a less draining 2016, Bernadette. Totals, schmotals: if you’re finding stuff you like to read in the vast sea of books out there, that’s winning, I think! And for the record, I’ll probably finish the US challenge after you.


    • Thanks Rebecca. I definitely agree that having good books to read is definitely the only outcome that matters…and despite everything I did read some great books this year.

      Maybe we can set a record for longest time taken to complete a reading challenge ever 🙂


  8. Best wishes for a better 2016, Bernadette. Looking forward to seeing how your reading challenges pan out this year.


  9. kathy d. says:

    My gosh, Bernadette, give yourself a break. Your mother passed away. I remember what I went through when my mother died, and I had to deal with some horrible errors made by various bureaucrats which intensified and lengthened the grief.
    But you have done very well in your reading. And, to echo other commenters, reading is about enjoyment, diversion, sometimes education. But the main goal is to read good books which one
    I was very goal-oriented when I first found so many great crime fiction fans’ blogs and the Global Reading Challenge. I doggedly read several books from each continent and historical mysteries. In some cases, I’d keep reading even if it was a bad book because I had to finish the book to complete the reading for authors from a particular continent.
    Then I changed my ways in 2015. First, I committed to just reading one book from each continent and a historical mystery — and then reading whatever I wanted to read. I scrapped most plans. If I read a rave review at a blog I like, as this one, or in a newspaper or ezine, or if I saw a review which raised curiosity, I read the book. If a reader friend recommended a book, I went after it.
    Also, I embraced the view which I had previously ignored that one does not have to finish a book if one does not like it, even if others like it or it’s popular, etc.
    I will continue to try to read a minimum of one book per continent and one historical mystery, but I won’t read books I do not like or I won’t finish them. I will still strive to read new authors and global books, but won’t finish anything I don ‘t like.
    And your blog is terrific. Your critiques are excellent, whether of bad or good books. Your book vs. movie adaptations are excellent. And your sense of humor is appreciated.


    • Thanks for all the kind words Kathy. I’m glad you’ve found out how liberating it is not to finish a book…I think this makes it easier to try new authors/genres or whatever because you don’t have to worry that you’ll be stuck reading a book you hate.


  10. I hope 2016 is looking better for you. I tend not to set goals and challenges, so I can’t get too worked up about not achieving them. But please carry on blogging – yours are posts and reviews that I really enjoy. I would love more of them, but can live with scarcity value so long as you keep going!


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