Back in January I set some goals for my reading year and before I think about 2017’s plans I want to draw a line in the sand under this year’s goals.
Read 25 books written by Australian women writers and review at least 20 of them.
Almost there. I ‘only’ read 22 eligible books but I did review all of them. One of the books was by a father daughter team though so technically that doesn’t qualify as a full book. I’m pretty pleased with this progress even though I didn’t quite reach my goal, not least because several of the books will be on my favourites list for the year. I’ll take quality over quantity any day of the week.
Read 6 books by new (to me) authors set in different states of the USA
Success. This was part of my long-running Reading USA Fiction Challenge and I managed to read 7 eligible books this year. With several of these ending up on my favourites list for the year I feel like this was Challenge time well spent as I’ve definitely got some new potential favourite authors on my radar (I have read more USA-set books during the year but they were ineligible for inclusion if they weren’t by a new (to me) author or were set in a state I’ve already ‘visited’).
Reduce the TBR to 100 or less (from 145)
Fail. Despite a decent reading pace for at least some of the year and a little purging of titles I know I will never read I still have 130 books in my TBR. Sigh. My problem is being attracted by new reads, whether they be library holds or the result of shopping trips. During 2016 I only read 25 books that I owned prior to the start of this year. Sigh again. Must try harder. If only people would stop writing great books and people I trust would stop recommending them to me. Just for a little while.
Buy no physical or eBooks from stores outside Australia
This first chart shows how I acquired all 117 books this year.
This second chart shows where all the 74 purchased books came from. I separate out the audio books because they do come from overseas but I give myself a pass for that. To date there is no local source for downloadable audio books. You can occasionally buy CDs (if you take out a small mortgage) but I no longer own anything that will play that format.
Aside from the audio downloads I only bought 4 books from overseas and I don’t think local booksellers can be too upset with me. Three of the purchases were not available to buy in Australia (one was a Kindle-only book and two were from a UK publisher that only sells direct from their website). So I only bought one book – Zygmunt Miloszewski’s RAGE for the record – that I could have purchased here. I succumbed and bought the kindle version because it was more than $20 cheaper than I could find it locally. In other cases I would delay purchase or wait for a library copy but this was for book club so I caved.
Participate at least 6 times in the monthly Crimes of the Century reading challenge
Success. As previously detailed I participated every month (and twice in September).
Read no Girl books
Success. Near Miss (as pointed out by Angela in the comments I actually did read a book called Ghost Girls this year)
My reasons for eschewing Girl books are complicated. I have enjoyed some (Stieg Larsson’s trilogy most notably, though it must be said they were not Girl books in their original language). But more often I have not (the Gone version got thrown against the wall long before I finished and the one on the train made me very cross). But as well as being sick of publishing bandwagons and stupid hype I think the overuse of the word says quite a bit about how women and our place in the world is viewed (Literary Hub expresses this with much more intelligence than I can muster). I wondered if my year would be the poorer for ignoring such a large and popular segment of the available reading. But I’ve read some outstanding books this year despite there being no girls in sight so I don’t feel that I’ve missed out on much. I don’t know if I will continue this challenge into 2017 or not though. I do have two Girl books on my TBR that I really do want to read (Derek Miller’s THE GIRL IN GREEN and Adrian McKinty’s GUN STREET GIRL) and perhaps I missing out on some other gems. Any Girl book you think I should be looking out for?
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
In summary then I had
three two successes, two three near misses and only one outright fail for 2016’s bookish goals. More important than numbers is the fact that three of the challenges have steered me towards finding fabulous books I might not otherwise have read which is surely the point. And I am pretty comfortable that if the bottom falls out of the local book selling industry it won’t be my fault.
Did you set any bookish goals for yourself this year? If so, how’d you do? Got any interesting bookish goals for 2017 that you’d like some company with?
Post updated 30/12 because I forgot I had read a Girl book (well a Girls book to be accurate)
You did well with your bookish goals, Bernadette. I respect the way you included working on some new (to you) authors. I try to do that, too, but don’t always succeed as well as I’d like. I also respect the way you try to support local businesses. I honestly wish we had more local bookshops where I live, but we don’t. There’s one of one of the big chains not far, but locally? Not so much.
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I bought my house partly because it is 200m from the city’s best indie bookstore Margot 😀
As for new authors it’s hard to keep up with old ones favourites and try new ones too. We all do the best we can
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I like all of your goals and you did so well. I definitely did not fare so well this year. Mainly, I had a goal to read certain short stories and it fell by the wayside early in the year. I read a lot more short stories than every before, but still. I would like to have a goal of a certain number of books in US states (not already covered) but not sure I could do that with the other goals I have.
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We do what we can Tracy. My Challenge to read a book by a new to me author from each state of the US started in 2014 and I’m still not half-way done (15 books only so far).
You make me laugh, Bernadette. The ‘no girl books’ rule works for me with the Adrian McKinty exemption clause (title is based on a Tom Waits lyric after all!), as I’m pretty sure you already read Cath Ferla’s ‘Ghost Girls’. If not, I’d make an exception for that one, too.
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You are right Angela. I have read Ghost Girls and it was this year. I didn’t even see it when looking down my list of books read. So I didn’t actually succeed at that goal either. 😢
Very good summary and charts, always love the charts. I made my Global Reading Challenge, which was modest, with one book minimum per continent, with historical crime fiction substituting fr Antartica. Read some good books. Found that when I did the level 3 challenge with three books per continent (and historical), I read some books I didn’t really want to finish, but felt compelled to do so. So I went back to a one book per continent requirement.
I tried to avoid the “girl” books, although I liked Stieg Larsson’s trilogy. But I read a few books with “woman” or “widow” in the title which set my teeth chattering; they almost ended up on the floor. (In August, I vegged out and read several women-in-peril or domestic noir books. Never again.)
I also herd of the Book Bingo a few weeks ago and rushed to fulfill all of the categories, which I did. I stretched one category with an author under 30, but the book was written by a young woman, Lisa McInerney,” and it’s superb. “The Glorious Heresies” is quirky, intelligent and fresh.
I read some other excellent books this year, including Tana French’s “The Trespasser,” with a strong, smart, feisty woman police detective who takes no guff from her sexist superiors, and keeps on investigating despite being told to stop. And the dialogue just crackles off the pages!
I loved Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy for many reasons: sense of place in the Outer Hebrides, not only the beautiful scenery, but the difficulty of people’s lives, character development, good plots, and more.
For 2017 I plan to make a list of books I have wanted to read but haven’t and will track them down.
Book Depository has proven helpful to me. I spend less money than I would have here, as delivery is free and no taxes are charged and they have a lot of books earlier than are available in the States.
Between your blog, Angela’s and Kerrie’s, I find so many Australian women authors whose books I want to read, but it’s hard to get them here. I did contact a publisher there which said the cost of a book was $30 plus $20 for shipping. So I ordered it from Book Depository for a total of $20.
So, although I hate to do this, I ended up buying books this way.
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Everyone has to do what works for them Kathy. Although books are expensive here we do have it easier in one way – most US and UK books are published here at the same time or soon after their home publication. I realise that’s often not the case for you with non-American books being delayed or never published locally.
I am putting the finishing touches to my “best of” list (which will be done as a bingo card too) and then will start thinking seriously about next year’s reading.
Yes, I’m a bit over those ‘Girl’ books myself! And there’s often so much hype they’re bound to disappoint!