Tuesday, January 8, 2019

2019/January reading goals, challenges & decisions

As I've mentioned in a couple of previous posts, I've once again signed up for the Goodreads Reading Challenge, and set a goal of reading at least 24 books in 2019 (again).

I've noticed, though, that a couple of my friends have joined book challenges that are a little more detailed than aiming at a simple numerical goal.  One friend, besides setting a Goodreads Challenge goal, is taking part in the PopSugar reading challenge, which provides 50 "prompts" to guide your reading for the year. (Sample prompts:  "a book becoming a movie in 2019,"  "a book published posthumously," "a book set in Scandinavia"...).  If committing to 50 specific books sounds a little TOO challenging for you, Modern Mrs. Darcy has a similar, albeit less complex reading challenge with 10 categories/12 books to complete. Among the ALI bloggers I follow, Jjiraffe has not only joined the Goodreads challenge, she's actually planned a list of 30 books she wants to read during the year.

I've never given much thought about WHICH 24 books I will try to read, or whether I should try to read books from specific categories -- my TBR pile is so huge, and there are always great new books popping up in the bookstore. I tend to just follow my reading muse and see where it takes me. ;)  (I'd  probably manage to tick off many of those challenge category boxes during the course of my reading year anyway.)

But I do want to do one book-related thing I've been talking about doing forever (and if I post about it here, I will probably be more likely to do it...!): join a (live/in person) book club.

I have a few friends ("real life" and online) who are members of book clubs, and I've been insanely jealous (and no, none of them are close enough for me to join too).  I love the online book clubs I'm in, but hanker for some real-life contact with fellow bookworms. (And since I (still) don't really know anyone other than dh's relatives hereabouts, any real-life contact with other human beings who don't happen to be baristas or store clerks and might become potential friends would be nice, lol.)  Book clubs, like reading challenges, do impose a certain rigour/discipline/stress on one's reading list -- but  I do believe it's good to step out of my comfort zones once in a while and try something a little different. :)

So I searched for local book clubs via Meetup.com a while back, but none that came up were particularly "local"/close to me. And then -- I'm not sure what prompted me to check out the website for the local public library, but it turns out that most of its nine branches -- including two just a short drive from our condo -- host monthly book club meetings. :)  I have vowed to check out at least one and perhaps two nearby branch book club meetings later this month. 

This will probably involve me getting a library card. I'm ashamed to say that, even though I am an avid reader and book lover, I haven't had a library card since we moved from an apartment in the city to a house in the suburbs, almost 30 years ago, although I was a frequent library user all my life to that point.

I'm not entirely sure how/why we got out of the library habit -- although I have a few theories. First, while the library in the city was an easy walk from our apartment, it required a car trip in our new (now former) location (& will require a car trip here too).  Second, dh wasn't impressed by their holdings or the condition the books were in (he's picky & won't read a book with yellowed pages or a musty smell, etc.).  Third, a couple of years after we moved to the suburbs, the big-box mega-bookstore trend began taking off, and an outlet opened not too far from where we lived. A bookstore browse became a staple of our Saturday night routine, after dinner out, and we rarely left without a bag in tow.  Fourth, with the busy lives we lead (or were leading, anyway), getting through a book(s) on a deadline ( = before the return date) was stress I just didn't need. Buying a book that I could read (or not) at leisure just seemed simpler.

(And finally, I may have been influenced by my sister -- a prodigious reader and always an enthusiastic library user in her own city -- who stopped going after a bug crawled out of a library book she was reading (!).)

Anyway -- here's what my January reading is shaping up like:
  • I started David Frum's "Trumpocracy"on New Year's Day & will likely finish it by the time this post is ready to publish (review to come).  
  • My D.E. Stevenson online fan group is wrapping up its discussion of "The English Air" (my review here) and will be starting its next pick later this month -- a new reissue of "Mrs. Tim Carries On" (a sequel to "Mrs. Tim of the Regiment," which my group read earlier last year -- reviewed here). I've already volunteered to lead the discussion on a section (several chapters) -- although the exact schedule and which volunteers are doing which section are yet to be determined. 
  • The two library book clubs I'm interested in meet at the end of the month (one on the 28th, one on the 30th). One will be discussing "The Alice Network" by Kate Quinn (at one branch) and the other "Beartown" by Fredrik Backman -- both, happily, already in my TBR pile. :) 
    • Of these two books, I'm inclined to read "The Alice Network" first, because the branch where "The Alice Network" is being discussed will also be discussing "Beartown" a couple of months down the road.  If I don't have time to read it now & miss it at the one location, I can still catch it at the other, lol.  
  • Also in the mix:  Alan Bradley has a new Flavia de Luce mystery coming out on Jan. 22nd -- "The Golden Tresses of the Dead" -- and I generally love to dive right into a new Flavia mystery as soon as I get my hands on it. ;)  
  • And of course, there may be other books that come around, or grab my attention, that I haven't taken into consideration.  
Keep in mind that two books per month was my average for last year -- three or more books in a month doesn't happen often for me these days...!  (Of course, I could probably get more read if I got OFF THE PHONE/LAPTOP once in a while...!)

Decisions, decisions...!! So many good books... so little time...!  (But it's a good problem to have!)  :)

How do you feel about reading challenges?  Do you belong to any book clubs (in "real life" or online)?  What are you reading right now? 


  1. Ooooh, cool! Here's hoping that you find a great in-person book club. That's definitely something I'd love to do in the next year or two as well.

    I go back and forth on reading challenges. On the one hand, it's good to get out of my comfort zone at times...but then I sometimes really struggle to 'get into' those books.

    I wasn't a huge library user until I got my e-reader and then discovered I could check out e-books from home. The books automatically return to the library once the borrow period is over, so no fines either :). Now I get probably 2/3 of my books from the library that way.

    Looking forward to your review of "Trumpocracy"!

  2. I am SO glad you are checking out your local book clubs!! I may have said this before, but any book club would be extremely lucky to have you as a member. You have such an interesting and thoughtful take on all the books you read. I wish you were in my book club! :)

  3. I was going to suggest your local library as a book club source! I couldn't get through Bear Town, because I just don't care about hockey enough. But I loved all the other Backman books I read, so I highly recommend him as an author.

    I love the library because ours is a large system (covers 3/4 of my state), and you can request materials from anywhere in the system and they will be delivered to whatever library you choose. I get books and movies all the time - it's fabulous.

    I was reviewing my year on Goodreads, and...I read a lot of trashy romance novels last year. Here's to another great year of reading! Maybe I'll read more literature or nonfiction...but I doubt it.

    1. I haven't read any of his books yet, although I've had "A Man Called Ove" in my TBR for a while... want to see the movie! I read the description of "Beartown," and I thought it sounded an awful lot like all the little towns I grew up in! -- guess I'll find out!

  4. I wish you could be a part of our book club. But it requires more than a drive to get here! lol
    I've been reading from my library a lot the last few years, downloading e-books using my husband's card because mine either got lost or expired (I can't remember which happened first). But just a few days ago, I had a coffee with another book-loving friend at the cafe above our library, and so went down and got myself a card immediately. (I was still on the system.) After a shameful reading year last year (I hear you on the "getting off the laptop/iPad/phone" issue), I'm hoping to read more this year.

    So my reading challenge this year is just to read this year, as I failed my Goodreads challenge of 30 books, reading only 15! (I'm ashamed to write that.) I am like you, in that I tend to choose books based on my mood, what's happening in my life at the time, etc. I also like to remain open to new surprise books that might pop up, and hate the idea of planning out a year of reading without anything new.

  5. Ummm, yes, getting to your meetings would be quite a hike (not to mention expensive!! lol). (But thanks for thinking of me anyway!) I didn't make my challenge goal in 2017 either, so I was quite happy I went a little over my goal in 2018. Here's to good reading in 2019 for both of us!