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.
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?