Half way there

With half the year over it’s time to take stock of how I’m doing with my reading challenge that-isn’t-a-challenge this year.

So far, I’ve finished 59 books, of which I didn’t finish 1 (I did count the 112 I managed to read towards my total, hence I counted it as a book read). The total number of pages is 22052, with an average of 374 pages per book. I’ve read sixteen books by authors that were new to me and I’ve reread four books. I’ve read about 2000 pages more than I would on average in the first six months of the year. Mind you, that doesn’t mean anything, last year I read even more in the first half of the year and due to a reading slump later on I only managed to read just a little bit over my average for the year.

Overall, I’m happy with what I’ve read so far this year. I’ve decided that this summer I will focus on my series. To help me choose which one to read I’ve downloaded a randomizer app, added the list of my active series and let the app choose what I read next. I can let the app choose again if it picks a series I’ve just read.

I’ve also been able to keep my Kindle neat and tidy. I have a folder for the next-in-series book of my active series, when I finish a book I add the next one. It also contains new releases of series I was up to date with. I also have a folder which contains the first books of series I’m interested in. I haven’t done much with this folder, but at least I haven’t added to it in a while. The stand alone books I haven’t in a folder and these seem to get away from me easily, by me adding more and more books, but not reading them and ending up deleting them after a while. I’ve been doing well with my stand alone books, I try to keep them down to one page, at the moment there is the danger of it getting too long. Which means I will have to read some stand alone books soon.

For the summer I have planned another couple of rereads, including Stephen King’s It. There are a couple of active series I only need to read two or three books to get up to date, hopefully I can manage that this summer and get my possible series list down.

Seasonal Reads

To me Stephen King’s It is a summer read. One summer I got the English paperback as an end of school year present. I had already read the Dutch translation but I also wanted to read the original version. It took me two weeks to read, which isn’t bad since it wasn’t in my first language. For years I reread It every summer (also occasionally at other times of the year). After years of not having read It I reread it last summer, and still loved it.

Summer has arrived again and I found myself thinking of rereading It again, or something similar. After some researching I settled on Dan Simmons’ Season of Horror trilogy and having read almost 100 pages of the first book it seems the right choice. Though I still might end up rereading It.

Recently I watched the 2011 version of Jane Eyre, with Michael Fassbender. Afterwards I thought it might be a good idea to reread the book. However, I dismissed it almost immediately, because, to me, it’s an autumn or winter read. I first read this book in autumn or winter for university (actually I listened to the abridged audiobook whilst working on other assignments for uni).

I hadn’t realized that I had any other seasonal reads besides It. I thought of other books I reread and it seems that some books are seasonal in my mind, like The Secret Garden (again an autumn read) and The Shining (a winter read). But some books, like The Stand and The Lord of the Rings have no seasonal link to me.

Looking at it now it seems that those books that I link to a specific season is because of the either the time of year the story is set in (It and The Shining) or because of the atmosphere (both Jane Eyre and The Secret Garden have a gloomy atmosphere and feel).

It also made me think of other weird links I have with reading. I don’t have seasonal genres. In my mind summer is the time of both quick and easy read but also of long books (800+ pages), though I also tend to read a long book at the end of the year. Another strange link I have is with vacations. One of my favourite genres is horror, but when I go on vacation, no matter how short, I have to read at least one horror book.

March Update Reading Challenge

Just over two months in and I’m ahead of schedule. I’m now reading my 23rd book, of the 100 books that are my unofficial target. I’m a little bit ahead schedule with page count, too, compared to the previous years (except for 2013, which was my best year so far). Which means I’m doing well.

My ongoing series list was long at the start of the year. I did manage to finish a couple of them, mostly those where I had to read the latest release which had been published in the last couple of months. Last month I noticed there were four series that I had almost finished, three had only one book left to read and one series had two books left. So I devised a mini challenge to get these four series out of the way. I made a reading list, allowing for a free choice read after finishing two books from the reading list. At the moment I’m working on the last book of the list. After finishing it I only have four active series on my list, five if you count the Commonwealth Saga.

After finishing the challenge I’ve decided to focus on reading more stand alone books. I’ve got a lot of those on my Kindle at the moment and because I’ve been focussing on series so far this year that list is growing. I also want to tackle my “interesting series” list. Which is over 20 books long, consisting of first books of series that I might possibly like. My aim is to have an active series list that has about 7 series on it and I want to make it more diverse than it has been, where most series were either crime or mystery series (often combined with other genres). I know from experience that I won’t be continuing with those series on the list after the first book, in recent years I’ve become more more selective about what I want to read.

So Far So Good

So far this year I’ve managed to finish four series. Which is good, but I want to do better. With just five more books I can finish four more series. So I’ve devised a mini-challenge to finish them before the end of March. I’ll start with book 9 in the Body Farm series, followed by the latest Sigma Force book, then I’m allowed to choose a non-series book (or try out a first book in a new to me series). I’ve chosen to read the third Cormoran Strike book next, followed by the latest Body Farm book and then I have another free choice book. I end my series marathon with the final book in the Bill Hodges trilogy.

I still have the second book in the Commonwealth Saga duology to read, but that’s a 1200+ page book, and I know I need to be in the mood for both the sci-fi genre and a long book to be able to get on with it, which is why I didn’t include it in my marathon.

By choosing this order and allowing a free read every two books I hope I’ve mixed it up well enough not to burn out. All books are either crime or thriller or both but in different styles.

The next challenge will be to select new series to read. I’ve noticed that it has become a lot harder for me to find series I want to continue with. I did discover the PC Peter Grant series, the first book was very good, so that’s been added. I’ve got 20 other first-in-series on my Kindle. My aim will be to get a good mix of different genres and styles, because I think I got stuck in a rut last year because I had (and still have) series ongoing that were very similar in genre, style or setting.

Reading Challenge – January

The first month of the year has passed and I made great progress with my reading challenge. Mostly thanks to a vacation of a week, it was too cold to go out much, plus I had the flu, so I didn’t have the energy to do much than potter about in my apartment.

With just 20 minutes to spare I manage to finish 12 books, with a total of 3933 pages. Which is over 400 pages over average for January. I manage to finish 3 series, which is great. I only read 2 stand alone book, but I need to take care I don’t burn out on series. I started three new series; one I’m not going to continue with, another one is a graphic novel series, but the second book hasn’t been released yet and the third was the first book in the PC Peter Grant series, Rivers of London, which was my favourite book of January and it’s been added to my ongoing series list.

In February I usually read a lot less, but looking into more detail I see that is because I often start a really long book during the second half of the month, which I don’t finish until March (where my average page count is quite high). I do have one 1200+ page book on my soon to be read list, I’m now curious to see if I’m in the mood to start that in February. Otherwise I hope to finish another two series (Cormoran Strike and Sigma Force) this month, but I’ll see what I’m in the mood for to read.

Reading challenge 2017

Another year, another reading challenge. Last year I did the theme challenge, but I noticed that towards the end of the year I was getting burned out on that challenge. So I’ve decided that this year’s challenge will consist of only two things: have fun and get some longer ongoing series finished. On Goodreads I’ve entered a reading goal of 100 books, but that’s more for the fun of keeping track.

I’ve got several series where I need to read only one or two books to finish them, I will focus on those first. Then I can start some new series. Last year I’ve read a lot of first books in series, but only few I found good enough to continue with. So I’m expecting that finding new series will be harder than in the past.

Mid January I’m going on vacation for a week. It’s going to be a lazy vacation; I’ve booked an apartment at a vacation park and have not much more planned than to read, watch films, bake cookies and play some games on my new laptop. Hopefully the gaming doesn’t distract me too much from my reading and I can get my reading of to a good start.

Reading challenge 2016: results

Another year has ended, which means that another reading challenge has also ended.

For 2016 my reading challenge was to read more than 40000 pages, each month pick a theme from a pre-made list and read at least 4 books related to that theme and, as always, do not forget my ongoing series.

Statistics for 2016:
Books read: 119
Pages read: 41904
Themes finished: 13
Books abandoned: 2
Series finished: 23
New authors: 46

Not bad. However, the series finished statistic is a bit misleading. I also counted series as finished when a new book came out in a series I was already up to date on. I didn’t do too well with series that were already ongoing at the start of 2016.

I liked the theme challenge, but I found that over the course of the year I felt it kept me from reading what I really wanted to read. Because I managed to cross off two themes in one month multiple times I was able to take both September and December off from this challenge, which was a good thing.

I was surprised at the number of new authors, I think the theme challenge encouraged me to find new authors. Some were okay, but I also found a couple of new favourite authors. Such as Tamara Thorne, Alistair Cross, Amy Cross, Jussi Adler-Olsen and Michael Richan. Not bad for a just one year.

Reading Challenge 2016: update

Just over five months into the year and I’m overdue on an update about my reading challenge progress for this year.

When looking at the statistics I’m going well. I’ve currently finished 57 books, so I’m well passed the half way point of the 100 book challenge I set myself on Goodreads. I’m also almost at the half way point of my challenge of reaching 40000 pages, just 400 pages to go.

My theme challenge is also going well, I’ve finished 6 themes so far. This means I’m one theme ahead of schedule. I’ve added two more themes: wishlist (where I have to read 4 books from either my Amazon or Goodread wishlist that I added before June 1) and Calibre (which I can only read books I already own for a full month).

So far this year I’ve haven’t given up on any books, there were a couple of close calls but I was intrigued enough to finish them. My favourite series, so far, this year is Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Department Q. The first two books were slow read, but the third and fourth I read quickly. I’m doing okay with finishing series, but that’s mostly due to reading the latest releases of series I was up to date with. This month I’m hoping to finish the Odd Thomas series, just one short story and one full length novel to go.

This summer I also want to reread Stephen King’s It, it’s been a long time since my last reread. It will fit in both with the Calibre and Old Time Favourites theme, so I’ll be able to finish two themes in one month again, probably in July.

Next week I’m on vacation, I’ve booked a cottage and I’m calling it my reading retreat. So hopefully I can get even more ahead than I am now. In July and August I’m also dog sitting for several weeks, and from experience I know that I read more than I normally would during those weeks.

Reading Challenge 2016 – Goals

The start of a new year also means the start of a new reading challenge. The last couple of years I didn’t do any real challenges beyond the 100 books challenge and read 4 long books. This year I wanted to have a real challenge, but not one that would put me off. I’ve learned that I don’t do well with prescribed reading; I tried the challenge where you have to read a book published in each year since you were born and I found that too constricting and gave up.

Last summer I set myself the challenge of reading 4 horror books in one month. That would leave me with enough other books to read to mix it up a bit. This year I will do something similar; I’ve made a list of 20 themes (if I think of more I will allow myself to add those), each month I will choose one theme and I will have to read at least 4 books in relation to that theme. Books of over 800 pages will count as two books for this challenge and books of over 1200 pages will count as three books, that way I won’t shun longer books.

In addition I will have the usual goals of trying to keep the number of series to a reasonable amount. For the Goodreads reading challenge I opted to read 100 books this year, but for my own challenge I want to read at least 40000 pages.

Although not really a challenge but more something I want to pay attention to at the beginning of the year is my active series. There are several I didn’t read a lot of book of in 2015, so I want to pick up pace on those.

And last, but not least, I want to have fun. Books I don’t like I won’t finish and series that start to go downhill (for me) I won’t continue.

Reading Challenge 2015

With just a couple of hours left until 2016 begins it’s time to see how I did on this year’s reading challenge.

I’ve managed to finish 113 books this year, totalling 40447 pages. Less than in 2013 and 2014, but certainly not bad. Because of this I added the extra challenge for next year to try to read 40000 pages again.

I did manage to read 4 book of over 700 pages. Until previous years, though, I had to consciously pick them since this year I seem to have enjoyed shorter books. I abandoned 3 books this year, which was a shame, but they couldn’t keep my interest.

Another trend in 2015 was that I tried out quite a few new series, 19 to be exact. Some I abandoned after one or two books, other I have finished and one I still need to read one book for to be up to date. I didn’t do as well with the longer active series, which will be a point of focus for the beginning of 2016. Plus I also need to pay some attention to books released in 2015 of series I was up to date with.

Unlike last year I didn’t have two week long lazy vacations during which I managed to read a lot. However, in just over a week I will go away for a week and I’m planning to read a lot and have a good start for my 2016 reading challenge.