Tag Archives: Reading challenge

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 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 – progress

It’s November already. This means that the reading challenge for 2015 is starting to wrap up and the challenge for 2016 is on the horizon.

This year has been good. Not as good as 2013 and 2014, but still not bad considering I’ve been spending more time on other hobbies. My main challenge of reading four book of 700 pages or longer has been completed. Interestingly, in previous years I’ve read a lot more longer books than this year. Which means that I’ve picked the right challenge.

At the moment I’m, according to Goodreads 11 books ahead of schedule (for 100 books), I’m currently reading my 97th book of the year. And the average length is 368, which is lower than last year but about the same as in 2013 and more than in 2012.

What I haven’t managed to do is keep the number of active series down. I’ve read quite a lot of first books in series this year and decided not to continue with most of them but lately I’ve been starting series I like. There are several series that only have three or less books in them before I’m up to date with the series, so I’ll be focussing on those for the remainder of the year.

In previous years I always had one genre I seemed to prefer. This year that isn’t really the case, though lately I’ve been reading a lot of ghost stories and horror books. The trend this year seems to be reading books by new to me authors, of the 97 books I’ve read 42 new authors.

I’ve already decided on a challenge for 2016; each month pick a theme and read at least four books related to that theme. I’ve already set up a page for it with more details. I also want to do both more updates on my progress and start writing reviews again on this blog, something that didn’t happen this year.

Reading Challenge 2015 – progress

Already the first three months of 2015 are gone, which means it’s time to see how my reading challenge is going.

So far I’ve read 27 books, 9674 page and have given up on 1 book. Compared to 2013 and 2014 I’m behind (in pages read) and just a little ahead of 2012. However, last year I went on a lazy vacation in March where I got a lot more reading done than I normally would. I did read works by 8 authors new to me, I’ve started 6 new series (2 of which I’m probably not going to continue with) and finished 5 series.

So far this year I’m enjoying both crime novels and fantasy/paranormal novels. Lately I’m reading a lot of horror books.

I am behind on my 700+ page books challenge. I want to at least 4 of those this year, but I seem to be drawn to shorter books so far this year. I have started the second book in the Outlander series (almost 1000 pages long) and I usually read one or two long books in summer when I’m house sitting, so I should be able to finish this challenge.

Also, at the end of this month I’m going to Antwerp for a couple of days. I should be able to read more than I normally would both on bus trip to and from Antwerp and at the hotel.

One of my favourite books so far this year is Sycamore Row by John Grisham, which is the sequel to A Time to Kill. I also like the Lincoln Rhyme series, the first book of this series, The Bone Collector, has been made into a film (the book is better).

I abandoned Mary Stewart’s Nine Coaches Waiting after I realized that I didn’t care if the little boy in danger lived or died. I also felt the story, after reading over half of it, didn’t go anywhere.

That said, I generally liked the books I’ve read so far. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep picking the right books.

Reading plans 2015

There are less than two weeks left in the year, which means it’s time to set my reading goals for 2015.

Like the previous two years I won’t set a number of books I want to read; I want to have fun and not feel pressured to skip longer books and feel I haven’t got time to pursue my other hobbies. For my GoodReads challenge I’ll probably initially set it to 52 and up it if I get close.

First of all I want to have fun. Read whatever I feel like, be it classics, “literature”, or fluff.

Second, I want to keep the number of “active” series to a reasonable amount. I did well in 2014; I currently have only 5 active series. It does help that I have become a lot more picky about which series I want to invest time in. What a reasonable number is is hard to define. It really depends on how many series I have active that are either made up out of long books (like the Outlander series) or series that have a lot of books in a series that I haven’t read yet (like the Guido Brunetti series).

Finally, I do want to read some of the longer books that have been lingering on my To Be Read list, so my only real challenge is that I want to read at least 4 books which are longer than 700 pages (so far I’ve read eight 700+ page books).

I was thinking of instead of having an X number of books challenge to have an X number of pages challenge. But I’ve decided against it because some books read a lot faster than others. I feel both the number of books and the number of pages I’ve read doesn’t say much about my reading.

Reading Challenge 2014 – three months to go

Already three quarters of the year is over. Which means it’s time to take a look at how my reading challenge is going and to start thinking about next year.

According to GoodReads I’m 4 books ahead of schedule for 100 books (I really don’t care if I make it but it’s a number to fill in). In September I was ahead a bit more but the combination of a long book and a couple of days to Newcastle, so not much time to read, has made me slip a little. I’m still ahead compared to previous years in page count, too. But only just. In November I’m going away for a full week alone, I’ve booked an apartment in my favourite holiday park. Besides one or two trips to the nearby town of Harderwijk (depending on the weather, of course) I’ve can read as much as I like. Usually during one of those weeks I manage to read 4 to 6 books so I’ll be able to make up some lost ground, if I haven’t done so already by that time.

Lately, I’ve been starting new series without finished the one already on my active list. And my list of want-to-try series is growing and growing. There are two series I’ve almost finished, so I think I’ll concentrate on those for my next couple of reads.

My favourite new book series is Vera Stanhope by Ann Cleeves. I love the tv series based on the books and was apprehensive about starting them because often when I start reading a book series that has a tv series based on it the books disappoint (Midsomer Murder, Inspector Lynley). But I also love the books, even more than the tv series. I love how Vera is herself; ugly, blunt and nosy. That’s just who she is and people just have to live with it.

It’s also time to start thinking about what to do for next year’s challenge. A lot of people set as goal to read a certain number of books of a certain (sub)genre of even make a reading list of books they want to read that year. That doesn’t work for me. So I think I’ll keep going with the ones I already have; have fun and try to keep the number of active series to a reasonable number.

I’m also keeping my fingers crossed that the new Kindle Voyage will be available for order in the Netherlands soon. Either on the US website or, even better, on the maybe soon to open Dutch Amazon website.