January 3, 2013

Two-In-One: New Year Reading Goals + Required Reading: JANUARY

Personal Reading Goals

It’s a brand-new year, and as expected, personal goals and resolutions abound. Over at the book club, most of us have come up with reading resolutions, challenges and/or goals for the year – from reading x number of books within a particular period, to exploring new genres, to increasing the quantity of books read for a specific genre. Perhaps I am being presumptuous, but I reckon these resolutions were brought about by every reader’s experiences from the past year – just as mine truly were.

Image from Zu

Personally, I am not into quantity or number; I am more into timing, and relishing, and reading purely for the pleasure of it, not at all worrying how many books I can finish within a specific time. This is not to say though that quality excludes quantity, and vice versa; my humble opinion is solely that, I will read when I feel like it, (try to) enjoy the book and relish it, without thinking about not meeting a quota.

But if I were to have a reading resolution for the year, it’s this: that I will try my best not to fall into a reading slump this year, like I did late last year. I figured that, perhaps, I might need a change of scenery genre every once in a while, which I intend to do every time I feel like I’m being sucked into one of those ruts again. I felt so unproductive and incomplete when I experienced that reading slump last year, which spilled over to a blogging slump as well, so this year, I will exert more effort to be consistent.

Also, I will attempt to read all the books that were given to me as gifts, lent to me or recommended by friends last year. A fair portion of my TBR pile consists of book recommendations, so for 2013, I will make it a point to read what my friends have pushed shoved suggested for future reading.

With respect to blogging and/or writing notes (or quasi-reviews, or annotations, or thoughts – take your pick) about the books I’ve read, I think I’ve been faithful and prompt where that’s concerned. I try not to have a backlog because I have the tendency to forget details – and I don’t want to forget even the most mundane of them when I write down my notes. I prefer to have the story fresh in my mind when I write down what I thought, felt, and imagined as I concluded reading a book, so if I could (and when I have enough time), I sit in front of the computer and type away. I will also continue with my monthly features, The Spark Project, which I neglected for a bit for the last quarter of last year (yes, I was very busy), and I'm going to start another occasional feature on bookmarks, similar to my Book Splurge posts. And then of course, there are the Required Reading posts at the beginning of every month. ;)

Finally, I will be adding a few details on my blog posts/book notes starting this year, like whose copy of the book it was that I read (owned or borrowed, and from whom), who recommended it (or where I first heard about it), what format it’s in (print or ebook), little details like that. Sounds fair and… detailed, right? :)

That’s about it for my reading plans for 2013. And now, on to the very first Required Reading for 2013!

Required Reading: January

For those who haven’t heard of it yet, this is what Required Reading is all about, lifted from the blog of the lovely host herself, Tina:

Required Reading is a reading challenge that is really about getting some books off the Mt. TBR. Just as the name of the challenge meant, Required Reading is about choosing some books that must be read within the month. It doesn’t have to be the only books you read in a month, but they should be read (or at least, started) before the said month ends.

And here the rules (that can be broken or bent a little, it depends, heee):

  • Books chosen for the challenge should be in the current TBR pile as of the month of the Required Reading post. So if you decided to join at March, the books you choose for the month should be in your TBR pile as of February.
  • Galleys and ARCs can be included.
  • Posting reviews aren’t necessary (but don’t you want that out of the way, too?).
  • I’ll (i.e., Tina) be posting a theme every month but you don’t have to follow that. You can choose a theme for yourself if you want to — what’s important is the books that you put there are books that you want to get to reading.
  • Lastly: have fun. If you don’t finish a book, it’s okay! If you finish it, then…feel free to reward yourself with something. Like a new book. :D

Last year, I had a sorry reading backlog composed of books that I listed down for the month but, for one reason or another, failed to read. These are:

  • The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst - [August] untouched
  • An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro - [August, carried over to September] untouched.
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - [October] still stuck at 10%
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker - [November] untouched
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - [November] untouched

Since a new year heralds a fresh beginning, I’ve decided to completely scrap that backlog [insert sound of crisp paper being torn here] and start anew. No more backlogs for me; if I decide to read a book, I will try my absolute best to finish it BUT without pressure. I will take my own sweet time, yes? :)

Before I proceed to this month's list, a recap of what I managed to read last December:

  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart - Used to be part of the backlog. 4/5

Having said all those, here are the books for my January reading list. The recurring theme? Variety!

  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – The book club’s F2F book for the month.
  • Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti – A birthday gift from Tina last year!
  • Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, illustrated by Maira Kalman – I included this on my Christmas wish list last December, and my KK mommy, Mavic, got it for me. Thank you!
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – Been hearing great things about this. Looking forward to reading this one.

This is going to be a really great year, I just know it. Don’t you think? :D


Tina said...

Heh, I like that my name is in pink. :)

I think as the years go by, the reading resolutions get a bit more relaxed? I checked my 2010 and 2011 resolutions and they were kind of strict with the numbers. Even if I set mine to 52 this year, I won't be really miffed if I don't get to that number. :)

On another note, I tried writing notes on the books I read last year and stopped by book # 4. Fail. I should try it again this year, if only so I can remember the books I read since I tend to build a backlog.

And once again: so happy you're reading Honey Baby Sweetheart soon! I really hope you like it. :) It was one of the surprises I had last year. I'm quite curious about Why We Broke Up, too, but I'm not in that kind of mood so I'll pick it up some other time. (Like maybe next month. Since it's February. And it sort of fits the love theme. :D)

Long comment is long! :D

Monique said...

TINA: I will make it a point to always publish your name in pink! Heee! :D

I agree. Every year, we make reading resolutions based on how we fared the previous year, and it changes considerably each time. I think the common thing about our resolutions is this: just wing it! :D

I picked Honey, Baby, Sweetheart because (1) it was a gift (and I'm reading all book gifts this year), (2) it offers a different flavor from the other 3 books I've chosen, and (3) I'm curious!!! I hafta read it now! :)

Long comment deserves long response, hehe. :D

Anonymous said...

Hi friends!

I used to take notes last year. It lasted until August or September. That's when the reading rut started. Come to think of it, that's also when the book club bad vibes started. Hmm. Does this mean bad vibes = reading rut?

And yes, while I was typing this comment, I was messaged by our receptionist and told me that I have a delivery. Looks like it's the material that I'll be using for my 2013 reading notes. Hurray! Thanks so much. :D

Monique said...

BUDDY: Hmmm. No more bad vibes then! We don't want our reading to suffer any more than it did last year.

Oh, I hope you'll find the material very useful for your purpose. Even if it would turn out that you don't, it's OK - just keep it. Happy new year again! :)

Louize DG said...

Reading other's reading challenge makes me want to take back mine. I seemed to have overstepped bravery in this sense.

I haven't been taking notes for months either. Yes, we should revert back into doing that. I think I'll convert my new travel journal for this purpose since I don't intend to travel much this year. *sorry bitterness is leaking out* :)

Maria @ bookchilla said...

I love your reading goals, every single one. :) And poor you, still stuck in P&P. Don't worry, I haven't touched The Great Gatsby still. haha! Happy New Year! and i hope you like Why We Broke Up. ;)

Monique said...

LOUIZE: Awww, that's alright! You can travel through the books that you read, right? :)

My book notes are really just my "reviews" actually. I synthesize them into something readable and then have those published here and on Goodreads.

See you soon, Louize! :)

MARIA: Thanks, kapatid! Sabay na nating basahin yang si Gatsby? Hahaha! :D

Lynai said...

Happy new year, Monique! :)

I agree with winging book reads, and to variety! I, too, am going to relax my reading goals and resolutions for the year. I have to give way to a more important priority, anyway, hee! ;)

And oh, you have Why We Broke Up! I plan to read it on February but let's see how my mood will dictate me by then! :)