Wednesday Witterings – A triumph of hope over experience…

New Year’s Bookish Resolutions


darcy overcome

The purpose of resolutions is not to achieve them, but to ensure we remain humble through contemplation of our failures each year. And yet still to show the resilience of the human spirit by going on to set ourselves up for the self-same failure in the next year…

In January I made the foolish move of posting some reading resolutions for the coming year. Join me in contemplating my failure…


1) Cut back on taking freebies for review.

Last year I had 17 unread review copies as the year ended. This year I have 25. In total, I have reviewed 76 freebies this year as opposed to 66 in 2014. Hmm…



2) Make time for re-reads.

9 re-reads in 2015, which is better than the 5 I re-read in 2014, but still not good. Hmm…

Qualified success!


3) Reduce the TBR to no more than 70 by the end of the year.

HahahahahahahaHAHAHA! Was I drunk when I made that one? TBR at end of 2014 – 133. TBR at end of 2015 – 160!

rafa federer laughing



4) Stop reading so many new-to-me authors and catch up on the back catalogues of authors I know I enjoy. (NB Fiction only, since nearly all factual books I read are by authors new to me.)

In 2014, 44 of the books I read were by new-to-me authors. In 2015, the total was 41. Hmm!

OK, catching up on back catalogues. 2014 – a miserable 6. 2015 – a slight improvement – 9!

Minor success!


5) Read more classics, including some Dickens and a book a month for the Great American Novel Quest.

Oh, dear! Only 6 books read for the GAN Quest, I fear. But yay! I also read 6 British classics, including Dickens, Austen, Scott and Stevenson. So 12 classics in total. (More, depending on how you define classics – I read a fair amount of classic crime this year which I haven’t included in the count.)

Better than 2014, when I only read 5 GAN Quest novels and 5 other classics. (And very little classic crime.)

Better but still…


6) Read more sci-fi/fantasy.

Well, since I only read 3 sci-fi/fantasy books in 2014, this wasn’t a hard target to beat. And in 2015, I read 13!!



Total – 3 failures, 1 qualified success, 1 minor success and 1 major success! I call that a good year… 😉



* * * * * * *

So with the enthusiasm inspired in me by not being a total and complete failure, here are my resolutions for 2016…

1) Cut back on taking freebies for review.

(Read the 25 outstanding which will take until March/April and then no more than 2 a month on average. And have no more than 12 outstanding at the end of the year.) Achievement of this one is crucial in giving me time to achieve any of the rest, so this year I mean it!! Really!!

2) A minimum of 12 re-reads.

One a month shouldn’t be hard, should it?

3) Reduce the TBR!

OK, let’s be a bit more realistic this year!

a) Reduce the overall total to 130.

b) There are currently 65 books on it dating back to 2014 or earlier. Target – reduce this to 30.

c) That leaves 95 books added to it during 2015. Target – reduce this to 50.


tom cruise


4) New-to-me authors.

Well, looking at the existing TBR, there are zillions of them, so setting a limit of a number to read this year seems futile. But why should that stop me? I’ll go with… 25!

And… no more than 20 books by new-to-me authors to be added to the TBR during 2016. *gulps*

Increase the number of catching-up-on-existing-authors to a minimum of 20 books (should be easy – they make up the bulk of the TBR and it’s only because of the constant freebies of new releases that they linger there unread.)

5) Classics

Read at least 10 GAN Quest novels and at least 5 other classics, including Dickens. (Classic lit-fic, that is.)

6) Keep going with sci-fi/fantasy, which has dropped back again over the last few months.

Target – 12 minimum, mixed between classic and new.

* * * * * * *

Given that I read on average 120/130 books a year, about 100 of which are fiction, these targets should be achievable and mean that I have room to be as eclectic in my reading habits as usual.

Wish me luck! And stop laughing!!


laughing 1






edinburgh fireworks


64 thoughts on “Wednesday Witterings – A triumph of hope over experience…

  1. Happy New Year to you, too, FictionFan. I truly admire you for making such noteworthy resolutions. The point about resolutions isn’t that you keep all of them anyway; it’s making progress – whatever progress that may be. And may I say that you should be proud of yourself for your resounding success at reading more sci-fi/fantasy. Take a bow! As for the rest…well…there’s 2016 🙂


  2. Oh dear, I note austerity has set in, as you have only wished us a single reeking lum each. Last year we had plural lums. I reckon the new build program, or perhaps awareness of the need for carbon neutrality, has produced a drastic cutback in the lums which each of us is allowed

    Now MY NYR is to drastically add to your TBR. I think we have inharmonious resolutions.

    But at least you have a fine collection of chortling chaps whether your resolution succeeds, or fails, to cheer you up

    You could always do some creative accounting and park very elderly TBR downloads in the cloud, so that they pass out of conscious tallying. That works a treat!


    • Haha! Yes, I believe the Paris conference has limited us to one lum per household now. Next year I may have to be saying ‘Lang May Yer Wind Turbine Spin!’

      Ah, but when I’ve stopped taking all the review copies, I’ll have loads more space for Fancifull picks – and I’m doing well so far. Of course, the year hasn’t actually started yet…

      I do love that Tom Cruise giffy – makes me laugh every time!

      I’ve really cleared everything off the TBR I possibly can now – though some of them might get ditched after the first thirty pages. All these old Kindly ones back when I couldn’t resist the Daily Deals…


  3. Why the emphasis in rereads? And why the curtailment of new-to-you authors?

    Anyway, I hope you have a great 2016 and that you stay clear of the worst of the storms. (We have folks in Dunblane and Glasgow, so we’re a bit leery right now.) At about 4.59am your time I shall be standing in the freezing cold outside the hilltop house of our friends Bill and Kathrin, to whom we have introduced the idea of first-footing.


    • I love re-reading – so relaxing – and since I got caught up in all these review copies I just never seem to have time any more. I can’t remember ever going this long without re-reading some Reginald Hill, for instance… And I love reading new authors, but then I never get time to catch up on their other stuff. So just have to try to change the balance a bit… or grow an extra couple of heads so I can read three at once!

      We’ve been fairly lucky here weather-wise so far – loads of rain but not much damage. But the storm on the way now sounds like it might be more dramatic. Glad to hear you’re indoctrinating the Yanks – I wonder what they’ll think of the black bun and lump of coal… 😉

      Have a great New Year!


      • Well, it’s slightly adapted: a piece of cake, a bottle of fizzy wine and a log for the fire.

        Talking of the black bun, I was reading on the Beeb or somewhere that some bright spark at Burger King or wherever produced a special Hallowe’en burger in a black bun. Trouble was, because of the food coloring they’d used, the, um, consequence was bright green, causing many a doctor’s switchboard to overload.


          • It amazes the Yanks the stuff that Brits will eat. When we visited our Hogmanay pals last year they mentioned that some professional contact had given her a black pudding. What oh what were they going to do with the disgusting object? My wife likewise made cemonstrative gagging noises. So I had an excellent lunch last January 1.

            Real haggis is actually illegal in this country. You can get imitations, some of which are quite good (the best I’ve found is, bizarrely, a vegetarian version), but not the real stuff. Everyone here is terrified of offal.


            • I’ve always kinda wished I hated black pudding, but secretly I love it! Whenever the Klingons in Star Trek are tucking into their blood pie, I get a fancy for some…

              Haggis on the other hand should be made illegal in every country! You spelled that word wrong – it should be ‘awful’…


            • Ha! I love haggis. When I lived in Exeter one of the local supermarkets stocked up with the stuff for Burns and St Andrew’s Night. The big fun was (a) watching the good burghers of Exeter picking the things up, reading the ingredients and hastily dropping the haggises back into the cold chests, and (b), like a good Scot, going there the day after Burns or St Andrew’s Night, buying as many as I could carry of the things at 75% off, and stuffing the freezer with them.

              Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha! Secretly, I quite enjoy my failures too! Wouldn’t it be awful to reach the stage where you’d read everything you wanted to read? Fortunately, I don’t seem to be in much danger of that… 😉


  4. I’ve been taking fewer review copies generally too – though I accidentally ended up with a glut of them recently which stressed me out – so I think that’s a great resolution.


    • Yes, that’s the one that kills me. It’s great getting so many freebies, but I find I’m always behind and never get that lovely feeling of just making a random decision on what to read next. That’s the resolution I seriously would like to keep…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re only a success in my eyes, FF! And I see right through this post…. All the gorgeous men laughing. One does need a legit reason for this… Ha! Happy New Year to you! Looking forward to more of your amazing and insightful reviews!!


    • Aw, thanks, DD! 😀 Isn’t that gif of Tom Cruise great? Makes me laugh every time I look at it! Mr Cruise hasn’t appeared nearly often enough on the blog – that might have to be another resolution…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Good luck and well done for admitting how the last lot went! I think I resolved to make more room for reading last year, and I did read more this year than last, but mainly because I made more room for reading … during the last week of the year!!!


    • Haha! Well, it’s never too late for those pesky resolutions! I tend to start the year well but by about February I give way and request another million or so from NetGalley… 😉


  7. Happy New Year!! Well good to see the important resolution to reduce the TBR was such a resounding fail 🙂 as you saw from my post it is the new to me authors that scupper my TBR but having said that, quite a few of these have made my top ten reads of the year. I’m not resolving preferring to wish the TBR into reduction this year 😉


  8. No laughing here. I think trying to keep track of that unwieldy tbr pile is one hell of a feat. To have successes is positive and focusing on the positives is the best way to start a new year. So, Happy New Year to you! 🙂


    • Haha! I must admit if I spent less time fiddling around with lists I could probably read another 10 books a year! But I’m proud of my sci-fi achievement and the rest give me something to keep working on… 😉

      Happy New Year, Rebecca! I hope it’s a good one for you!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. No, what I like is this part…..reducing the size of your TBR… that even possible – for anyone? anyone? anyone?

    I understand and my goals for 2016 are minimal. Read. My. Own. Books.

    And when I say that I mean, the ones on my shelf – actual or virtual – as of 12/31/15. I suspect I will last until 3:00 pm 1/1/16. LOL

    That being said, good luck to you with all your aims. I will do my best to talk badly about the books I’ve read from my shelves so as not to add to your TBR. 😉


    • Hahaha! It certainly doesn’t seem to be possible for me, at any rate! I blame you! Even today you’ve nearly added an entire other series to my TBR…!!!

      Yes, I’m really going to try to read all those books I already have before acquiring a million more – though I must say Santa didn’t help with that little plan!

      The thing is, even if/when I fail, I love playing around with lists and stats – so I win either way… 😉

      Have a great New Year, Kay!


  10. You’re still a success in my book, FF! At least you came closer to attaining your goals than I did (perhaps that’s why I try to avoid New Year’s resolutions, because failing to attain them makes me feel like…a failure!!) And who wouldn’t love the “eye candy” pictured here?!? Happy 2016, my friend!


    • Haha! I never make resolutions about anything other than books – learned from experience! I’m lucky if I last until 2nd Jan normally! But at least with these resolutions I can’t possibly fail that quickly… can I? I must say I feel in retrospect that Tom Cruise should have appeared on the blog more often…

      Happy New Year, Debbie! Hope it’s a good one!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I think you’re too hard on yourself – number 5 was a success – the resolution was to read more classics and you read 2 more = success!

    I admire your resolve – I weep looking my TBR and yet I can’t stop adding to it…

    I look forward to the resulting reviews from these resolutions 🙂 Happy New Year!


    • Haha! I swithered back and forwards on no. 5, but couldn’t forgive myself for the woeful performance on the GAN Quest. So I’m delighted you think I succeeded on that one!

      It’s hopeless, isn’t it? Even just reading a few posts today has added another one – and I had to resist adding a whole series!!

      Happy New Year, Madame B! I hope it’s a good one for you! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  12. In 2005 I resolved to make no more resolutions, and I’ve stuck to it. I’m impressed by your ambition though. Good luck!


    • Yes, I haven’t made any for years till I got carried away last year! But I only make bookish ones – and no-one expects me to keep them, (including me), so I can’t lose really! 😉


  13. Wow, your explanation as to the purpose of resolutions just made my day. Brilliant. 😀 Best of luck with 2016 goals… I am 100% confident that THIS IS THE YEAR in which you will be successful!!


  14. Resolution 1 – yep that is me too- I am trying to cut back. And I am not even looking at the piles of books I have sitting here already to be read. And the 7 reviews to write but I digress…Happy New Year to you looking forward to reading more of your fabulous reviews in 2016.


  15. I love your first comment ‘The purpose of resolutions is not to achieve them, but to ensure we remain humble through contemplation of our failures each year.’ I haven’t set any new year resolutions this year as I always fail horribly.


  16. Great post! You had me chuckling along and nodding dismally as I consider my own TBR and freebie list. With books, I don’t think the word NO ever enters my vocabulary! 😅


    • Thanks! 🙂 It’s definitely the freebies that are the problem. I never used to have more than a dozen or so books waiting, and I didn’t buy more till I was nearly through what I had. But now…

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Happy New Year to you too 🙂

    I hope this year I would be able to catch up with your blog,… Since I am new here and I like the way you have written your reviews….

    all d best for your resolutions this year 😀 Let’s see how we do 🙂


  18. Good luck! I always have books I want to re-read but there are so many new books I want to read and more coming all the time that I never feel like I have enough time. (And the length of my TBR list is horrific!)


    • I know – I’ve hardly re-read anything for the last few years and yet it’s something I love doing. I love new books too, but re-reading is so relaxing and with a guarantee in advance that the book will be good…

      Liked by 1 person

  19. You are HILARIOUS! And you have my sympathy. Now get back to reading and stop counting those failures. They are not FAILURES. They are “I didn’t really want to do that anyway” qualified successes, aren’t they?


    • Haha! Well, I’ll try to look at it that way – but I really, really do want to have read all these books! The major failure is in being silly enough to actually put these impossible resolutions in print… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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