If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again…

…aka New Year’s Resolutions…

So! Last year at this time I set myself some reading resolutions for 2016. Time to see just how badly I did! And then to set myself up for another bout of humiliation next year. Still, you know what they say…’tis better to travel hopefully than to arrive. (I’m pretty sure all these cliché writers had massive TBRs too.)

The 2016 Results

OK, there will be no unseemly laughter, catcalling or crowing, is that clear? Anyone who emits so much as a giggle will be sent to stand in the corner, and a guffaw will earn the perpetrator two hours in the public stocks – I have been collecting rotten tomatoes specially…

No, Darcy, not even you!
No, Darcy, not even you!

1) Cut back on taking freebies for review.

Take no more than 18 books during the year, and reduce the total outstanding at year end from 25 to 12.

The Result: Oh, dear! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Well, I suppose it’s best to get the worst one over with first. Ahem! OK, I took 63 books for review over the year, and I have 30 outstanding at year end, of which 17 are overdue. What can I say? I’m weak! This dramatic failure goes a long way to explain the rest of my results…


2) A minimum of 12 re-reads.

The Result: Er… 8. 66%. Two-thirds. OK, OK – failed!


3) Reduce the TBR!

a) Reduce the overall total to 130.

The Result: The final total is… 181!

b) Read at least 35 books that have been on the TBR since 2014 or earlier.

The Result: A miserable… 14!

c) Read at least 45 books that went onto the TBR in 2015.

The Result: So near, and yet… so far! 44!



4) New-to-me authors.

a) No more than 20 books by new-to-me authors to be added to the TBR during 2016.

The Result: I really don’t want to tell you this!! Really!! OK, here goes… 53!!

b) Read at least 20 catch-up books from authors I’ve previously enjoyed.

The Result: Lucky for some! But not me… 13!


5) Classics

Read at least 10 GAN Quest novels and at least 5 other classics, including Dickens.

The Result: 7 GAN Quest books read in the year (or abandoned, which is much the same thing), 6 other classics read, including Dickens. Ooh, almost a partial success, but overall… a failure!


6) Read at least 12 sci-fi/fantasy novels, mixed between classic and new.

The Result: A totally pathetic… 4!!


* * * * *

I am now popping outside for a moment to throw those rotten tomatoes at myself… back soon!

* * * * *

Resolutions for 2017

Right! (Does anyone know how to get tomato stains out?) This year I’m completely confident I’ll achieve all my resolutions… maybe even over-achieve! You do believe me… don’t you? I’m going to try to be a little more realistic this time…

I know you've seen this one before, but I just love it so much!
I know you’ve seen this one before, but I just love it so much!

1) Cut back on taking freebies for review.

Take no more than 36 books during the year, averaging 3 a month, and reduce the total outstanding at year end from 30 to 20, none of which are overdue. This means I’ll be reading roughly 4 a month. If I can stick to that, all the other resolutions should be easy…

2) A minimum of 12 re-reads.

I’m sticking with that – it seems as if it should be easily achievable. Though I thought that last year too…

3) Reduce the TBR!

a) Reduce the overall total from 181 to 150.

Should be possible, though it will depend on how many books move from the wishlist to the TBR…

b) Read at least 35 books that have been on the TBR since 2015 or earlier.

I currently have a ridiculous 103 books that have been on the TBR for more than a year (because of my addiction to review copies). But realistically it’ll be a slow job to reduce this figure, so I’m only aiming to cut them by a third. With luck I might overachieve on this since a lot of them are classics and GAN books.

c) Read at least 50 books that went onto the TBR in 2016.

I have 78 books outstanding from 2016, including nearly all of my review copy backlog. If I can resist adding so many new books this year, then I should be able to read the majority of these.

This one's just 'cos I needed cheering up!
This one’s just ‘cos I needed cheering up!

4) Classics

Read 20 classics. I’m not completely abandoning the GAN Quest – some of the books on my Classics Club list are Great American Novel contenders, and there are still a few of the last batch on my TBR – but I’m not setting a separate target for this year. 

5) Other Stuff

I’m not setting targets for science fiction, the Around the World Challenge, or catch-up books from authors I’ve previously enjoyed, but I’ll still be aiming to read several from each category. I’ll also be setting myself another little challenge – details next week – but otherwise my main concentration this year will be reading stuff I already have, and trying not to add too many new books.

Wish me luck!



62 thoughts on “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again…

  1. OK, now that’s off your chest, you can look forward with a clear head and heart to another exciting year of reading! Since we had a bout of earthquakes some years back that aren’t too many chimneys in this city, but thanks for the Hogmanay wishes. Wishing you in return many warm and sunny days as a background to your wonderful year of reading. Ngā mihi o te tau hau!


    • Oh dear, yes – I don’t have a chimney either so I suppose if smoke starts pouring out of my roof I should be worried! Maybe I’ll just stick to the whisky and black bun… 😉 Thank you – some sunshine would make a welcome change! Have a great new year, underrunner – let’s hope it’s a bookish one! 🙂


  2. Wishing you luck! But, on the positive side…at least you read, read and read. I’ve had a fairly dry year – not sure why but just haven’t managed to read like I normally do.
    Have very Happy New Year! Wishing you all the best for 2017. Thanks for your support and always enjoy the comments you send my way! Thank You!


  3. I have to admit to a tiny chuckle, in a charming manner a la Mr Darcy 😉 This is exactly why I don’t make resolutions, mine are more faint whispy hopes, easily blown off target. You are right through, it is those review copies which cripple us!


  4. You know, FIctionFan, I don’t see how a person can possibly be expected to achieve all of those noble reading goals in any one year. There are too many excellent books coming out, too many ‘new to me’ authors sharing their voices, and entirely too little reading time in most people’s lives. I do wish you well with your resolutions for this year, but if you don’t keep them, oh, well, you’ll have had fun reading!


    • You’re right! I blame the person who set the targets – what was she thinking? It’s certainly not my fault I failed!! Haha! Yes, I’d so much rather have the problem of too many books than too few – here’s to a bookish 2017! 😀


  5. Well, that was fun… At least you pre-empted many of your critics! Although who are we to chortle or criticise? I think I could share far too many of those gifs with you, so let me share one good tip for tomato stains instead: leave a little dishwasher liquid on the stained area and then wash in cold water.


    • Ooh, good tip! Haha! Well, failure’s the next best thing to success, eh? Or something. Anyway, if I’d succeeded, I wouldn’t have been able to post the kitten gif… Here’s to a better – and bookish – 2017! 😀


  6. Now, if you are going to post the most adorable cat gif ever – ginger kitty! ginger kitty! I wish you PERMANENT shameful failure, (as long as you re-post the kittypic) AND panda. You knew exactly what you were doing, melting our tender little furry hearts by distracting graphics, and as an unneeded failsafe, dusting off your elderly pics of Darcy and Tom

    I daren’t begin (on my own site) to air my dirty bookie laundry (!) – it glares at me from the page title links. It’s called Reading the Twentieth Century – a strict SEQUENTIAL read in 6 categories, through each year of the twentieth. I started SO well, this time last year, and am STILL in…………….1900. What was I thinking of – that is 600 books. I wonder if there is an afterlife in a kind of heavenly version of the British library, where one has an eternity to peacefully read 600 books, accompanied by celestial singing, freed from the old, ‘so MANY books, so LITTLE time’ mantra……

    Now if only I could be sure that as well as the celestial singing there would be a bashful ginger kitten………….

    I wish you, dear friend, in return, the very smelliest of lums to you and yours.


    • Hehe! It was more than worth failing just to find that kitten gif! It almost – ALMOST – makes me wish I had a new kitten again! I wonder if I could trade T&T in… nah! Of course I couldn’t!!

      Yes, well I wasn’t going to mention your challenge… 😉 It’s a pity – I still think it would be a great one to do. Maybe you could remodify the rules – ditch the factual element or something. Though you’re going to be far too busy joining in with my new challenge next year anyway… because let’s face it, what we all need are excuses to read more… *faints*

      I’m sure you’ve seen that one before, but it’s worth a re-watch!

      Have a wonderful 2017, m’dear! It’s gotta be better than 2016…!!!


      • Well I haven’t ABANDONED my overwhelming challenge, but I’m just still mooching round Freud base-camp. I will limp on – if only I weren’t so easily distracted by other peoples’ challenges – particularly when they involve me reading or re-reading things I had theoretically got waiting for when i got to their particular year. Mind you, stuck as I am, by the time I get to the second and third decades it will be time to re-re-re read Virginia Woolf and others again, only differently, with a focus on the shape of the years…….

        Well I’m intrigued by an looking forward to your challenge….And I hadn’t seen surprised kitty……time to distract myself by working through a truckload of kitty vids


        • I’m in a similar state with the GAN Quest – not abandoned, but the next few books are not calling my name. Maybe we should swap challenges! I do think you’ll like this new one though… it’s to read 100 serial killer novels and count the number of dismembered bits… kidding!

          Haha! Don’t go near youtube! I swear that’s the main reason I failed…!!


  7. Thanks for starting my day with a good laugh! I on the other hand am setting no goals. This is how my introvert avoids being publicly shamed. Seriously though, I totally believe in your ability to meet your goals and more.


    • You mean you laughed?? Just as well I still have some tomatoes… !! 😉 Haha! You’re very wise – though it was worth failing just to be able to post the kitten gif! I’m glad you’re confident… 😉

      Have a great, bookish New Year!


  8. Wishing you luck. And take yourself off that walk of shame, FF. Many fantasy novels are 15 kajillion pages. (And I am a regular reader of fantasy, so I’m not trying to make fun of the genre.) With the amount of books you read in a year, you wouldn’t have much time to read much of anything else.


    • Haha! Thank you! But the shame was worth it just for the kitten gif! I know – and they’re so often trilogies too! I’m planning on growing an extra head next year, though, so it should be no problem… 😉

      Have a great New Yera, L Marie! 😀


  9. Most of the reading I do has a manuscript tied to it. And I read it multiply times. Maybe when I get my new glasses in I can get going on reading faster. If not, I will still be enjoying my red glasses.


  10. I think your “failure” was worth it for the ginger kitten! I am making no book-related resolutions – in fact, I am making no resolutions of any kind. That way, I can’t fail.
    Hope you have a peaceful and productive New Year, with lots of posts for me to enjoy.


    • Haha! So do I! I can see that gif will be re-appearing… often. Which will be a good reason to fail agian next year… 😉

      Thank you – I’m sure it will be! If I ever get through Dickens and Shakespeare, that is…


  11. It’s always good to see how other people did, even if they “failed”. I’ll post a few resolutions with my round-up of the year tomorrow late some time after my final reviews.


    • Yes, I love the round-up posts people do – and I don’t actually mind failing at all… so long as there are plenty of books and kitten gifs in the world! I look forward to reading your resolutions… 🙂

      Have a great, bookish New Year, Liz! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha! But think of the mess if I’d thrown a plate of bolognese over myself! 😉 But I do agree there’s a tempting feast of bookishness ahead – can’t wait to get stuck in! Have a great New Year! 😀


  12. Hahah good luck! It sounds like you’ll have a great year and long as you keep laughing and reading. Those TBR piles can be pretty exciting too. Happy New Year!


    • Thank you! Haha – yes, I’m a great believer in a bit of laughter… gives us the strength to tackle that humungous book pile! Thanks for popping in – I realised when I visited your blog that you’re the author of Ocean Echoes, which Claire squeezed onto my wishlist the other day! Happy New Year and good luck with the book!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Happy New Year FF. No rotten tomatoes, you deserve chocolates for the enjoyment you bring to the rest of us. (Although I’d love to see a ‘fail’ with a picture of Darcy emerging from the lake).


  14. Don’t you dare beat yourself up over your “failures,” FF — we all should have accomplished this much in the old year! This is why I don’t do resolutions, because gauging their success (or failure) would be too traumatic and lead me to consume massive amounts of chocolate in search of consolation! I think you did just splendidly. Happy 2017 to you and yours!


    • Haha! You’re right – it’s a great excuse for chocolate consumption! What could be better?? I only do bookish resolutions, and I know in advance I’ll fail, so it comes as no surprise! What would I do without my huge TBR anyway…?

      Happy New Year, Debbie – hope it’s a great one!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. FictionFan, you made me laugh as always! Bookish “failure ” is always so much kinder and easier to deal with than other kinds of resolutions! My 2017 be a very good reading year for all of us , and may your TBR be reduced!


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