…The Annual Failure Report…
It has become an annual tradition at this time each year that I look back at the bookish resolutions I made last year, confess just how badly I failed, and then, nothing daunted, set some more targets for me to fail at next year. So, let’s begin!
The 2018 Results
1) Cut back on taking freebies for review.
The Target: Accept no more than 48 for review, and read at least 48, so my backlog at the end of the year should be no more (and hopefully less) than it was at the end of 2017 – i.e., 32.
The Result: Oh! 48! Oh dear, I must have misread that! I seem to have accepted 98! Well, it’s only one number different, right? On the upside, I read (or abandoned) 100, meaning that the outstanding total at the end of the year is now 30.
2) Reducing the TBR
a) Read at least 72 books that were on the TBR at the end of 2017.
b) Buy no more than 36 books during the year.
c) The TBR target for the end of the year to be 170. And the target for the overall figure, TBR plus wishlist, standing at a ridiculous 415 at the end of 2017, to be 360.
a) I fear I only managed to read 49 books that were on my TBR at the end of 2017.
b) Even I thought this this one was hilarious! However, I was as strict as possible and managed to keep the number down to a mere 58. So less than double the target – impressive!
c) The TBR total (that is, books I own) stands at a horrific 225! BUT… the overall figure, including wishlist, is down to 364! The mathematicians among you will realise this is because I acquired lots of books that were on my wishlist. I’ve been brutal at controlling additions to my wishlist this year, and it’s paid off!
3) The Challenges
a) Reading the Russian Revolution – I had 5 books to go at the start of the year. I planned to finish this challenge around April/May.
The Result: I did indeed finish this challenge in the early summer and loved doing it. One day I might do a similar challenge. Maybe the Spanish Civil War. Or Europe between the wars…
b) Great American Novel Quest – I planned to restart this once the Russian challenge finished, with a low target of just 4 books in 2018.
The Result: I’ve not been enjoying the American books I put on my Classics Club list on the whole, so have allowed the GAN Quest to lapse. I might revive it from time to time if I read a book that I think meets the criteria – loads of my original list of contenders are still sitting on my TBR.
c) Classics Club – To stay on track with this, I planned to read 24 books in 2018 (and start tackling at least some of the longer ones).
The Result: I nearly made it, but not quite. I read 20 over the year, but I did tackle a few of the longer ones. Overall, that means I’ve caught up a little, but am still a few books behind schedule. However, I’m thoroughly enjoying getting back to some classics reading after years of concentrating on new releases.
d) Around the World in 80 Books – I was about halfway through this one at the end of 2017 and averaging 20 books a year, so that was the target for 2018 too.
The Result: Again, nearly but not quite – I read 16 this year. I’m loving this challenge, though, and have lots of great books lined up for it next year.
e) Murder, Mystery, Mayhem – Targeted 20 books for 2018, on the grounds that this would make this a five year challenge.
The Result: Not even close! I read just 12 of these, mainly because I started receiving lots of other vintage crime novels for review. But I’m enjoying this challenge too, so I don’t mind if it takes longer than I initially planned.
4) Other stuff
I didn’t set targets for anything else, but hoped to fit in some more re-reads and do a bit more catching up with authors and series I’ve enjoyed.
The Result: I re-read 15 books over the year, and 25 that count as “catch-ups”, so I’m quite happy with those figures.
* * * * *
Resolutions for 2019
I’ve done something I’ve never tried before and I’m not at all sure how I’ll feel about it or if I’ll stick to it. Basically, I’ve planned my whole year’s reading in advance, leaving just 30 spaces for new releases, re-reads and random temptations. The idea is this will stop me adding gazillions of books I’ll never find time to read, and ensure I’m reading loads of the books I already own. It should also mean I’ll make progress on my challenges. So my resolutions this year are strictly a numbers game and there’s lots of crossover among the categories…
1) Reading Resolutions
I plan to read:
a) 88 books that I already own as at today. Since I read roughly 125 books a year, that gives me around 40 spaces to fill with books I either buy or receive for review this year.
b) 25 books for the Around the World challenge. This should complete it this year. I’ve selected all the remaining books now and have already acquired most of them.
c) 25 books from my Classics Club list. Ambitious, but doable, and would bring me up to schedule and even a tiny bit ahead. I already have all of these.
d) 10 books from my sadly neglected 5 x 5 challenge. Again, I already own most of these and anticipate loving them, so why do I keep putting them off for other books?
e) 12 books for the Murder, Mystery, Mayhem challenge, again all ones I already have. I’m going for a lowish figure this year since I’m hoping I’ll still be getting lots of other vintage crime for review.
f) 24 books first published in 2019 (minimum). The downside of my challenges is that I’m reading far less new crime and literary fiction and am beginning to seriously miss it, so I’m going to ensure I read at least two a month.
2) Reduce the TBR
I’m going for an overall reduction of 40 books this year. So…
Target for TBR: 185
Target for combined TBR/wishlist (which is a truer picture): 324.
If I stick to my reading resolutions, it should be easy…