It's a new year! Time to set some goals for myself! However, I am going to be much more laid back this year - or at least, I'm going to try to be. I usually set myself some pretty ambitious goals, but I'm discovering that having two little kids is finally catching up to me. I just don't have the amount of reading time that I used to, especially since their napping schedules don't match anymore. I try to remind myself that this is just for a season of my life and I will soon be reading as much as ever, but it's hard when all I want to do is escape for an hour and read. Someday!
So yes, this was also one of my plans last year, and I didn't complete it. I made the bingo card in August 2017 and read 6 books off it by that December. In 2018, I read another 13. That means I have 6 left to go. I'm hoping to read one book a month and have the bingo card completed by the end of June. But if it takes me longer than that, then that's okay!
I have a long-term goal to read all of the Newbery winners (and hopefully all of the Honor books). I'm chipping away at this little by little. Each year, I read one decade of winners (this year, I'm reading the 1960s). I read all of the books that win in the current year, which will be announced on January 28 this year. And I read at least one year of Honor books (2013 this year). It'll take me a while, but I'll read them all eventually!
For the past two years, I've set myself a goal of having at least 50% of the books I read be ones I own. I achieved that goal both years, but it has been occasionally stressful - especially towards the end of the year when it's coming down to the wire. I'm trying to eliminate stress from my reading this year, but I still want to make sure I'm reading my own books. So I'm aiming for 33% of the books I read being ones I own. That's one book I own for every two library books. That should be doable and pressure-free. And hopefully I can end up with a higher percentage than that!
You've probably gotten the gist from the rest of my post, but I'm making this an official goal this year. No pressure to read all the books. No shame for not fulfilling reading challenges. No guilt for taking my time or reading only a couple books a month. My reading time is shorter than ever, which is why I want to be able to enjoy every bit of it!
It's surprising how fast a year can go by with a new baby in the house! (Especially when those sleep-deprived days seem to last forever!) But 2018 is officially over, and it's time to take a look at my reading for the year. I read way more than I thought I would be able to, and audiobooks really helped with that. I also read a few e-books, which is a method of reading I never thought I would like. But I have to admit that being able to pull up a book on my phone when I'm nursing or in those few moments when the two-year-old is playing contentedly by himself has been really nice. E-books might just become a more regular part of my reading life in this next year. . .
My Top Reads of 2018
Favorite fiction books: The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay & Can't Help Falling by Kara Isaac (So I like bookish love stories. What can I say?)
Favorite nonfiction books: Mail Obsession by Mark Mason & West with the Night by Beryl Markham
Favorite children's books: The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser & Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Favorite series: The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb (I have her next trilogy sitting on my shelf, ready to read. But they're quite thick, so I just need to find the time somehow!)
Last January, I posted about my personal goals for my reading in 2018. It's time to look back and see how I did.
Finish My Classics Club List - Complete!
My five-year deadline was the end of August 2018. I was really hoping to finish my list before my daughter arrived in June. With planning and persistence, I finished my last book (Daniel Deronda by George Eliot) on May 3!! I wrote a post about my Classics Club journey with plenty of fun stats, if you'd like to read more about it.
Finish my TBR Bingo - Still in Progress
I created my TBR Bingo card in August 2017. At the beginning of 2018, I still had 19 books to read. I made great progress during the year, and I'm now down to 6. Maybe by the end of this year?
Read My Own Books - Success!
I made a goal that 50% of the books I read would be books I own. I (just barely) succeeded in reaching this goal in 2017, so I knew it was possible. This year, I didn't count audiobooks and ebooks, since the only way I could access those was through my library and that seemed to unfairly tip my number towards library books. So just counting physical books, 52% of the books I read this year were books I owned. Yay!
Since we're five days into a new year, I figure I should probably post my wrap-up of my remaining 2018 reading challenges. I was a little disappointed that I didn't quite complete my Mount TBR Challenge. However, the rules of that challenge state that it only includes books bought before January 1, 2018. I read more than my goal of 36 books that I own last year, if I include the ones that I bought during the year. I was pretty pleased that I read 9 books that I bought. It sounds small, but that's a better number for me than normal! So even though I didn't technically complete the Mount TBR Challenge, I think I'm satisfied.
Hosted by My Reader's Block
Goal: Mt. Vancouver (36 books)
1. Mail Obsession by Mark Mason
2. Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
3. Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race by Chris Grabenstein
4. Torrent by Lisa Tawn Bergren
5. Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell
6. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
7. A Devil to Play by Jasper Rees
8. A Necessary Deception by Laurie Alice Eakes
9. The Interrupted Tale by Maryrose Wood
10. A Flight of Fancy by Laurie Alice Eakes
11. The Maiden's Bequest by George MacDonald
12. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
13. Edward Trencom's Nose by Giles Minton
14. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
15. Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
16. It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist
17. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
18. Birth of the Chess Queen by Marilyn Yalom
19. The Pirates! in an Adventure with Communists by Gideon Defoe
20. A Reluctant Courtship by Laurie Alice Eakes
21. Drenched in Light by Lisa Wingate
22. Dreaming in Code by Scott Rosenberg
23. An Alphabetical Life by Wendy Werris
24. The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure
25. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
26. The Unmapped Sea by Maryrose Wood
27. Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
28. Love on Assignment by Cara Lynn James
29. The Journey that Saved Curious George by Louise Borden
30. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
31. An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor
32. The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge by Charlie Lovett
Hosted by Doing Dewey
Goal: 15 nonfiction books
1. Mail Obsession: A Journey Round Britain by Postcode by Mark Mason
2. A Devil to Play: One Man's Year-Long Quest to Master the Orchestra's Most Difficult Instrument by Jasper Rees
3. Efronia: An Armenian Love Story by Stina Katchadourian
4. Full Moon Over Noah's Ark: An Odyssey to Mount Ararat and Beyond by Rick Antonson
5. Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber
6. Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
7. Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink by Gail Carson Levine
8. Into the Heart of Borneo by Redmond O'Hanlon
9. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
10. The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost
11. Birth of the Chess Queen: A History by Marilyn Yalom
12. Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg
13. How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber
14. The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie
15. The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure
16. An Alphabetical Life by Wendy Werris
17. Me, Myself & Bob by Phil Vischer
18. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
19. West with the Night by Beryl Markham
20. I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel
Hosted by Becky's Book Reviews
Goal: As many of the 104 categories as I can complete
70 out of 104 categories complete
(It helped that you could count one book for two categories,
but I was still pleasantly surprised by this number!)
Reading challenges are definitely one of the areas where I can overcommit myself. With a new baby arriving in June, I knew when I started this year that I needed to limit the number of reading challenges that I signed up for. It sort of worked. I only signed up for 6, instead of my usual 10+. And I'm happy to report that I did fairly decently! I'm still working on a couple, so here are the first three reading challenges that I completed this year.
Hosted by @maximoffs on the Litsy app
Goal: 6 countries
Armenia: Efronia: An Armenian Love Story by Stina Katchadourian
- Full Moon Over Noah's Ark: An Odyssey to Mount Ararat and Beyond by Rick Antonson
Benin: Thread of Gold Beads by Nike Campbell-Fatoki
Brunei: Tribute to Brunei and Other Poems by John Onu Odihi
- Into the Heart of Borneo by Redmond O'Hanlon
Ireland: Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
Kiribati: The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost
Tokelau: A Deviation from the Norm: A Pilot's Story by Norm Sanson
Hosted by Me!
Goal: Avi level (45-59 points)
1. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (3 points)
2. The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes (2 points)
3. Doll Bones by Holly Black (2 points)
4. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (3 points)
5. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (3 points)
6. Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly (3 points)
7. One Came Home by Amy Timberlake (2 points)
8. Paperboy by Vince Vawter (2 points)
9. M.C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton (3 points)
10. The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox (3 points)
11. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien (3 points)
12. Sounder by William Armstrong (3 points)
13. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (2 points)
14. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes (2 points)
15. The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars (3 points)
16. Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary (2 points)
17. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary (2 points)
18. The Grey King by Susan Cooper (3 points)
19. Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson (2 points)
20. Carver: A Life in Poems by Marilyn Nelson (2 points)
21. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell (3 points)
Hosted by Becky's Book Reviews
Goal: All 104 categories!
104 out of 104 categories complete
Even though I've been pretty much MIA here since June, I have still been participating in my real-life book club. It's been so nice to have one night a month to escape the craziness of my house and talk to adults for a while. These are the books that we read this year.
January - Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin
February - The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
April - A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
May - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
June - A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
July - The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester
September - Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
October - News of the World by Paulette Jiles
November - Circling the Sun by Paul McLain
Our Favorite Books: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. A couple of our members were reading it for the first time, and the rest of us loved revisiting this classic. Also The Nightingale. Such a powerful and well-written story.
Not-So-Favorite Book: News of the World wasn't quite what we were expecting. It was very well-written, but maybe not as gripping as we thought it would be.
Best Food Served: This is one of the best parts! We always have good food, but at our November meeting, we had warm, fudgy brownies for dessert, topped with peppermint ice cream and chocolate peppermint sauce. We all decided that we could easily eat that every time!
Welcome to another year of the Newbery Reading Challenge! Newbery and Caldecott books are fun to read - whether it's our first time experiencing them, or we're revisiting them from our childhood. If you want to challenge yourself to read more Newbery and Caldecott books this year, then you have found the right place!
Here are the rules:
Each book you read is worth points. You get:
In addition to that, you pick a level to aim for:
You can get to this level with any combination of points you want. You can read all Newbery Medal winners. You can throw in a few Honor Books. If you want, you can even read 75 Caldecott Medal winners! How you get to your point level is totally up to you.
Also, anywhere in the point range for your level counts as completing that level. So for example, if you signed up for the Avi level and read 46 points' worth of books, then you have completed that level!
To join the Newbery Reading Challenge:
Sign Up for the 2019 Newbery Reading Challenge!
Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted anything! My daughter arrived in June, and blogging has taken a backseat to figuring out this whole two-kid thing. I hope to start posting occasionally again, and I have some end-of-the-year reading lists and stats coming. And the Newbery Reading Challenge will continue! I'll be getting that post up soon.
In the meantime, I post fairly frequently on the Litsy app with all sorts of bookishness. My name is smilingshelves, and I'd love to connect with you there.
Hope all is going well for all of you in the blogosphere! Happy reading!
I'm participating in Becky's Book Reviews' Middle Grade Reading Challenge this year, but I hadn't actually updated my progress at all this year. Last week, I sat down with the list of middle grade books I had read so far, and was surprised to see that I had read 27! I knew I loved middle grade books, but I didn't expect that they would account for over a third of my reading so far this year. I decided to share some of the awesome books I've read in hopes that someone else might be inspired to try some of these great middle grade titles!
Best Newbery Read
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
This is one of this year's Newbery Honor books. It is incredibly powerful.
Best Bookish Adventure
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
This was just pure bookish, problem-solving, code-breaking fun!
Best Book Published in 2018
Rebound by Kwame Alexander
Okay, I haven't read that many books published this year, but I needed some category to get this book on my list, because it is awesome.
Best Start to a Series
The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress
I've read seven books this year that are the first book in a series. Many of them were good, but this one definitely has me hooked.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
This book was just delightful. Can the Vanderbeekers adopt me, please?
This weekly chance to add to your reading list is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.
I actually went to a bookstore last week and walked out without buying anything!! This is not a common occurrence for sure. It's a really nice used bookstore, but there were at least ten books filed in the Fiction section that were actually nonfiction (like Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt). It was really starting to bug me, but I didn't quite have the courage to say anything to the person at the desk. Sadly, I wasn't really in the mood to buy any books after noticing that. Hopefully the next time I visit will be different, because I've certainly walked out of there with stacks of books before!
What I Read Last Week
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan (Georgette Heyer and James Herriot references?? Yes, please! This book is pure delight for any book lover.)
What I'm Reading Now
Birth of the Chess Queen by Marilyn Yalom (I haven't been in the mood to read nonfiction for a long time, so I'm taking advantage of the feeling while it lasts.)
The Pirates! in an Adventure with Communists by Gideon Defoe (This was a library book sale find. It's small and short, so I decided to read it and check it off my list of books to read. It is hilariously satirical so far!)
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall (Continuing my audio reread of this series!)
What's Coming Up Next
The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley (I love Lucinda Riley's books, and I'm so excited to dive into this fourth book in her Seven Sisters series!)
My name is Julie, and I own a lot of books. As in, they are stacked on the floor because I've run out of room on the shelves. And those shelves? There are so many books on them that they smile -- not sag; smile. This blog will cover book reviews and all manner of other bookish things.
You can contact me at email@example.com.