2020 Reading Goals & Challenges

We’re still quite early on in December, but I wanted to talk about some of my reading goals and challenges that I’m setting for myself in 2020 because, let’s be real, my reading the past few years has been a bit lackluster. So I really want to challenge myself to read novels again (and keep up with webcomics, of course, which has been 90% of what I’ve been reading the last few years).

Anyway, I’m also going to be talking about my year end goal for this year. It’s not much, but it’s something I’m going to hope to achieve before December is over.

So, let’s talk about them!

December 2019 Year End Goals

I have a couple of books I started reading this year, got about halfway through, and then put down and never picked up again, so I want to fix that lol (Not that I lost interest, per se, I’ve just had a very up and down mental and emotional year.)

So the books I want to complete by the end of December are:

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I’m 55% of the way through as of this post, and I was loving it so much! I think I lost motivation because I ruined part of it on myself by looking ahead and just… I need to stop that lol

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I’m 39.78% of the way through the book as of this post, and again, it’s not that I wasn’t enjoying it, it was that my reading mood shifted and I just couldn’t pick it up for a while.

Those are the two primary books I want to read by the end of this year. I know I can do it; I just have to set some time to do so.

Okay, so these are some books I know I’m going to finish this month:

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – I have been listening to this audiobook on and off for… too damn long lol I have about 7.5 hours left to go as of this post, so I’m FINISHING IT DAMMIT. (The audiobook is 45 hours in length, so… it’s been a journey lol but a good one!) I love this book and can’t wait to start the next audibook – which is even longer than the first! 😀 *cry* And the third is even longer than the second… *sob* (It’s really fine. The story is fantastic so far!)

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson – I started this book on a whim a few days ago because I really just wanted to read something that wasn’t a webcomic (or anything else on my shelf, clearly), and started reading this on my kindle and haven’t stopped. I’m about half way through and really enjoying it because I didn’t realize it was faeries, and I love faerie stories, so it’s been a great read for me so far.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – A few customers at my seasonal job (a bookstore) were telling me about how they or a relative/friend read this, and after reading the synopsis, I had to pick it up. WELL, I started and didn’t want to put it down, so. Definitely going to finish this book this month. It’s already magical and I’m only 24 pages into it as of writing this post.

I doubt I’ll have time to finish anything else this month, so I’ll leave other things for next year.

Speaking of, let’s talk about my goals for next year!

Reading Goals & Challenges for 2020

As I said earlier, I miss reading novels- truly, I do. And though I’ve been reading some here and there, I miss the days where I was reading 50 books in a year (about a book a week), and though I’m not aiming to hit that number again, I do want to try to read maybe half of that?

That was actually my goal for 2019, and, well… yeah, even if I read the five books above, I’d still be five short of that 25 book goal. But that’s fine! I’ll be a little disappointed in myself, but I’m not going to let it hinder me. I still read a decent amount of books – more than last year, for sure – and I’m proud of that! So, I’m going to keep that goal:

2020 Reading Goal: 25 books for the year

Now, let’s talk challenges. I want to seriously challenge myself in 2020 for a multitude of reasons, and so now I’m going to talk about some of the challenges I’m setting for myself this upcoming year:

Challenge 1: Any book on my TBR for that month MUST already exist on my shelves. That’s right. I’m going to try my best to not buy more books than I read this year. I want to seriously cut down my TBR since I’ve had some books for five years or so and haven’t touched them. (This may also include donating more books to my local library.) Of course, there will be some exceptions. But 99% of what I pick I want to already come from my shelves.

Challenge 2: Read at least three classics throughout the year. And by that, I still mean classics that are on my shelves. I mainly want to focus on Jane Austen, but I’ve got a few others I’d like to read at some point. Even though I find classics very difficult to get through, this is listed as a challenge for a reason.

Challenge 3: Complete as many reading prompts from the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge as I can. I wanted to participate in it this year, but I quickly fell off of the wagon, so I’m aiming to do as much as I can (and want) in 2020! They have such a fun list, so why not?

There’s no real reward or punishment that comes from completing or not completing these challenges other than the satisfaction of doing so. Maybe I should reward myself with chocolate or something…

Anyway, I think that’s it for my reading goals for next year! I’m not trying to push myself too hard, but rather ease myself back into reading. It’s been a rough few years mentally and emotionally, and I’ve only been recently starting to feel a little more human and less robotic. So I hope that 2020 brings a lot more happiness in the reading department as a result.

Let’s chat!

Tell me what your reading goals are for the new year! Are you planning on participating in any challenges? What are you most looking forward to next year (non-book related, if you want)? Let me know in the comments!

A Book for Different Times of Day

Well hello! I hope you’re doing well and happy spring!

So, I had a realization at the time I began writing this that I currently have books for different times of the day/scenario I’m in:

  • A book for daytime reading
  • A book for before bed reading
  • An audiobook for driving

This makes me feel like I’ve reached a new level of nerd lol

Anyway, I find it interesting because my reading habits aren’t what they were a few years ago when I first started blogging and really getting into the reading scene. Now I read mostly webtoons, like Your Letter and Lore Olympus, but I’ve been trying very hard to get back into novels again.

I know part of the reason I’ve been struggling is because I’ve been overwhelming myself very easily with wanting to do all the things, but not having enough time or energy to do them, so I just… don’t. So, I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort recently to just pick something up that sucks me in and go with it.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson has been one of those books for me for months now. Yes, months. I don’t know if you know this, but the audiobook is over 45 hours long, and I really only listen to it on my 25-30 minute drives to and from work. And then sometimes I don’t even listen to it at all for a few weeks so I can listen to some music instead.

The story didn’t hook me right away because I had tried to start it a couple of years ago, but failed, so when I started anew? Oh yeah, I was hooked, and now I’m at the beginning climax of this installment of the series and I AM HERE FOR IT. The characters and world building are fantastic, and the voice actors who read the books do a phenomenal job acting out all the parts and such.

So since I’ve been having such great luck with the audiobook, especially lately, I then realized I am in one HELLUVA mood for romance. And I’m not talking that cheesy stuff (but, I mean, I also won’t say no to it if it grabs my attention lol), I’m talking about a slow burn or steamy or just passionate type of romance read. And that’s where Graceling comes in.

I recently watched a video by Hannah of A Clockwork Reader on YouTube about five underrated series she thinks others should definitely get more hyped about, and in it she mentioned the Graceling Realm trilogy by Kristin Cashore and talked about how the first book in particular has a much heavier focus on the relationship and romance aspect than the others.

And I happened to remember my husband owned a copy.

So of course I made him dig it out of boxes for me and I started it and it’s already got me hooked. I wanted to start really winding down more when it’s time for bed and not be on the computer or have my phone in my face, so I decided to make it my before bedtime read.

Besides, studies have shown that reading before bed can be very beneficial to your health, such as reducing stress, higher creativity levels, and more brain power. So if you’re not on the read before bed train, hop on! You might find yourself in a much better mood the next day as a result of it.

And then I have my daytime reading. I’ve discovered a way to read at work without having a physical book behind the counter because sometimes it’s so incredibly slow that I don’t have a customer for a half hour or more at a time, so instead of just sitting there and browsing news articles I don’t care about, I open a book through Amazon on the Kindle Cloud Reader app on their website.

To access it, simply go to your latest digital purchases, click on the book you want to read, and then click the green “Read Now” button. If you’re on a computer, it’ll take you to the Cloud Reader for easy reading. Just be careful using your left and right arrow buttons because I’ve noticed that that messes with the page formats, so you’ll have to actually click the next button on the screen to go to the next page.

I decided the day before publishing this, in fact, that I was going to sample A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness because I had continued to keep seeing it pop up all over the place, and so I decided to give it a try. Well, as of the time I’m writing this, I’m only one chapter two and hooked. Of course I’m going to continue to read it once I’m home after work, but still, I have options to read when I’m at my job.

So though my reading habits have changed a lot over the last few years, I’m doing my best to not give up and to keep going back to the stories I love, the stories I want to read and live, and the stories that my heart desires. And what better way to do that than to find different ways to incorporate those stories into different facets of my life?

Let’s Chat!

What books do you like to read before bedtime? Are you a nighttime reader? If not, do you read when you wake up during breakfast? Do you listen to audibooks on your commute to work? Or do you just read whenever you want and not have designated books for certain times and scenarios during the day? Tell me all the things!

The Picky Pledge Challenge

the picky pledge 2019
Photo by Alexa of Alexa Loves Books and Hannah of So Obsessed With.

Hello lovely people~ I hope you’re doing well. SO, today I have an interesting post to talk about and that is The Picky Pledge Challenge. I was perusing Alexa’s blog over at Alexa Loves Books and stumbled upon her post for this year’s challenge about book buying habits.

First off, what is The Picky Pledge? It’s a challenge that was created by Alexa and Hannah of So Obsessed With to reflect on your book buying habits and to become more intentional with the books that are read, to read more backlist books, to read books already on your shelves, and reduce the amount of review books received.

Honestly? I think it’s a great idea! This past year I didn’t buy too many books, I don’t think, but I can still change my habits and really focus on the books I already own and give them some love, you know? So, I decided I’m going to join in this challenge along with them!

I don’t really have statistics of what I read and bought and such, so I won’t be going over them in this post, but I hope to next year when I do a recap of this challenge.

Speaking of, here are the categories that they set to focus on for this year!

2019 reading challenge
Photo by Alexa of Alexa Loves Books and Hannah of So Obsessed With.

I find these to be very reasonable and fun to do! I also find them to be in line with the Beat the Backlist Challenge that I also am taking part in this year. I’ll keep track of the goals for this specific challenge here on this post (as well as in a separate document on my computer lol), in case you want to see how I’m doing with it!

COVER:
RECOMMENDATION:
HOOK:
ON SALE:
SEQUEAL:
UNIQUE FORMAT:
AUTHOR:
GIFT:
PRE-ORDERED: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizel
3+ YEARS AGO: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
HYPED: The Wicked King by Holly Black & Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare | Both bought January 2019
TOPIC:

Let’s Chat!

So what about you? Are you up for the challenge? Be sure to check out Alexa’s and Hannah’s posts and their own goals for the year! Let me know in the comments below what your reading goals are and what some of your buying habits for the new year are.

Happy New Year! | Goals & Stuff

Happy New Year, peeps!

I can’t believe it’s already the new year. 2018 FLEW by, and I bet 2019 is going to go even faster. Oh joy.

But with a new year comes new year’s resolutions and promises that you won’t keep (maybe lol), so here’s my list of goals that I hope to achieve this upcoming year:

Reading & Blog Goals

  • Read one book per week. That’s 52 books for the year, which is entirely doable for me considering I’ve read 50 books in the past. This includes manga and comics, just so we’re clear.
  • Have half of those books be ones that are already on my shelves. Look, I recently did a large unhaul of unread books that had been sitting on my shelf gathering dust because I knew I wasn’t going to read them and I’d rather them go somewhere I know they’ll be well loved, so this year I want to focus on reading at least 25 books that are already currently on my shelves. Doable. Achievable. Awesome.
  • Post twice a week on my blog. I’ve already been doing this as I wanted to start the habit before the new year, but I’m going to try to post on Mondays (reviews) and Thursdays (chats/discussions/fun things). So far it’s been working, so that’s good. So that’ll be 104 posts for the year. Again: doable.

Personal Goals

  • Reach level two Japanese by the end of June. So I’ve been trying to learn Japanese for a while but I really suck at studying, so I’m going to try to make it my mission to study daily and reach level two on the app I use by the end of June. Again: doable. This also includes reviewing and practicing and all that jazz.
  • Lose at least ten pounds by the end of June. I’m not going to set the bar too high for weight loss goals. This one is entirely doable, and I’ve been working on it more this past month that I have in the past. Let’s hope for some good results!
  • Find work that’s more suited to me. This one is one I’ve been working towards, but I don’t know how it’ll go yet, so I’m going to keep this one kind of vague lol, but I do hope to find a job either in my field, teaching abroad, or something entirely different.
  • Finish the first draft of my book by the end of June. I have a lot I want to get done by midyear lol, but I really want to finish just the very rough first draft of the novel I’ve been trying to work on.
  • Work toward a better well-being and state of mind. It’s been a rough couple of years, friends, and I just want to get to a place of joy. This one is ongoing, though, so it’ll be for a lifetime.

I think that’s it for my goals. They’re all attainable, all doable, and I think that’s the best part of this whole thing.

Let’s chat!

What are some of your goals for this year? What are some of the things you achieved last year, but still want to continue into this year? Let me know in the comments!

Unhauling Books & Being Okay With It

Hi peeps, so today I wanted to talk about something I recently did, which was unhaul books (duh, obviously judging by the title), but I also want to talk about being okay with unhauling books. I know a lot of us can get attached to the aesthetics or the potential for a story or whatever reason we might have of keeping those books, but let’s be real: are you actually going to take the time to read it in the future? Or are you just being stubborn?

So, I’ve unhauled a lot of books in the last two years. Last summer I brought five reusable shopping bags full to the brim with books that I knew I wasn’t going to read and brought them to my local library (to the surprise of the librarians at seeing just how many I had brought lol). And I’ve just recently unhauled another 44 books from my shelves that I’m going to donate again. Forty-four. Crazy!

This included signed books I’d gotten from book boxes, and ones that I knew I wasn’t going to get around to reading anytime soon in the near future – or ones that I just lost interest in completely.

It also included books on my shelves that I’ve had for YEARS. Like. College days. (I graduated from college four years ago now, so it was even sooner than that.) It included both young adult and adult books, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, and fiction.

And you know what?

It felt good.

I have been staring at my shelves for a while now just overwhelmed with not only the amount of unread books I had (at the time, including audio and e-books, it was around 260+, but this also includes long manga series), but with just how cluttered my shelves were getting. I asked my husband for another tall bookshelf for Christmas so I can better display my books and use up less space (I’m using three small bookcases and one large one).

And to be honest, when I looked at some of these books, I didn’t even remember having some of them. I tried reading premises and seeing if I was at all interested, but I found myself not interested anymore.

And you know what? That’s okay.

I know a lot of us like to “hoard” books for many reasons. Some of you lovely people out there are extremely fast readers and can keep up with the amount of books that you get, while some of you are slower but still love to collect.

And there’s nothing wrong with this! I want to make it perfectly clear that I am NOT bashing anyone for having an excess amount of books or for not unhauling some or anything. If it makes you happy and comfortable, you keep doing it!

What I am saying is: if you’ve been thinking about unhauling but you’re wary for one reason or another, just do it! *insert Shia Labeuof meme here*

It honestly feels amazing.

Not only do I have more shelf space (CRAZY), but I have more peace of mind of not feeling so pressured to read all of these books I set myself to read once upon a time.

I kept books that I’ve read and loved, that I know I’ll read, or ones that have sincere sentimental value to me (one book I’ve kept since middle school and read in 9th grade and still love even though I haven’t read it since then).

Sometimes doing these kinds of things can really be helpful mentally. If you’ve been feeling like you’re overwhelmed by your shelves, take a good look at them and really ask yourself if all of those books you have are really going to be read or if you’re just keeping them for later (even when you know you probably won’t read them). Maybe it’ll help you.

Let’s chat!

Have you unhauled any books recently? How did you feel about it? Does the thought of getting rid of any of your books hurt you to your core? Let me know!