Category Archives: The Plan

Year in Review: 2010

Several years ago (like, 7?) my wonderful aunt made me a reading journal. I was diligent about recording books I finished in it, and at the end of the year I did a sort of “round-up” of how many books I’d read, etc. I let it lapse during my MA, but last Christmas picked it up again. It is entirely possible that I missed recording some things, but here’s what I wrote down for this last year:

 

Total books read and recorded: 113.  This number is books that I started and finished. I don’t write down books that I don’t finish, I don’t write down books that I just dip into, and I also don’t record short-form stuff (although I possibly should). Short stories, blog posts, and eharlequin.com’s online reads don’t get recorded. And, again, there may be things that I read and forgot about – Mills and Boon books that I read at the charity shop, or quick rereads that only took a few hours might not get recorded.

I’m actually a little bit surprised at how low that number is, considering that I spent about three weeks reading 30 Mills and Boon books. But I had other things on my mind this year (like finding a job), and a few books that took me quite a long time, and other things that took up my reading time (like playing video games). It’s about the same as I remember from previous years; I could go back to LiveJournal and check, I suppose.

Rereads: 8. This number REALLY surprises me. I usually go through rereading phases for certain authors or books. I usually reread Terry Pratchett at least once a year, and L.M. Montgomery, and David Eddings, and Jane Austen, and Forster…..

Blogged books: 27.

Themes:

I read quite a lot of romance. This is not unusual, although it was probably bolstered a bit by trying the Mills and Boon contest and immersing myself in that style for a few weeks.

I also read quite a lot of historical books, both fiction and non-fiction. Mostly non-fiction. A quick count gives me 11 historical non-fiction books, and  a few more that could count as historical fiction.

Favourite book read last year: Tie between Georgiana and The Children’s Book.

Most disappointing/least favourite book read last year: Probably Jamaica Inn. I adore Rebecca, but couldn’t really get into either the book or the film of Jamaica Inn.

If anyone has any other suggestions for analysis of my reading habits, leave them in the comments.

 

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TBR List

I have moved this list to its own page.  Feel free to comment there with suggestions for me.

This list will be constantly updated. I say constantly. I mean ‘when I get around to it’ or ‘when I remember’.  It’s really just for me, for when I’m looking for something to read, so that I remember what to look for at the library.

If you have suggestions for me, put them in the comments, and I’ll add them to the list the next time I update it.

Books I haven’t read yet

  • Exit Music (Ian Rankin) – Sitting on my desk right now.
  • The Princes in the Tower (Alison Weir)
  • – the introduction alone is annoying me, but I’ll get through it eventually…

  • Certain Girls (Jennifer Weiner) – well, I liked Good in Bed.
  • The rest of the Fablehaven series (Brandon Hull)
  • The Green Knowe series (Lucy M. Boston) – recommended by Kelly
  • The Enora Holmes series (Nancy Springer) – recommended by Kelly
  • A Kind of Intimacy (Jenn Ashworth) – I borrowed this from Rachel months ago, and haven’t gotten to it yet. (Now that we’re housemates, it’s probably not an issue.)
  • One Day (David Nicholls) – I saw a review for this and was instantly intrigued. The book covers a single date, every year, for two people. I know that sounds odd; I’m not sure how to phrase that to make it more clear
  • The Little Stranger (Sarah Waters) – I got this for a reading group meeting that I couldn’t go to. Whoops.
  • The Regeneration trilogy (Pat Barker) – My birthday present from the lovely Rachel. Set in the World War I hospital that Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon were in.
  • Outlaw (Angus Donald) – the most recent (fiction) Robin Hood book that I’ve seen – just came out.
  • Who Murdered Chaucer? (Terry Jones) – He signed my copy. Hahaha.
  • Women in Love (D.H. Lawrence) – I enjoyed Lady Chatterley’s Lover. I enjoyed less Sons and Lovers. I’m hoping Women in Love is more like the former than the latter.
  • Birdsong (Sebastian Faulks) – I have heard nothing but good things about this. Plus it’s set in WWI, which is one of my fascinations. [Plus Richard Armitage’s character in The Vicar of Dibley mentions it. Should I not admit that that is one of my motivations to read it? I did want to read it even before that episode….]

Books that I want to re-read

  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (Susanna Clarke)
  • The Barchester Series (Anthony Trollope) – I saw Barchester Towers on Marian’s shelf when I was there. It reminded me that I’ve read Trollope, but all I remember is liking it – I don’t remember plot, or characters, or anything. Also I found out that Alan Rickman was in a 1982 version, so now I want to see that, too.

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Here’s my deal:

I love to read. I read everything, all the time. And I read quickly, as well. A few years ago, my aunt made me a book journal so that I could record the books that I read. For about three years, maybe four (I’d have to go back and check) I faithfully recorded every book that I started and finished. I didn’t include books that I started and didn’t finish, or collections if I didn’t read the whole thing. Every year I counted up the books, and it was always more than 100. I know this doesn’t make me the fastest reader in the world, or the most voracious, but it certainly impressed my former students.

I put my book journal on hold during my master’s degree studies. Between research and coursework and trying  to have some semblance of a social life, my pleasure reading dropped drastically and when I did read things not-for-class, they tended to be things I’d read before, fluffy romance novels that I’d gotten either free or from charity shops, or online articles and blogs. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those categories, let me emphasize. But I hadn’t been recording my online reading in my book journal, and I didn’t have the energy to record the romance novels that take me an hour or less.

Also, my book journal had one minor flaw: it had spaces for title and author and a brief rating, but no further comments. I have another book journal somewhere that my mother gave me, which has space for more detailed review and analysis, but I don’t think I brought it with me to the UK.

I want a space that can be a record of everything I read – the online articles and blogs, the fluffy romance novels, the research for my master’s thesis/dissertation, the ‘classics’. I want a space that will let me summarize and discuss the things that I have read. I want a place that I can record the books that I want to read. I also want something that will give me a little bit more discipline in my writing without the self-imposed guilt that comes from not sticking to an arbitrary schedule (although there may be some of that. Midwestern Protestant blah blah blah).

So here’s what I am planning to do (It’s good to have plans – they allow you to look back and see what you haven’t accomplished):

When I finish reading a book, or give up on a book, I will post about it here. This includes the fluffy romance novels that take me an hour as well as the longer, denser books that take me up to a week (or longer, in the case of something like War and Peace, which took me several months – although, to be fair, I only read it in airports and on airplanes until I was about two-thirds of the way through, and then I just wanted to finish it. Anyway).

Every so often – ideally once a day, but given my surfing habits and writing habits, it may be multiple times a day or it may be once a month – I will post a list with commentary about my online reading.

When I run across books that I want to read, but either don’t have access to or don’t have time for, I’ll put them in some sort of list – a post that I’ll update and edit as I go along (once I figure out how).

For the next month, I am going to have to be hard at work on my master’s dissertation (thesis), as well as trying to find a job so that I can stay in this country, so I don’t know exactly when I’ll get back to this. But I have a plan! A goal! Plans are good!

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