Every year I set a reading goal for myself. And for the past couple years, I’ve failed. Miserably. I started out with a reading goal of 50 books a year. I figured I could definitely knock out a book a week. And for several years I did. Easily. So I upped my goal to 60 books a year. I was pretty close to it anyway, so I thought, what’s a few more squeezed in? That year I didn’t even come close to 50, let alone 60. I barely broke 20. It was pathetic. The next year was the same.
But I wasn’t going to let that happen in 2016. I was going to hit my goal. I was going to use this space to help me achieve that. I have a blog specifically for reviewing books for goodness’ sake! This should be a no-brainer! And then I failed. Again. I barely broke 30. I slacked on my blogging. I slacked on my reading. I slacked on life, to be perfectly honest.
So 2017 will be different. (Hopefully..) I’m going to continue tracking myself on Goodreads, setting my goal there back down to 50 books again. But I’m going to add to my goal. It won’t just be about the number of books I read. I want to challenge myself to read outside my usual YA comfort zone. I say this every year, and every year I fail. But now I have you to hold me accountable. Someone (maybe?) is listening this time.
Well… I didn’t do as well as I had hoped in 2016.
I set myself a goal of 60 books to read this year. I ended up with… 33.
I’m staring at my list, thinking to myself, “That’s it? That’s all I read? That’s not much…” At least compared to previous years.
So where did I go so horribly wrong with my reading? Well, I definitely struggled with the beginning and the end of the year. It took me until March to read ONE book, and I haven’t finished a book since October. (Although I’ve been making a lot of progress with my current read these last couple days! You know.. The one I’ve been reading since November..) The holidays seem to be kicking my ass the past few years, making it impossible to have time to read, and then it takes me forever to recover. I’m going to try a LOT harder next year. No more ZERO book months!
As I scroll down the list, I realize there are a lot of mediocre books on it. There are plenty of stories that were good, but not great, but there are some that I don’t even remember what they’re about anymore. And some I plain wish I could forget.
A couple weeks ago I started writing posts that I’ve come to think of as my Sunday Musings. I wanted to add more to this space than simply posting book reviews, so I decided to talk about random book stuff. Why I read YA. Why I started this blog in the first place. What it’s like to work in a bookstore. (That one started to skew slightly towards ranting, so it’s cooling down in the drafts until I can come back to it with a more level head.)
Aaaaaand that’s where I got stuck. 3 ideas, and I’m spent. How could I keep up with my posts if I have nothing to write about? Hmm.. other blogs I follow post Top 10 lists. I could do that. I love lists! But 10 items? If you haven’t noticed already, I’m long-winded. There’s no way we’re all making it through a Top 10 list. Or even a Top 5. Top 3 might even be pushing it. So I’m just calling mine a Lit List. It might have 10 things, or maybe only 1. Depends on how I feel that day. So what do you say we kick this thing off!
This week’s Lit List– Fictional worlds I’d like to live in!
Obviously, my choice is the magical world of Harry Potter. Who wouldn’t want to live there? There’s magic. And dragons. And unicorns! (Any place with dragons and unicorns is top on my list.) I could create things, transfigure things, charm things. It would be amazing. I wouldn’t actually have to clean my house like I spent all day doing– I could just magic it clean! A spell to wash the dishes. Charm the mop. The laundry folds itself! Oh the possibilities! Adulting wouldn’t be nearly as hard if I could just wave my wand and shout some words. And don’t forget the transportation options. Broomsticks, Floo Powder, portkeys. Late for work? No problem. Just apparate! No more sitting in traffic. Don’t have enough time to do all the things you want to do in a day? Grab yourself a time-turner. Tired of being a human? Learn to transfigure yourself and become an animagus. I’d be all about spending my day lounging around as a cat.
Eh. Not as fun to say as Why I YA. But you can’t win them all.
While I may be fairly new to this book blogging thing, typing out my musings for the internet to read feels like I’ve finally come back home. I’m going to make myself feel and sound really old saying this, but… I started my first website while I was in high school. I ran a boyband fan page with 2 girls I met in a chat room on AOL. Back in 1999. I’ll give you minute to do the math. So.. Yeah. That happened.
Fast forward a decade.
January 2009, I posted my very first recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes on my brand new baking blog. For five years I taught myself the ins and outs of baking, posting my triumphs and failures with nearly 200 recipes for everything from cookies to cupcakes to the holy grail for baking blogs at the time, French macarons. (And dammit, mine had feet! On the first try! Take that fussy French pastry!)
Pumpkin cinnamon rolls are ahhh-mazing. And it almost looks like I have some skill here.
But running a food blog is hard work. There’s a LOT of time involved. Figuring out what to make. Tweaking a recipe to make it your own. Procuring all your ingredients. Actually baking. Waiting for it to cool. Frosting your cake or cupcakes. Hoping that you timed it all perfectly and everything’s done while you still have natural light to shoot with. And then there’s the whole editing and writing and promoting and engaging. It’s exhausting! And extremely fattening. I mean, what else are you going to do with that entire cake you just baked? Certainly not just throw it away. Who throws away cake?
Why I YA. That’s kind of fun to say when you read it out loud. Go on. Try it. Nobody’s listening. See? Fun! Anyway.. It’s a question I’ve gotten many times. Working at a major bookstore, I am tasked with recommendations on a daily basis. Customers will always ask if I’ve read the latest bestseller by that big named author. My most common answer? “No, but I’ve heard a lot of great things about it!” Followed up by the almost apologetic, “I work in the Kids’ Department, so I mostly read that stuff.”
That stuff. I use my position as a Kids’ Lead as an excuse for why I don’t read books about people my own age. Let’s face it. I passed “Young Adult” several years ago. I was a young adult when today’s young adults were in the womb. But the truth is, I don’t just read it because the Teen section falls under my jurisdiction at work. I read it because I like it. But why?