Reading Intentionally

So its been a while.
Lets be honest. I’m never going to be very good at staying up to date, logging in regularly, or sticking to a plan. There are a lot of things I say I am going to do that I never get around to, or things that, if we are being completely honest, I wouldn’t keep up with if it wasn’t for friends (lovingly) finger wagging.
One thing I do regularly, out of both habit and as a necessity, is read. I like reading, I love reading, I down right need to read. It helps me escape, and cope with a world that righteously blows some times. Reading is not something that I will ever really need to be forced to do.
So while I have a litany of other resolutions I’d love to try my hand at this year, I’d like to make at least one that has a chance of succeeding. This year I want to read more intentionally. My book collection has almost doubled in the last 3 years, and I’m constantly trolling the various Value Villages in my city for new books to add. Some of my hunting has been intentional. There are two Canadian children/middle grade authors that I purchase on sight, and have multiple copies of their titles. I constantly keep my eyes open for titles I recognize from my childhood that I never hesitate to throw in my cart. But if I’m being honest with myself, a majority of the books I’m picking up are impulse buys. Books I’ve either heard about on BookTube, authors I’ve heard about but never read, or books with an awesome cover and half decent synopsis. Considering I’m really only spending $20 at a go and walk away with 3-6 books, I guess it’s really not too bad. The problem is how many of these books just sit on my shelves, looking beautiful and not getting read. I’m much more likely to pick a book from a most recent haul then I am to browse my own shelves.
This year I want to pull up my socks and give my books the respect they deserve.

To do this I’d like to challenge myself to the following:

5 Book Challenge
There is a 5 book challenge that has been floating around for a while in the blogger and BookTube community. It’s not particularly new or revolutionary but it’s really smart. The idea is that you have to read 5 books before you are allowed to purchase one new one. The rule does not apply to books given as gifts or books received for free, but I’m personally only going to allow gifts. This will still allow me the freedom to pick up the out of print titles I am hunting for, while ensuring I’m purchasing more responsibly.

img_20160520_190823EOG Book Club
The Edmonton Open Genre Book Club is going on 5 years strong this year, and I’m pretty dang proud of it. What started out as an excuse to talk books without having to force a particular title on people, has turned into a solid group of friends. Yes, we can find just about way to justify how your read fit the theme, but the idea is to have fun and get us reading. I’d say I read about 40% of the genres in a given year, but this year I’d like to commit to reading at least 80%. I could aim for 100%, but think of how awesome I will look if I over achieve?!

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Monthly TBR
Loads of people have TBR piles, I have TBR shelves. Heck, I could probably make a whole bookcase of TBR without breaking a sweat. The problem is I have very little documentation to just how big my current owned TBR is. I can look through my shelves and easily recognize titles I’ve never read before, but I don’t have a list telling me just exactly which books those are. I also dont ever have a plan when it comes to what I’m going to read. I might pick up something from a recent haul, or take a quick glance and see if anything tickles my fancy, but I’ve never sat down at the beginning of the month and said, “These are the books I’m going to read.”. This year I’d like to give this a shot. Even if I dont stick to my list precisely, I think I will be good to know that I have a plan. This year my reading goal is 70 books, which equals ~6 books per month (or 5.83333333). By the 1st, I’d like to have a rough list of 5 books (leaving one free for book club) to get through that month.

So it’s not a lot, but the idea is not to overload myself with so many goals that it becomes unrealistic. I think all three of these “challenges” will help me to read with greater intention, as well as help save my pocket-book and floor space.

Heres to a bright and literary new year, and (hopefully) many new blogs to come.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Not Listening and Making Goals

Top Ten Tuesdays
Not even going to apologize for my horrendous absence, they keep happening and I keep apologizing, and as my mom always told me “Sorry means I’m never going to do it again.” And I really do feel bad for being gone all the time but to be completely honest its probably going to happen again on more then one occasion.

I am also going to be sneaky and not do this weeks Top Ten Tuesday, and do the one from last week. Partially because I cant think of any debut novels I am really looking forward to, the other part is because its my first book blog of the year and I should probably lay down some goals and plans or what have you.

Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013

1. Continue running the EOG Book Club: This last year has been so amazing with the book club, while some of the ladies have floated in and out and are kinda irregular we have a pretty strong core of about 4 of us that have been keeping strong. Every month brings new insights about new books and genres, and way more laughing then is entirely healthy.

2. Give the EOG Book Club a stronger online presence: I’ve been absolutely awful this year when it comes to blogging consistently, both with Top Ten Tuesday and with the book club. I’d like to at the very least have this happening regularly again. Its once a month I have zero excuse. We also discussed in our December meeting how much fun we think it would be to record our discussion and pop them online. I have no idea how realistic that is, or if we will actually do it, but its something I’d love to explore. I think we are all intelligent and hilarious and I think would make for good listening.

3. Explore more Canadian authors and Canadian settings: I love this great big country of mine, its beautiful and diverse and has so many lovely delicious differences. This month for book club we have Canadiana for our genre, we agreed to choose either a Canadian author or a book set in Canada, which if we are going to be honest are probably going to be pretty mutually exclusive. There just are not a lot of non-Canadian authors flexing their brainpower in a Canadian setting. When i was a kid I was obsessed with Canadian authors, and if I could find them, Albertan authors. I was lucky enough to stumble onto Kit Pearson, and Monica Hughes, two authors who were not only from my home province, but who also lived in Edmonton, which was the closest major city to me. They continue to be my two favorite authors over a decade later.

4. Read more to my niece and nephew: Sadly i live about an hour away from my niece and nephew, and therefore i dont get to spend a tonne of time with them. One thing I have thankfully been able to do is read to them. My sister has been very good about making sure my darling babies have lots of books around and love reading. I go out of my way when I’m in town to be at her house before their bed time so we can sit together, one tiny person on each side and read 3 or 4 books. I love it and I want to do it more!

5. Blog at minimum once a week: I’m not perfect and I know it, I want to blog so much more, but I want to nail myself down to at least one a week.

6. Join a couple of reading challenges: There are a whole bunch of reading challenges over at A Novel Challenge, so far I am interested in the Kidlit Read and Review challenge as well at the YA challenge. Obviously if I do the Kidlit one its going to involve extra blogging, but I mean I dont think thats a huge issue on such little compact books. And even if I do some of the others I dont need to necessarily do a full review but just check in and let you know what i’ve been reading.

7. Get Growing Up Without Harry off the ground: I mentioned it a long, long, long time ago, but believe you me I definitely haven’t forgotten about it. I’ve kept on reading, and will honestly probably need to go back and get a refresher, but I want to write this so so so so so so bad! I cant even pin point why, but it just feels right so I hope to get it right.

8. Get Sequential Genesis off the ground: This is another project I mentioned super briefly. I have found comics due to the beautiful lady who lives over at FacelessMasses, and I have been absolutely enthralled by the medium. I am by no means an expert on the topic of comics and sequential art, but I am loving it none the less. I’d really like to give this some perspective as an outsider looking in. Comics were not something I was into, manga yeah, but comics are a whole different beast.

9. Show my e-reader some love: I have a pretty awful/awesome habit of buying books. Like copious amounts of books. I love to be surrounded by them. Mix this with my growing love of comics. My very very very tiny apartment is running out of space. So what I’d like to do, with the exception of books that continue a series I’ve already begun, or by authors I religiously follow, I am going to get the book in a e-reader format whenever possible. I figure this will save me a lot of space, as well as save me a bit of money.