For some, it may be shoes, handbags, music, cars even...for me it's books. I am addicted to them. I just cannot stop buying them, sniffing them and even eventually reading them. Yes, I do buy faster than I read, but the way I see it, they keep me out of trouble and I'm always learning. Even when I read a mediocre thriller like the one I just finished, I learn something - in this instance I learned the author isn't for me! You see, there is always educational value in books :)
To coin Marie Kondo's phrase that I hear bandied about all over the place, my books 'spark joy' when I buy them. Forget that tosh about only owning 30 books, I mean. What is that about?! Each book holds a new promise of something exciting and unknown. And, yes, they take me away. I have a lot of wonderful things in my world, not least my amazing daughter, but I also have a fair amount of not great stuff and books take me away from that. I honestly believe that books and reading have taught me skills both practical and emotional, which help me to deal with life. But that's another post for another day.
This year I decided to make a few changes in my reading and book buying habits. Some of these changes are for budgeting reasons, believe it or not. As we are half way through the year,I thought I'd reflect on how I'm doing.
Book Goals 2019
Read 80 books in 2019
I made this goal in January based on the fact I read 72 books in 2018. I love to compete with myself to push my target up to improve on previous numbers. After a couple of days I had a think. Who am I trying to impress? Reading more doesn't guarantee reading better so what was the point? I log all books I read on Goodreads and I reduced my Reading Challenge goal from 80 to 52 books. I figured one book a week is pretty good going, and if I achieve that and read fewer but better books, then I'll be happy. At this point in the year I have read 30 books. Some better than others but I'm reading smarter and choosing my books based on content rather than number of pages.
Goal Achieved? I'm not sure it really matters.
Lessen the number of books I accumulate on my Kindle
What I should have done with this is kept a count of which books I bought for my Kindle and which ones I received as ARCs (advanced reader copies) from NetGalley. I could go back and make a list, but that would cut into my reading time, so why bother?! I have for cut down on buying and requesting, I just don't know by how much. I allow myself maybe one visit to Netgalley a month and only buy ebooks if they are on Daily Deals and I already want them. That's how I managed to get Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud for 99p (Amazon) and On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (NetGalley). I mean, SCORE! I can't sit down for hours and read ebooks, I don't get the pleasure from it I do with real books. I'm old school. I like to feel the weight of a book in my hands. I want to 'see' my progress (% means nothing to me) and when I'm done, I like to physically put the book back on my shelf. eBooks do not give me any of that, however, I am an insomniac and they are great to read in bed when I can't sleep.
Goal Achieved? YES
Read more non-fiction
When I set this goal I thought I'd give it a go, but I wasn't holding out on achieving a massive difference in this particular reading habit. I love stories and hate memoirs. I'm not a celebrity biography kind of girl and that is what I thought of non-fiction (yes, I'm that daft). Don't get me wrong, I like to learn real facts but find non-fiction arduous and hard work. The way I usually consume non-fiction is by audio book. I feel having someone in my ear is a successful way of me 'reading' and pottering at the same time. Well, that still is the case - I like to listen while I do jobs around the house or drive but oh, I was so so wrong about non-fiction. I have thrown myself in and I am loving it. I have read memoirs by people who genuinely interest me, memoirs by people I've never heard of, psychology books, philosophy books, essay collections. There is no stopping me! I feel like an entire genre has opened up to me, and it's exciting! Only two of the non-fiction books I've read have been audios - I've really enjoyed taking my time and soaking them up by reading them myself.
Goal Achieved? YES
12 of the 30 books I have read so far this year have been non-fiction. In 2018, I read 9 non-fiction books all year.
Do not buy books from the supermarket on a whim. Only buy books I know about and actually want
I caved in on this last month! I bought The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne. I had heard good things about it and it seemed a bargain. Have I read it yet? Nope.
Goal Achieved? No
Cull the study - be brutal
Woo Hoo! I did this earlier in the month and it felt so good! Lots of books are boxed up and ready to go. I still need to get them out of the house and I need a hand shifting the boxes but I feel very smug with myself that it's a job well done.
Goal Achieved? YES
Read to Rose every day
This one is easy. My daughter loves books. I've had to limit her to only two before bed, otherwise we'd have about 11. She loves books and loves to read with me during the day too, so that makes me happy beyond measure!
Goal Achieved? YES
I'm trying not to be too smug, but I am clearly winning so far this year! The best things about this post for me, has been reflecting on what I am buying (I'm buying smarter and better), and realising how books play an important part in my daughter's life too. I really hope she loves books as much as I do as she grows up. When I say I'm buying smarter I don't mean that in a 'highbrow' sense. My buying choices are more considered and I am also consciously reading more diversely. So far, I'm doing well.
A pat on the back for me.