My Goodreads goal for 2017 was to read 40 books. Unfortunately, since I kinda sorta planned a wedding last year, I was a tad distracted. But I went into crazy overdrive the last week of the year, and got to 38. So, since that’s 95%, I am still an A student. I am okay with this. I promise, my wedding was A+.
First, let’s take a look at some fun stats:
I asked my friends and family to ask me questions about my Goodreads challenge. Here are my answers! Thanks to everyone who participated!
Was there a setting in any of the books you could see yourself living in? (Katie)
The setting of Radio Girls was 1920s, England, at the beginnings of the BBC. I would have LOVED to be working in that building buzzing with so much activity and the newness of radio. I’d probably be in over my head, but it just sounds so exciting and lively. I’d spend each day marveling at how lucky I was to just BE there.
What one book would you recommend above all others? Did reading it change you, or your views? How so? (Melaney)
Not to sound like everyone ever in the past century, but everyone should check out How To Win Friends and Influence People. It surprised me because all this time, I didn’t really know what it was about. It turned out to be a lot more be-good-to-people-centric than I thought. It gives you clear lessons on how to better communicate with other people, especially when you’d rather throw them out the window. Plus, it’s funny and easy to read. It definitely changed how I think about approaching sticky situations with everyone I come into contact with.
Which book did you have the most expectations for? Did it live up to what you expected? (Kieran)
Oh, Artemis. When I read The Martian, by Andy Weir, it immediately became one of my top five favorite books. I pre-ordered Artemis, thrilled to have the same emotional, smart, and heart-in-throat experience again. I was super disappointed. While Artemis was just as smart, it definitely represents a sophomore slump. Weir hasn’t quite figured out how to write women yet, and the main character is a woman. The plot was not nearly as edge-of-your-seat suspenseful. I am holding out hope that his next novel will bring Andy Weir back to my favorites list.
Which character did you hate the most? (Katie)
Hate is a strong word. I don’t think I hated her. But disappointment can be worse. Jazz, the main character in Artemis, well, she had huge shoes to fill. Mark, the protagonist of The Martian, became my best friend throughout the whole read. Jazz meanwhile, has dubious morals, is basically written as a man pretending to be a woman (see above answer), and isn’t all that likable. It should be known that I have a REALLY hard time liking books where the main character isn’t an upstanding citizen. Sorry Jazz, but Mark Watney was way cooler.
What was your criteria for book selection? (Christian)
Well, it was really whatever I felt like at the moment I needed a new book. People always ask me, when I mention a reading goal, if I have all the books lined up. I really don’t. I pick my books based on what I am craving. I have all kinds of books stored on my Kindle, plus my Goodreads to-read list is insane. I use those and my physical bookshelf as guidance.
Of course, my company does a book club so a lot of those books were not chosen by me at all!
What constitutes a book? (Christian)
Ha! Christian, my brother, and I spoke about this at about the 48 hour mark at the end of 2017, when the challenge was looking dire. I would not count a children’s book, unless it was Alice in Wonderland or something else that could be considered literary. But even then the length would have to be relatively decent. Books of poetry certainly count, as do books of short stories. I suppose if I don’t feel accomplished just by finishing it, then it shouldn’t really count as a book.
Was there an intentional mix of styles, types, genres, etc…? (Christian)
I try to balance out my nonfiction with lighter fiction, alternating between the two. I tend to feel genre fatigue if I stick to the same kind too long. I also have a fear of books that are too similar running together, so that helps me naturally mix things up. It really is about what I am in the mood for.
Did you discover anything about yourself through the books you chose or the journey itself? (Christian)
I realized that I really love picking up a book without any idea what it’s about. this accidentally happened a few times this year because of how I have been building my Kindle collection in recent years. I read the Bookbub
newsletter every day, and I always mark down books that seem interesting to me in Goodreads. But sometimes, when I am feeling particularly crazy, I go ahead and buy it right away. (They are all discounted, relax.) But then I don’t pick up said bought book till months later when I totally forgot why I thought it sounded good. So I end up just reading it and enjoying it for what it is, without re-reading the synopsis. The surprises are always delightful, and there’s no expectation to shatter.
Did this [challenge] take the fun out of reading or make it a great competition? (Christian)
Generally, no, it did not take the fun out of it. It’s exciting for me to have a goal like this. The only time I think it took the fun out of it was trying to read 5 books in a matter of days to hit the goal at the end of the year. I sped through books and didn’t really get to enjoy them. But seeing as I won’t be planning a wedding ever again, I don’t foresee any more such issues with hitting my goal. (Yes, when I have children, I will lower my reading goal to like…5.)
That’s all, folks! I have already started on my 2018 goal (40 books, for real this time!). At least 20 of these books will be the classics. I realized, to fit into my larger 2018 word Foundation (post coming soon), reading the classics would be a great way to mix up my Goodreads challenge this year. Book #1? The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.
PS – Read my official review of The Inkblots here, The Tea Planter’s Wife here,
and Colored Pencil Painting Portraits here
PPS -Want to waste more time at work? Then read my yearly book posts for 2016 and 2015! Yawelcome.