I have never been able to just give up on a book; it doesn’t matter how little I’m enjoying it or how badly written it is, I have to keep reading. I don’t know why I do this, I have enough books that I’m not in danger of running out of things to read so there really is no real reason. I’ve made a decision this year that life is just too short and I need to try and allow myself to give up on a book if I’m really not enjoying it. And today I’ve done just that! I started a biography last night and it was making me increasingly uncomfortable, it wasn’t well written either and so this morning I decided to give up on it. I feel quite liberated by this and I now realise that if I were more honest with myself about my level of enjoyment with a book that I can probably get through some of my actual books a lot quicker.
Yesterday I decided to sort out my bookcases and make an attempt to weed out some of the books that have languished there for years. I did much better than I thought I would and managed to get rid of 71 books, which have now been donated to my local library.
I feel a bit uncomfortable that the majority of books I got rid of were unread but really if a book has remained unread on your shelves for around a decade, it’s probably never going to be read. I like that fact that the books being at the library means they have a much better chance of being read.
I’ve also dedicated a shelf to books that I maybe should have just got rid of but I still feel a pull towards them and have set myself a time limit of a year – so if the books are still unread at the end of December this year then they all have to go. No excuses!
It feels good to finally be making a start on having bookcases with fewer books but books that I really, really want to read/re-read and not books that I feel guilty about not reading. I can’t wait to weed out some more books now and to do some re-organising!
I’m very aware that since I got my Kindle in April 2010 that I read a lot more ebooks than actual books so in 2012 I kept track of how I was reading. It was still quite a surprise to discover that I read just 20 actual books as opposed to 218 ebooks! The remaining books were audio books. Due to various medical reasons I do find it easier to hold a Kindle than an actual book but I do still love reading an actual book.
So one of my resolutions for 2013 has to be to read more actual books – in no small way due to the fact that I have (according to my GoodReads account, which I try my best to keep up to date and accurate) 565 actual books on my To Be Read bookcases! I really want to reduce the amount of books that I have in my house this year. I love being surrounded by books but they are taking over the spare room, and as we plan on finally renovating that room this year it will be so much easier if I have fewer books.
I’ve set myself a target to read 200 books in total this year, the same target as last year, but I’m unsure what target to set myself within that with regards to the number of actual books I read. I usually have a few books on the go at any one time so I’m thinking of making sure I always have an actual book, perhaps as my downstairs in the house book. I’ll see how I get on initially with this rule but it may be that I need to be stricter and set a numerical target!
I’ve got off to a good start as my first read of the year was a hardback book I got for Christmas – Bradley Wiggins’ autobiography. I have two ebooks on the go and I’m about to start another actual book that I got for Christmas!
In 2012 I set myself a target to read 200 books, it was an ambitious target but I was determined to try and reduce the size of my To Be Read mountain. Anyway, I’ve surprised myself in managing to read 243 books! I’ve read a real mix of books including a re-read of James Joyce’s Ulysses so I haven’t stuck to reading short books in order to meet the challenge I’d set myself.
I keep track of all my books on Goodreads and so have been adding and removing books on my fave reads of 2012 as the year has gone on. I have cheated slightly in that I’ve made two Top 10 lists – a fiction and a non-fiction list as it was just too difficult to pick ten books from 243.
So here goes, in no particular order…
Top 10 fiction reads of 2012
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- The Fault is in our Stars by John Green
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
- The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Fry
- Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
- The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen
- Nutmeg by Maria Goodin
- Wonder by RJ Palacio
- Playing on Cotton Clouds by Michela O’Brien
- Once More With Feeling by Megan Crane
My Top 10 Fiction reads of 2012
- The End of Your Life Bookclub by Will Schwalbe
- The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
- On Writing by Stephen King
- The Long Goodbye by Meghan O’Rourke
- The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
- And The Band Played on by Christopher Ward
- Mother, Lover, Brother: Selected Lyrics by Jarvis Cocker
- Gift of Time: A Family’s Diary of Cancer by Rory MacLean
- Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
Now I’m looking forward to all the books I have to read in 2013!