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I did not meet any reading goals in 2019 because I didn’t set any reading goals. The first half of 2019 started off with equal amounts of tissues and ice cream sundaes consumed. It was a period of great sadness and change for my family, and I buckled down to simply get through it.
I didn’t think about reading goals. Instead I thought about getting up everyday and showering. I focused on taking care of the necessities, knowing soon it would get better.
It did get better, but it took longer than I expected. It wasn’t until April or May of last year that my brain made its way through the fog of loss and disappointment to see life had still moved on.
Enter The Bookstagram Community
Through the first half of 2019 I meandered my way through a couple of books, but I DNFed many more. Not because there was anything wrong with the books but because my own mind wasn’t in a place to consume them.
It was about this time I discovered the bookstagram community. I am one of those people in the weird place between Gen X and Millennials and have always considered myself much more Gen X. I don’t really do social media. (Twitter gives me a headache! Why is everyone so angry???) I’m pretty old school when it comes to movies and TV shows. Sometimes I lose my cell phone entirely because I’m just not that attached to it.
So when I started using Instagram, it came as quite a shock to see the how much I enjoyed it.
But it was because I had found my people!
Bookstagrammers not only got me reading again, they got me to expand my reading horizons. My library card was on fire as I tried to sample all of the books my bookstagrammer friends suggested.
It was at this point that I began to witness a change in my reading and that’s the first thing I want to discuss.
Here’s What Happened in My 2019 Reading
I read stuff I wouldn’t normally read.
I was seeing posts on Instagram about the same books over and over. While those books didn’t appeal to me, I thought they must be good if so many people are reading them. I picked them up usually through the Libby library app on my phone as I was predominantly listening to audiobooks on my morning walks at that point.
I loved those books.
Books that were not any where near my normal reading goals lit me up. The book community on Instagram challenged me to be a wider reader.
I was reading across devices in multiple formats.
I’ve always read multiple books at one time but this was the first time I read the same book in multiple formats. Most of my reading was completed between June and November through the Audible app on my phone, the Libby app on my phone, and multiple Kindles. I also read in paperback through borrowed books from the library. Even more, I sped up the audiobooks to play at 1.5 or 1.75 speed to consume more books.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Audiobooks from Audible – 7
- Audiobooks from Libby – 6
- Paperbacks from Library – 5
- Kindle eBooks – 7
Total books read = 25
As I typically average 50 books per year for my reading goals, this makes sense. I only really read from June to December of last year, so I feel good about 25 books.
Here’s How This Will Affect My 2020 Reading Goals
It’s Okay to DNF a Book.
I have always found it difficult to give up on a book, but this year taught me it’s okay. I’m an author myself, and I want everyone to love my books. But as a reader, I know they won’t. Books are personal. Everyone approaches and connects with them differently. Not everyone will love my books. This year I’m going to pay more attention to how I’m feeling and allow myself to DNF a book. This will keep me moving forward in my reading, keep me excited about it, and help me reach my reading goals.
DNFing a book doesn’t mean the book is poorly written. It means I didn’t connect with it. I’ve recommended books I’ve DNFed to others because I see something in them that the person might relate to. You are not a bad person for DNFing a book.
I will hang out in the Bookstagram community more through group reads and reading challenges.
I joined a lovely group this year called the Austentatious Regency Readers. It’s a book club group through the Bookstagram community focused on reading Jane Austen and novels set in her arena such as Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen. It has been one of my goals for years to read all of Austen’s novels and this year I will achieve this reading goal through this group.
I will be looking for more groups and buddy reads that align with my reading goals.
I will use this blog to be more proactive about my reading and set reading goals based on what I want to share here.
Probably like many of you who are reading this, I worked in a book store. One of my favorite things about working in a book store was helping people find a book for their needs. I LOVED helping people.
That was the impetus for this blog.
I want to help people find their next favorite read by sharing my book knowledge with them. Topics I want to address this year are based on questions I received repeatedly at the book store. This requires I do some additional reading.
So this year I will be tackling the backlist of Beatriz Williams so I can put together a blog post mapping out how her books are intertwined. I also plan on discussing historical mysteries, a genre that has risen in the ranks recently through such authors as Deanna Raybourn. Finally, I want to touch on the influence of gothic and sensational novels at the turn of the 19th century which will require me to finally read The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, a book that has been on my list for ages.
Achieving My Reading Goals in 2020
I am so excited to achieve my reading goals this year as I have many on the list that I am determined to check off this year as they’ve been waiting patiently for some time. Also I’m looking forward to growing my connections in the bookstagram community, and I hope you will join me there! I will also be utilizing the tools I mapped out to keep my reading organized. I’m thrilled to give reading a purpose again for me as last year was so difficult emotionally.
Here’s to a better 2020 filled with many good books!