Blogging Goals, Reading Journal (January 15), and a Winner

I have so many “reading goals” for the New Year that this week I started to feel a bit burned out, like I was reading just to cross it off the list. I should be reading for my own personal development and enjoyment. I also want to join in Reading Journal this week (is there a “day” for that meme?) and Library Loot, since they are related. Finally, I’ve selected a winner of The Book that Changed My Life.

Blog Improvement Project

In the spirit of Blog Improvement Project, here are my blogging goals for 2009:

  • Post more book reviews than non-book review posts. This means I won’t be doing Weekly Geeks or any other memes every single week, and when I do participate, I’ll post them together as much as possible. I want the focus of Rebecca Reads to be the books and articles I’m reading, not the memes.
  • Have at least one post at each of my other blogs at least every other week. If keeping a balance means I’m not reading and reviewing as much on Rebecca Reads, so be it.
  • Keep track of pages read and challenges progress via “In Review” posts at the end of each month. I started this with the end of November and I like it. It helps for me to look back and realize that I did read a whole lot, even though dozens of books are still unread!
  • Don’t stress out about challenges – just enjoy reading! I have very ambitious goals (as I shared here and here) and I anticipate my year being quite busy, so I may not finish them all. The great thing about reading lists is I have my entire life to read through them.

Reading Journal

Confession: sometimes I don’t want to read the books I have already begun, so I start a new book. That, of course, means I occasionally have many books on my night stand. Here are those that I am currently reading:

  • Fundamentals of Photography by Tom Ang (280 pages read of 330; nonfiction/reference). For the Dewey Decimal Challenge. After I requested this book from a different library, I realized that I’d rather do the “000s – Generalities” category this month, but I’m reading this book anyway. I am enjoying it, but it is highly technical, so I can only read so much a day. It’s a new release, so I’m struggling to finish it by the earlier-than-usual due date of 19 January.
  • Norton Introduction to Poetry (80 pages read of 500; poetry). An upcoming Bookworms Carnival is focusing on anthologies, with a deadline for submission of 23 January. This volume is my absolute favorite poetry anthology because it also is a tutorial on how to read poetry. Needless to say, it is challenging to read an anthology of poetry from cover to cover. I may actually review it before rereading the entire thing (something I don’t want to get in the habit of doing…)
  • Material World by Peter Menzel (100 pages read of 250; nonfiction/coffee table book). For the World Citizen Challenge, along with Menzel’s What the World Eats. While Material World is certainly better than What the World Eats in some ways, it is also a coffee table book and is challenging to read cover to cover.
  • The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (about 300 pages read of 630 pages; fiction/short stories). For my personal short stories project. The Project Gutenberg version of Grimm’s stories only has about 60 of the stories; there are more than 200 in the complete volume.
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkein (about 350 of 425 pages; fiction). For fun. My husband and I have been reading this novel together over the past six months. We have the end matter (some stories) to finish. I may finish it myself, as we will probably not have time in the next few months.
  • The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters (about 50 pages read of 350; nonfiction/reference). For the Well-Seasoned Reader Challenge. This is a cookbook as well as a cooking tutorial and I love it! But when do I review it? It’s going to take a while to cook the recipes.
  • The Flavor Bible (about 35 pages read of 300; nonfiction/reference). For the Well-Seasoned Reader Challenge. This is another cooking-help book and I love it thus far.
  • The Discoverers by Daniel Boorstin (about 70 pages of 700; nonfiction/history). This is my “long” selection for the 9 for 09 challenge. I read about 70 pages with my husband last year, over the course of three or four months. But then we started Silmarillion together and never finished Boorstin. I’ve started rereading the beginning and I’m actually going to read it this year.
  • Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott (5 pages read of 120 pages; fiction). For fun. I started the first chapter (because I thought I could read it quickly due to its short length) but then I got distracted. I do want to read it before it’s due at the library (two more weeks).

How many books do you read at the same time?

Library Loot

Since Library Loot goes along with Reading Journal, I thought I’d participate this week. In addition to those books started above, I also have these on hold at the library, awaiting my pickup:

  • Golgol’s Wife and Other Stories by Tomaso Landolfi (180 pages; fiction/short stories). For my HTR&W challenge.
  • Hunger: An Unnatural History (270 pages; nonfiction). For the World Citizen Challenge; I was disappointed in Menzel’s coffee table book, so I wanted a more appropriate book about world hunger.
  • The Odyssey trans. Robert Fagles (560 pages; epic poetry). For my own Really Old Classics Challenge. (You can still join, and there is a giveaway for participants at the end of February.) My mini-goal is to finish The Odyssey by the end of February.
  • Rereadings by Anne Fadiman (270 pages; nonfiction/essays). After reading Eva’s thoughts, I thought this would be great for the “000 – Generalities” month for the Dewey Decimal Challenge (and it’ll be a great compliment to my review of The Book that Changed My Life). However, I have so much else to read, I may not read this.

A Winner

The winner of The Book that Changed My Life is Bookoholic13. Happy reading!

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  1. I totally know the feeling burnt out! Especially when I receive my next PP winning book and it is two volumes with tiny print all about the events leading up to WWI. I just keep putting it off! But, we can keep encouraging one another and realize that the world will not end if it takes us a little longer to read a book or if we don’t quite make it to the last page…

  2. I am a one-book gal – only one at a time, otherwise I feel scattered and overwhelmed.

    I have to say, I don’t fully understand reading challenges. I mean, I think they’re great if they motivate you to actually read, or if they expand your horizons, but I guess I don’t understand why people take something that is something they do for personal enjoyment, and make it into a chore or a competition! If you aren’t enjoying the books that you read or the reading process, then what’s the point? I think this is pretty much captured by your final reading goal (“don’t stress!”)… to me that’s what reading is all about!

  3. ak, yeah, as I’ve said before, I’m pretty impressed with your goal: those books are so hard! But I’m even more impressed that you haven’t said “I’m going to read n books before this date” because then I doubt the reasons for why your reading them. Just take your time, and I’m eager to hear your thoughts about them….

    Kathy, me too! But it’s also the hardest to “measure” success in the end!

    Steph, I feel like different books at different times of day; I’d feel weird if I just had one book at a time. I do think I’m a bit overboard right now, though….As for the challenges, I felt similarly. Until I started making reading lists and realizing all the books I want to read and how they fit into my life-long plans for reading. I joined challenges, I think, because I like making lists and planning ahead. Now that the new year has started, I realize that I probably can’t get through all the books on my lists. And it’s OK! That’s why I do have that last goal. Even though I still like the challenges for planning and fun, I won’t let them feel like a chore.

  4. I am an obsessive list-maker too, don’t get me wrong! I’ve been tracking the books I read for a few years now, and I find it really rewarding. I’ve just personally found that while I’m happy to have a TBR list (gotta keep track of everything I want to read), I’m also perfectly content to pick my books based totally on whims and how I’m feeling “in the now”. I see how a challenge could add structure or motivation to one’s reading; I guess I’m just happy going with an unstructured approach. And reading in general is simply motivation enough for me! I don’t want to feel like I’m reading on a deadline or for any reason other than my own personal enjoyment and education.

    That being said, I like to see how people who thrive on the challenges progress. It’s great for gleaning more ideas for what to read! πŸ˜‰

    Also, I could see balancing a fiction read with a non-fiction read, but I think that’s the most I could do!

  5. Great goals! I like to read a few at a time even if I love them all–it’s always sad to finish some books because they’re so good, so that way it gets drawn out a little.
    I read The Discoverers several years ago and loved it. I’ve also read a children’s U.S. history book by Boorstin that was excellent.
    As for reading challenges, I love them. It’s just pure fun for me. But I also often go off on a whim a lot of the time and read things that aren’t on any challenge.

  6. “Confession: sometimes I don’t want to read the books I have already begun, so I start a new book.”

    That happens to me too! When I’m reading just one book, I get the urge to begin new ones, but then I end up finishing them one at a time anyway.

    I personally enjoy reading projects and challenges, because I love compiling ‘themed’ lists, hahah. Woot, mini-goals. Mine are to complete Anna Karenina and The Canterbury Tales before the end of January.

    Happy reading πŸ˜€

  7. Steph, I guess that’s the main “problem”: More ideas of what to read!!

    Ladytink, I read it in school, but don’t remember it much…

    Chain Reader, I really am enjoying Discoverers. I feel bad that I never make it a priority, because it is good. I’ll finish it hopefully in the next month.

    Tuesday, I’m glad I’m not the only one! I like your mini-goals. I’m making a few of these books my “finish by the end of the month” mini-goal books. I look forward to your thoughts on Canterbury Tales….

    Myrthe, aw, thanks!

  8. Great post. I like the challenge of the challenges because it gives me a goal to work towards and a commitment to spread my reading wings and read other genres or classics.

    By the way – you mentioned joining in on the Reading Journal. what is the Reading Journal?


  9. Robin, I’ve seen people with posts called “Reading Journal” and a logo, but I’ve never figured out where it originated; I thought it was a weekly meme. I guess no one else knows!

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