There are only a few days left in 2017, but there are still so many books I want to read. As always, my to-read pile is overflowing, and even though I would like to cut back on my book accumulation this coming year, that trend will probably continue even if I do stop buying books (I literally just checked out 5 books from the library. So. The TBR pile will never cease.)
Here are three books I want to make sure I finish before the end of the year. Let me know if you’ve read any of them!
1. The Screwtape Letters
This one is a reread. I first read The Screwtape Letters in high school when a friend recommended it to me, and uncharacteristically, I have since forgotten almost all of what happens in the book. I’d like to reread this one via audiobook before the end of the year as a refresher. I love C. S. Lewis and have enjoyed indulging in his books this year. During the spring, I read Out of the Silent Planet by Lewis and reconnected with the voice and storytelling that I liked so much about the Narnia series, so I am definitely excited to check this off my list before January!
2. Mrs Dalloway
I’ve never read a full novel by Virginia Woolf. That seems like English-major-feminist blasphemy, but it’s true. I’ve owned a copy of Mrs Dalloway for serveral years which I picked up at a bookstore in Nashville during a visit with a friend (if I’m remembering correctly) and just haven’t gotten around to it until now. So far, I find it really interesting how the narrative voice moves around examining the characters, giving a close up of so many people while still anchoring on Mrs Dalloway. In the interest of reading the oldest unread books on my shelves, I would really like to finish it before the new year.
3. The Hate U Give
This books seems to be on every YA reader’s end of the year list, whether as a favorite or a book they just have to get to next. It’s culturally relevant right now, and from what I’ve read so far, pretty engaging. The reason I want to finish this book before the end of the year, instead of letting it role over into January, is because it was a Christmas gift from my boyfriend. I have begun a tradition of reading whatever book he inevitably buys me for Christmas before the new year. Last year, it was Hi, Anxiety by Kay Kinsman, and this year it will be The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I look foreword to immersing myself further in the story and seeing what Angie does with it.
What books do you want to squeeze in before the end of the year? Let me know! To make sure you don’t miss future blog post you can follow @halfwaytoitblog on Twitter!
I set a Goodreads goal to read 24 books in 2017.
I read 61 as of mid-December and the year isn't even over yet!
A lot of people want to increase the number of books they read in a year. There's that saying, "Successful people read 50 books a year, and you should too if you want to be successful!" I'm not sure if I believe that completely (it depends on whether the books you read are helping you develop as a person!), but I always want to read more. Reading and writing are my passions in life and have been for as long as I can remember. Storytelling has a special reverence in my heart. So naturally, I make reading and writing a priority in my life.
As a writer, reading is necessary to my success. It's one way that I hone my chops and distinguish my voice against other authors. To other people having any goals about reading might seem superfluous. I get that. But even if you don't see reading as a necessary part of your life, you might find that experiencing a few books adds a lot of meaning to your life anyway.
Whether you're already a ravenous reader or would just like to add reading to your routine, I'd like to share with you the 5 ways in which I read more books than ever this year. I hope they help spark some ideas for your own reading habits!
1. I took advantage of my library's audiobooks.
I feel like this is a cliched answer - one that every post like this would have in it because audiobooks seem like an easy fix for reading more, but in complete honesty, audiobooks make me happy and I highly recommend them. There are some books I wouldn't have read if I hadn't downloaded the audiobook. For instance, I had a big issue starting and finishing the Divergent books in the print editions. The voice of the story fell flat for me until I heard Emma Galvin reading it. I fell in love after that, and Tris (the main character) is now one of my favorite heroines.
Of the 61 books I've read so far in 2017, 25 of them were audiobooks. That's nearly half. In previous years I have appreciated and utilized audiobooks, but never THAT many because I couldn't always find affordable ones. This year that changed when I began using Overdrive which is an app that allows me to download audiobooks from my library for free. I was able to use audiobooks whenever I wanted without worrying about a budget. Signing up for Overdrive was definitely something that boosted my reading this year, and I'm super grateful that my library uses the service.
I have to acknowledge that some people just don't like audiobooks or aren't interested in them. If that's the case, then there's no need to force yourself to listen. I would recommend checking out an book read by the author or an audiobook read by a cast of characters rather than just one narrator, thought, before you completely write off audiobooks! But to each his own.
2. I actually did the school readings.
For once, I committed to actually doing the every reading for my English classes. Since I count any book I read towards my Goodreads challenge even if it's for school, this boosted my number quite a bit. I like making my time effective and killing two birds with one stone, so this commitment worked for me.
An alternative to this, if your major doesn't involve reading novels or if you're not in school, would be taking advantage of your library and using the return dates for the book you borrow as your own personal goal date for having it read. This is a great way to discover books you haven't seen before and save money while meeting your Goodreads challenge.
3. I read what I want. Period.
That means if I wanted to read Scott Pilgrim and count it toward my reading challenge, I could. If I wanted to finish the Harry Potter series before the end of the year even though each book is over 600 pages, I could. It's my challenge, and I get to decide what counts. I follow a lot of BookTubers and book bloggers who seem to psych themselves out about counting anything "too easy" for their challenge and that makes me sad. My motto is, as long as you're getting what you want out of your reading/challenge for the year, then more power to you. Do what you want not what you "should do." Period.
4. I quit stressing about page counts.
This reason goes with number 3. Not only do I make the challenge, but I also don't have to feel any pressure to read a certain kind of book just because I set a goal for myself. Sure, it's great to get to a certain number of titles for the year, and shorter books make that goal more attainable, but it's even better to read books you actually like no matter what the length of them is! I don't read shorter books just for the sake of boosting my challenge anymore (although I have less tolerance for 400+ page books in general), and that has prevented many reading slumps this year. After marking another book as read, I want to pick up my next book. I'm excited about reading and about finding good stories because I'm not slogging through a novella I don't care that much about just because it'll help tick another book off my list quickly.
5. I read different topics, genres, and authors.
Before this year, I primarily read YA novels. I still love a good YA, but I've branched into self-development, classics, and literary fiction more than I have before. It has made all the difference. For starters, I don't have a problem switching between several books if they're on different topics. That means when my attention span starts to wane, I can take a break with a book on another topic. I like to have at least one nonfiction and fiction book going at one time now, but even those books are more varied by the subgenres I pick up. I've read about politics, picked up a sci-fi, studied a ton about finance, and got into more classics than before. Changing up what I read has been a great way to stay excited about each book I read. I feel like each new book I pick up has a new idea to challenge me or teach me, and that's one thing that keeps me reading.
Sometimes it feels like I could talk forever about books and reading! That's one reason I created this blog. I wanted to share this passion with other people and be able to talk to people who are just as passionate about literature as me. Thanks for your readership and for taking a little time to read what I write.
Also, let me know in the comments if you see value in setting reading goals or if you prefer not to! I'm interested to hear your thoughts.
I know you get this all the time, but I can't believe you're here already.
In some ways, I'm more excited to see you than ever. The last couple of months have been an upward trend. I'm more excited about my creative projects than ever. I'm constantly coming up with new ideas and for the first time in my life, I'm not putting them off. Life kicked me in the butt, and I responded by becoming a badass. I'm telling you this because it's so new and compelling to me that I have to share. I hope you don't mind.
I'm doing whatever I need to do to launch my projects which usually means staying up way too late to write a little more, revise a little more, or submit one more piece to a literary journal. From that perspective, life is looking up.
On the other hand, I've been dreading the holidays, and what are you, December, but a sinkhole of holiday to-dos and expectations. I'm a little over it honestly. This is a point in my life in which everything is moving so quickly that it's hard to remember what the holidays are actually for, but I'm trying my best to get back in the right headspace. I've been a little self-absorbed in the past, and I'm ready to change that. December is the perfect time to get started. It seems like everyone is in a giving mood, and that alone makes me happy. I just need to focus on the lasting things and not the material. I need to remember all the hard situations I had to get through to make it to this point and appreciate the journey. Life is a mess, even in the moments when you feel like you have it together. I don't want to wait until I'm finally "put together" to look back and appreciate everything. I want to start now.
So, December, my goal is to keep moving forward, but not forget to look back and appreciate everything that got me here, the people who held me up and championed me along the way. It's a duality. The past informs the future of all the possibilities, and the future provides hope for the trials of the past. My experiences, good and bad, give my dreams of the future a new context. I know how far I've come, so I dream bigger after every milestone. To me, that's how you find the beauty in the day to day. You have to keep moving forward while giving thanks for what has passed.
Thank you, December, for the good I know you'll bring and the challenges you'll provide to help me grow. You're not half bad, really.
What are you anticipating for the month of December? Share what you're most excited about in the comments and let's talk about it.
Poet. Reader. Lifelong Student.