Now, I have lots of extra free time. Free time that I'm often not sure what to do with. I had grand visions of using that time to catch up on my reading. It didn't happen. While I was in school, I spent every weekend chained to my desk and my laptop. At work, I look at words for most of the day. When the end of the day comes and it's time to wind down, I don't always want to look at more words. That's why I read the least amount of books, than I have in four years. My initial goal for 2015 was 40 books, but I lowered that to 30. I only read 27 books, I wish I could have read more. Some days I just did not want to read. I did not want to post anything on my blog. I continued to buy more books, but have read very few of them. Some days I really feel bad for slacking on my reading.
I think I'm getting over my reading lull. Like many book bloggers, I want to do better in 2016. I know I will do better. I'm aiming high for 2016, with a goal of reading 75 books. It's an ambitious goal. I might not make it. The number isn't that important. What's important is that I have fun doing it.
Before I get to my reading resolutions for 2016, lets look back at 2015. I don't feel I read enough to do a best and worst books list. Instead, I focused on the best books I did read and tropes/cliches I'm tired of hearing about.
Best books of 2015
(Please note, not all of these books were published in 2015. I just happened to read them in 2015)
1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah: I love, love historical fiction. This one is set during World War II. Two sisters are put to the test. Risking not just their freedom, but their lives.
2. Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid: What if fate gave you a chance to see yourself on two completely different paths?
3. The Martian by Andy Weir: Never thought I'd like a sci-fi book, but I did. It was funny all the way to the end, and so was the movie!
4. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: This one started out slow, but I loved it by the end. I have high hopes for the movie!
5. Evergreen Springs by RaeAnne Thayne: A sweet holiday romance!
6. Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan: I did not review this on my blog. This was an office book club pick. This one mixes music and magic. It's the story of how one harmonica played a pivotal role in the lives of three children.
7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: I read the whole series (did not review on the blog). I read all three books and watched the movies in preparation for the final movie. The first book is my favorite. I feel this one set the tone for the rest of the series.
8. George by Alex Gino: Another office book club pick (did not review on the blog). A little girl desperately wants to play the lead role in the school production of Charlotte's Web. But she's afraid to tell anyone. Why? This little girl was born a boy. I highly recommend it.
Tropes/Cliches I'm tired of hearing!!
"It's just like Gone Girl" "For fans of Gillian Flynn" "For fans of Gone Girl" "For fans of.......": No, no, no, no. Why can't books just stand on their own? Why constantly compare them to blockbuster books and authors?
Love triangles in young adult books: While I loved The Hunger Games series, I was tired of the whole Peeta or Gale business. This trope seems to be in soooooooooo many YA books. It's time to retire it.
Print vs. digital: My personal opinion, print is not dead. But digital hasn't completely taken over either. Every year there is an argument that publishers should increase their digital initiatives, along with 20 more stories that print is the better option. Enough already!
Reading resolutions for 2016!
(other than the first one, the rest are listed in no particular order)
Read more of my own books: As in I must read more of the books I made the effort to search for and purchase. I spend hundreds of dollars every year on books, but I rarely read my own books. I put review books above my own TBR pile. That stops in 2016. Fifty percent of the books I read in 2016 have to be my own. That is one resolution I have to keep. How bad have I been at reading my own books? Take a look below:
2015: 5 out 27 books (18.5%) I read were my own
2014: 3 out of 37 books (8.1%) I read were my own
2013: 3 out of 60 books (5%) I read were my own
2012: 0 out of 76 books I read were my own
I suppose the silver lining here is that each year since 2012 I've read more of my own books. But still those numbers are abysmal. I vow to change that in 2016. I will still accept review books, but reading books I purchased will take priority.
Buy less books: This is a hard one. Continuing to buy books that I don't read is just not sustainable financially. I need more money in my wallet and buying books is a BIG drain on my wallet. For Christmas I did buy more books, but only with the gift cards I received. I think that's a good policy. Only buy books on special occasions (birthdays/holidays). This is really going to hurt. :(
Read more fantasy/sci-fi books: I need to step out of my comfort zone, and this is the genre I read the least. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin is at the top of my list (just ordered it online with a gift card). I heard her speak at a book event, and she really piqued my interest in fantasy books.
Read more period: As I stated earlier, 27 books, in my opinion, is just such a small number. I have to do better.
Less social media, more reading: I don't post a lot on social media, except on those occasions when I like to snark on red carpet fashion (the Golden Globes are calling my name). I do waste far too much time on Twitter, scrolling through nonsense posts. It's such a time suck! Time to change that.
Read more e-books: I have several hundreds books on my Kindle and have read less than 10 of them.
Listen to an audiobook: I've had my Kindle for a couple of years and have yet to take advantage of the free audiobook that comes with it. I think it would be great to get a different perspective on reading.
Read more non-fiction: I did not read a single non-fiction book in 2015. Dead Wake by Erik Larson is at the top of the list. Of course I bought it months ago, and it's been collecting dust.
Read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: I know the exact place I bought this, Penn Books (before it closed). I bought it three years ago. This is so sad. I don't have any desire to watch the TV show, but I feel out of the reading loop with this series.
Read the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin: Now, I'm not a regular viewer of the show outside of short clips and I'm not a die hard fan waiting for the next book. But I feel this is another series that's required reading.
Read more Harry Potter books: I don't know how long ago I bought the hardcover box set, but I was still at my old job when I did. I haven't worked at my old job in more than four years. In that time, I have only read the first book. I don't remember a lot about the first book. So I know I have to hit the reset button and start from the beginning. When it was happening, Harry Potter mania was lost on me. I was in high school when the books started coming out and I just didn't get all the hype over a book. Now that I work in children's publishing, Harry Potter is a regular topic of conversation. I can't really relate, and the only way that's going to change is if I understand the hype.
That's it for resolutions. Here's to a successful 2016 all around!