Reading Challenge Challenges: What to do about 2018?

This year my reading challenge was to get back to reading the way I used to, voraciously, widely, deeply.  I’ve got the numbers, 132 of 150 so far over on Goodreads, which is great, and I have read more widely this year than in recent memory.  I hope I’ve read more deeply.  I believe I have.  I think much of what I’ve been reading has been informing my own writing, and the process of having to review each book forces me to think about them on a deeper level.  Mostly.  Some of what I’ve read doesn’t really warrant that, but heck everyone gets a tip of the hat at worst.

Moonheart, the British hardcover edition. Glinda, Karen, and I special ordered them when all we could get was the American paperback edition.
So I’ve been fretting over how to challenge myself in 2018.  This year I had an informal theme to my reading, books about books.  And I’ve read a number of them, though just lately I’ve veered off into other directions.  But I wanted to do something more formal for next year.  I’ve made lists of ideas, some of which look pretty silly a day or two later, some which are good ideas but doomed to failure, (Read books I never wanted to read.  Why???)

But last night it occurred to me that there were two things I really want to accomplish in terms of my library.  First, to not add more books until I’ve read a substantial number of the ones I already own or share with Glinda.  This is not only good sense in terms of doing what I have intended to do all along, but it should save me money, which I very much need to do.  This was the year of take-my-money-and-give-me-books.  2018 should be the year of clearing up the TBR pile.

The second thing, and this is in part a result of some interesting conversations I’ve had with my friend, Karen, who is an inveterate re-reader, I want to re-read one book a month.  I’m not going to make a lot of rules about what I can or can’t reread.  I have every intention of revisiting at least two of the books I read this year, Lincoln in the Bardo, and A Gentleman in Moscow because I want to. (I will be reading them in different formats than I originally did, and I find that switching formats lets me read more deeply.)  But there are books on my shelf, like Moonheart, which I haven’t opened in decades, and since I’m currently on a Charles de Lint binge, having spent nearly the entire check from the Apple class action suit on his work, it may be time to revisit an old favorite.

I also want to reread books that I’ve had on my shelf for yonks, certain that I love them and want to keep them forever, but never really thinking about them unless I catch sight of them while looking for something else.  I need to know why I’m keeping them, and if I should not bother.  I’d like to revisit some classics I enjoyed umpty-gazillion years ago, like Moby Dick, and Vanity Fair. Will I still enjoy them now, or will my attitudes and interests have changed so dramatically that I’ll end up yelling, “OH SHUT UP!” and ultimately bailing?

Like  this year I’ll start my numbers out at 75 books, since I’d rather keep to a plan than simply rack up numbers.  We’ll see what happens.


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