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Saturday, 4 January 2014

Oh what? It's 2014 already?

December seems to have whizzed by in a flash and it wouldn't do to let the New Year roll in without some sort of reflection on how 2013 has made me a better reader. I have enjoyed reading everyone else's end-of-year wrap ups over the past week or so and wanted to come up with my own slightly tardy version. Here are some of the lessons I have learnt about myself over the past twelve months:

1. I like big books and I cannot lie.

In 2013 I made the decision to give up on my usual annual Goodreads reading goal. I hate the way it reproaches you at every single log-in, reminding you exactly how slowly you are progressing towards you goals (because I am ALWAYS behind). And I kind of had the feeling that having this goal was leading me towards choosing shorter, 'easier' reads to help me reach my target.

Removing this self-imposed benchmark turned out to be a great idea. Some of my favourite reads of this year have turned out to be absolute mammoths, several of which have been sitting on my shelf untouched for ages. Here's to more doorstops in 2014!

http://girlvsbookshelf.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/gillespie-i-by-jane-harris.html

2. I am actually kind of a fan of fantasy novels.

In the past I have always had very particular views on science fiction/fantasy books.  Dystopian settings - sure, great. Anything else remotely speculative was approached with definite suspicion. I think there's even a statement in the 'about me' section of this blog saying that I just plain don't like Fantasy. How wrong I was! This year I have discovered just how wide-reaching the SFF umbrella actually is. I have discovered so many great reads with a paranormal bent, and all have been very different from one another. I definitely think this is a trend that I will continue to follow over the next year.

http://girlvsbookshelf.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/wool-by-hugh-howey.htmlhttp://girlvsbookshelf.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/rivers-of-london-by-ben-aaronovitch.htmlhttp://girlvsbookshelf.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/jonathan-strange-mr-norrell-by-susanna.html

3. I am easily distracted.

This year I had a blogging break for several months for a number of reasons. OK, so I started a new job in August, and it has been way more stressful and busy than I had imagined - particularly as I have a very major exam coming up at the end of this month. But while I'd like to pretend that all the time I spent not reading was taken up with worthwhile pursuits and hard study, that would be stretching the truth a little. The blogging break also coincided roughly with my purchase of a Nintendo 3DS, which has proved an unbelievably seductive distraction, particularly following the release of Pokémon X. I just lost a lot of my motivation to read. And like most of us, I find it so difficult to avoid the little diversions that build up over the course of the day like Twitter and Youtube.

Consequently, a big goal of mine for 2014 is to keep focused and waste less of my precious time on forgettable distractions.


4. Turns out I really, really like a red-black-white colour scheme.

Compare this post to last year's favourites...

As for bookish goals and resolutions for the coming year...well, I don't seem to have any! I haven't enrolled in any challenges this time around and I haven't even registered to be a giver for World Book Night. I guess as long as I can keep discovering new reads and finding great books to enjoy, I'll be happy. I did not enjoy that reading slump I went through, so avoiding another one will be an achievement in itself.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and wish you all the best for 2014. Thank you so much to anybody who has read and commented on here over the past twelve months, and an even bigger thank you to all you bloggers who have taken the time to write reviews and recommendations that have led to me discovering some absolute gems!

14 comments:

  1. I loved this post, mainly because Jonathan Strange and Gillespie & I are among my favourite books. And I just finished Night Film last night, it was amazing but I had no idea what to think when I turned the last page...

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  2. Great post. Good luck with this year's reading :)
    http://booketta.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/a-brand-new-year.html

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  3. Good for you for recognizing what you love!! I've seen so many bloggers fall prey to ignoring larger books because they can't read them as quickly. I know I've done this too and am trying to get over it. It doesn't matter the amount of books read as long as we are enjoying.

    I hope you have a great 2014! Night Film is on my must read list for this year.

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    1. I've noticed you seem to be good at doing readalongs, which seems like a great way to motivate yourself to read those bigger books. I have never participated in one yet, but maybe 2014 will be the year!

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  4. Well, I am in the opposite group... I don't like big books. In 2013 I did not read one book over 450 pages even though I signed up for two challenges for very big books. This year I do intend to read quite a few really big books because I do want to read them ... but the length is still a deterrent.

    I have enjoyed fantasy a lot more than I thought I would, especially fantasy / mystery crossovers. I thought I was more a sci fi lover than fantasy (after mystery of course) but really I have a lot of fantasy novels I plan to read. So that surprised me too.

    Have fun this year doing what you want.

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    1. I think if you aren't someone who usually reads big books, a blogger readalong can be a good way to tackle them - reading in manageable chunks at a time. Let us all know which ones you're hoping to get read, and I'm sure you'll find others wishing to join you!

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  5. That Pokémon X so distracting, but I miss reading :P

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    1. Agh, I know - it's such a horrible feeling lifting your head up from the game and seeing how many hours have gone by that you could have spent reading. It's so much fun, but feels such a waste of time!

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  6. Happy New Year Marie! Wish you a great year of fabulous reads. I am determined to read Gillespie and I this year. I haven't tried fantasy novels much at all but am not averse to, one day, if I can ever reduce my existing tbr a bit.

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    1. It is sooooo good! I really hope you get around to it this year. But that TBR is always a battle, isn't it. Happy New Year to you too!

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  7. Hooray, another book blogger in the north of England! So good to find you :-) I love big books too, and fantasy novels. I probably read 50/50 contemporary to sff fiction

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    1. Hooray, thanks for stopping by! Sounds like we have similar reading habits. Heading over to check out your blog now.

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