A new year, with new opportunities to read – bliss!
Don’t forget to copy the #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge contributor badge at the end of the post.
What I learned from the Goodreads Challenge in 2021
For the last couple of years I’ve participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge and it is a great way to motivate you to take time out of the busyness of live and lose yourself in a good book. So let’s get that straight – I’m in favour of the Goodreads Reading Challenge but perhaps not for me and definitely not for 2022.
The first year I blitzed it and riding high on my achievement I set my target for 2021. In hindsight a very unrealistic target and one that I didn’t achieve. I remember at the time my good friend, Donna (one of our co-hosts), suggested that she likes to take her time reading books to absorb them so she wasn’t inclined to set a goal, or if she did it was a modest number. Now, ‘goal-focused’ me didn’t take this advice and so I set my goal and off I went into 2021.
You’ve probably guessed by now that I failed miserably with my ‘target’ but that’s okay. For me, not reaching the number of books I had challenged myself to read, was a great learning experience. In hindsight I have learned:
- That the challenge for me had put the focus on reading a set number of books and it became Quantity not Quality.
- I had raced through books, ticking off another book read for my challenge and yet not really appreciating what I was reading. In fact, when I look back I don’t even remember the characters or storyline of some of the books.
- There were books I didn’t even want to finish but ‘wasted’ reading time because I had ‘that number’ in my mind that I had to reach.
- There were some books I wanted to re-read but felt I needed to push on with ‘the numbers’. I think in Goodreads you can add this to your list but for me that felt like ‘cheating’.
- Donna’s advice was spot on.
- Someone who loves reading probably doesn’t need a challenge because they already know that books enrich their life. I would be lost without books and value my reading time which is a form of ‘self-care’.
For 2022, I won’t be setting a ‘number of books to read goal’ but rather I will be taking my time, being more selective of the books I’m reading and enjoying the experience of the story, the characters and the author’s work. It is also about my WOTY ‘BE’ – being in the moment when I’m reading and absorbing what I’ve read, pondering questions or ideas the book has raised in my mind. BE-ing Me by not comparing myself to what others are doing and not feeling I have to join up to the challenge because of the FOMO.
I don’t feel I’m very good at writing reviews but am working on this and trying to write a short review on each book I read. My reviews are found in Goodreads. Are you on Goodreads? It is a great way to track what books you have read during the year. You can also see what others are reading and read reviews.
My first book for 2022 was Where the Trees Were by Inga Simpson and I gave it a 4 -star rating on Goodreads. A 4-star from me means I enjoyed the book very much but not completely ‘blown away’. Below is my review.
What a way to start my New Year of reading. I haven’t read any of Inga Simpson’s work but enjoyed Where the Trees Were. Jay, Kieran, his younger brother Matty, Josh and Ian, best friends enjoying the time of their life growing up in a rural setting. They discover a grove of ancient carved trees which they vow to protect. This book brought memories of long hot summer holidays. Jay becomes an art historian specialising in indigenous artefacts and so begins a journey to right wrongs of the past.
This book proved quite controversial in a Facebook Group and received a negative reviews from most of the comments due to ‘questionable political history’. I had just started the book so this was not a good omen. I decided to overlook the political history and read the book as fiction, however, I was disappointed and felt the character, in particular, Tessa was not convincing. It was an ‘okay’ holiday read.
88 Lines about 44 Women
I received 88 Lines about 44 Women by Steven Lang as a Christmas gift and really had no idea what it was about. It was well into the book before the title was explained in one sentence. The book has received mixed reviews and for me I was waiting for something to happen but it never did. It has been described as a thriller but for me it lacked this element and therefore it was disappointing. The story held my interest but I wasn’t captured.
MY BOOK OF THE MONTH
‘Still Life’ by Sarah Winman rated 4.14 stars on Goodreads. I adored this book and wrote a review on Goodreads which I’ve included below. I gave it 5 stars but would have given more. I highly recommend Still Life.
My second book of 2022 and I just adored it. Sarah Winman’s writing is superb. Set from WWII until the 1970s, from Tuscany to the West End and then Florence, this book was a joy to read. Ulysses Temper, a British Soldier meets Evelyn Skinner an are historian, possibly a spy meet in Tuscany and find they are kindred spirits. Although it would take decades for them to meet again. I loved all of the characters – Ulysses, Peg, Alys, Cressy, Col and Pete and of course Evelyn and Dottie. Florence is my favourite Italian city so I indulged in memories of my visits there. I highly recommend this book and if I could have given more stars I would have
We are onto our final book in the Bronte Sisters and reading Shirley by Charlotte Bronte. I had not heard of this book so had no idea of the story. Here is a summary from Goodreads:
Following the tremendous popular success of Jane Eyre, which earned her lifelong notoriety as a moral revolutionary, Charlotte Brontë vowed to write a sweeping social chronicle that focused on “something real and unromantic as Monday morning.” Set in the industrializing England of the Napoleonic wars and Luddite revolts of 1811-12, Shirley (1849) is the story of two contrasting heroines. One is the shy Caroline Helstone, who is trapped in the oppressive atmosphere of a Yorkshire rectory and whose bare life symbolizes the plight of single women in the nineteenth century. The other is the vivacious Shirley Keeldar, who inherits a local estate and whose wealth liberates her from convention.
WHAT’S ON YOUR BOOKSHELF GUIDELINES:
What: What’s On Your Bookshelf (#whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge).
When: Third Thursday PM (Northern Hemisphere)/ Third Friday AM (Southern Hemisphere).
Why: Share a love of reading.
Where: Blog, Blog Comments, Instagram or other Social Media.
Who: This linkup is open to everyone.
How: You can share in the comments, with a blog post, or on other social media of your choice. Include the hashtag #Whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge so that we can find you and include your link in our posts.
Be a proud contributor to #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge
To show our appreciation to all participants, contributors are welcome to display this badge on their blog, website or social media.
Sharing what’s on their bookshelf this month
Take a moment to link through to see what my co-hosts and others have written……
Now over to you – what’s on your Bookshelf?
Deb, Donna, Jo and I hope that you will join us each month and share what you’ve been reading! If you have any questions just ask us. You can also link to any, or all of our posts, with a pingback, that way we get to see your posts quicker!
Don’t forget to tell me about the book(s) you’re reading at the moment! Then click on the blue button below to see what others are reading.
See you next month!