Caution: Reading Roadblocks ahead

cautionI decided at the start of this year that I wouldn’t make any reading plans. I’m just hopeless at sticking to them so what’s the point? And so far I’ve been able to keep pretty much on track, just reading whatever has taken my fancy from my current bookshelves (only a few non-bookshelf exceptions like Station Eleven).

But a few cracks have developed in that game plan lately.

First, along came Cathy’s 20booksofsummer challenge which I joined last year and thought would be good to repeat. I seem to prefer short term ‘challenges’ where you can participate at different levels. This one is just three month’s duration and though it involves making a reading list, there’s no compulsion to stick to the list.  I’m now on book five from my list and not yet feeling constrained.

Then Adam at Roof Beam Reader pops up with his Austen in August event where the idea is to read Jane Austen’s works (finished or unfinished), or biographies, critique’s etc. Since this is Austen’s bicentenary year, what could be more appropriate? Besides which I have a few non-fiction books that I’ve been meaning to read for several years including What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved by John Mullen and The Real Jane Austen by Paula Bryne. And so I’m signed up for this.

The next person to test my resolve was Meredith who blogs as Dolce Bellezza.  with her Japanese literature challenge which runs from June to January 2018. Easy this one I thought – there’s no need to make any kind of a list and most of the activity will run after 20booksofsummer is over. And so I’m signed up for this.

Still manageable I was thinking until I saw a blogger mentioned a few that I’d forgotten about like July such as Spanish Lit Month in July,  German Lit Month in November and Women in Translation Month in August. And then there is the All August/All Virago project happening in just a few months.

You can see a pattern emerging now I think?

For someone who had no plans, I seem to have acquired one which will take me into 2018. Hmm. However that’s happened, the reading journey ahead is going to get congested because I still have 10 titles remaining to complete my Booker Prize project . I’m determined to do that by end of this year.

To navigate around the bottleneck I’m going to reign back even further on my Classics Club reading . I’m way behind with that anyway – 16 books to read before the end of August if I’m to meet the ‘deadline’ of 50 books in five years which is never going to happen. I’ll also be a little more judicious about any further reading projects/challenges I join for the rest of 2017. I’ll do the ones I’ve already signed up for (20booksofsummer, Austen in August, Japan literature) but I’m going to forgo  Spanish Literature Month and decide between Women in Translation and All August/All Virago.

Wish me luck as I steer through the congestion.


About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on June 25, 2017, in #20books of summer, 2017 goals, AllAugust/All Virago, Bookends, Classics Club, Sunday Salon, women in translation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. Wow, you’ve become a challenge vacuum, sucking up every reading project that comes your way! 😀 I only do the 20 Books of Summer, but if I had known there would be a 2017 Anne of Green Gables read-along this year, I would have done that. Instead, I read all of my Anne books LAST summer for the 20 Books of Summer challenge. Last summer I switched out quite a few books on my list of 20, but this year I’m trying to avoid doing that. Something about “letting go” that I’m not good at, which I am trying to foster in myself this summer. Oh, and you forgot Novella November 😉

    • Im such a hopeless case aren’t I?? In my defence though I did say no today to another challenge which involved travelling across North America one state at a time. I shall have to go and look at your 20 books list, I don’t think I’ve seen it yet.

  2. You do seem to have thrown your hat into the ring of a few nice challenges for someone avoiding challenges! Still, you can always carry on as long as they’re enjoyable, and duck out if they stop being fun.

    • Exactly so – sometimes I just manage one book within the challenge if its going for only a month but I reckon that’s one more than I would have read otherwise

  3. 20 Books of Summer is the only one I’m doing this year, apart from dipping in and out of the LibraryThing Virago Group monthly authors only if I fancy reading something by that author and have easy access to it. I also usually do All Virago / All August as, like with 20 Books, I can do that easily from my TBR; I always have some Viragos and Persephones dotted around!

    • I like the challenges where you can dip in and out. I’m keeping an eye on he Library Thing virago featured author of the month too though so far haven’t had any of the authors mentioned…

  4. I keep forgetting about the 20 Books of Summer Challenge! Maybe next year I’ll join in time. The ones that stick are the ones I’ve done for time immemorial: Paris in July, Spanish Lit Month, and Women in Translation. Oh, and don’t forget about German Lit Month in November! Anyway, I’m so glad that you found time for the JLC11, and it touched my heart how you mentioned that my blog has helped introduce you to some books in translation. Thank you for that. xo

  5. Good luck! I’m already wondering if I’ll manage my one commitment…

  6. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

  7. I always read your blog because you often introduce me to new sites, hidden treasures – you’ve opened so many doors for me – thank you! your latest gem is the Japanese Lit site of dolcebelleza which I would never have discovered left to my own devices.I’m interested in exploring more of the genre & even if I don’t buy any of the books, at least the site provides some sort of guide. I’m not up for any reading challenges – too much of my own reading to catch up.

    • There are so many good resources available now that it can feel overwhelming sometimes can’t it. People like Meredith at dolcebelleza or Stu at winstonsdads blog opened my eyes to a whole new world of literature in translation – I don’t buy all the books for sure but like you see them as a guide to what would be the most interesting/rewarding books or authors to read.

  8. I am a fan of short term challenges, too, but I am hesitant to even consider signing up for the Jane Austen in August or the 20 Books of Summer challenge for fear that I would suddenly feel compelled to read a certain book when I really don’t want to. I’ll have to decide. I’ve completely given up on finishing my Classics Club list within the five year suggested time line. In fact, I keep adding books to the list and since I only read 3-4 classics a year, I am going the wrong direction! Ha! Good luck with your resolve. Stay strong!

    • It was that feeling of being compelled to read something that made me back away from long challenges Anne. The ones I’ve chosen are more flexible I think – even the 20books of summer one which does involve making a list, can be scaled down to 15 or even 10.

  9. Ok now I’m feeling lazy, but I don’t sign up for any challenges, ever!

  10. Good luck with all your reading goals and I hope you enjoy them! I agree it’s easy to overdo. I try to make sure most of my challenges can overlap. I didn’t come close to making 50 classics in 5 years either. That was this summer and I got to 32 — but I figure that’s 32 classics I might not have read otherwise.

    • Exactly – all the books I have read from my various projects I might have got to eventually but the challenges sometimes gave me a much needed nudge

  11. Oh, *pout* I see I haven’t tempted you to add Indigenous Literature Week to your list of irresistible projects to join! ( )
    #NoPressure: You could read just one little short story for $3.00 AUD – how can you resist that!

    • Indigenous lit week did pique my interest and I spent quite some time looking at the list you provided of indigenous peoples – never realised there were so many. But then I didnt have a single one on my TBR that matched up. And yes I could read a short story but I don’t particularly like them….. I shall endeavour to do better next year, promise!

      • And Lisa can’t argue with that since she doesn’ t like short stories either! Clever you to get out of that one. But I do love the idea that for the beginning of the year you patted yourself on the back for keeping to a no-plan plan!

        I’m almost tempted by the Austen challenge, though I’m intrigued that it’s not July when the real anniversary is? That Mullan book is good, and one of my JA group members really liked Byrne. I’ll be travelling on the actual anniversary but am in the process of scheduling a post for the day.

        • There’s a bit of a fuss going on between Byrne and Lucy Worsley, the author of a recent book on Austen. Byrne has stopped short of saying her work has been plagiarised but has pointed out many ‘similarities’ that have not been acknowledged.

        • Yes I’ve heard about that Karen. It was discussed at my JA group meeting last week. One had read both and hold see Byrne’s point.

  12. And your 20 Books list can’t double-up for some of the other challenges??

    • See if I was smart I would have thought about that when I put my 20booksofsummer list together. I do have two books that can double up – Molly Keane will fit the All Virago/All August theme and Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto can count for the Japan lit challenge. But that’s it!

  13. I know, other bloggers come up with such interesting ideas for reading challenges, don’t they? I’m in the same boat as you with my Classics Club Challenge, although I only started a few months ago. Only 2 read so far. There just seem to be so many new books attracting my attention.

  14. You are so kind to link to the Japanese Literature Challenge. However, your link is to the JLC 8, rather than the 11th which is here:

    Thank you for participating, and thank you for spreading the word! xo

  15. Challenges always sound appealing to me but I can never stick to them because I read the way I eat — I follow my mood. Good luck with your reading plan!

  16. I’ve already experienced some superb ones via the 20booksof summer project – it pushed me to finally get on an read some that had been on my shelves forever like The Vegetarian and A Tale for the Time Being

  17. Well whatever happens, let’s hope you read some good books.

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