Perusing progress

2016 reading challenge
2016 Reading Challenge posted by Goodwill Librarian on Facebook

Well, we’re way past the halfway mark of 2016, a year that so far has appeared more an annus horribilis than an annus mirabilis. But thank goodness we have the benefit of books and the leisure to peruse them: the consolation of reading helps mitigate some of the universal depression over world events that hangs over many of us like a pall of smoke.

This is a good point at which to pause and see how I’m getting on with my various Reading Wishlists. Hmm, not brilliantly. So far with re-reads I’ve only begun Joan Aiken’s Wolves Chronicles, though I’ve managed the odd other reread (three in fact, listed below). With my Reading New England challenge I’ve managed … one book. Where non-fiction and classics and standalone fiction are concerned I’m making a little more progress. And I’m steadily filling up my alphabetical list of authors whose last names begin with each of the letters of the alphabet.

I’ve only just come across Goodwill Librarian‘s 2016 Reading Challenge on Facebook. It’s nowhere near as long as the 50-odd challenges from last year that I attempted, but I reckon I’ve a good chance to cover this with what I’ve already read and what I hope to read in the coming months without making any extra effort. So I’m not, as far as I can see, making myself a rod for my own back; though looking at the actual options I suspect that they may be angled towards less voracious and less omnivorous readers.

Here, for what it’s worth, is my current 2016 tally (feel free to skip this list):

A Joan Aiken The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and Black Hearts in Battersea [Wolves Chronicles/rereads], Mortimer’s Tie [fiction]
B Charlotte Brontë The Professor [literary classic]
C Susanna Clarke Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell [fantasy], The Ladies of Grace Adieu [fantasy]; Mark Cocker Crow Country [natural history]
D Roald Dahl Boy: Tales of Childhood [non-fiction/autobiography]; Peter Dickinson The Ropemaker [epic fantasy]; Sophie Divry The Library of Unrequited Love [literary]
H Rachel Hartman Seraphina [fantasy]; Patricia Highsmith The Two Faces of January [crime fiction]; Penelope Hughes-Hallett ‘My Dear Cassandra’: Illustrated Letters of Jane Austen [correspondence]; Sarah Hendrickx Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder [non-fiction]
J Diana Wynne Jones The Merlin Conspiracy [fantasy/reread]
K John Keay The Great Arc [non-fiction]
L David Lodge The Art of Fiction [non-fiction]; Charlie Lovett First Impressions [cozy mystery]; Doris Lessing The Fifth Child [literary horror]
M China Miéville Railsea [fantasy]
N A D Nuttall Shakespeare: The Winter’s Tale [literary criticism/reread]
P Terry Pratchett Equal Rites [fantasy]; Alan Powers Living with Books [non-fiction]
R Kathryn L Ramage ‘The Abrupt Disappearance of Cousin Wilfrid’ [cozy mystery]
S Anne Spillard The Cartomancer [fiction/reread]
W Jo Walton Among Others [fantasy]; John Wyndham Plan for Chaos
Z Gabrielle Zevin The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry [fiction: Reading New England Challenge]

Eleven alphabet letters still to cover (E F G I O Q T U V X Y) but I’ve got Fforde, Gaiman, Tolkien, Verne and Xenophon already lined up — so that’s more fantasy, science fiction and non-fiction boxes ticked. Twenty-eight books read in as many weeks can’t be bad either, though it doesn’t match the consumption rate of some bloggers I know! Interestingly, fourteen authors are women as against eleven male writers — not a conscious redressing of the balance compared to past reading but for this hitherto myopic male welcome nevertheless.

Some blogging readers review their progress weekly, others monthly; I presume I’m not the only one to take a slightly longer view, in this case half-yearly. Do you take this broader overview or do you prefer a more frequent assessment? Or perhaps you don’t bother at all?


22 thoughts on “Perusing progress

    1. Yes, an A to Z is a useful way of navigating what might otherwise be a set of random encounters — and I see you are in the midst of the self-same exercise (albeit with pictures)! Hope to explore your treatment in due course …

      A ‘whew’: that’s a new one on me. Hope it’s a compliment!

      1. It is a huge compliment – I used to follow you on my old blog and from s distance I really admire your love for good lit and the different ways you share about it – from what you are reading or doing in life – to review stuff – to referencing quotes and all that –
        Anyhow – yes – I am doig the A to Z and if you don’t mind – I am going to link this post to my main a to z page – for folks to see another way A to Z can apply – well done by the way – oh and I wish I had suggestions for the letters in waiting – but I don’t!

        1. Thanks very much for the appreciation — I’ll accept ‘whew’ from now on! Yes, do feel free to link, a lovely compliment. And don’t worry about not having suggestions for me: I love exploring and following my nose where it leads me, so won’t evet be stymied for want of authors and books!

  1. That is some list, and am going to do a wow instead of a whew. I am so amazed when I read peoples reading lists and give a deep sign, ah maybe thats that whew, I can never read more that a couple of pages at night and then fall asleep 🙂 I am so looking forward to being able to read during the day, although people say you are more busy when you retire than when working……I will wait and see 🙂

    1. Thanks for your kind words — especially the ‘wow’! — I too am impressed when I see what I’ve completed! As it happens I too tend to read at night, getting up to an hour’s read before my eyelids droop, with a few pages more before I start the day proper.

      Strangely enough, although retired I don’t do much daytime reading, apart from the papers or a magazine or catching up on blogs I follow; I think it’s because there are too many distractions, enough to stop me escaping to an alternative world for the requisite period of time. 🙂

      1. Oh well I shall just have to master the art of staying awake a bit longer. You should be impressed with the list, as some you list, I should think are quite heavy reading.
        Although not having read them myself, the titles just sound heavy, if you understand what I mean. Its a bit like judging a book from its cover, I do it with titles 🙂

        1. Life’s too short, I think we can only do what we can do — best to have no regrets! (Oh no, that’s a bit like like Tony Blair ‘apologising’ for the Iraq War; I might have to rethink my statement!)

  2. Thanks very much for the appreciation — I’ll accept ‘whew’ from now on! Yes, do feel free to link, a lovely compliment. And don’t worry about not having suggestions for me: I love exploring and following my nose where it leads me, so won’t be stymied for want of authors and books!

    1. I’m a bit of a rebel, Nikki — and also more than a bit lazy — so tend not to stick to deadlines I’m unable or unwilling to meet, hence no regular updates.

      I often also post a post discussions about what I’ve been reading recently, looking for themes or things they might have in common (as with members the crow family, which popped up in several titles I read almost consecutively).

      So I’m rather in awe of you and your track record in not only your reading but also your posting schedule! I don’t know how you do it, you’re clearly no sloth …

  3. I’ll suggest a few vowels for you, Chris, but feel free to ignore or pass. For E: Edward Eager (Half Magic series), Sylvia Engdahl (Enchantress from the Stars) and Lissa Evans (Horton’s Miraculous Mechanisms). For I: Washington Irving. For O: Scott O’Dell and Iona & Peter Opie. For U: Eleanor Updale (Montmorency series) and Anne Ursu (Breadcrumbs). For Y: Gene Luen Yang, Gene Luen Yang, Gene Luen Yang. You can tell which author is my fave (but they’re all great).

    1. I seem to remember some of these authors from reviews you’ve done, Lizzie, especially the last, so will check them out again. I’ve already got an ‘I’ ready, another Ibbotson, a YA novelthat may well be semi-autobiographical. You’ve suggested the Opies before I think, and I’ve already got three or four of their studies on my shelves; while you’ve recommended Eager very warmly before so I must chase him up. Thanks for all these!

  4. Regarding the first list, I would not like to go back to a book previously abandoned. I usually battle my way through, once started, but if I abandon then they are absolute trash.
    The other list is highly impressive and makes me feel illiterate.

    1. What you call “the first list” I assume is the one on rereads, Col, but these aren’t books I’ve abandoned but those I’ve kept to enjoy again! As for the “other list” (the alphabetical one?) you have to remember that after a lifetime of mostly non-fiction I’ve got a lot of catching up to do! I’m also woefully magpie-like and will pick up anything shiny, whether or not it’s of any worth. Luckily I usually find some gold in any dross there might be in a book. 🙂

      1. I mean the one appearing ninth in the challenge, about returning to a book previously abandoned.
        In my case it is strange that after having, most of my life, read three to five books a week, I am now down to doing that in a year – not counting books I edit.
        Blogging and other activities are partly to blame, of course.

        1. I see now, thanks for making that clear! I do try to return to books I abandoned decades ago, books I simply wasn’t mature enough to appreciate then. More recent books that I’ve stopped in the middle of aren’t however ones I shall ever be returning to.

          Yes, blogging does impede reading time — we’re both well aware if that!

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