An end in sight

As we start to pass through the portals of the New Year you may have noticed I still haven’t fully reviewed 2018. But how can one truly review something that isn’t yet complete? Let one meal be finished before we can start digesting, I say, and then we can contemplate the next smorgasbord!

Here then — on the last day of the year — is my look back at the last year’s achievements, presented with a clean conscience that 2018 is indeed done and dusted, or will be by the time many of you read this …

Now, statistics can be boring unless one draws conclusions from them, so I’ll accentuate the conclusions but row back on the number crunching!

As I’ve previously posted, I’ve already surpassed my 52-title Goodreads Reading Challenge for last year, so here I’ll just note how I did in the 2018 Ultimate Reading Challenge. Of the 52 categories, I wasn’t able to complete the following thirteen:

1. A book you read in school: it was going to be a Thomas Hardy but I was already depressed by world events
2. A book from your childhood: a Noddy book? Perhaps not
3. A book by someone who isn’t a writer: hmmm…
4. A book with over 500 pages: Not even approaching
5. A personal growth book: Nope
6. A book not finished in school: Most of them?
7. A book with a character with your first name: I nearly went with Cris in The Cuckoo Tree but the spelling differs, so no
8. A play: It was going to be Milton’s Comus but ... Anyway, it’s on my Classics Club list, so I won’t avoid it!
9. A book of poetry: I had two in line, but they’ll have to bide their time, sometime in 2019
10. A book about psychology: I’m reading Robin Ince’s I’m a Joke, and So Are You which mixes stand-up and psychology, but am less than halfway through
11. A book about science: Not yet
12. A self-published book: Um…
13. A book of non-fiction essays: Oops

I think I might aim to complete these categories by the spring equinox, but then again I might not. Still, 39 categories ain’t half bad!

The number of titles ticked off on my Classics Club list continues to grow: with 16 completed and reviewed that means I have 34 spread over two years to look forward to, eminently doable I’m sure (that’s roughly 1.4 classics every month). Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley is next … and has over 500 pages.

To my gender-balanced author tally for the year I can now add the names of Susan Cooper and John Polidori, which means I’ve now read 24 male writers and 25 female writers in 2018. I fully expect to keep this goal going in the future.

Right, since I’ve claimed to have wrapped up my 2018 reading goals you can, if you like, see how the claims measure up to what I set myself twelve months ago: https://wp.me/P2oNj1-KL. But you won’t have long to do so as I should soon be posting my goals for 2019. Gosh, are we already almost there?

A final word: I’m especially grateful to numerous bloggers who’ve maintained invariably stimulating conversations, on this blog and elsewhere—I can’t tell you how much I value this online community which shares a love of books plus, I’m sure, many common human values (as I surmise from your measured comments and generous comments on posts). Blwyddyn Newydd Dda to you all, and may 2019 not turn out to be the annus horribilis many have predicted but which we all still fear.


I know a number of you have already been publishing your reading progress for the year and/or a pick of your highlights. If you think I’ve missed them do point me in the right direction below or—if not—feel free to enlighten me with a comment or ten!

18 thoughts on “An end in sight

  1. Congratulazioni per tutti gli obiettivi raggiunti e quelli che raggiungerai. Buon anno a te e ai tuoi cari e auguro, inoltre, che un po’ di saggezza investa il tuo paese, che sento anche mio.

    Here is a translation exercise for you.😉

    Happy New Year, Chris. 🍸🍸🍸🍸

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Buon anno anche a te, Stefy, e ai tuoi! Un po’ di saggezza per il mio paese? Si grazie!

      But let’s focus on the positive for 2019: there are enough of us sensible ones who haven’t resorted to bullying and intimidation and illegality and who may yet prevail. It’s just that we need to use our powers of persuasion and the strength of our good example to convince them otherwise, not join in their tactics. Not easy…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: An end in sight — Calmgrove – Earth Balm Creative

  3. Chris, you always put a smile on my face when I read your posts. This was a good one. Humor can save us. I need to find how humor was described by one of the speakers at George Bush funeral, it was inspiring.

    I am looking forward to a new year of your reviews!

    Feliz 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Of course we can’t properly review a year that isn’t finished! I will even wait until next year to summarize my 2018 reading, just in case I manage to finish another book tonight (although mostly because I need to check my statistics and make a pretty map…).

    Gott Nytt År!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. piotrek

    Very nice results, you are a disciplined reader 🙂 39 categories, not bad, not bad at all. I read in series of similar books, I don’t think I could follow a plan like that for a year.

    Don’t try too hard to complete all of the categories, 5 looks rather dreadful, and 3 and 12 is very risky 😉

    A book of poetry… all at once? I never read more than a few poems at a time, it’s such a concentrated load of thoughts and emotions… but whenever I feel I’ve read most of a particular anthology, I mark it in Goodreads as read 😉

    Again, happy 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Piotrek, though I think it looks organised in retrospect as I basically ticked off what I thought was a suitable category after each book! I agree with your caveats, I mayn’t struggle too hard to complete those!

      Where poetry’s concerned, I tend to pick up short anthologies, making it more likely I’ll complete them. For example, I’ve nearly finished a small publication of verses from Jane Austen and her immediate family, I’ve another compendium of commissioned pieces about bookshops, and we heard a marvellous performance last year from a comic/poet whose slim publication we immediately got, full of lovely gems I dip into now and again — I too am a dipper!

      May 2019 see sanity return to the world, we’re due some now, the sanity clause demands it!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well done, Good Sir! And you are so right about this community. Whenever I feel like I just can’t keep up with this, I see so many amazing thoughts and stories here and from other writers in this community that I must keep going.

    So I do.

    A Blessed Ides of January to you! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely spot on there, Jean, we freely share stuff because feel part of a thoughtful, sympathetic community that values that sharing and supports the people that share. I think many of us would feel bereft without it. Things go quiet at times but soon pick up, thank goodness!

      Thanks for the wishes, and the same to you! Strictly speaking, of course, the Ides of January is on the 13th (the 15th for March, May, July, and October) but I knew what you meant.

      Liked by 1 person

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