Sunday, February 06, 2011

January Reads in Review (2011) and how the goals are going, thus far

I couldn't find a rear-view mirror photo I haven't already used, so you get Isabel looking behind her little fur self at who knows what. Not sure if I've used this photo in the past.

January was a pretty good month, both reading- and blogging-wise. I reviewed absolutely everything completed except the one book I shouldn't have read (but it was crying out to me!!): Wither by Lauren DeStefano. I'll review Wither closer to its release date.

Most importantly, I enjoyed my reading. There were a few books that didn't thrill me, but none that I felt were complete and utter wastes of time. At least 5 of the books I read clocked in at under 100 pages, so my average page count was low but I crave variety and don't really care so much about quantity as quality. In other words, it's all good. I could stand to let go of a little more commitment guilt, but I'm happy.

My January Reads (with links to reviews, if applicable):

Thoughts on the first month's blogging and reading goals:

My goals for the year are deliberately fluid so I've decided to look back (when I remember) at the end of the month to evaluate how they're going and whether I need to make changes.

1. Continue to blog but in more of a swoop and dash way, no more editing myself to death - This one was a failure. I spent less time in front of the computer, but I still edited and pinched and prodded and changed -- often updating a review half a dozen times. I need to work harder at lightening up on the self-editing in February.

2. Google reader must die - Success! I had to work at breaking the habit of going to my Google Reader, at first, but I've updated my sidebar little by little, throughout the month, and I'm sticking to reciprocal and old-friends visits. This is saving me a massive amount of time and I'll definitely keep it up.

3. Read what I love; love what I read - So-so. I did continue reading a couple of books out of the sense of obligation, but not many. And, as I said before, I didn't feel like anything I finished was a complete waste of time. But life is short and my ideal is to really like or love every book I read. I'll keep working on it.

4. No challenges/Mix it up (plenty of my own books mixed in with ARCs) - I chose to limit myself to my own One Shelf at a Time self-challenge (and possibly the RIP, in the fall) and I did stick to that. There have been some temptations, but I haven't yet signed up for any outside challenges. I've read 2 books from Shelf #1 and some others from my TBRs, which I think made for a nice mix of old and new. 2 down, 19 to go on my One Shelf at a Time challenge! Good start, I think.

Off to ignore the Super Bowl. Yes, I'm such a nerd that I'm going to go to my room to read, instead. Football simply does not do a thing for me. Happy Super Bowl Sunday to the Americans!

©2011 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. You had a great month! I am still trying to review all books I've read, even if it means mini reviews and I've been doing well but I'm starting to fall behind again which is never a good thing as that means I won't get to the book.

    Hope February is a great reading month for you! And, at Casa Bookgirl we also ignore the super bowl :)

  2. Great reading month!! I love this picture of your kitty! What a fun way to look back at the month - through Isabel's eyes!!

    My month was rotten from a reading standpoint, but with my new reading 'goals' that's just fine!! What I read was satisfying.

    It's funny that I'M the football fanatic in the family!!

    Our son ships off for Mississippi tomorrow! He's excited!

  3. I subscribe to way too many blogs. This weekend I started weeding them out and unsubscribing to many. I plan to make a point of visiting my commentors, then my faves, and try not to worry about the rest unless I have free time. Ha, the idea of free time.

  4. Iliana,

    Thanks! I thought it was a really good month. I'm very happy with my reading year, so far.

    I didn't make keeping up with reviews an official goal but it's been on my mind and I guess that helps. It does just keep piling up, getting worse and worse when you start to fall behind. I've got 3 I need to write, already, this week. I will not let them defeat me!! I'm probably saying that at least in part because I'm immersed in The Procrastination Equation. ;)

    Thank you! So far, so good on the February reading. I hope it's a terrific month for you, too!

    Inside a Book,

    That's one of my favorite shots of Isabel, so I keep thinking I've used it already. I don't know if I did or if I just thought about using it. And, thank you. :)

    Your month was rotten in quantity but not quality? That's what I'm working on, too. Last year, I decided to slow down and enjoy my reading more, rather than trying to barrel my way through the 200+ books I read in 2009 and I thought that was a good start.

    That is funny. Until I married, I didn't know there was such a thing as a female football fan, but hubby's grandmother was crazy about football.

    This is a great time of year to get shipped to Mississippi -- not too cold, not hot!!

  5. Lisa,

    I kept trying to weed out blogs from my reader and I honestly liked too many of them! That's one reason abandoning the reader and going to reciprocal blog-hopping has worked so well, I think. The temptation to read all of those wonderful reviews is gone. It really has helped immensely.

    LOL Yeah, free time is scarce when you've got little ones! I remember it well. I've got more free time, now that mine are older, but now I've got to work on managing it!!

  6. That's a great reading month. I need to weed Reader too, but then again, I'm not hestitant to check the "mark all as read" button when I can't catch up.

  7. This was so interesting to read. I like 'swoop and dash' ;<) I wondered what 'commitment guilt' is. There's an interesting article in a recent New Yorker magazine about football. I watched just the Black-Eyed Peas. :<)

  8. A good month, indeed. I weed every once in a while, only to add new blogs. Carl's RIP and his Once Upon a Time are the only challenges for me, but that is because I love both genres.

    Good idea to review your goals each month as it is so easy to forget.

  9. Michelle,

    Thanks! I tended to read posts till I was practically cross-eyed and my rear end was numb, then I'd mark the rest "read". Big time waste, especially commenting at places where the bloggers never replied. I'm happy to have escaped from Google Reader. :)


    Commitment guilt refers to guilt when I can't get through an ARC or can't get to it in the scheduled month. I'm trying to wipe that out completely by no longer accepting advanced readers. I've enjoyed reading books in advance of publication or near publication -- my library often doesn't get the titles I want to read at all and a lot of them simply show up on the "new books" rack 6 months to a year after publication -- but I used to just read only older titles for that reason and I have plenty of books. I'm moving back to my old way of reading.

    Football . . . blecch. I've heard the Black Eyed Peas were very well-lit. :)


    Thanks! I do love the RIP. There's nothing like a few creepy reads in the fall to welcome the cool air (although it's never cool when the RIP starts).

    I actually meant to review my goals every 4 months, last year, and never got around to it! So, this year I'm going with every month (if I feel like it). I figure I'm more likely to remember if I'm not waiting as long to review how I'm doing.

  10. You had an amazing month! Good job sticking to your goals. Yes, I think Google Reader has burdened too many readers. I'm glad I never got sucked into it. I still feel a bit stressed when I don't have enough time to visit all my favorite blogs, but I get to them eventually. It's kind of fun to sit back and read several posts from one blog in one fell swoop. Almost like a little visit with my friends.

    We watched the game. And the commercial. I like a couple of songs that the Black Eyed Peas sing, but I was pretty disappointed with the half-time show. Something seemed off with the vocals. If you get a chance, check out one of their songs on YouTube. It's called One Tribe. There's an excellent video montage that goes with it. See if this link works.

  11. Congrats on such a great month! I'm also enjoying reading off my shelves :) All the best in February!

  12. Les,

    Thanks. There were a lot of great things I liked about Google Reader, like the ability to save favorite posts (especially recipes) and I do miss that. But, I don't miss the time consumption.

    Thanks for the link. I've seen the Black-Eyed Peas before. They're not my cuppa.

  13. Amy,

    Thanks! It's a lot more satisfying to make a dent in your older piles, isn't it? I feel good about knocking out the TBRs, little by little, and I'm going to keep it up. Happy Reading!

  14. I've got a million blogs in my Google Reader but I've named them into files. The original intent was to put the people who blog every day into their own file so I wouldn't miss the less prolific bloggers but I've broadened the field, so to speak. There a file for those that I read in awe but don't comment, those that have really gorgeous stuff to look at, some that caught my interest.....etc, etc.

    You didn't need to read Book #3! I totally would have shared my secret with you. ;)

  15. Carrie,

    Cool. You are so freaking organized. I'm not going back to my Google Reader, for now, but if I ever do I'll have to do some sorting.

    Hahaha. Silly girl. The title is misleading. There's no real search for perfection in that book at all. It's about trying to follow all the rules in Leviticus and, in the end, they all decided to just pick and choose the rules to follow. But, feel free to teach me how to be perfect. :)

  16. I'm trying to kill Google Reader but just can't seem to do it. And I've been working on reciprocal commenting as well, but sometimes it doesn't always work out.

    Jealous that you got to read in your room during superbowl! Scott invited over some friends last minute and so I patiently watched the game--even when they played games on my iPad for an entire quarter. I kept thinking--really--you get to play on MY iPad but if I grabbed Ulysses and started reading I'D be rude? ;) Oh well!!
    Hope February's been good to you so far!

  17. Trish,

    I know what you mean. I find that if I'm not in the mood for blogging or reading, I fall behind on commenting, as well. I have some catch-up to do, already. This was not a week that I felt like doing much of either, although I have done some reading -- just not all that much.

    I've always been baffled by the backwards logic that it's fine and dandy to tune people out while watching TV but it's somehow rude to read while people do so. And, playing with your iPad? Did they ask? I think I'd be miffed. But, then, in reality I'd probably just be happy to have visitors in my house because we never do. I hate that, but we just don't have room to entertain so we don't.

  18. As you can see..I'm rather slow in getting caught up with my google reader. lol! YOu had a great month!!! So glad you enjoyed all the books, even if some were better than others.

    oh..and speaking of google reader..I've been updating mine lately too. I created a favorites folder and I try to keep up to date on that one, although sometimes I slip a week or more behind. I also have a folder for fitness blogs and I tend to read those regularly as I follow several running ones that have awesome articles. Plus they keep me motivated.

  19. Kris,

    Thank you! February was a good month, too. I'm waiting till I've written all my February reviews so that I'll have links to all of them, then I'll write my reads in review post.

    I don't actually go to Google Reader at all, anymore, unless I suddenly remember I've forgotten to move over an important address into my sidebar and then I'll go fetch. It's really taken a load off my mind. I don't want to be all about book blogging, anymore. It's time to branch out a bit. Like you with your fitness blogs, I'm reading more blogs on design, now.


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