The joy of reading escaped me this year. Gone was the delight and excitement which had started my reading year to be replaced by disappointment and at times, sheer frustration. And I know why. I fell into the trap of reading books suggested by others, who were well-meaning in their intentions, but which sadly, didn't hit the mark. I allowed their recommendations to jump the queue of my own
'To-be-Read" pile. I also experienced the overwhelming disappointment of a long-awaited title being so disjointed, coupled with a failing plot line, that I wished I hadn't bought it. I'll go one step further with that particular book confession - I gave my hardback copy to my local library! I won't name - that's not my style.
Reflecting on my 2022 reading, I've missed out on so much. There was only one book which gave me a book 'hangover' on finishing: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid - on completion I simply wanted to reread from page 1. I read less Classics, than I wished to. Joined in less with my book club discussions. I hardly touched my beloved Agatha Christie collection!!!
There were a smattering of positives; I read more poetry, I reread several children's books to compensate for my choices and I finished a fabulous biography about Mary Shelley.
I rely on the Goodreads app to log my reading books and note other titles which I'm interested in. A lovely feature is the end year summary which provides quirky details about your reading habit.
So, here's to a fresh year of reading. I'm hoping the plot lines excite my imagination, the dialogue jumps off the pages and my sleep pattern is disrupted by 'just one more chapter'.
One of the glorious and nerdy aspects of my personality is planning. I can plan for England! And, the best bit is that for 95% of the time I stick to the plan - unless I spy a great opportunity!
2022 hasn’t been a great year regarding my enjoyment of reading – I’ve encountered some highs and lows throughout the year. My reading became stagnant at times as I couldn't get into the title I'd chosen. I detest 'not finishing' a book so imagine being confronted with several 'DNF'.
I prefer to read as a reader, gaining enjoyment from every page and not read as an author! If you know, you’ll know what I mean by that quote. Anyway, I fully intend for 2023 to be a good year of reading, where I return to embracing every book with which I decide to spend time. I literally see my reading time as such, my decision to spend time with a specific author/title because time is the most precious thing I have. I’m tired of being talked into reading a book that others are raving about, the obligatory reading of a current bestseller or worse still, the book that’s about to be made into a film (because we all know its ruined forever afterwards, apart from a few exceptions).
In 2023, I’m taking back the reigns regarding my beloved hobby. My daily reading time is mine and mine alone, so I’ll be choosing the material! No ifs, no buts, unless I ask you for a recommendation – in which case you are blessed, as I obviously hold you in high regard!
My main book challenge for each month:
January – a much loved reread (no, not Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) - Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding - read.
February – a long overdue bonkbuster novel by the Queen of bonkbusters - Riders - Jilly Cooper - read
March – a book by George Eliot
April – a return to my beloved Austen (yes, a P&P reread) - read a million times since I was 14.
May – a book by my beloved Dickens - Oliver Twist
June – a biography of a hero - Charlie Chaplin
July - a children's classic
August - a sci-fi book
September - begin an epic tome
It goes without saying that there will be other books read during each month, but those will be chosen on a whim from my extensive ‘to-be-read’ pile/bookcase.
What started as my NaNoWriMo 2022 project has continued into the month of December. I have a deadline of 1st February 2023 but have a scheduled hospital stay in the coming weeks. Life always throws you a curve ball when you can do without it, hey? I have no idea how I’ll be feeling afterwards, so need to write as much as I can beforehand. The advantage is that I won’t be doing anything other than reading and writing for many weeks afterwards but January 2023 might prove to be a crucial month regarding my health, so I can’t take any chances with my current writing.
So far, progress on the book is excellent. I’m loving the narrative, have fallen in love with the main man and adore my leading gal! Today, I retraced my steps and dropped in a few minor details providing a set-up for various plotlines – foreshadowing is always satisfying. My intention is to write until 23rd December and then begin my Christmas holiday for some much needed downtime. I’ll resume writing again on the 28th December, I hope.
Next Christmas book: link - published 28th September 2023
December has arrived so I can officially say, I did it! I managed a whooping 70,527 words during the 30 days of November. It goes without saying, I'm thrilled to bits as its next year's Christmas book. I need another 25,000 words so my intention is to carry the NaNoWriMo spirit into December hoping to finish draft 1 before my Christmas holidays begin.
Thank you to everyone who sent emails or messages throughout the NaNoWriMo month - it really means a lot to me!