My Top Ten Reading & Blogging Resolutions – 2011

fireworksI’m not even sure if this will end up being a real post that I pay attention to – I know how I can be about resolving to do things – but I have definitely been chewing on some things in my mind about what I want my reading and blogging to look like this year. Two resolutions contradict each other, so I guess I will continue to think about that and see what path I take.  I don’t know if I would have had ten resolutions, but they did over at The Broke and The Bookish, so I had to try to keep up.

  • Read less books. 2010 seemed to be an unusually busy year for me, and there were frequent pockets of time when I wasn’t reading anything at all.  I was thinking that it could be a good idea to just go with that.  My official goal this year (and it fluctuates from hour to hour, day to day) is 104 books, which is just a couple of books a week.
  • Read more books. On the other hand, I could just make reading the priority that it is and set aside an hour or two each day to do it, no matter what.  That’s  what I did the first week of this year, and so far I have read five books.  But then, January is usually one of my strongest reading months.
  • Review everything I read. It has never been a hard and fast rule that I review everything I read.  I have reviewed all review copies where I have finished the book.  Other books just haven’t inspired me to say much of anything at all, so I haven’t taxed myself to think up something just because.  This year I would like to have a complete reading record. The good, the bad, the did not finish.   You may see some very short reviews from me (say what?) if I come across a book that is just “meh”.
  • Review each book as soon as I finish. I am not sure why I even wasted the picas typing this out, but I guess some resolutions should be a true challenge.
  • Read only finished review copies (i.e. the actual book). Some of the ARCs that I have read this year have been horrendous in terms of quality.  Rampant typos, grammatical errors, sentences that just end, huge narrative leaps, endings that are changed in the final copy.  Speaking only for me, I don’t often receive a finished copy in addition to the ARC, even though ARCs invariably says that content and quotes are to be checked against the final copy.  How much should I comment one what is essentially unfinished? I have no way of knowing what was fixed and what wasn’t, and I don’t want to have to try to figure it out. It had been my understanding that ARCs were pretty close to the done deal with minor punctuation to be corrected, but now I don’t know how true that is – it might just vary by publishing house.  In any case, I will be reading through what I have, and setting aside any ARCs that just don’t make sense to me as a reader.  I have already started putting the brakes on ARCs by either not accepting them, and when I do, carefully considering the source and quality of past ARCs.
  • Read two non-fiction books a month. In other years I wouldn’t have had to make a resolution like this, but last year was pretty dismal in terms of how much non-fiction that I read.  Again, I think a schedule much busier than normal and life events had an impact here.  My comfort reads are fiction and cookbooks, so those proved to be my fall guys when I was ready to curl up with a good book.  I suspect that this is naturally correcting itself based on what I have to read over the next couple of months.
  • The buck stops somewhere between 50- 100 pages. I have a lot of books that linger around in limbo.  I started reading them but for whatever reason I find that I haven’t been able to get back to them – lack of time, other commitments, boredom or discomfort with the story.  It’s odd but sometimes no matter how good a book is, the more I keep not getting back to it, the less appealing it becomes.  I plan on clearing out my limbo by reading 50-100 pages of each book and deciding whether or not to continue.  That way I can at least put up a DNF review and keep the books moving on to people who might enjoy them.
  • Mark as read. Every day. I love reading blogs but there are a lot more book bloggers, and bloggers in general,  these days than I can keep track.  I watch with interest as bloggers come up with strategy after strategy to manage their feed readers.  Been there, done that, and I cry uncle on this one.  I have about an hour in the morning and the occasional evening that I can spend reading blogs.  If I can’t get to it in that hour, I have to let it go.
  • Do Less.  I am banned from having any more ideas.  I can keep the projects I have, but for every new thing I take on, I have to relinquish something else.
  • Have fun reading and blogging. I plan on following my reading and blogging bliss.  Having fun with this is the order of the day – anything else will be adjusted accordingly.

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 BOOK CLUB Picks & Giveaway For The Last Brother, by Nathacha Appanah

No pressure or anything.  How did this post get to be 944 words?  It’s a list post for crying out loud. Sheesh! Some people.

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  1. I love these goals. Do less is definitely a good one. As far as ARCs and how much they change: It depends on a lot of things and not really by publishing house. Mostly there are still at least two (sometimes more) stages of editing to go — those are the stages during which major consistency errors are corrected and final tweaks are made as new eyes read the manuscript. Sometimes that means a different scene and even a different ending. You have to totally absolutely expect typos, grammatical errors, punctuation errors, and so on in an ARC as well. My review policy states that I much prefer early finished books because I spend enough hours of the day reading (and editing) “final” manuscripts.

    I do review everything I read. That was my goal when starting my blog and one that has stayed with me. Like you I don’t necessarily finish everything I start — some are clearly DNF books, and I write a DNF review. Others, I just kind of float away from — and those get various types of spotlights: teasers or my tea post or a what I’ve been reading post or something like that. I like the record.

    I hit “mark all read” every Sunday afternoon — I do my best during the week and then start fresh. I would LOVE to have the time to read and comment on every blog and every post, but it just doesn’t happen for me.

    1. Ha! I know you know all about ARCs. Poor Candace!

      I’m not saying that I expect ARCs to come perfect, and most of the times the typos/grammar are not an issue, but just from reading them over the past couple of years I have noticed a difference in them the last 6 months. Some have looked like no one has ever looked at them before and I am no stickler for grammar! I never studied it in school so my knowledge of rules and how things work is spotty. I can read through quite a bit pretty happily in my ignorance. So when I notice not the here and there errors, but pages and sentences that make no sense, it scares me.

      I understand too that they are sorting things out but when I have a feeling that something needs a lot more than a typo hunt, I don’t know what I can tell myself about the or what to tell readers, and I don’t have a way of checking short of going out and finding it in bookstore to see how it turned out. Just not going to happen. If something doesn’t look right, it might change and it might not. When I have those issues, I will likely put something aside. I’m not saying ARCs have to change, but that in some instances I am not equipped to comment on them, and I think I have reached the point where I want to read books and not probable books.

      I have no idea how you make it to the end of the week before Mark As Read. I would be buried by then.

  2. I have a goal of 130 books this year, which is more than last year. I have been reviewing every book, but not always right away. That is what I need to do too. It’s much easier to review them if you have it fresh in your mind! Great post!

  3. January tends to be my strongest reading month too. I wonder if it because I have less obligations in January. Keeping up with blogs is hard. I am getting to the point, where as long as I pop by once or twice a week then that should be fine. Life is too short.

  4. Haha! I’m chuckling at you…you were in a spirited mood when you wrote this! Read less, read more, do less, do more, write timely reviews…yes, I’m there with you. I have a hard time getting to everything. And I don’t generate a single original project, I just read and write reviews. You, on the other hand, have your hand in everything. I really don’t know how you get it all done.

  5. Great List, Nicole!

    I have decided to implement the “mark read” rule myself. I have a bit more time on the weekends to leisurely read blogs, so I tend to implement this rule once a week rather than once a day.

    Life is definitely too short to not make having fun the order of the day 🙂

  6. I don’t review every book I read but try to. I also do the mark as read exercise because I can’t get to everything. I read many more blogs than I can comment on.

  7. This is my favorite one: Do Less. I am banned from having any more ideas. I can keep the projects I have, but for every new thing I take on, I have to relinquish something else. Because I have a tendency to over do it in the good ideas (but never follow through) department. That being said, I did start a new blog that is nothing but book related so that I can separate my blogging. Good luck with your list, Nicole!

  8. I love your goals. For me, the buck stops at 50-100 is one I need to follow. I stick with books way to long. I hadn’t thought of doing a DNF review but it is a really good idea. Oh, and I love the Do Less goal.If you accomplish it please let me know how.

  9. You are also prohibited from telling me any more of your ideas, if you do have them. Especially since we still have one more tentative project we haven’t launched yet. I am hoping to cut back a little on reading this year too, or at least read fewer review books. I changed my ‘goal’ on my tracking sheet from 200 to 175 and am basically refusing to review review copies every day.

  10. I wish I could say I’ll read more non-fiction this year, but I honestly don’t know where to start. Fiction is such a small niche in publishing, and one that I’ve gotten comfortable with, that I’m a bit off balance as to how to begin with non-fiction.

  11. Wish you all the very best with your reading and blogging goals this year, Nicole! I didn’t know that sometimes the publishers changed the ending of the book in the final copy which is different from the ending in the ARCs. I liked your goals – ‘Read Less’ and ‘Do Less’ 🙂 I loved the spirit behind those resolutions, focussing more on quality than quantity.

  12. Your goals are excellent and I share a lot of them! Your note about ARCs is one that makes me glad I’ve largely stopped accepting them. I do still take in a few, mostly of books I’d just love to read, and I do read them off Netgalley, but otherwise I’d just rather purchase the book than bear the obligation. Looks like I’m saving myself some irritating changes in the process – I have been pretty lucky so far but who knows how long that will last.

    I also review everything I read, which I think is a good idea. Even if it’s a few sentences long, it’s nice to just have it there in case I somehow decide to read a DNF book again by accident (it has happened!). And as you know I hear you on the review right after finishing … I’ve already failed but my fingers are crossed for you!

  13. Thanks for the chuckle with the first two. Good luck with…whichever 😉 I find it impossible to mark all as read so I have weeded out lots of blogs but am trying to still read the ones I love. Like yours 🙂

  14. “no pressure or anything” LOL!

    Nicole, I wish you the best with your reading resolutions – you’ve given them a lot of thought.

    I try to review everything I read (I used to review before I’d pick up the next book; that was a sure way to get it done).

    Your thoughts on ARCs are worth considering … some are definitely more finished than others.

  15. My Google Reader is out of control. I haven’t really had time to check it in the past couple of week and it exploded. I would love to mark everything as read but I’m so afraid that I’ll miss something amazing!

    I love how your first two resolutions contradict each other! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your bookish resolutions with us! We appreciate it.

    Jen at The Broke and the Bookish

  16. I spend way too much time reading other blogs…but I can’t help myself…I’m afraid I’ll miss something as well. I appreciate your 944 word list…from one word-aholic to another 😉

  17. the only one of your resolutions that i plan to stick to is ‘have fun reading and blogging’ because if i can’t do that, then why should i do it at all? i love the community, reviews, books, and recommendations and won’t do it if it’s not fun anymore! 🙂 here’s to a terrific 2011, nicole!

  18. I certainly have ‘Do less’ on my resolutions as well. I feel overwhelmed every day, and that makes me feel less accomplished, even if I am doing a lot. I certainly need to declutter big time. I hope you do well with your resolutions!

  19. Great goals. I really need to also let it go. I keep fretting when I am not able to comment for a day or two 🙁

    I really want to read some non-fiction and Classics this year and enjoy myself!

  20. I like your “Mark as read” resolution. That’s one I should consider. I’m trying to figure out what to do with my Reader. I hate marking all as read, because I always feel like I might have more time another day, but I never do!

    Good luck with whichever of these you choose to follow 🙂

  21. Great resolutions Nicole! Oh I wish you luck with them. I struggle with the “review everything I read” one. If I don’t get to it soon, I just won’t but this year I’m really going to try and be better about that. And, I hear you on the feed reader. We just do what we can… I am trying a new rule of only so much time per day and we’ll see how that goes 🙂

  22. You’ve made some great resolutions. I should really implement a few of these myself. I really need to do the 50-100 page rule and just put a book down when I’m not feeling it. There are just too many good books out there to waste our time on the ones that just aren’t for us!

  23. You are too funny with the “read less” “read more”. Like you, I’ve made the resolution to be better about reviewing my books in a more timely manner. Of course, I’ve read five books already this year. Guess how many I’ve written reviews for? LOL

  24. I’ve embraced the concept of “skim more” to make it through the Google Reader. 😀 Because yeah, there’s only so many hours, and we shouldn’t be glued to the computer screen.

  25. I love your list, Nicole! I have received ARCs that were great so maybe I haven’t got enough of them to spot the bad ones. I tend not to review books that were “meh” to me but I might start doing that this year. A short review, maybe.

  26. Great ideas! Glad to find that I am not the only person who has many books left abandoned.

    Also, I had never thought before about how tough it must be to review books. I have a friend that used to help a Radio DJ review music, and he said that was pretty hard work. You just hear so much rubbish you lose the will to live at times!