Friday 1 January 2016

Read My Own Damn Books

Before I say any words, may I just say A HAPPY NEW YEAR, one and all! I think I've said before that I don't really accept a new year as a thing, and I definitely think of my birthday as a better time to be setting goals and stuff (if only because it's in the spring rather than THE DEEP MIDWINTER) but I'm really glad to see the back of 2015 and am (stupidly, ridiculously, with no evidence to support it) cautiously optimistic about 2016.
Form of my evidence-less optimism right now. Although, there is another Hyperbole and a Half book out this year so we know that everything's going to be ok. And hilarious.

I realise that it was but yesterday that I said I wasn't going to talk about my reading life of last year, ridiculously weighted to Shakespeare as it was, but having just made my last entries onto my spreadsheet (oh yeah, I'm one of those people) I thought I'd briefly share some stats with you *salivates gently over stats* and then move on to what I'm thinking for this coming year. 


Total Books Read: 53 (this doesn't include allllllll the articles and essays and chapters I read so I could write essays and a dissertation and whatnot)
Total Pages Read: 11, 792 (which, in context, is 7,000 less than last year, but about 16,000 less than my last completely non-Shakespeare year. Of course I probably did more reading in 2015 than any other year of my life, but leisure reading? Not so much.)
Shakespeare/Non-Shakespeare Split: 21/32
Male/Female Split: 40/13 (ooooof, thanks a lot Shakespeare...)
Graphic Novels/Books that are just words: 23/30 (I read so few books with words this year)
Fiction/Non-Fiction: 48/5
Books I already Owned/Books I didn't Own: 23/30

I haven't even included any kind of diversity stats because, quite frankly, there wasn't any in my reading, and I think it's fairly clear that diversity in my reading in general just didn't happen this year. Which is fine! Obviously my main concern was actually getting my Masters, and even after it was finished, my brain was so tired that it mostly just wanted to read comics if anything at all.

I think I'm getting better now.

The stat that I most want to address for now is the final one. Last year, I only read 23 books that I had owned pre-2015. That doesn't sound too terrible unless you think about how many books I actually own, but if we consider that 10 of those were Shakespeare plays, 6 were re-reads, I essentially only read 7 books out of the *mumbles* about 360-ish books that I already owned. Everything else I read was either bought by me last year, given to me as a gift, or taken out of the library (because, guys, comic books are so expensive I can't even).

Now. I'm not one to get all regimented about what I'm reading because it's my hobby and it's supposed to be fun and not like schoolwork. But, the thing is, when a person is creeping up on the 400-unread books mark, something has to be done to, I don't know, actually read the books she already has instead of seeking out greener pastures, even if those pastures are the library so no money is being spent. That is why Andi of Estella's Revenge has become a godsend. An angel of joy and goodness. Introducing: 
This is more of a reading event than a challenge, and the fact that it doesn't really have any rules makes my soul happy. The idea, obviously, is pretty much just to read the books you already have. Basically exclusively. And not to acquire new ones because 'hey, I just finished one!' or 'that has a pretty cover!' or any other reason that a new book finds its way into my house. The easiest way to do this would be to install a blanket book-buying ban, but that kind of command seems designed entirely to FORCE me to go out and buy 57 books at once. So a new way must be found.

With that in mind, here is my tentative plan for, I guess, the year:
  • Read books from my own shelves pretty much exclusively. I bought them, therefore I must have wanted to read them, therefore I should read them. Logic.
  • If I don't want to read them anymore, they must go. 
  • No book buying in January. At all. This prevents any books from entering my house, but is also going to be helpful for my life because my bank balance is already looking a little bit desperate and it's only the 1st...
  • Limited book buying until my birthday- The only time I can think that I will actually need to buy books is on the bookshop crawl that Bex is organising (are you in/near London? You should come!) which I believe is in February, but other than that... I don't need any more books. I won't be short of a book to read for a really long time, and I can't really afford books. I think I'll be ok.
  • I'll probably need to read some graphic novels, and so I shall turn to the library, or, you know, read the ones I actually already have on my shelves, oh my god Laura why is this so difficult for you?
So anyway. This is what I'm going to do. It's pretty much my only reading goal of the year, except I want to read a lot more Stephen King because he has been so neglected for so long now, and I also actually truly want to blog more... LET'S SEE HOW THAT GOES, shall we? (I'm aiming for one Sunday, diary-ish post per week, and one actual book post, anything more than that will be a surprise even to me!) Once again, HAPPY NEW YEAR YOU GUYS, let's all just sit and read books and eat all ur Christmas sweets together until winter is over, shall we?


  1. Allie Brosh, nailing it every time. I might print that out and hang it up at work. Also I DID NOT KNOW THERE'D BE ANOTHER HYPERBOLE AND A HALF BOOK YAAAAAY

    Also I'm impressed you managed as much non-Shakespeare as you did!

    GOOD LUCK with the reading your own books deal. I think you can do it. I believe in you!

    1. Ok, so I just checked amazon and I'm pretty sure Allie's new book was supposed to be out in Jan/Feb but not it's apparently out in October. WHICH IS STILL THIS YEAR AND MEANS I HAVE MORE TIME TO LOOK FORWARD TO IT and that, my friends, is optimism.

      Haha, but sooo much of that non-Shakespeare was comics... But it's all ok. I still did great. And I believe in me too! The year is two days old and I haven't bought a single book! Go me!

    2. That is some grade-A optimism right there. I didn't even know about the book and my first thought was "I have to wait HOW LONG?" Then I followed that up with "...for a book you didn't know existed till now. Calm down, there."

      Already winning at that resolution!

  2. I think I've sort of gone the opposite way this year!

    Every year I've been super excited about reading challenges, which (without exception) has included a Mount TBR. Every year I've felt guilty about reading a book that I'd purchased within that year because it wouldn't count towards that challenge. I didn't give a crap about the other challenges, but somehow that one always got to me.

    This year is my Reading Whatever The Hell I Like Year :D I'm going to reread, read old books, read new books, read library books, WHO KNOWS!?

    I'm really excited about what is essentially a very stupid idea :p

    1. Nooooo Hanna, not a stupid idea at all! When I started blogging I signed up to all the challenges and they all stressed me out so I stopped, and never again felt guilty about reading whatever I wanted. I wish the same for youuu! This whole resolution is all about not having space/money for new books, and hopefully freeing up some space (...for new books) by reading books that, honestly, I wanted to read at some point, so should still want to, and if I don't still want to then why am I holding onto them? Exactly.

  3. Arrrrgh noooo not the book buying ban! Darn, I'll have to apply the same ban until I've properly decluttered my bookshelf :(

    1. Sometimes, Nahree, it just has to be done. Mine is literally only for a month at the moment, I think I can deal! (GOOD STEP this morning- wanted to buy a kindle book, but I resisted. Sometimes I amaze myself with my self-control...)

    2. well damn. I already broke my vow and bought a book. HOWEVER, it was for the Hamilton readalong so I don't feel guilty at all. There should be a readalong loophole...

  4. Belated Happy New Year! I tried reading more of my own damn books last year but then I ended up feeling a bit sad that I wasn't involvedin all the new shiny stuff. I can't win ;)

    We're tring to save to buy a house though, so I should be tough on buying stuff, but books really aren't that much compared to things like solicitors and what not, so don't think that strategy helps me. And like you I HAVE to buy books on the bookshop crawl, it would be rude not to. Will be great to meet you!

    1. And to you! See, I'm alright cause I never know what new books are coming out anyway, but I think I'll mostly just get sad about not buying any new books? We'll see how it goes.

      Hahaha, "it's just a book! It's not going to make much difference!" 100 books later: "I hate myself." But yeah, I get that haha. It will be so great to meet you too! I'm pretty excited :D