Miscellaneous

2016 Reading Resolutions

Oh, 2015…my bookish aspirations where are thou? I started January with a chip on my shoulder and lofty reading goals I was absolutely sure I could follow through with…only to fail in an epic way by mid-February. So in the hope of achieving actual results, I plan on setting myself up for success with these ten 2016 reading endeavors. I know this post is a bit late, but in keeping with a year of change I thought I would shake things up a bit and only post on the habits I’m still following come February. Let me know if you can relate to any of these goals!

1.Read Eighty-Five Books

I decided to start this post out with the most impressive feat I aim to hit this coming year- reading eighty-five books. A bit of a summary of my reading history in 2014 and 2015, I read fifty-five and forty-two books respectively. So yeah, lofty doesn’t even begin to cover the half of it; ridiculous would be a more apt word choice. What this goal shakes out to is seven books per month, with the exception of one thirty-one day period when I’ll really have to kick it in high gear and complete eight. Though this will mean I’ll seriously have to cut back on my Amazon prime (the new Netflix, for any cool kids wondering) binge watching, I’m willing to finally commit and sure heartedly  dedicate myself to being a heavyweight reader. I feel that if I really want to consider myself a full fledged book blogger I have to genuinely know what’s what with my audience, and the only way to do that is to sit and READ. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I slowly feel my sanity slip away, one book of teen angst at a time.

2.Write A Review For Every Book I Read

Following up my previous bout of insanity ambition, I’ll do double jeopardy and raise the stakes by challenging myself to write a thoughtful review to accompany each of the eighty-five books I read. Really, is it that crazy? I mean it only takes me an hour and a half of frequently interrupted time to write one review. Yeah, it doesn’t sound like such a good idea under the cruel scrutiny of the light of day. If I could though? It would just be the most unbelievably awesome thing ever as far as my writing goes. Reviews are sort of my favorite thing in the world to write, even if they do take me a small lifetime to complete, and eighty-five of them in their uber wordy goodness could be just what it takes to elevate my blog to the next level. Assuming I’m able to not only hold myself to reading seven books a month, and then keep my brain stimulating insightful thoughts about each of them, there will be nearly two reviews a week going up on Megnificent waiting to be debated over in the comments. The thought makes my typing fingers twitch a little in joyous anticipation.

3.Read Books Published Only In 2016

This one is sure to be more than a little controversial, for obvious and understandable reasons, but it’s a feat I’m doubly interested in tackling this year. Not that I think books written before this upcoming twelve month period are no longer relevant, that is after all, practically grounds for mutiny and fiery pitchforks in the literary world; quite the opposite considering 75% of the books I read this year came out pre-2014. It’s just that I feel since I have the means to a wealth of new releases through book blogging that I otherwise would not be in the know about, and with that I should take advantage by being up on the hot trends. This radical resolution also stems from a desire to “keep up with the Jones’s” and have my currently reading icon reflect the who’s who of books. I mean what could possibly be a better way to curate fresher, more relevant content for readers? My end goal with this is to be able to host monthly buddy reads on Megnificent where I can actively post threads on the top new releases each month.

4.Finish Top 100 Nameberry Challenge

This one is probably a little confusing as it involves a book challenge I’ve been undertaking for the last year and a half, but never actually got around to writing about. Maybe that’s because it’s a little embarrassing and plays to an interest I think I’m the only one in the world to possess, but here goes nothing. In a nutshell, the Nameberry challenge takes its name from the site of Linda Rosenkratz and Pamela Redmond Satran, where mothers and name enthusiasts (myself included) discuss names. You know, the pros of naming Charlotte’s brother Ezra vs. Leo and the likes. Because I’m basically obsessed I took the list of the top 1,000 baby names Social Security gives out each May, and decided to make it a challenge. So whenever I’m reading a book and a name is brought up, be it the main character, spunky best friend, or a totally random kid in the hallway I check to see if it made the list and cross the name off. My goal is to have all 2,000 names crossed off by Jan. 1, 2018 and as I work towards that I would first like to focus on crossing the remaining 61/200 names I have for the top 100 in each gender; a good jumping off point I feel towards world domination. Let me know if any readers would be interested in reading a more detailed explanation of this challenge.

5.Follow Through With the Bookish Lists I Make

Emphasis on the bookish list part, as I surely can not be expected to miraculously organize my life in all its facets. I can, however, get my fictional bearings in order with one another by vowing more resolutely to actually follow through with all the lists I post on the blog. It may seem like I write things down in a random order with no intentions of ever following through just because I like seeing my words on a screen, and though that is probably a little true, I do always aim to actually accomplish my short terms goals (though they’re never short term enough it seems, for them to successfully work). In any case, that all changes January 1st! The old Megan is out, making way for a much more dedicated and on task reader who will put her eyes to the page and read all the stories. In 2016 you better believe that if I say I’m going to read all 4,451 pages of the A Song of Ice and Fire series in a month, I’m going to do it. None of my plans are quite that extreme…yet, but in the event I am taken by a bid of semi- ridiculous delusion rest assured I will honor my word and walk the walk I wrote. Oh yeah, and maybe live to blog about it.

6.Dust Off My Goodreads TBR Shelves

I’ve made great strides in recent months at getting rid of books I added to my TBR in July 2012 and never thought of again, but there’s still a long way to go before I can say in absolute honesty that I have brought my list of potential reads to a manageable level. In fact, as of February 6 at 12:42 p.m., there are 225 books on my to-read shelf (fourteen of which I added this January). By this time next year I would like to see that number sitting around the 175 mark- allowing for upcoming new releases to be added at a rate slower than which I take books off. Also, now that I actually understand the formatting of my blog I want to add a Goodreads tab so any readers here at Megnificent Books can tell me which novels on my to-be-read are worth skipping over- another way I can further separate the good from the bad and ugly. I’ll leave a link down below, so let me know which books were A+ and those that were ehh worthy.

7.Start Discussing Books

This goal might seem a little self-explanatory since blogs were created as a 21st century tool for discussion, but for me that’s easier said than done. I have written absolutely zero posts meant to ignite any discussion in the comment section; instead sticking to tried and true wrap-ups/compilations/lists that sort my favorite books into one category. And while that’s great and all, it’s not exactly pushing any writing boundaries I have or expanding the reach of my small blog. To turn this trend around I plan on asking a quality, noteworthy question at the end of each post encouraging readers to let me in on their thoughts- in the hopes that actual bookish commentary will transpire. On the flip side of the spectrum, I myself have not done a good job commenting on the posts of bloggers whom I routinely visit- a much needed aspect of the social part of blogging I must immediately remedy.

8.Diversify My Story Trends

In January of 2016 I read six novels, four of which were contemporaries. The month prior a similar trend persisted, with a bare smattering of fantasy and historical fiction thrown in for kicks. On and on this cycle has continued, with no break in sight as I routinely try to find a high quality sci-fi only to be disoriented by a lifetime of stories in a genre I know nothing about. In the hopes of successfully diversifying my story trends I’m not going to bite off more than I can chew and overwhelm myself, but instead focus exclusively on a small selection of 2015 and 2016 new releases. For anyone else looking for similar reading inspiration, the Goodreads Choice Awards are a great source of the most highly recommended books of the year in question and a good place to start for a bookworm behind on the trends. Later this month I’m planning on reading the much acclaimed Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, so I’ll let everyone know what that first plunge holds for me.  

9.Read Indie Authors

I’m actually in the middle of following this resolution as I type by reading an ARC of Australian author Lauren Nicolle Taylor’s book Nora & Kettle (due to come out February 23, by the way). Sure I positively hate it and have no clue what I’ll even say in my review but hey, baby steps. This is a goal of mine because as an aspiring author it is pretty safe to assume that I will at first be self published or represented by a small publishing house, because of which I’ll have a harder time getting my story out and catching the public’s attention. The thought of no one reading my hard worked on baby hurts me though, and in the spirit of karma I want to start now tackling interesting books printed by a firm outside of the big six. As a reader who routinely\] checks sites like Epic Reads for all her book recommendations this is proving to be a bit of a problem, but nevertheless let me know if there’s a fabulous book on your radar with 1,000 ratings or less.

10.Write My Own Book

Ok so maybe I’m cheating a little by including a not strictly reading related goal on this list, but what could possibly rank higher on a book lover’s dream list than getting her own words out into the world? Ummm…nothing! Perhaps I don’t have an actual storyline floating around in my head, or any characters, or a genre, or a theme, but that’s perfectly fine! Because one day, probably not in 2016, I will have an idea that knocks my socks off in its sheer Meg-ness and I’ll put the pen to the paper, and I’ll pitch it, and it will be fabulous (at least to me). This resolution isn’t so much one I’ll accomplish this year, but someting I can constantly be working at and practicing as I hone in my craft- in the hopes that someday very soon my dream will become a reality.

 

So what were/are your 2016 reading resolutions? Have you stuck with them or were they tossed to the wayside with the mid-January slump I mentioned earlier? Let me know in the comments!
-Keep Calm and Read On

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