Happy New Year! I hope you all had a swell festive season and managed to see in the New Year in style (I spent it in my pyjamas, eating cheese and playing board games). I’m afraid it’s that time again, where we half-heartedly set ourselves goals and targets and then promptly break them all within the first week. I haven’t even bothered to look back at my goals from the start of last year, because I’m fairly sure I didn’t achieve the vast majority (if any) of them. This year will be a lot simpler. While I’m going to add in certain books to read and a few things I’d like to achieve, there is basically only one bookish goal for me this year – to read more, by which I don’t just mean in terms of the number of books I read, but also how often I read. It’s one of my favourite things to do, so if possible I’d like to make sure I get in at least a few minutes of page turning time every day.
I’m setting my Goodreads goal at 50 books for 2016, although it’s kind of an arbitrary number and I’m not too bothered about whether I’ll achieve that or not. There are a lot of big books that I’d like to work my way through this year, which will obviously take longer and might affect my overall stats. I don’t mind about that, I just want to read what I want to read without worrying about hitting targets or anything like that. Having said that, there are a fair few books that I’d like to read if possible:
- Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. I’ve read a couple of books by each of them, and I’d really like to work my way through the rest. I’m especially intrigued to read Northanger Abbey and Persuasion by Jane Austen because those are the two of hers that I know least about, but I have all of her novels in a bind-up omnibus and I’d like to work my way through in order because I get very particular about things like that. I don’t know if I’ll reach those two by the end of the year, ideally I’d like to read all of them in 2016 (bar Sense and Sensibility which I read last year), but if that’s not possible I’d at least like to have read a couple. The same goes for Dickens. I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve read so far, and I think I have 12 of his novels left to read, which would work out nicely as one a month except that some of them are pretty huge and I think that could be asking too much. It would be amazing to finish them all in the space of a year, but realistically I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’ll be happy if I can read at least a couple more though, and make a bit of a dent in the back catalogue. (While we’re talking about classics, I’d just like to throw in quickly that I’d also really like to read Moby Dick this year).
- A Song of Ice and Fire and The Cousins’ War. I started reading A Game of Thrones in August 2014, and I still haven’t finished it. I do really enjoy it when I get going, but I just don’t feel the urge to pick it up again after putting it down, and I think that’s because I watched the TV show and so know what’s going to happen. I’ve only watched the first season though, so in theory I think I’ll get through the later books quicker as I don’t already know the story. There are a few other epic fantasy series that I’d really like to read, but I don’t want to start any more until I’ve worked my way through what I’ve already got, which means finishing A Song of Ice and Fire. If possible I’d like to read the whole series by the end of the year, but they are pretty hefty books so I’d be pleased if I could get through a couple more at least and feel like I’m making headway. The Cousins’ War is a six part historical fiction series by Philippa Gregory which I’d also really like to read this year, or at least start as I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it through all of them. I’ve really been fancying some historical fiction lately though, and I used to really enjoy Philippa Gregory’s books so I have high hopes for this series.
- Read more non-fiction. I don’t have a set goal for this, I’d just like to read more. I own an awful lot of (mainly history) non-fiction books but I get so distracted by fiction that the non-fiction shelves are getting pretty neglected. I’d like to make a dent in my non-fiction shelves and see if I can broaden my knowledge a bit.
- Read more by authors whose work I own lots of. That’s a very convoluted and backwards sounding sentence, but I couldn’t work out how else to phrase it. Basically I own a lot of books by certain authors because I read one or two of their novels and really enjoyed them, so I bought loads more by them that I have yet to read. I’d like to read some more by these particular authors as I have rather substantial piles of their books on my shelves. These authors are Margaret Atwood, Ernest Hemingway, John Irving, Stephen King and Sarah Waters.
- Read The Silmarillion and/or Children of Hurin. For those of you who don’t know, these are two novels written by Tolkien (and completed by his son Christopher) which precede The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I’ve tried to read The Silmarillion before and really struggled with it, and I know it’s probably going to be a hard-going and dense read, but I’d at least like to try it again even if I don’t make it through. Sometimes I find that leaving a book for a couple of years can make all the difference, and I perhaps wasn’t old enough or hadn’t read enough of that sort of book when I tried to read it previously. I’m not sure how successful I’ll be with The Silmarillion, but I’ve heard that Children of Hurin is a really great story, so I think that’ll be an easier and more rewarding reading experience.
- Only read one book at a time, or at least one fiction and one non-fiction book at a time. I’ve been saying this for ages, and I’ve not managed to stick to this yet. My reading depends very much on my mood, and so I like to have a few options to switch between, but I’ve been getting a bit carried away with starting new ones and it began to get a bit overwhelming having so many on the go. I think limiting myself to one at a time will be a far more efficient way to read, and could well help me on my way to my ‘read more’ goal.
Those are a few aims which it would be nice to achieve in 2016, but like I said at the start there’s really only one goal for me this year, and that’s simply to read more. I do have a few other personal goals such as write more, take part in NaNoWriMo again, finish my previous NaNoWriMo project if possible, improve my fitness (which I say every year and am yet to do) and, most importantly of course, learn the dance moves to Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. Whether I achieve any or all of these things is yet to be seen, but it’s worth bearing in mind that I am an inherently lazy person.
In terms of my plans for The Steel Review, I’d like to keep it mainly book related for the foreseeable future. That’s not to say that I’ll never review anything else ever again, but at the moment book reviews are what I enjoy writing most and I still have a fair few in mind to post. This does of course still include Book vs. Film reviews, and I’ll hopefully be posting a bunch of them shortly. I’m not going to set myself any kind of regular posting schedule, as once all the reviews are up to date I’ll basically be posting as and when I’ve finished reading something, and I don’t want to read to any kind of deadline. If you want to get a sneak peek at what might be coming up in the future, feel free to follow me on Goodreads where I tend to update what I’m currently reading. I am working my way through a lot of fairly large books at the moment though, so once I’ve caught up there might be a little wait before the next review.
Thanks so much to everyone who stuck with me during 2015, I hope my 2016 blog posts will be less sporadic and there’ll hopefully be something there for everyone to enjoy. I do tend to read quite a wide variety of books, and I love talking about them so if you’re a bookworm you’ve probably come to the right place. Let me know what your reading resolutions are for 2016, and I hope the year is a wonderfully bookish adventure for you all!