Last year I made some bookish resolutions . . . and didn’t do great with them. This year I again made some bookish resolutions, but I tried to be smarter about it this time around. The big thing I did was go into my calendar and set reminders every month or so to tackle a particular resolution. Alright, so let’s take a look how that worked out. My original language is in italics.
2019 Bookish Resolutions
- Read a work of Slavic or Slavic-inspired fiction
Check! I already read Vita Nostra by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko.
- Read a book on Burma/SE Asia
I have China’s Asian Dream: Empire Building along the New Silk Road by Tom Miller penciled in for this month.
Check! I did read China’s Asian Dream. Funnily enough, I’ve read two books focused on China so far this year, as I also read The Shadow War by Jim Sciutto the other month.
- Read a book on writing
I already own a few, but I’m thinking I will read How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing by Paul J. Silvia in July.
Check! I read the Silvia book last month. A little too narrowly focused on Silvia’s field (psychology) to be super useful, even though I am an academic.
- Take time each weekend to read for pleasure
I’m already not doing great on this one, but after a very productive February I hope to be able to take a little more time for myself going forward.
Check? Maybe? I haven’t been tracking this. But I am on pace to read roughly 83 books this year, after reading just 62 books last year.
- Read a book on faith/religion
I am reading Catholic Social Thought: Encyclicals and Documents from Pope Leo XIII to Pope Francis now. It’s going to take me some time to finish.
In progress. I still have plenty to go, but I picked it back up after a long hiatus.
- Read a biography of John Tyler
I’ve picked the bio (not many choices!)—John Tyler: The American Presidents Series: The 10th President, 1841-1845 by Gary May—and I’m planning to read it in May.
Check! John Tyler’s importance as a president is underrated (not to be confused with his ranking as a president), and the May book is excellent, especially for putting Tyler’s presidency in context.
- Start a reread of The Wheel of Time
I am finally reading the Companion now. I will start my reread at some point after I finish that. I will need to pause to read Warrior of the Altaii, Jordan first book, to be published this year for the first time.
Not yet. I have two self-imposed obstacles. One is my read of the Companion, which is still in progress. The other is that I wanted to read another epic fantasy series as a palate cleanser. I picked The Faithful and the Fallen by John Gwynne. The good/bad news is that I’m very much enjoying it, and I have one more book left before I start my reread.
- Read one classical work
I don’t have a book picked out or a timeframe, but I am going to go with something I already own. Maybe I will finally get to The Odyssey or reread Ivanhoe. Note that I divided up “classical” works (pre-19th Century) and 19th Century works this year.
Not yet. I’m leaning toward reading Odyssey after reading Once Upon a River, which is influenced by The Odyssey. I have a calendar reminder set for October.
- Read one 19th Century book
Again, I don’t have a book picked out or a timeframe, but I have a lot of options.
Not yet. I have a calendar reminder set for November.
- Read one business book per semester (spring, summer, fall)
Spring – A Very Public Offering: The Story of theglobe.com and the First Internet Revolution by Stephan Paternot (I’ve already finished this one).
Summer – VC: An American History by Tom Nicholas.
Fall – Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck—Why Some Thrive Despite Them All by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen.
Check for spring and summer, although I read a different book for summer than originally planned. I read Console Wars by Blake J. Harris on the, well, console wars between Nintendo (Super Nintendo) and Sega (Genesis). Very marketing focused and quite pro-Sega. I still plan to read the VC book, but I might read the Collins book first. I set a reminder for September, but there is a good chance I will kick this one to later in the fall.
- Whittle down my TBR
Totaling my Want to Read and to-read-later shelves from Goodreads, my easiest approximation of a TBR, came to 424 books in January. Today it stands at 427. Not making a lot of progress.
I’ve added a Mount TBR change counter to my month-in-review posts. I haven’t made much progress yet though. I was at Mount TBR parity at the end of July, but I’m actually at +7 after a spate of book buying in early August. But this is going to come down one way or another.
- Organize my bookshelves
With the baby ready to crawl and/or walk any day now, I’m going to start calling cabinet makers about having some custom built-ins installed for “safety” reasons. The disorganized piles will remain until then.
Not yet. I need to get on this now that I’m in town for a while. I can’t do anything without adding shelf space.
- Whittle down my following count
Sorry! It has gotten to a really unmanageable point. I don’t have time to satisfactorily follow a lot of people whose stuff I really love. And I definitely don’t have time to interact with other bloggers as much as I would like. Following fewer people will help with that. Numbers as of the New Year:
Subscriptions on RSS feed – 110 – 88
Twitter – 516 – 463
WordPress Reader – 100 – 88
Bloglovin – 91 – 95
Litsy – 228 – 352
Facebook Groups – 17 – 13
I put some effort into this right after I made my resolutions. I need to do another round of culling. (It isn’t reflected here, but I also did some work on my personal Facebook and especially Instagram lists.)
- Identify new country noir books pre-release
I have a review copy of Like Lions by Brian Panowich, out April 30, which is a nice start.
My review of Like Lions. I’m still working on this, but there is only so much I can do for something that isn’t really a defined sub-genre.
- Read more from my top 5 Throwback SF Thursday discoveries
I retired Throwback SF Thursday, but the reading of Throwback SF continues. I’ve been on this reading journey for almost three years. Long enough to develop some favorites, but not long enough to dig into them as much as I would like. My top five right now are Robert E. Howard, Leigh Brackett, C.L. Moore, Robert Heinlein, and Jack Vance.
Robert E. Howard – Four volumes of collected stories.
Leigh Bracket – two novellas and one short story.
C.L. Moore – two short story collections (I finished her Northwest Smith stories in January).
Robert Heinlein – three novels (I read Space Cadet in January).
Jack Vance – two short story collections.
I read and reviewed the Del Rey collection of Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane stories. I finally got my review of C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry stories posted. I bought the new edition of Leigh Brackett’s Queen of the Martian Catacombs from Cirsova Publishing. Other than that—I haven’t done great. I haven’t actually been reading much vintage SF at all. So, along with picking a classic and a 19th century novel to read, that is something to concentrate on for the fall.
How are your bookish resolutions going?