Sunday, December 24, 2017

I Basically Failed My Reading Goals For 2017

I had some majorly lofty goals this year. I failed most of them.

January 1st, 2017: I was so confident that I would accomplish what I set out to do. After all, I had 365 days to get them done. Totally easy when my first career is a full-time mom to a scary intelligent four year old, and my second career is an educator of multiple children in grades 3-4-5 with diagnosed emotional disturbances, usually accompanied by a myriad of learning disabilities and/or a secondary diagnosis of ADHD, OHI, ODD, etc.

Let's recap the goals:

1. Read one book about each US President

Seriously, I did not even come close. I will be carrying this goal over into 2018 and this time I will actually make the effort to get this one done. I got a little sidetracked, which will be more thoroughly explained below.

Result: Complete and utter FAILURE

2. Read 150 Books for my Goodreads Challenge

I kind of cheated at this one. I found this publisher called Charles River Editors who write these super short books on people, places, and events in (usually) history. Most are not very well-written, at least in terms of editing, which is kind of ironic, given the publisher. But I also kind of like them because they definitely help me determine my interest in various topics and whether or not I should even bother with more substantial texts. I also kind of like to read the ones where I know a lot about the topic, just so I can see if said topic is being portrayed accurately. Most of the books are incredibly short and take less than an hour to read. I've read a bunch of them and now my end-of-year reading goal has been upped to 385. I have vowed to not read another CRE until 2018 so that I can finish the year and this goal with some semblance of normalcy.

Result: Partial Success

3. Get One Children's Book Published

I have been working on a variety of projects in the realm of children's books for the last couple years. It was my goal to have one of those published, or en route to being published, before 2017 was over. This plan was completely derailed by the fact that I sort of stumbled onto a completely different project, the biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine that I am currently working on. I have been so immersed in 12th century England and France, I have hardly had time for anything else, even the project I initially started the year with. So, while this specific goal is a failure, and I won't have ANYTHING published in 2017, there will be something in the (hopefully) near-future to show for this time spent researching, reading, and writing.

Result: Failure, mostly

I am actually quite cheerful for being so unsuccessful this year. And while that may not seem possible, it is. Regardless of the unmet goals, I spent the year doing what I love: mothering my sweet girl and watching her grow, and reading so many wonderful and not-so-wonderful books about people and places both new to me, and ones I love so dearly.

So, can this year in reading REALLY be described as a failure for me? I think not.

What were your reading goals this year and how successful were you in reaching them?

Happy Reading and a very Merry Christmas,


  1. I wouldn't call someone who reads close to 400 books a failure by any means! I've had the same goal of reading a book for each president for a while now, and I think I manage one book a year on that subject. :-/ Best of luck with your Aquitaine project..I hope to hear more about it!

    I have some standing resolutions posted in 2016 that I'm -- as usual --3/5ths solid on. (The two I never seem to observe are STOP BUYING SO MANY BOOKS and "Review those really good books you forgot to review"). I also had a specific goal in 2017 to read two books per month in Asian history or culture, hoping to establish a good outline in my head for India and China's past. I'll meet the goal in terms of numbers, but most of my reading has been on 20th century India and China.

    1. Thank you Stephen, I definitely still feel like a big cheater though because I an read several of those Charles River Editors books in a day, so I did not reach 385 through JUST substantial books - though I have been reading quite a few lengthier books lately that are making up for those.

      I really want to accomplish this president goal, because so many of them were so interesting, even if they were terrible people. Then you have guys like Zachary Taylor and you wonder how this guy was even a contender in the first place. I hope in 2018 you manage more than one about any of the presidents - we can compare our reads as the year goes on!

      The Eleanor of Aquitaine project is very special to me; I named my daughter after this mighty queen who, sadly, we know so little about on her own. Most of the information we have comes from information about her activities in relation to her husbands or sons. I hope my biography can do her justice.

      The STOP BUYING SO MANY BOOKS is an excellent and totally unattainable goal for me also. I usually browse the selection at Half-Price Books, mainly for my president books, and whatever else I find along the way. But then Amberley Publishing has amazing sales and my resolve goes right out the window and BOOM! A couple weeks later here come 25 books from the UK just for me. It's a sickness, really. But it could be worse.

      I have to admit I know very little about China and even less than that about India. I recently finished a travelogue-type book about the living root bridges in India and am going to review it soon. But aside from the Great Wall and the Terra Cotta statues, my China knowledge is zip.

  2. I've made it through Washinton, Adams, and Jefferson, following a strictly chronological plan. I might just rule out living presidents to simplify it, and by the time I actually make it to the 20th century, Carter and HW Bush might have left us.

    I'm glad to know I'm not the only nut who would name their children after medieval people...if I ever have a daughter, I'd like to call her "Joan". I read anything about Joan d'Arc I can find.

    As far as books go, my main problem is spotting used copies for cheap on amazon when I'm trying to look for books on a particular subject I want to read about in the future. If I see a deal, I almost have to grab it!

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Washington is part of the problem for me and why I set the goal in the first place. I have read tons of books about Washington, Lincoln, and Kennedy. I decided I needed to branch out and read about others as well. I am not going in order though, but good call on attempting it that way.

    Joan herself is very interesting to me and I have read a few books about her. what trips me up though is the history of France that usually comes along with it. I have found that unless we are talking about lands that are French now but were not in the 12th century (mainly Aquitaine, in Eleanor's time), I have little interest. I am really trying to to get interested in wider French history but it is hard for me to do and I do not know why, especially because France and England are so intertwined.

    I always joke that Eleanor is lucky I discovered Eleanor of Aquitaine before Boudicca, or her life and name might be a whole lot tougher. Her nickname since she was tiny though has been Boody, for Boudicca.

    For a long time I really did not want physical copies of book and we frequent our two favorite libraries quite often. But that is harder to do during the school year when so much is going on, so it is usually during the summer we are most active. But this year for some reason, I really started gravitating toward Half-Price Books, and found much of my president material there. BookBub has also been a great and terrible thing for me - so much so that I have had to stop using the site, because I have so many books now, both from HPB, Amberley, and on my Kindle. 2018 is the year I will actually read all the books I own instead of just staring at them on my shelf.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Someone reccommended Bookbub to me, but so far it hasn't expanded my habit. Amazon's kindle deals do that well enough. Do you have a physical branch of HPB you get to walk through, or just the online store? The only store in my area is a Books-A-Million. (I like to buy coffee and then try to read through smaller books there, heh.)

    2. BookBub fed my habit in the worst way. it doesn't seem like $.99 and $1.99 is all that much, until suddenly I've bought hundreds of books and spent hundreds of dollars. Okay, that is an exaggeration, but you get. I used it a lot and will return to it when I plow through what I already have on my Kindle and physical shelves.

      We have an actual Half-Price Books store that I love. We had a Books-A-Million and I adored it and the staff. But then one day a couple years ago it was gone without warning. At least, I missed the warnings I guess. Really bummed me out, I much preferred them to Barnes and Noble.

  4. I failed totally on my series catchup challenge so I need to put more effort into that one next year. I basically forgot about most of my challenges and only reached my Goodreads goal...just! Fingers crossed for you for your goals next year!

    1. Thank goodness for Goodreads keeping track of that one for me! It is so easy to get sidetracked from these goals if they are not written down - at least that is my problem. Good luck to you as well for the goals you set for 2018!


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