Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Salon: Looking forward to 2010

Even though I'm still trying to fit in a few books this month as a last minute attempt to complete a couple of 2009 reading challenges, I've been thinking about which ones I'd like to join for 2010.  There are so many tempting ones, it's been difficult!  I'm a fairly slow reader so signing up for several challenges this year, plus accepting the odd review book, meant that it seemed I rarely had the chance to just pick up any ol' book.  I thought I'd been more selective but it still felt like most of my reading choices this year were dictated by some obligation.  On the other hand, I have really enjoyed how the challenges encourage me to read books, or genres, that I either may not have, or that have been ignored for too long.  So my goal for 2010 is trying to find a balance so that the challenges are still motivating but not restricting, but overall to have a bit more freedom in my reading next year.  Boiled down, I think my reading plan for 2010 is simply to read more of what I want to read when I want to read it.

Reading Resolutions Challenge
Hosted by Jenny at Jenny Loves to Read. The challenge is essentially New Year's resolutions for reading.  The idea is to list some reading or blogging resolutions and then every couple of months during 2010, we're encouraged to check-in and see how we're doing.  Here are mine:

Read more Japanese Literature.  I've been trying to read more Japanese literature over the last couple of years and I will be continuing next year as well with my personal Reading Japan Project.  Since starting the Japanese Literature Book Group and Read-along this fall, I've also committed to reading Japanese books on a more regular schedule.  This is a good thing, and next year I will read all the group selections and as many others as I can.

Read more books from my shelves.  I want to read more of my own books next year.  I have way too many unread books on my shelves, many that have been there for years.  In 2010 I plan to read more of them.  See Reading From My Shelves Project below.

Re-reading allowed.  In addition to reading more of the books from my shelves next year, I'd like to give myself permission to re-read.  Sometimes I think of such and such a book and wouldn't it be fun to read it again, but usually I feel guilty about it with all those poor, neglected books waiting to be read, so I don't.  Next year I will allow myself to re-read if I feel like it, without guilt.  See Flashback Challenge below.

Read some Orange Prize books.  I joined the Orange Prize Project in 2008, and I really do want to read more of the Orange Prize books, but I didn't read a single longlisted, shortlisted, or winning book this year!  Not one!  I'm not going to set a specific number but in 2010, I WILL read at least one Orange Prize book, but hopefully more.

Reading From My Shelves Project
Hosted by Diane from Bibliophile By the Sea.  The idea behind this project is not only to read books from our own shelves* but to pass them on when we're done.  My groaning bookshelves could certainly benefit from that, but I also know that I won't want to pass on ALL of the books I read from my shelves next year.  I'm a bit of a hoarder where books are concerned and love to be surrounded by them.  And I usually keep the books that I enjoyed reading with the perhaps delusional thinking that I may someday re-read them.  So I'm hoping to read considerably more but I'm going to set myself the goal of reading AND passing on 20 books from my shelves next year.
*For the purposes of this project, I consider any book that entered our apartment by December 31st, 2009, as already on my shelves.  

Buy One Book and Read It Challenge
Hosted by Amy of My Friend Amy.  The challenge was inspired by the fact that over 50% of Americans don't read a single book in a year.  As an avid reader and book buyer, this seems perhaps a strange challenge to join, especially since I want to read more from my own shelves next year, but it ties in with my plan to also read more spontaneously next year.  I have no problem with the buying part (sticking to my monthly book budget is the hard part) but often after I get my new treasures home they just end up sitting on the shelves.  I'm signing up for the Level Two, which means I'll buy AND read six books when the mood strikes instead of putting them off due to other reading commitments.

Flashback Reading Challenge
Co-hosted by Aarti and Kristen.  Like I mentioned above, I rarely allow myself to re-read as there are so many shiny new books waiting to be read, but there are books that I would like to read again so this challenge gives me the permission to do so.  I'm signing up for the Bookworm Level to re-read 3 books, but may read more.  I have no idea yet just which books I'll re-read next year.  In keeping with my desire for non-restrictive challenges next year, I'm just going to let my mood decide. 

As well as these more general reading goals and challenges for 2010, I still plan to join in some focused challenges, like John's Canadian Book Challenge.  Since I have quite a few unread Canadian books already on my shelves, I'll not only be reading more Canadian literature, which I want to do, it's my home country after all, but also reading my own books.  Win-win.
And of course I will join Bellezza's Japanese Literature Challenge, which I assume she'll host again next year.  I also wouldn't dream of not taking part in Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge, and the R.I.P. Challenge, neither of which I felt I was fully able to join in this year due to other reading obligations at the same time.  So hopefully I'll be able to participate more fully next year.  And there are a couple of other challenges that haven't been announced yet but are being planned, that I am looking forward to, a Persephone Challenge being one of them.

There are so many other wonderful challenges that I decided not to join even though I was very tempted.  I have books on my shelves that would fit many of them and I may indeed read some of those books next year, but I just didn't want to commit myself and later feel tied down because of them.   I look forward to seeing everyone's progress though in the challenges they choose to join, and cheering you all on.

What are your reading plans for 2010? 


  1. Good luck with your challenges this next year, Nat!

  2. I'm doing exactly what you said above: "to read more of what I want to read when I want to read it." I won't be joining any challenges as I found them to be very constricting this year, but will miss putting up the lists. Anyway, if I ever get tempted, will do as you did: choose challenges veeeery thoughtfully. Happy reading in the new year!

  3. I completely get your mixed feelings about challenges. I still haven't made up my mind about each ones to join, and sometimes part of me just wants to have a challengeless year. But I know that won't happen :P

  4. Before 2009 I only had about 1 challenge a year: a personal reading challenge that 'came' to me as I was reading. But this year... Even though I felt I kept myself on a tight leash (sticking to challenges that could overlap, books I had on my shelf and meant to read anyway etc.) I had a hard time balancing. Like you, I often couldn't pick up a book of choice. Maybe the hardest part is that I started to write reviews (in English) on my blog this year; before I wrote them in Dutch for my online bookgroup (mailinglist). It takes so much time to write a review!

    Good luck with all your challenges... I especially like the New Year's Resolution - hadn't heard of it yet and I'm going to check it out NOW ;)

  5. I'm so happy that u decided to join the Reading from Your Shelves Project. Hope you read lots of good books and clean off your shelves in the process.

  6. I think your resolutions sound great! :) I make up my personal resolutions/goals for the year beforehand, and then I join challenges that help fulfill those goals.

    And one of my goals every year is to reread more! :)

  7. Yay for flashback helping everyone reread without guilt :-) Thanks for signing up!

  8. I agree with you, and Claire, about laying down the compulsory reading. That said, I'm sure I'll be hosting the Japanese Literature Challenge 4 (Wow, can you believe it?); I like only requiring one book, then people can take it from there as they see fit. But, I'd really like to participate in one of your read alongs for Japanese literature. I bought The Old Capital after you and Mark David mentioned/reviewed it, so I'll try to add some thoughts to the reads you sponsor. Blessings, Tanabata, on your new year.

  9. Thanks, Wendy!

    claire - I found myself feeling quite tied down in my reading choices last year, always having to read something for this or that challenge. Hopefully I'll have a better balance this year so that I still have some encouragement to read books I might not get around to, but much more freedom too. I wish you a year of fabulous reading! :)

    Nymeth - I know, I thought of going completely challenge-free, but I couldn't really imagine that. Instead I'm trying to choose them very carefully, and only the ones that fit into the kind of reading I'd like to do. Good luck with the challenges you choose to take on for 2010. :)

    gnoegnoe - That's what I thought I was doing in 2009 too, but like you, I ended up having very little freedom to pick up any book spontaneously.
    I think it's great that you write your reviews in English. English is my native language and it still takes me forever to write them! LOL.
    Good luck with your challenges for 2010 and with finding the right balance. :)

    Diane - Thank you for hosting. I'm looking forward to some good books and some shelf space!

    Eva - That's a great way to choose the challenges that fit in with your personal reading goals, and what I'm trying to do better this year. Maybe if I could read as much as you I'd be able to join more challenges. ;)

    Aarti - Yes, re-reading without guilt is a big goal for 2010. And thanks for giving me a good excuse to do so!

    Bellezza - Thank you, I hope 2010 is a wonderful year for you!

    I think it's fantastic that you'll be hosting the 4th JLit Challenge this year. Yay for getting more people interested in Japanese literature, and I think the one book requirement is perfect. It makes it so that it's not at all intimidating.

    I do hope you'll be able to join in some of the JLit book discussions here, as I'd love to hear your thoughts on them.


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