The Sunday Salon: Second Quarter Progress

What’s that squishing sound I hear?  Oh, wait, that’s me, wading through the molasses pit that is my 2012 reading.  Two quarters into the year, I’ve read far fewer books than this time last year, or for that matter, fewer than any of the past 5 years.  Specifically, I’ve read 29 books year-to-date, including one year-long read (Middlemarch).  I read only 12 books in the second quarter, and it looks like my pace is slowing from 6-7 books per month to something more like 4-5.

I have very mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, I am enjoying other hobbies and family time, and I’ve been dealing with some personal issues that need high-priority focus. So it’s all explainable, and not all bad.  But then I look at my stacks of unread books, and all the books I don’t own but really, really, want to read … and I have to fight off feelings of anxiety.  Does anyone else suffer from this affliction?

At least there’s a bright side to my second quarter reading.  One book was absolutely fantastic, earning a 5-star rating:  John Green’s The Fault in our Stars.  Coming in at a close second, at 4.5 stars, is Elizabeth Taylor’s A Game of Hide and Seek (click on the links for reviews).

So I’ve taken stock of things, being realistic about the rest of the year.  Let’s take a look at my 2012 Reading Resolutions:

  1. I will read more books from my stacks than I acquire.  I’m doing better on this one than last quarter.  Half of the books read this quarter were ones I already own: 3 Virago Modern Classics, 3 from my stacks.  I also read 4 new acquisitions.  I added 11 books to my home library altogether, so technically I achieved this resolution. Hurray!
  2. I will read more non-fiction.  After doing well in the first quarter, I read only fiction in the second quarter.  I’m slipping, and with everything else going on in my life now, I am losing my motivation for this reading resolution.
  3. I will continue making progress on all reading projects, but especially the Booker Prize, Orange Prize, and Virago Modern Classics.  I’m doing OK with these.  I’m confident I will reach my goal of reading 12 Virago Modern Classics.  But considering my slower pace overall, I may not hit that target for Orange and Booker prize nominees.  As long as I read a few more of each, I’ll feel OK about it.
  4. I will increase interaction with the book blogging community.  I’ve had a fabulous time running the Elizabeth Taylor Centenary, which started on LibraryThing and quickly expanded to Facebook and the blogosphere.  I joined a few reading challenges at the beginning of the year, but I’m not seeing a lot of interaction there.  I also remembered why I stopped doing reading challenges a couple of years ago:  I didn’t want the commitments and pressure.

So I’m abandoning reading challenges again, and will just read what I feel like reading.  And if that’s almost entirely fiction, so be it.  It’s a hobby, not a job, right?  I’m excited about the books I’m considering for Orange July, and I have lots of great books on my stacks.  Now I just need to relax, stop worrying about my pace, and enjoy.

How is your 2012 reading shaping up?  Are you changing anything in your approach?


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12 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Second Quarter Progress

  1. I loved Fault in Our stars!! I feel anxiety about not reading as much as I want to due to personal problems. Like you I remind myself that it is a hobby not a job. I hope you have a good second half of the year reading!

  2. I started this year with the definite aim of having no reading goals. Because I don’t want to stop myself from reading longer or harder books, or from re-reading books, because I have given myself an arbitrary number to get through or am panicking about owning too many unread books. I do still get a little bit anxious about spending ages over one book but I’m getting better at letting go of that. I think. I hope.

    Good luck with the second half of the year!

    • Nose, that’s a great philosophy. I admit to sometimes avoiding a long or difficult book and I need to get over that.

  3. It’s annoying when life gets in the way of reading, isn’t it? :))) But I think I see eye to eye with you about reading challenges. My goal reading wise this year is simply to read more because I had let my reading slip and it wasn’t till I started reading again that I realised that this had actually had a negative effect on my state of mind. I’m joining in with some readalongs that I find manageable e.g. the Elizabeth Taylor is one book a month, Heavenali’s July Re-reads – but on my terms, so for example I’ve committed to re-read this month but not exclusively (either that or my tbr willl just fall over soon!) I’m trying to remind myself that this is something I am doing for pleasure and enjoyment – and if I try and force myself into challenges etc I’ll end up not reading what I think and possibly end up not reading again. I’ve built in the freedom to follow whims and read what I fancy and not what I feel I should. I *do* panic a little about all my unread books – but I hope to get through some of these in the second half of the year!

  4. Loved the comment that reading is not a job – I have enough goals in work that I really don’t need more of them for the few hours remaining of my life. So apart from an aspiration to read all the Booker novels at some point in time, I’m steering clear of book challenges.

    • Karen, your comment about having enough goals in work is spot on. I feel the same and really turn to my reading for pleasure. Sure, I have goals similar to yours with the Booker but I try to stick to long-term goals vs. short-term “read x books in x months” goals.

  5. Well, Laura, you and I seem to be living the same life right now. Like you, my reading is slower than it has been in years. I’ve read only 33 books so far this year (only 3 in June which is ridiculous). I have some anxiety when I look at all the stacks, but I am trying to just accept what is and enjoy the books I am able to read. On the up side, I’ve been sewing a lot more 🙂 Have a great week!

    • Wendy, I read a post of yours recently in which you wrote about your reading slowing down … it’s uncanny how often we are on the same wavelength. And your sewing makes it all worthwhile — I love your quilts!

  6. I’ve been feeling the same way about my reading right now. My shelves are stuffed with books and I would really like to sit down and read most of them. It hasn’t helped that my reading has slowed down too. *sigh* I think the only thing that I’m going to do differently right now is dedicate more time daily to reading. I hope July turns out to be a great month for you!

    • Vasilly, I hope you are successful in dedicating more time to your reading. I’m trying to figure out how to add hours to the day — when I achieve this scientific breakthrough I’ll be sure to let you know! 🙂

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