Reading Review Wreckage

Throughout the Winter break, my Inbox has been flooded with emails wishing me seasonal greetings, reflecting on the year/decade ending, or plotting the future.

Feeling inundated and overwhelmed, do I dare add to the navel gazing – oops, discussion?

I need to scratch one large itch, so apologies.

My year in books was frustrating, after I started 2019 with great determination. I committed to reading 35 books for the Goodreads Challenge – not as many as some years – and 16-25 mystery/suspense/thriller/crime for the Cloak & Dagger Challenge.

But I failed both Challenges.

For the 2019 Goodreads Challenge, I only read 28 out of my intended 35 books. Only 14 of these were ‘crime’- three more than 2018, but not enough to make me more than an ‘Amateur Sleuth’.

I had a mid-year reading/review crisis. I was unable to keep up with my reviews, so stopped reading. That didn’t resolve the review problem and instead created a reading backlog/logjam. At least seven books are screaming for reviews, not counting ones from previous years.

I have other excuses/alibis.

My Kindle Fire frustrates me. When I switch the power on, it takes ages to load – often re-organising its files – dissuading me from reading. Paperbacks win on that score – and others. Yes, I can store so many more with the Kindle. But that means more books unread. I wanted to delete some books – samples etc – but that’s near impossible on my model.

Audible: simpler as I don’t need to turn pages or struggle with my failing eyes, and I get swept into other worlds by great narrators. Is that why two of my five star reads were five stars – The Alice Network and The Pearl Thief? However, the downside is my tendency to fall asleep, not because of the book, but because of my fatigue.

MS fatigue is one of the side-effects of my chronic illness. I fear MS and old age are more than excuses.

Let’s put excuses aside and be positive. I’m setting my sights lower in 2020.

For the Goodreads Challenge, I’ve decided that 30 books in 2020 is a realistic target. I already seem to be ‘currently reading’ eight books: three with Audible, one on Kindle, three paperbacks and one hardback. Doesn’t that look like a good start for the year?

Deceptive fog, I fear. Two of those are research books that I dip in and out of. One is a factual grind which will never get finished. The Kindle read is proving disappointing so slow. And one of the Audible books is proving a hard listen.

Does another reading-review wreckage loom? Not if I persevere.

I’m veering back to old-fashioned paper books – there are plenty on my desk to read. I will persist with Audible as my eyes will welcome that – if I can evade the fatigue.

As for the Cloak & Dagger Challenge, I have eleven of my 2019 ‘crime’ reads remaining – plus, my TBR list has a few more from the genre. Another Amateur Sleuth?

My book of 2019? A five-star read that was magical. A story that resonated with me – wolves, Russia, revolution, adventure, and the wolves. Plus, prose that was masterful. An encounter with middle-grade reading with unexpected but amazing results.

The Wolf Wilder

by Katherine Rundell

10 thoughts on “Reading Review Wreckage

  1. So many books, so little time.
    And yes, I hear you. MS fatigue is truly vicious. To the extent that exhaustion doesn’t begin to cover it. Exhaustipated (too tired to give a crap) comes closer. MS eyes are yet another treat. Not.
    Cut yourself some slack. Please. And enjoy what reading you can. Ditto on the writing front.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hit that review wall quite late in the year, so I had already done my Goodreads challenge. There are books that you end up not wanting to finish. Some time ago the book bloggers seemed to agree that the default should be ‘not finish’ if it didnt engage you enough.
    The thing is, nobody is making you make these committments. What would happen if you don’t? The only person who will know is you. Let yourself go. It’s okay. The challenge is a target, not a promise.
    See you in that Cloak & Dagger reading room 🙂
    And a happy new year (yes, I got a bit fed up with all the well-wishing, too)!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That review wall is worse for us writers, Jemima. I know what reviews mean to a writer, especially those who need encouragement to keep producing. I need to learn that commitments are flexible., as you rightly suggest.

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  3. I’m with Jemima: if the need to review is keeping you from reading, drop the review commitment. That’s more or less what I did this year: committed to very few reviews, and read whatever the heck I wanted to. I didn’t make my target, either–even though I scaled back to accommodate our travel. I didn’t scale back far enough!

    You are very supportive of other writers; give yourself permission to take care of yourself first!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had a problem with my Kindle reader, too, so switched to the app on an iPad or my phone. No problems unless I want to read outside.

    And, like you, I have at least 5 books awaiting reviews! Yikes. Good luck with the new year, Roland. It’s going to be a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clever solution, Jacqui. My problem is not having a phone or iPad – I have the app on my desktop, but that’s for my UK Kindle account. Amazon has blocks between territories in certain instances: my UK Kindle purchases are before I moved to the US…………………….

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  5. Sorry to hear it’s all so frustrating! I just don’t commit to reading challenges. I read what I want and review books I either was sent or that are so good I want to. I do have a Kindle app on my iPad, but only use it for books I can’t find in Apple Books. Of course, if you don’t have an iPad, that’s not much use! I tend to fall asleep over audiobooks too. 😉 But they are worth having if there are good readers. Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter. David Suchet, Murder On The Orient Express. Karen Gillan doing The Secret Garden. Penelope Keith reading Agatha Raisin. Richard Armitage(yum!) doing Georgette Heyer! I have all of these and more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suspect my Challenges are guides as my reading choice, Sue as they’re what I want to read or win. The only exceptions are the books for the IWSG Book Club. And yes, Audible is dependent on how good the narrator is. Derek Jacobi?

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