Monday, January 7, 2013

Rethinking Challenges for 2013 (and stats for 2012)

I simply am not wanting to try to meet expectations in my reading life right now.  I have so many other things going on that I feel like I'm failing at (or not managing up to my standards) that I need to find a way to let go of some of the guilt-weight, and this seemed like the best place to start.

Between designing and keeping on top of our house project, and homeschooling a 3rd and 11th grader (not to mention getting 2 other kiddos through middle school and trying to keep the house clean etc) my non-scheduled, non-disciplined self is being challenged enough already.  Add to that some new news—we inadvertantly sold the house we just moved into, which means we now need to look for a new place to live (that is hopefully big enough for us, close to our remodel project, and preferably still within walking distance of our friends who just moved close to us) and get to repack all the things we just unpacked— and I've certainly got enough on my plate.

Last year I focused on my own personal challenges more than group challenges, and I'm taking that urge to be free from commitments a step further in 2013.  Instead of making lists of books that I want to get through, and crossing them off as I go, I am going to read how the mood strikes and keep track of how they might fit into my goals.

Generally speaking, the areas that I'll be keeping track of are similar to what they were before:
  • Books from my Wishlist
  • Books that have been on my shelf FOREVER
  • Classics
  • Non-Fiction
  • Pulitzer Prize Winners
  • Newbery Medal Winners
  • Willa Cather [Chronologically]
These will be tracked on my Challenge page, as before, and continuing on the sidebar (bar graph) as well.  We'll see how this all works out!

Now, to look at how I did on my 2012 goals. Overall, I think I did fine.  Mostly, I didn't reach my goals, but since they were largely personal goals, I'm okay with it.  I am looking forward to guilt-free reading in 2013 though!
  • Willa Cather Chronologically: I wanted to read 4 books, and I ended reading 5.  Yay me!  I'm currently about halfway through her books, and some good ones to come!
  • Reading the Newbery Medal Books:  I wanted to read 5 books, and I only read 4...although I did read half of Gaiman's Graveyard Book before quitting, so I've crossed 5 off the list anyhow.  Maybe someday I'll give that one another go. I've currently read 36 of the 91 books.
  • Reading the Pulitzer Prize Winners:  My goal was to read 5 books, and I only read 4.  I've currently read 18 of the 85 books.
  • Reading from my Shelf: I wanted to get 10 of these out of the way, but only read 4.  :(  The hard part here is that some of the books weren't even ones I selected myself.  Might be time to weed through the shelf.
  • Reading Poetry and Short Stories: I wanted to read 3 collections of each, in order to build an appreciation for these forms.  I ended up loving the stories I found, and will continue on that end.  I had a harder time with poetry.  I don't know if I'm just picky or what, but much of it says nothing to me.
  • Reading from my Wishlist: ...because I'll never get to them otherwise.  I wanted to be reading one a month, but that petered out.  I ended up reading 7, which is still better than none.
  • Back to the Classics Challenge: I read 7 out of 9 on my list, but linked up even fewer reviews than that, which is why I didn't sign up for 2013.  I am still keeping track of my Classics Club, though.
  • Spring into Junior Fiction Challenge:  a personal challenge to get through some of my JF...I wanted to read 10 but only made it through 8 on my list (although I did read other JF.)  


  1. I seriously don't know how you manage 4 kids, wow! That makes it harder to find time for reading, but it also helps us (who do not have 4 children) to renegotiate the time we devote to reading and trully ask ourselves if we really don't have the time or just can't find it.

    1. Well I don't work outside the home, which (to me) seems like it would take even more all balances out somehow. The other big factor is that I don't watch tv anymore, just kind of drifted away from it and towards books once my kiddos got to ages where I regained something of an attention span.

      I think it interesting and worthwhile, though, to spend a minute reflecting on where our time disappears to. I know that I could fit a lot more into my day if I took the time to prioritize and plan.

  2. That is a lot of stuff to handle (my respect!). I'm expecting my first baby and am now paying more attention to good parenting books - any recommendations? Don't want to read lots of them so that I don't stress too much, just carefully chosen ones.

    1. Well the good news is that they take less physical time and energy when they get a bit older (more emotional/mental work at that point.) Congrats on your news! How exciting! I'm afraid I don't have any book recommendations for you, for precisely the reason you mentioned--the ones I read made me stress too much so I stopped reading. I hope you have better luck than me in that department!

  3. You have to move again!!! Oh man. The pics of your house are astonishing. You won't have the same house at all when you are finished. I don't think I'd classify that as a remodel-- more like a demolish and rebuild. The pictures look like something from the TV show Extreme Makeover.

    I think I'm going to step back from challenges too. I did 7 out of 9 on the classics challenge. I'll continue with my book club. You did very well even though you didn't meet all of your challenges!

    1. It started as a remodel, but then my husband decided he wanted to add a basement. That's when it turned into a rebuild. I agree, it looks like something that belongs on TV! Sometimes I catch myself looking over my shoulder expecting to see cameramen. ;) Some of the pictures I took yesterday were pretty unbelievable. (need to post those soon!)

      Escrow closes (on the house moved back into) tomorrow, but the buyers are going to lease it back to us for a few months to give us a chance to find a good place to move into. Still, the organizing and packing mindset is back in full force.


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