Tag «reading habits»

Still Here!

It has been a long time since I posted anything. In fact, it has been even longer since I logged into my blog to check up on it! I don’t think I’ve spent this much time away from it except in my first year when I took a brief hiatus for university.

But, I’m still here!

The truth is, this last year has been really rough in a lot of ways for me (and many others I’m sure). I work in the laboratory of a hospital and while I don’t live in a “hotspot” COVID-19 area, we had our fair share of outbreaks and waves in the last 15 months. Medical Laboratory Professionals are in short supply–and have been for a long time, even before the pandemic. So the stresses of work bleed into my reading and blogging habits.

Add to that some professional courses I am taking for work, my laptop crashing and some other life stresses, time has gotten away from me. I also had some issues with my blog hosting in April so the only thing that really got posted this year was reviews I had scheduled months in advance.

Taking a step back from both reading and blogging has allowed me to reflect on what I get out of both.

Even before the pandemic started, blogging was starting to feel like a bit of a chore. I had contemplated moving my blog away from its self-hosted status for the last 2 years but the hassle never seemed to be worth the very little I spend a month to keep it self-hosted. I just find with my shift-work, I’m forever playing catch-up with things around the house or life in general so blogging is that last thing on my mind.

Also, I just don’t seem to be reading as much as I usually do. It seems crazy to me in a world where people are encouraged to stay home that I struggle to read but I find my attention span just wanders when I pick up a book (or I just fall asleep too fast) so it takes me twice as long to finish a book than it used to. Which, in turn, generates less content for my blog — which can make creating content feel like a chore.

But I still love to read. The last two months have been a cycle of reading and reviewing titles for the various ARC teams I am on and I love contributing to that release and getting the titles I love out there.

And now that the weather is nicer in Canada; my backyard is in its prime; and my pool is ready to go, I’m hoping to spend some of my upcoming staycation in my yard, reading copious amounts of books. Mostly to catch-up on titles I’m a little behind on but also because I really miss getting lost in a book for hours.

I started a bullet journal this year–mostly to keep track of my distance ed courses–and while I’m not always the best about checking-in every day, I really do love the daily habit tracker page I created. Every month I set a knew goal and my hope for July is to get back into blogging on a semi-regular basis. Even if it is just for an hour once a week—I think it would go a long way.

So, I just wanted to write this (semi-)short message to say: I’m still here! I’m just super behind but I will be resuming my efforts to get this blog back up to its normal (ok, maybe a little slower) speed this summer.

Thanks for sticking around and let me know what you have been up to the last few months by dropping a comment below!

Cheers!

~Lauren

SERIESous’ Reading Plan for 2021

2021 Is the All About Getting My Groove Back!

Like many people, I went into 2020 with an optimistic frame of mind. I had reduced my Goodread’s Goal for the year to be lower to anticipate a few things like travel and other events, plus my general decline in my reading numbers over the last few years.

But as Canada went into lockdown near the end of March, I couldn’t bring myself to read a book. I mean, if you ignored the global issues, the idea of not leaving your house except for essentials seems like a bookworm’s perfect world. But I really struggled.

I work in healthcare, particularly in the laboratory of the hospital. I’m the person who receives the swabs for the testing of COVID-19 and could run the testing if my hospital provided in-house testing (we are too small to do so). Work was extremely stressful at this time and as a result, I found my mind wandering when I would pick up a book. So reading wasn’t for me and I found myself turning to yarn hobbies like crochet and knitting because it kept my hands occupied and gave me a sense of accomplishment.

I did go through a few spurts where reading was how I passed the time instead of watching TV. I even managed to finish my Goodreads Goal–something I didn’t complete last year–fairly early on given how March-May worked for my reading. But once things got colder here in Canada, my reading became non-existent once again. It got to the point that if it wasn’t an audiobook for when I walked my dog, I probably wasn’t reading it.

As I write this post, I’m unsure about my reading and blogging future. I’ve been contemplating moving away from a self-hosted site to the regular WordPress site because I don’t want my blog to disappear entirely. But the cost to keep it self-hosted isn’t crazy so I’ll probably stick it out one more year and give 2021 a good chance. I feel like 2020 isn’t a good year to gauge my reading/blogging usage on since it was so radical.

In last year’s plan for 2020, I focused on finishing up series and reading more books I owned. But I only had mild success there. I was actually on a great trajectory to finish it when September hit and so did a major reading slump. A slump so long that it was still continuing into December.

That’s why I want to get my Groove back in 2021. Instead of specific reading goals (like finish X number of series), I want to improve my reading habits and reintegrate reading into my everyday life.

And so I want to keep that momentum going forward into 2020! Here’s how:

#1 – Read Before Bed

I used to always read before I would go to bed. Back in University, my roommates thought I was asleep by 10:15pm every night because I would say goodnight around 10pm. But I usually spent the next 45 minutes reading my book before finally sleeping. I even used to wake up early to read a chapter or two before I started my day.

Because I work in healthcare, that means shift work is my every day norm. I find I’m always trying to catch up on sleep from night shifts and so I’m lucky if I even get a single chapter in before my eyes close.

I’ve decided I’m going to start bullet journaling in 2021 as a way to keep me accountable and I’ve added a habit tracker to see my progress with this particular idea. I really want to get back into a regular sleep routine that works with my shift work and that includes reading before bed instead of scrolling through my phone.

#2 – Reduce ARC Commitments

For the last 2 years I’ve really declined my ARC commitments and I want to keep that going forward.

There’s nothing wrong with ARCs, I just find they add a pressure to my reading that dampens my interest in reading. I’ve been in such a rotten mood for 2020 that I felt like it was translating into overly critical reviews of ARCs and I didn’t think that was super fair.

I’m a member of a few street teams for authors and I plan on sticking with those as they aren’t overwhelming. But I will be reducing what I sign up for and what requests I take on.

#3 – No Reading Challenges

Usually I have 2-3 reading challenges for the year. This year, I want to step away from those and really go back to my mood reading whims where I simply pick up a book because I want to.

That means no elaborate Excel spreadsheet to share this year!

I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to the reading challenges of the last few years and reading those titles I had marked but never got to. But I really want the first 3 months of 2021 to be focused on getting back to reading and making it a part of my everyday routine.

Going Forward:

Better things seem to be on the horizon for 2021 and I’m optimistic that I can get things back to where they want to be by forming new habits and returning to my routines that have helped me in the past.

Do you create a yearly plan or do you just go with the flow?

What are some of your 2021 reading goals?

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SERIESous Discussions: Book Formats by Month [3]

SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


For the last two years, I’ve been curious about my various reading stats. Like how many books I read in a month throughout the year? Do I start more series than I finish? And the topics for this discussion: What book formats do I read the most? Where do they come from?

You are probably wondering how I gathered all this data. Throughout the year, I keep an Excel file running where I keep track of:

  • What books I read
  • What format it was (ex. audiobook, eBook, physical, ARC, etc)
  • Where I got the book from (ex. library, ARC, owned)
  • What number it is in the series or is it a standalone
    • Is it a new series or a previously started series

What I Learned From Last Year’s Post — and What I Did About It:

  • I need to limit the number of ARCs I request
    • I unsubscribed to a majority of Blog Tour mailing lists
    • I focused on street teams for authors I love
    • I limited the request availability on my site
  • Continue to read audiobooks but don’t rely on them for numbers
  • I need to read more books that I own

But did I actually stick to those? Find out…

Comparing 2019 to 2018:

The first time I did this investigation I compared each month by a line graph; last year I did a table for each month. This time around I’m going to a bar graph of the year as a whole so it is easier on the eyes!

The Highlights:

One thing that is glaringly obvious is that I definitely read fewer books in 2019 than in 2018. Last year was the first year where I didn’t finish my Goodreads goal (I was 28 books short) so I’m not surprised to see the large contrast on some formats.

When I did this last year, I really anticipated that my audiobook numbers would take a major nosedive. But audiobooks honestly saved my reading last year. Even though I no longer commute to work, I’ve integrated audiobook listening into doing my chores, walking my dog and long travel times.

The last thing that really shocked me was the number of eBooks I checked out from the library. I had to triple check my numbers were right when I was making the graph. But if you look at my Kindle and Kobo numbers (which are books I own), it makes sense and balances out. My 5 Year 5 Book Challenge for 2019 used books I already owned so I didn’t need to go to the library on a regular basis.

Moving Forward:

I set my Reading Challenges for the year back in January but I like to use these posts as a check-up or mid-year review of sorts to see if I am on track with my goals or what I need to change going forward.

I truly adore audiobooks and they’ve become such a staple to my everyday reading. Because chances are, if I didn’t pick up my eReader I probably listened to an audiobook at some point. The whole idea is crazy to me because 5 years ago I really struggled with the concept of audiobooks.

>> SERIESous Discussion: How I Fell In Love With Audiobooks

For the most part, this year I’ve been going with the flow and following my moods more. During the Covid pandemic in the Spring, I was checking out a lot of books from the library’s eBook selection but I didn’t necessarily read them if I wasn’t in the mood. And I tried not to get myself upset if returned the book unread (which is a hard habit to break!)


When I first did this breakdown, I was shocked to learn that less than half of the books I read came from the library. I had always had the firm belief that 80+% of my books came from there so it was a total surprise. But in the past few years, I’ve worked really hard on reading more of the books I already own and not just buying books willy-nilly and never reading them. Last year in particularly, my main focus was reading books I owned prior to 2019.

Source:20192018
# (%)
2017
# (%)
2016
# (%)
Purchased69 (38%)46 (20%)52 (21%)79 (34%)
Library74 (41%)97 (43%)114 (47%)85 (36%)
ARCs38 (21%)86 (37%)80 (32%)69 (30%)
Grand Total:181 (100%)229 (100%) 240 (100%)233 (100%)

Again, I’m not shocked by these results. To break it down a little further, 81% of the library books I took out were audiobooks. I’m happy that some sources went down (like ARCs and even the library) as planned since I read more books that I already own.

>> SERIESous Discussion: How Many Series Did I Really Read in 2019?

Moving Forward:

Like last year, my main goals for 2020 are to increase the number of owned books I read in a year and to reduce the number of book series I have on the go. And to accomplish these goals, I’m slowly changing my reading habits. Instead of reaching for that library book, I’ll check my Kindle or Kobo first for a book that will suit my mood. I resist ARC temptation but not checking Netgalley regularly and unsubscribed from review mailing lists. I’m making a lot of progress and positive changes since I first started blogging 7 years ago!

What book formats do you read in a month? Where do they come from?

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SERIESous Discussion: My Reading Habits by Month [3]


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


For the last 2 years I’ve been doing this comparison post to check in with my reading. I always to month-to-month comparison for my Monthly Inventories but it’s interesting to reflect back on the entire year as a whole.

>> SERIESous Discussion: Where do my Books Come From?

I break things down like this:

  • What I learned from last year (2018) and any changes I made for 2019
  • My thoughts before I look at 2019’s numbers
  • The actual numbers & their breakdown
  • What I learned and moving forward

What I Learned From Last Year’s Post — and What I Did About It:

I learned a few things from my post last year:

  • February was my most productive reading month
  • I averaged 1 book less per month in 2018 than 2017
    • 2018: 19 books/month; 2017: 20 books/month 
  • My DNF #s have increased exponentially since 2016
  • I read less on my Kobo

In combination with my Discussion Post about Book Formats I Read in a Month, I started to do the following:

  • Focused on reading more books I already own by
    • Reducing holds at the library for non-audiobooks
    • Creating specific reading challenges for owned books
    • Requesting less ARCs
  • Dedicated 4 months of the year to only read sequels

 

My Thoughts Before Looking at the Numbers:

Without a doubt, 2019 was a terrible reading year for me. I didn’t complete my Goodreads Challenge for the first time ever because life simply got in the way. Moving closer to work and reducing my commute time did nothing to improve my reading numbers like I thought.

>> SERIESous Discussion: How “Adulting” Changed my Reading Habits

I’d go days without picking up a book which would have shocked me 4 years ago. Gone were the days of getting up early just to fit a few chapters in. As a shift worker, I milk every minute of sleep I can get now. And if I’m lucky, I can fit in a chapter or two before sleep takes over for the night. So I know my numbers are not going to be stellar.

The Actual Results:

 

The Breakdown:

What does that all mean? I’ve summed it up here:

 2016201720182019
Total # Read260240229173
Monthly Avg22201915
Total # DNF'd717298
# of Kobo Reading Hours40040479144

My Thoughts After Looking at the Numbers:

Moving into a new home meant that most of my free time was spent getting the house (and yard) sorted. So I’m not shocked by these numbers. It was also my first year of being completely full time and one where I didn’t have the nicest rotation to follow. And I’d like to think my social life was more active than previously so that leads to less time reading.

Fun fact: I actually went 6 months into 2019 before I DNF’d my first book! I’ve been going through my TBR monthly and completing the Down The TBR Hole meme and removing books that I’m just not interested in throughout the whole year so maybe that has helped keep me satisfied with the books I do pick up.

The months I completed my Sequel Only months were February, June, September and November. And for the most part, I did see an increase in the number of titles I read for those months but it didn’t cause massive spikes.

Moving Forward:

I was much more realistic with my Goodreads Goal this year based on last year’s numbers. I’m realizing as I get older that there are other things that take precedence over reading. 

I’m really curious to see how my formats read are impacted though. I seem to be reading a lot of audiobooks (which was a foreign concept to me merely a few years ago) and if I wasn’t, my numbers would be near what they are in a year.

>> Be on the lookout for an updated post next month where I look at what formats of books I read in a month!

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SERIESous Discussion: Reading Formats for Series

SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!

Are you a Format Loyalist? If you start the series in one format, do you stick with it until the very last novel?

I was inspired to write this post when I was looking at sequel novels in June 2019. One of my goals for 2019 is to complete some of the many series that I’ve started over the years and to do that, I decided to dedicate 4 months within the year exclusively to sequels.

Audiobooks are a relatively new thing to me. In the last two years, I’ve started listening to them on a (nearly) daily basis. So I always have one print book and one audiobook on the go.

Finding printed sequels to read for the month was easy. Between my physical public library; their eBook selections and my own eBook collection, I was never without a novel to read. But trying to find an audiobook to read during the month: that was the hard part. Why? I don’t have a lot of “unfinished” audiobook series because I binge-listen to all the sequels or they are newer series with sequels still to be published.

>>SERIESous Tips: 5 Ways to Get Into Audiobooks

If I was in this predicament last year, I probably would have looked at half of the books I read this past June and said “nope” to the audio version. I was adamant that if I started a series as an eBook one or as a hardcover, that’s how I was going to finish it.

But then this thought occurred to me: who cares?

Obviously, I do to some degree. I have some “golden rules” when it comes to my reading. I refuse to read any of Cassandra Clare’s novels as anything but the beautiful hardcovers. I have a few series that I’ve started as audiobooks (like The Diabolic and Dividing Eden) that I want to continue as audiobooks. So clearly I have a few holdouts because I feel like the format of the novel contributes to my overall reading experience.

But what about those sequel novels to series I haven’t touched in years? You know the ones where you barely remember anything but the main plotline and the characters mentioned in the synopsis? Why wouldn’t you pick up the audio version instead (or maybe the eBook)? Why not rejuvenate your experience with the series by trying it in a new way?

My thoughts exactly.

This year, I’ve been listening to the audio versions of sequels for quite a few series I originally read in print years ago–and I’m having tremendous success with it!

Obviously, I’m finishing series that have been on the back-burner for years, making room and time for new TBR items. And who doesn’t love cleaning up their TBR?

I also think that I’m enjoying these sequels more because they are audiobooks. If you’ve never read an audiobook before, they bring stories to life in a way that you just don’t get through a print version.

It’s not just audiobooks though that you can change to. Sometimes it just comes down to convenience and what format(s) is(are) available. When eReading was starting to become a thing, I made the switch from printed novels to eBooks because it was easier to get my hands on the copies. I know that for me, reading the novels back to back instead of waiting keeps my momentum and enjoyment going. So if I have to read Book #1 as a paperback, Book #2 as an eBook, so be it!

And sometimes, depending on the format, there are bonus features (like maps or glossaries or deleted scenes) available that can enhance your reading and you might not get those in a different format.

So I guess you can say that I learned that sometimes change is good.

What about you? Do you stick to one type of book format when you read a book series? Or do you jump around depending on the availability of your titles?

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SERIESous Discussion: Author Fatigue

SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!

Have you ever found yourself getting tired of your favourite author?

In April 2019, I was starting to reflect on my reading and blogging habits and trying to figure out what I wanted to change to get back to where I wanted to be. One of the things that I quickly decided to do was stop doing Blog Tours. The main reason is that I just don’t want as many deadlines as I did in the past because my reading is becoming more and more sporadic as the year progresses.

>>SERIESous Discussion: Lessons Learned from Blog Tours

But one thing I really noticed when I was thinking back on the blog tours I’ve done in the last 2 years is that I always seem to choose tours for the same set of authors. Now, that isn’t a bad thing! Obviously as bloggers we have the opportunities to help spread the word about our favourite authors and I believe we should embrace that whenever we can.

>>SERIESous Tips: A List of Review Opportunity Groups

However, I noticed when I was reading and reviewing a book for one of my “must read authors”, I wasn’t overly impressed with it. That sounds a little rude and I’m struggling to articulate what I mean so bear with me. See, it was a great book but compared to the last title I read by the same author, it just didn’t measure up to my standards. And when I thought about it, I had read a lot of books by that author in the year and started to notice a downward trend.

Sure, the author’s style might have changed or maybe those last few novels weren’t at the same calibre. But then I started to wonder if I was getting author fatigue.

What the hell is author fatigue?

For me, it’s when I start to get bored with an author that I once loved. I start to notice it when I’m reading and not totally loving their work or I rate a book a little lower than I probably would have had someone else written it.

How does that happen?

I think there are a few ways that author fatigue can happen.

1. You read too many of that author’s books within a short time

Inevitably, you just start comparing the books to each other and because you remember the last one so well you can’t help but nit pick. Sometimes, that might work in your favour (for a more positive experience) but other times…

2. You start to discover the author’s formula

I wrote a discussion post nearly 3 years ago about what your expectations are when an author you love changes genres. And in that post, I touched a little bit on the idea that most authors have a formula or basic foundation that is present in all their books and you know what to expect because of it. For me, there are certain authors that seem to follow the same type of twists in their works and it causes it to loose some of the suspense.

3. Perhaps you’ve outgrown their primary genre

Meg Cabot wrote some of my all time favourite YA novels when I was a teen, but I find her novels have a younger feel to them that doesn’t necessarily relate to my 20-something self and I’m not a huge fan of her adult works either. So, I tend to not reach for her titles anymore.

I suppose you could say author fatigue is just a fancier way of saying you’re in a reading slump with a particular author. And I find the easiest way for me to get over a reading slump is to mix it up and try something new.

That’s the plan for the rest of this year. I hope that by decreasing the amount of ARC requests I do in a month, I’ll be able to relieve the pressure on me and give some of my favourite authors a break before I dive back into their works with a fresh mind.

Have you ever experienced author fatigue? Are there any authors you’ve had to take a break from reading?

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SERIESous Tips: How I Read 200+ Books a Year!


Since 2014, I’ve read more than 200 books in a year…

I really struggled with a way to start this post without sounding like I was bragging because I know that the number of books people read in a year varies–whether you’re a book blogger or not. Everyone reads at a different pace; not everyone has the time; and that’s what makes it such a personal number.

I read a lot of books in a year–it even shocks me–and that’s why I want to share some tips with you on how to increase the number of titles you read in a year! You might not reach 200 but wouldn’t it be great to fit in 4 more books in a year?

Years ago, I wrote a Guide for my blog: How to Read MORE! I wrote that guide back when I was a full time student. But since then, I’ve left school behind and have a full time career (complete with shift work, a dog and a house) on my hands.

You should still check out that post though because I have recently updated it! But I also wanted to highlight the 3 main reasons why I surpass the 200 books mark every year.

#1 – Get Into Audiobooks

I’ve shared my audiobook experiences many times over the years on my blog. I didn’t have the greatest start with them but they’ve become such a staple to my reading life that I can’t help but share my joy now.

> > SERIESous Discussion: How I Fell in Love with Audiobooks

Why are audiobooks so great? The fact that you can multitask while you listen!!! You can’t do much while you read a physical novel besides eat and ignore the world around you. But with audiobooks? You can drive your car to work; walk your dog; do laundry and chores; etc.

How It Helps Me: I choose to listen to an audiobook instead of music while I’m doing my chores or driving for more than 10 minutes. (I listen to the radio when I’m at work so I get my fill of music in a day.) I always have one audiobook on the go in addition to the physical book I am reading. There’s a reason why 33% of the books I read in 2018 were audiobooks and that’s because I could complete some of my daily responsibilities while listening to them. (Plus, I had a 2 hour commute to work 5 times a week!)

> > SERIESous Tips: 5 Ways to Get Into Audiobooks

#2 – Set Deadlines

This can be interpreted to be many different things and I mean it in many different ways. Deadlines could be anything from blog tour dates, to ARC publication dates, to simply the date the book is due back at the library. But by setting a “deadline” to finish a book, you have a goal in mind and you can start to plan for it.

> > SERIESous Discussion: Why I Love Participating in Blog Tours

How It Helps Me: Approximately 40% of the books I read in a year come from the library and another 40% come from review copies. Having those due dates allows me to focus on what I need to read and when. I get more motivated to find the time to read that particular title because I have to finish it by a certain date. Even just telling myself that I want to finish a book I own by the end of the weekend reminds me to pick it up when I have the time.

#3 – Embrace Novellas

For simplicity’s sake, I classify anything under 140 ebook pages to be a novella. And did you know that they count as a book read for your Goodreads total even if it is only 20 pages long? Novellas made up approximately 8% of my total reads for 2018.

How It Helps Me: I think novellas (or short stories) are super underrated as a book form. I love novellas for a lot of reasons besides inflating my reading stats for the year. For one, they help me overcome reading slumps. For another, they don’t require as much time as a full novel; so when I’m short on reading time, the shorter book helps me feel accomplished by finishing it.

I’m not entirely sure if I will reach 200 books read this year. I haven’t been reading as much as I usually do by this point in the year. But I do know that these 3 habits have helped to keep me on track and keep my numbers consistent from month to month. So we will see what the summer brings. That’s usually when I can kick things into gear since I spend every free moment outside reading when I’m not at work.

What habits do you think contribute to your reading numbers?

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SERIESous Discussion: Book Formats by Month [2]

SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


Last year, I wanted to take an in-depth look at some of my reading stats. I looked at how many books I read in a month (and did a year to year comparison); I investigated where I get my books from (library, own, ARCs, etc); and I wrapped everything up with a look at what type (audio, eBook, etc) of books I read the most in a month. Lots of things change in a year, so I thought it would be interesting compare 2018 to my previous years to see what type of reading year 2018 actually was.

I already wrote my post on the number of books I read in a month — you can find it here.

For this post, I’ve decided to combine my Book Sources and Book Formats posts together since they pretty much go hand-in-hand.

 

What I Learned From Last Year’s Post — and What I Did About It:

  • I requested more ARCs than I should have
    • now have stricter limits on the # I can request a month
  • Audibooks have a huge impact on my monthly reading
  • I need to read more books that I own
    • more readathon participation & reading challenges

But did I actually stick to those? Find out…

Comparing 2017 to 2018:

Instead of my crazy line graphs that I used last year, I simply tabulated my results:

 eARCsKindleKoboPhysicalAudioeLibrary
201720182017201820172018201720182017201820172018
Jan4102193010645
Feb395244100658
Mar11120013204408
Apr8100131014541
May771020004682
Jun467162204730
Jul3511550157100
Aug685321015541
Sep340102013541
Oct680012004451
Nov1060210004630
Dec1111353006524
SUM:7686221539265543665231

The Highlights:

The one thing that stands out the most to me is the fact that I read less of the books I already owned in 2018 vs 2017. I truly thought I read more than that. Even if I add in the 9 titles I DNF’d from my personal collection, I still fell really short of my 2017 numbers.

The decrease in library books initially shocked me but then I thought about what happened last year. At the start of 2018, I had three library cards from 3 cities. My “big city” library card (my post-post-secondary school location) expired in March. I did a mad binge-read of a lot titles that were available from there in February and March (which explains the increases there). I also lost my second library card (where I did my placement for school) in September. My hometown library is great, but it shares its eBook collection with the entire province so it can make getting the more popular titles tricky. Having that second card from a town with a smaller pool of eBook users helped a lot. I have since renewed that card (since I moved) for 2019 so I’m excited to utilize it once again.

Things that didn’t shock me? I’m not at all surprised by my Audiobook numbers. Even though I was part-time for most of 2018, I worked a lot of hours so I was constantly driving to work (which is when I did most of my audio listening) in 2018. Nor was I surprised about my ARC numbers. I definitely read a lot of ARCs in 2018; so much so that I was getting a little bit of burn-out from it all near the end of the year.

Moving Forward:

I had set my reading goals and challenges for 2019 wayyy before I ever tabulated this all up but I had a general idea of what those numbers would be when I created them. My goal for 2019 is to read more of the books I already own and I’ve made that the focus of my reading challenges for the year. And although I say it every year, I’m really sticking to my ARC limits for the month. Learning to say “no” to great opportunities is hard but I’m starting to feel a lot lighter when it comes to “reading pressures” like deadlines etc. I’m really enjoying just going with the flow when it comes to my reading.

One thing that I know will change is my audiobook listening. I’ve moved closer to my job and have since reduced my commute time by 91%. I plan on listening to audiobooks on a regular basis, but I won’t be able to power through as many as I have in the past. What I’m hoping will happen is that I will see in increase in the other reading formats because I have more time now to read eBooks and physical novels.


 

When I did this breakdown last year, I was shocked to learn that less than half of the books I read came from the library. I had always had the firm belief that 80+% of my books came from there so it was a total surprise. I also learned that I read more standalone titles in a year than I thought I did; though series still made up the vast majority (obviously).

Source:2018
# (%)
2017
# (%)
2016
# (%)
Purchased46 (20%)52 (21%)79 (34%)
Library97 (43%)114 (47%)85 (36%)
ARCs86 (37%)80 (32%)69 (30%)
Grand Total:229 (100%) 240 (100%)233 (100%)

Again, I’m not shocked by these results. I would have liked to have seen my Purchased percentage to be higher but I knew coming into 2019 that I needed to improve that value.

Another thing I looked at in last year’s post was the number of series, sequels and standalones I read in 2017.

Type: 20182017
Standalone35 [16%]74 [33%]
Series187 [84%]147 [66%]
Book 1(71) [32%](53) [36%]
Book 2(59) [26%](44) [30%]
Book 3+(46) [20%](37) [25%]
Novellas:(13) [6%](11) [5%]
Grand Total224 [100%]221 [100%]

Overall, I was pretty consistent with what I read. I did decrease the number of standalones I read last year and that was something I was actively conscious of doing. Once I had enough Single Sunday Posts for the year, I made sure to rarely read standalones and instead focus on series. While I completed a lot of series, I wasn’t the best at reading sequels.

Moving Forward:

My main goals for 2019 are to increase the number of owned books I read in a year and to reduce the number of book series I have on the go. My reading challenges focus on reading owned titles unlike previous years where they were the minority of the challenges. To reduce sequels, I’ve dedicated 4 months of the year to read only sequels. Of course, I will read sequels in all months, but I find that having it a set focus really helps motivate me to grab that sequel I’ve been putting off for months.

What book formats do you read in a month? Where do they come from?

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SERIESous Discussion: My Reading Habits by Month [2]


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


Last year, I was inspired to put this post together by the fabulous Cristina @ Girl in the Pages. She created this amazing post looking at her reading habits by month and I got curious about my own. So, I compared my 2016 and 2017 reading years to each other and I thought it would be fun to add my 2018 reading stats to the mix.

>> SERIESous Discussion: Where do my Books Come From?

What I Learned From Last Year’s Post — and What I Did About It:

I learned a few things from my post last year:

  • August is my most productive reading month
  • I averaged less books per month in 2017 than 2016
    • 2017: 20 books/month ; 2016: 22 books/month

In combination with my Discussion Post about Book Formats I Read in a Month, I started to do the following:

  • Started an Excel sheet to track what books I read in a month (in addition to Goodreads)
    • Break down: Books, ARCs, Audiobooks, DNFs & Novellas
  • Started editing “edition type” on Goodreads
    • Break down: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Audio, etc

 

My Thoughts Before Looking at the Numbers:

Last year was the first year in 8 years that I haven’t been in school for any of it. I’ve just been working at my job and trying to have a social life. So I’m really curious to see how my reading habits have changed…because I certainly think that they have!

>> SERIESous Discussion: How “Adulting” Changed my Reading Habits

While I only read 11 books less in 2018 than 2017, it felt like I read a whole lot less. I’ve said in many times in my recap posts for the last few months but there were times in 2018 I didn’t pick up a book at all. It’s all thanks to audiobooks that my numbers were as strong as they were — something I will investigate in my follow-up post to “Book Formats per Month”.

The Actual Results:

The Breakdown:

What does that all mean? I’ve summed it up here:

 201620172018
Total # Read260240229
Monthly Avg222019
Total # DNF'd71729
# of Kobo Reading Hours40040479

 

My Thoughts After Looking at the Numbers:

Nothing really shocked me here when I look at the breakdown; with the exception of my Kobo reading hours. But when I think about it, it makes sense. I read a lot of ARCs last year and I read those on my Kindle. I’ve also significantly reduced the number of books I get from my library (which are read on my Kobo) in an effort to read books I already own. And I also DNF’d a lot of titles from my Kobo last year.

Which brings me to the DNF numbers. Again, I’m not shocked by this increase. My reading preferences and tolerances as a reader have changed a lot over the last three years. What I liked (and bought) years ago isn’t necessarily what I enjoy now and I think my DNF numbers for 2018 reflect that.

Moving Forward:

Again, it will be interesting to see how the results for 2019 compare to 2018. I now have a more consistent schedule for work so I do have more free time. But with that comes more social calls and trips as well which doesn’t always equal more reading time. I recently moved closer to work so my commute (and audiobook time) has decreased significantly; however, in theory, I have more time to read physical books. We will see if that all pans out…

>> Be on the lookout for an updated post next month where I look at what formats of books I read in a month!

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SERIESous’ Reading Plan for 2019

2019 Is the All About Cleaning Up My Bookshelf

In the last 3 years or so, I’ve worked really hard on maintaining healthier reading habits. That means not borrowing 3 books from the library at one time; or having 20 books on hold simultaneously; or requesting every book on Netgalley that sounds remotely interesting. I’ve also come a long way in terms of DNFing books when they just aren’t working for me and not feeling guilty about it after the fact.

Last year, my reading plan focused on keeping those good habits going and I would say for the most part that I succeeded. I got my “TBR” to less than 500; I read more books than I anticipated (according to my Goodreads Goal) but I powered though a lot of titles in December in order to accomplish all my 2018 Reading Challenges. While I always come up with these great reading plans at the start of the year, life just gets in the way and I always seem to scramble by the end of the year.

So this year, I’m mixing things up a bit. I’ve still created my standard reading plan but I’ve shifted the focus and method of completing it. Here are the 3 goals I had in mind while I crafted my plan:

#1 – Clean Up my Backlogged Owned Bookshelves

I have an almost absurd number of unread novels on my Kobo and Kindle eReaders thanks to a combination of freebies and book sales. Every year, I always intend to read more of my own books with various challenges but I never seem to read as many as I want.

So I wanted to change that this year. Reading books I already own is the cornerstone of my reading challenges for 2019. I’m bringing back my Tackling the TBR Challenge and I’m also bringing back my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge, only this time, the vast majority of my “highly anticipated” reads of the last 5 years are titles I own.

>> 2019 Reading Challenge: Tackling the TBR

>> 2019 Reading Challenge: 5 Year 5 Book Challenge

Last year, I discovered the Down The TBR reading meme and I used it as a monthly TBR checkup. Thanks to it, I eliminated 45 books that I probably wouldn’t have ever read from my TBR, most them being owned/freebie novels. I plan on continuing that monthly habit in 2019 as a part of my Monthly Inventory Recap.

#2 – Finish Previously Started Series

When I wrote my plan for 2018, I had 131 book series on the go, totalling nearly 179 unread books! This year I have 124 book series with 174 unread books! A slight improvement but still a lot of novels! I have a lot of series post drafts waiting to be released for the blog and I hope to get most of them out by year’s end.

I had a sequel challenge last year and it had mixed results. I liked that it made me pay attention to reading sequels but I found I had too many “must-reads” each month and it got to be too much. This year, I intend to dedicate 1 month per quarter solely to sequels. I do this successfully every year with “Sequel September” and I want to bring it to other months as well. I’ve also incorporated sequels into my Reading Plan for Wishlist Reads and Library Holds by making one title of the two a sequel for my monthly reads.

#3 – Reduce the Number of ARCs

In the past, I usually limited myself to 3 ARCs per month but I wasn’t always the best about sticking to it. I definitely think I got some ARC fatigue near the end of 2018. It’s hard because I love promoting authors I adore and their newest releases but I never want it to feel like a chore (and it was starting to be in some ways).

This year, I plan on reading no more than 2 ARCs a month. I think this will be the biggest challenge because it is always so tempting to say “yes” and sign-ups/opportunities can appear months to days before a release. To succeed, I’m trying to keep with the mindset that I can support the author by buying a copy of the book when I am able to do so and have just as much as an impact while giving the promo opportunities to another blogger/reader who wants to participate.

Introducing my 2019 Reading Plan:

Like the Reading Plans of the past, it features a list of set categories to complete throughout the month. I’m hoping this year’s will be more flexible than the others I’ve created. I found the amount of books I read in a month really fluctuated in 2018 depending on my work and social schedule so I wanted something that was specific yet broad enough to give me the direction of what I should be reading while being open about what titles I actually read.

The Highlights:

  1. TBR Picks [2] – purchased novels on my Kobo/Kindle/bookshelf
    • I’m keeping this at 2 as a minimum
    • This doesn’t include titles from my 5Y5BC
  2. 5 Year 5 Book Challenge [2] — a Personal Challenge to read 25 books from the last 5 years
    • 15 of the 25 books selected are titles I already own
  3. Wishlist [2] —“available now” titles from my library

    • I add books my library owns to a library Wishlist
    • The idea here is to not be waiting for holds all the time, but to read titles that are ready immediately for reading
  4. ARCs/Tours/Requests/Netgalley [2]

    • I’m setting a hard limit of 2 books per month
    • If I get declined, I will not be replacing the title with another
  5. Library Holds [2]

    • One will be a new-to-me title; the other will be a sequel
      • They will remain on the list until I receive and read them
    • This isn’t a reading requirement, more so a way to limit the titles I have on hold at one time so I’m not panicking to read 5 books when they come in all at once!
  6. Audiobook Series [2]

    • Much like the “library holds” category, it’s just a way of keeping track of what audio series I have on the go at one time
  7. “Sequel Month”
    • All books read in that month must be a sequel to a previously started series
      • Exception is library holds & audiobooks

Going Forward:

I’m excited to see what 2019 has in store! I’m hoping with this more open plan that I won’t feel as stressed out about not reading all the books I need to on a monthly basis.

Do you create a yearly plan or do you just go with the flow?

What are some of your 2019 reading goals?

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