My Shockingly Low 2018 Reading Goal|Fiction Friday – Discussion|

Funny enough my last Discussion post was also about reading goals. I go awol for a year and a half and nothing changes. Anyway…

The year is coming to a close thus causing me to start thinking about my goals for 2018. I’m not typically one to do New Year’s resolutions because I used to feel like it was arbitrary to wait until January 1st to make a change or set a goal. However, since I’ve been in college and grown up a little bit (wow, shocker) I’ve realized it’s not really about the date, at least for me, it’s about setting goals.

As a high schooler the goals I set for myself were always intuitive – live creatively and do well in school. Humble brag, I did pretty great at this. For the most part I had A’s and B’s, did various creative extracurriculars and read all the time. It was difficult and challenging (especially when you’re also battling depression and anxiety and you don’t know how handle it because you’re a kid) but I did it and I look back at my high school career with fondness and pride.

Fast forward to now. I’m twenty (lolwhut?), attending art college, and I have no idea how past me did everything with such “ease”. (The obvious answer is that I’m remembering everything with a rosier tint but still, how did I do it???) And I’ve now found it enjoyable and rewarding to actively set goals.

The goals I have for myself this year have not been set in stone but they do mirror my high school desires: live creatively and do well in school. These days those two intertwine since my grades rely directly on my creativity and artistic skill. So I’m wondering if so much of what I want to achieve in 2018 is wrapped up in art…what room is left for my other hobbies, like reading?

Which brings me to the main point – I’m (probably) going to set my Goodreads 2018 Reading Goal to 3 books.

That’s it.

Three.

Now, before you fling yourself to your keyboard, asking if I’ve lost my will to read the answer is no, of course not. I’ve read books my whole life, I don’t want to stop now. However, I value my self esteem and my time and I’m aware that I am not going to be happy with myself if I can’t meet my goal. I set the bar high in 2014 and read 31 books out of my goal of 15, but was able to meet my goal in the following two years. This year the only reason I’ve met my goal is because I binge read three short stories from the New Yorker (I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy those three short stories, or that they shouldn’t count but I am saything that I felt compelled to read them because I knew they were quick and would count toward my goal. And something about that feels a little shallow to me.)

I want a healthy challenge to read but I don’t want another year of an incomplete goal on my goodreads page. And so, three books feels like the right amount. A healthy amount to remind me to read because I enjoy storytelling. I don’t need to read a lot just to prove that I can.

Anyway, I would love to know how you are handling your reading goals and how you feel about mine.

– Queen Celine

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Why I Don’t Feel Guilty For Lowering My 2015 Reading Goal |Fiction Friday – Discussion|

Reading Goals can be really encouraging and effective. They can make you read something that would normally be out of your comfort zone — a graphic novel, biography, etc. However they can also put a lot of pressure on readers to focus more on quantity than quality.

In 2014 my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal was to read 15 books. I was just getting back into using Goodreads so I didn’t want to be too ambitious. I don’t know how but I was able to read 31 books! It’s kind of nice to be able to look back and see that I surpassed my goal. I’m very proud of it.

Flash forward to 2015 when I decided that if I was able to 31 books last year then I could definitely read 35 this year. I was wrong. It’s August and I’ve only read 19 books. I’m going off to my first year off college next week (EEEEP!!!) and I know I won’t have much reading time. So, every time I logged onto Goodreads I would be reminded of the fact that I was three books behind schedule or four books behind schedule. How daunting. It was starting to feel like no matter how much I read, I wouldn’t be able to catch up before school starts. I felt like I was failing.

I struggle with anxiety and depression, and reading is one of my coping mechanisms. I just like to run away and read my books. But stupid unnecessary reminders telling my that I’m falling behind make me more anxious and so I read less.

Today, it dawned on me that I could lower my 2015 Reading Challenge goal and it would be an instant relief. So that’s precisely what I’ve done. Now my, much more manageable, goal is 25 books. Some may see it as “quitting” but I’d rather have an easier goal than a crappy reading experience. I believe that as long as your goal still pushed yourself, than you’re not “quitting” or “giving up”.

To those of you who are falling behind on your reading goals, don’t be afraid to lower the number a bit. Everything will be okay, I promise! There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to read. It’s your reading challenge, do what ever you want with it. And remember that just because you read 50 or 100 or 1,000 books last year it doesn’t mean you have to read that many (or more) this year. We all have lives to lead, and sometimes personal stuff takes up reading time. 2015 marked the end of my High School career, so I was far too busy prepping for college and studying for exams to keep up with my reading goals.

How do you guys feel about reading goals? Do you think they can be good, bad or both? Let me know in the comments!

– Queen Celine

Books I’m Bringing to College |Fiction Friday – Discussion|

My Freshman year of College starts very soon (in about a month) and I’m equal parts excited and nervous. I know I’m going to be busy with adjusting to classes and my roommate and being in an entirely different state, but a girls gotta read amiright? Of course I am!

I’ve split the books into two different categories: books with relatable characters and books with worlds where I can hide. I’m not going to have a ton of space due to the joys of  living in a tiny dorm so I’m doing my best to keep the selection short.

Relatable Characters

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  • My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  • Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
  • To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • P.S I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Hideaway Worlds

  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
  • The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove

I’m going to have to narrow it down but in an ideal world, that’s what I’d take with me. For all of you college bound, or if you’re currently in college or if you’ve finished college, let me know what books you’d bring!

– Queen Celine

Six benefits of Re-reading Books |Fiction Friday – Discussion|

Last year I read We Were Liars by E.Lockhart  and fell in love with the story. I  enjoyed reading it and I was completely surprised by the plot-twist. I gave it 4/5 star rating on goodreads (shameless plug: follow me on goodreads!).

I’m not a big re-reader. I think I’ve re-read a total of two books in my entire life.  But, re-reading We Were Liars changed my thoughts on re-reading. It’s not like I hated re-reading before this but I didn’t see much of a point in it. Therefore, I present to you:

The Benefits of Re-Reading!

  1. Foreshadowing – The first time I read We Were Liars I was completely oblivious to what the “surprise” was. This time I noticed all the small clues and hints scattered throughout the book. I even jotted down everything I didn’t pick up on the first time around. I think it really has helped me form more theories about the characters.
  2. Nostalgia – This one is obvious, but re-reading allows you to experience the story over again. I know a lot of readers who re-read books from their childhood *cough* HARRY POTTER*cough* so that they can relive the magic.
  3. Writing vs. Plot – The first time I read a book I don’t pay much attention to the writing. I tend to focus on the plot because that’s what draws readers in. Re-reading allows you to study the writing of authors you love. See if there’s anything they do that you can gather inspiration from or implement into your own writing. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys writing or wants to make a profession out of it!
  4. Comparing Opinions – Maybe you hated one character the first time you read a book but the next time around they become your favorite. Or perhaps your opinions don’t change at all. For instance, I still gave We Were Liars 4/5 stars after re-reading it.
  5. New Messages – Re-reading a book may give you a different perspective of the story. Reading a book once limits the lessons you can learn from it.
  6. Life Changes – So many things can change from when you first pick up a book to when you re-read it. This requires a bit of self-reflection, but see if any new experiences change your view of a book. Reading Fangirl in high school has a different impact than reading it in college.

I hope that this has given everyone something to think about but let’s take it a step further. Before the year is out I want to re-read at least two more books (Fangirl and another book I haven’t chosen yet.) If you’re not much of a re-reader either, I challenge you to re-read one of your favorites! Comment which book you’re interested in re-reading.

– Queen Celine