A new year begins…

Happy New Year! I hope everyone’s 2020 reading is getting off to a good start. My first read of the year is Big Sky by Kate Atkinson, which I’m enjoying so far. What’s yours?

When I posted my ‘favourite books of 2019’ list a few days ago, I mentioned that although I had read a lot of good books in 2019, there were very few that I can honestly say I loved. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but I think one of the reasons is that, particularly in the final months of the year, I was concentrating mainly on new releases and getting through my backlog of NetGalley review copies, and reading fewer of the older books that usually turn out to be my favourites. I want 2020 to be a more enjoyable reading year so, without being too specific in terms of targets and numbers, I have put together a short list of resolutions:

* Read more of the books that are already on my own shelves, some of which have been waiting for years for the ‘right time to read them’ to arrive.

* Re-read some old favourites – and don’t feel guilty for taking the time to do so.

* Make more progress with my Classics Club list and my personal projects such as Reading the Walter Scott Prize, both of which have been the source of some great discoveries in the past.

* Find a better balance between trying new authors and reading books by authors I already know and love.

* Continue with some of the series and trilogies I started years ago and inexplicably abandoned after one or two books, despite loving those one or two books!

* Be more ruthless about giving up on books that I’m not enjoying, rather than persevering to the end.

I’m hoping that by trying to follow these resolutions throughout 2020 I can make every book I pick up a potential book of the year!

Do you have any reading resolutions or plans for 2020?

On Christmas Eve…

On Christmas Eve, Heilige Abend, Anna’s household watched curiously as she set up a little fir tree in the hall, and decorated it with apples, nuts and some paper flowers she had made.

‘Martin Luther may be a heretic,’ she told them, fixing candles to the branches, ‘but he started a delightful custom that we in Kleve like to observe. One night, he was walking through a forest when he looked up and saw thousands of stars twinkling through the branches of the trees. It inspired him to set up a fir tree in his house, lit with candles, to remind his children of the starry heavens whence our Saviour came.’

From one of my current reads, Anna of Kleve, Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir.

~

Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it!

New plans for the New Year

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2019 – that means in October my blog will be ten years old! I’m sure I’ll be reflecting on that later in the year and finding some way to mark the occasion. For now though, like many other book bloggers, I wanted to use my first post of the year to look at my reading and blogging plans for the next twelve months.

Challenges and events

I prefer to have as much freedom in my reading choices as possible, so I’m not signing up for any year-long reading challenges this year, with the exception of the Historical Fiction Challenge hosted at Passages to the Past. I read a lot of historical fiction anyway so that one is not really a challenge for me, but I still like to take part as it helps me to connect with other like-minded readers and to keep a list of my historical fiction reads in one place.

I do enjoy participating in shorter events hosted by other bloggers such as 20 Books of Summer, the R.I.P. event and Nonfiction November so I will join in with some of those in 2019. I’ll also keep working through my Classics Club list and participating in any associated Classics Club events.

Blogging plans

The same as last year, really. I will continue with my Commonplace Book posts at the end of every month and my Historical Musings posts in the middle of the month, as well as participating in Six Degrees of Separation and Top Ten Tuesday now and then.

Personal projects

My Walter Scott Prize Project has been neglected recently, so I would like to make some progress on that in 2019. I also want to devote more time to re-reading old favourites – I say that at the beginning of every year and never manage to do it. Sadly, I only re-read one book in 2018, but I’m determined to improve on that number in 2019 so have started off my year’s reading with a re-read of Cashelmara by Susan Howatch. I also want to make progress with some of the series I’m in the middle of reading and find time for some of those long-anticipated books I’ve been putting off reading for years because I wanted to have ‘something to look forward to’.

Most of all, I just want to enjoy the books I read in 2019.

What plans do you have for the year ahead?

A new reading year begins…

Image courtesy of pamsclipart.com Happy New Year!

I did have a book review scheduled for today (still trying to catch up on a backlog of books read near the end of 2013) but as most other bloggers are posting about their plans and resolutions for 2014 today, I decided to do the same and keep my scheduled post for tomorrow instead. And this will probably be the easiest post I write all year, because I don’t actually have a lot of reading or blogging plans for the year ahead! I have signed up for two reading challenges – the Historical Fiction challenge, which is never a difficult one for me as I read so much historical fiction anyway, and the What’s in a Name? challenge, for which I already have my five choices in mind and will be starting the first one soon. Other than that, I have avoided the temptation to commit myself to any more year-long challenges or projects. One thing I’ve learned during my four years of blogging is that I’m happiest when I can choose to read exactly what I want to read and when I want to read it – and that’s what I would like to do in 2014.

The Classics Club However, one reading event that does fit in with my plans for this month is the first of the Classics Club’s Twelve Months of Classic Literature. Each month, the club will be hosting a month of themed reading based on a different literary period or movement. The theme for January is William Shakespeare and his contemporaries, which is perfect for me as I’m starting a FutureLearn course on Hamlet later this month. I’ll be re-reading Hamlet in January, then, but beyond that I’ll be looking forward to seeing what other Classics Club members are reading for the event.

I do have one other goal for 2014, in terms of blogging: I will be trying to write about every book I read within two or three days of finishing it. I hate being behind with my reviews and would like to avoid any more situations like this, where I’m starting a new month with five books from the previous month still to write about!

Do you have any exciting reading or blogging plans for 2014?

Temporary absence…

Just a quick note to let you know that I’ll be away for a few days. I’m going to Dublin tomorrow (the first time I’ll have been to Ireland) and will be back on Friday.

I won’t be able to respond to comments or emails, but I’m scheduling one or two posts for while I’m away. See you at the weekend!

It’s time for Bloggiesta!

Bloggiesta is here at last! I was unable to participate in last June’s event, so I’ve been looking forward to this one.

For those of you who are wondering what Bloggiesta is, it’s a three day marathon for bloggers to spend some time working on their blogs, making improvements, fixing problems and finding inspiration. Bloggiesta is hosted by Natasha at Maw Books and you can sign up anytime during the weekend.

I don’t know how much time I’m going to have this weekend, but I’m hoping to do as much as I can. Here are a few of my goals, though I’ll probably be adding more things to this list as they occur to me. I’ll strike through each item as I complete it.

1. Catch up with writing my reviews – I hate being behind with them! UPDATE: Got most of these done, but still have one to write.
2. Write the next few posts in my Remember These? series – UPDATE: Started these but will need to spend more time on them.
3. Check that my posts are tagged correctly and in the correct categories.
4. Update my About page and Review Policy.
5. Check my reviews on Goodreads and LibraryThing – I know some of them are still linking back to my old Blogger blog instead of this one.
6. Finish cross posting reviews to Goodreads/LibraryThing/Amazon.
7. Tidy my sidebars/update links in Blogroll.
8. Try to organise my Google Reader.
9. Change email address and associate blog with new email address.
10. Find out how to transfer my Google Reader feed subscriptions to my new email address.
11. Make new header image.
12. Back up my blog.

I’ll be updating this post a few times over the weekend. Good luck to everyone else who is taking part!

Here I am!

Hello and welcome!

To those of you who have followed me over from Helen Loves Books, you’ll see that all my old content is still here (including your comments) – I wanted a fresh start with a new name and new look, but I didn’t want to lose all those reviews I’d worked so hard on!  If you’re wondering about the new name, see the quote at the top of my sidebar (it’s not completely true because I do sometimes read the Sunday papers, but I’m much more likely to spend my Sundays with a novel).

There is one other change that you might notice – I’ve made the decision to remove my five star rating system.  From now on my reviews will not be given conventional ratings, but if it’s a book I particularly enjoyed it will be marked as either Recommended or Highly Recommended.  Other than that, everything else is the same.

To those of you who are visiting for the first time and are wondering what I’m talking about, I have just moved from Blogger to WordPress.  I’ve successfully imported my old Blogger content but there may still be some broken links or things that just don’t look right – don’t worry, I’m going to be working on tidying things up over the next few days.

I hope you all like the new blog!