Reading update – The first half of 2015

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2015 has been an interesting reading year so far. I’ve been challenging my reading habits, testing my reading tastes and picking up titles more impulsively. There’s also been a variety of formats in my reading, and though my preferences still go for the paperback, I’ve also grown to enjoy the benefits of ebooks. In the first six months I read 13 ebooks and 35 physical books. I wish I could also say that owning a Kindle has decreased my need to buy more books, but it really hasn’t. In total I’ve acquired almost 30 books during the first half of the year. Nevertheless, I’ve also been actively using my local library and checking out books every month – for free! And now that the first half of the year has passed, it’s good moment to check how I’m doing with the goals that I set myself in the beginning of the year.

In short, my reading goals for the year 2015 are to read equally both men and women, to read bigger books, to read more poetry and to read more Finnish books. I wrote down these challenges in the beginning of January, and for the most part, I’ve been sticking with them. For the most part. In many cases I’m doing better than I imagined and in some, my progress is barely on the line of trying at all. For example, I was surprised to find out that my male-female ratio is almost where I want it to be. It’s not fully 50/50, but it’s definitely looking good and, to be honest, I haven’t even had to try very hard to achieve it. Go me!

I’m quickly surpassing my Goodreads challenge for the year, which was expected, and I’m considering lifting the challenge to 75. However, the focus in this year is supposed to be in quality, not quantity, so I feel that lifting the challenge bar higher might make me forget that and just focus on the numbers. Another challenge that I’m acing at the moment is the 15 in 2015 challenge, in which I try to read at least 15 Finnish titles this year. One of the reasons why that challenge has been coming along so nicely is that I’ve read and reviewed also comics and graphic novels as part of the challenge, but where’s the fun in excluding those?

Half-year progress in Reading goals 2015:

  • Male/Female ratio: 25/23
  • Goodreads challenge: 48/50
  • Big Books: 1/4
  • Languages: Finnish (9); English (37); Swedish (1); German (1)
  • Poetry: 0,75/4
  • Reading England 2015: 1/7 (+3 Detours)
  • 15 in 2015: 9/15
  • TBR 274: 7/20

On the side of not-so-great progress, my score for Big Books seems quite poor now that I look at it. And my Goodreads stats agree: I’ve now read more books than in 2013, but about 2,300 pages less. Hmpf. I believe the lower page count is due to the fact that a) I finished both Gone with the Wind and A Game of Thrones in 2013 and b) I’ve been reading more plays, graphic novels and essays this year than in the previous years. Hence more books, less pages. Contributing to the low number is also the fact that my definition of a big book for this challenge is 600+ pages; if I were to count all the books that surpass the 500 page mark, I would also count The Name of the Rose (557 pages in my Finnish edition). The only book so far to breach that 600 page mark is Night Film by Marisha Pessl which had 602 pages. However, I have some hefty books set on my 20 Books of Summer TBR which should fix the problem.

I signed up for Reading England 2015 challenge already in December 2014 and I was so excited in picking up titles that matched certain counties and looking up new ones. However, I might have been a bit too ambitious with my goal setting as well as blind to my own reading tastes, because lately I’ve just been favouring American classics over the British. It all started with Melville, Steinbeck and Salinger in 2014, and continued with Fitzgerald, Poe, Chopin, Lee and Plath in 2015. Right now I feel like moving on, so I’m not completely giving up, but I’m not yet sure where the road will take me. We’ll just have to wait and see. However, I’ve been keeping track of my Modern Detours, so my combined number is not bad at all.

I’ve also been struggling with poetry, and part of that is because I might have picked the wrong book to start with. I’ve been reading the Complete Poems and Aforisms of Edith Södergran since March and the 300+ paged omnibus has been keeping its hold on me. I probably should have  picked up a shorter collection to begin with, as well as something in my mother tongue. Södergran was a Finnish-Swedish poet in the 1920s and, despite loving to read her in the original, the Swedish of the twenties is a lot different from the Swedish of today. So you could say I’m having a bit of problems in translation.

The last challenge on my list one that I’m most low-key about, and that’s reading 20 books from my super-long TBR 274 list. I set it to 20 books because that’s been the approximate number of books that I’ve read from the list in a year. I’ve currently read only 7 books from the list, which was a bit of a surprise because I expected some of the classics that I read (Waiting for Godot, Dracula, The Bell Jar) to be on that list, but it turned out they weren’t. But as I said, it’s not an issue. I’m often reading more classics during the autumn than during spring, so it should correct the balance naturally.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with how the year is going and hopefully I’ll be able to discover my inner poetry-loving reader soon. And if not, I’m not forcing it – sometimes these things require the right time and place. In the meanwhile, I’m heartily welcoming poetry recommendations!

 

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12 thoughts on “Reading update – The first half of 2015

  1. Minusta näyttää hyvältä! Olen itsekin yrittänyt tutustua hiljakseen runouteen, mutta vaikeaa se on. Tosin innostuin Leif Färdingistä, kun ensin tutustuin hänen elämäänsä ja sitten tuotantoon. Niistä tuntuu saavan enemmän irti, kun tietää, millainen tyyppi ne on kirjoittanut ja mitä taustaa vasten. Kannattaa ehkä kokeilla sellaista lähestymistapaa. 🙂

    • Kiitos vinkistä! Pitänee tosiaan kokeilla seuraavaksi tutustua ensin hieman runoilijaan ennen kuin sukellan pää edellä tämän tuotantoon. Etenkin runouden parissa tuntuu usein siltä, että jollei onnistu heti tavoittamaan runoilijan ajatusmaailmaa, niin runojen lukeminen voi olla kuin yrittäisi suunnistaa ilman karttaa.

    • Thank you for the your kind words! You are absolutely right: the most important thing is to keep it fun. Sometimes I let my competitive and goal-oriented side get a bit too far, so it’s good to remember why I’m reading in the first place.

  2. You’re not the only one feeling this way about poetry! I have an anthology of poetry at home that I’ve forgot to open since I came home; I’m so wooden when it comes to appreciating poems.I guess,as you said,the appreciation will come in the right time.

    You’ve made exceptional progress! I’m still struggling with my challenge,which is reading 30 books in 2015.Before I go back,I’d like to read some big books first,like One Hundred Years of Solitude,Midnight’s Children,Oscar and Lucinda,Cloudstreet,or Herzog.

    Oh,while we’re at it,which book that you’ve read this year is your favourite so far? And which was the most disappointing?

    • Always a pleasure to hear from you! And good luck with reading big books – I hope you’ll find time to enjoy the ones that you mentioned!

      As for the favourite and the least favourite, it’s a difficult choice. I guess the one that really surprised me in the best way was the Finnish novel Punainen viiva (‘Red line’), but since that hasn’t been translated into English, I’ll go with The Name of the Rose. It’s been six months and I still find myself thinking about it. I also don’t think I’ve read any majorly disappointing novels so far this year, but the hype surrounding both The Graveyard Book and Night Film left me expecting more from said books.

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