I am a lifelong reader and book nerd. Even though there have been seasons where I didn’t have the time or energy to read as much as I would have liked, books and reading have always been an important part of my life. I also love sharing about what I’ve read, but I’ve never been very successful at actually writing down and publishing any reviews. When I came upon the idea of #31daysofwriting in October, I knew I had a topic ready-made for this challenge: #31daysofreading. I’ve read 67 books so far this year (finished an audiobook in the car this morning on the way to work!), so I have plenty of material to review. For this first day, though, I wanted to write about the tools I use to aid my reading habit, as well as what kinds of books I usually read.
While I already own hundreds of books, I also really like reading new shiny books. Alas, my book budget cannot sustain my new shiny book habit, so it’s a good thing I work at a library. I’m always hovering around my 50 items checked out limit, and I have over 80 items on hold. Even though I know I won’t ever read them all, I love having choices and perusing these new shiny books.
One of my biggest partners in my reading adventures is Goodreads. I keep my imaginary bookshelves filled with what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading, what I’ve put in hibernating, what I’ve rejected completely, and what I want to read (the shelf that is ridiculously optimistic). I can also record my reading progress (page number or percent completed), which is helpful since I tend to read 15-20 books at the same time. I know many people can’t fathom reading more than one book at a time, but I love jumping from book to book and Goodreads helps me stay on track.
Goodreads also hosts a reading challenge every year, which I have participated in since 2011. That year, I read 20 books, the next year I read 40, and last year I set a goal of 50 and read 53. For 2014, I wanted to really challenge myself and decided to attempt to read 100 books. The reading challenge lets me know how well (or not well) I’m keeping to the pace I need to be reading in order to finish 100 by December 31, and right now I’m 7 books behind the pace.
When I finish a book, I give it a star rating using Goodreads’ system: 5-stars: it was amazing; 4-stars: really liked it; 3-stars: liked it; 2-stars: it was ok; 1-star: did not like it. Most of my books are rated 5s and 4s, because if I really don’t like it, I don’t normally finish it. If I give a book 1 star, it generally means I hate-read it, meaning I disliked it so much yet I had to finish it because I hoped it might improve (see my 1-star review of The Magicians).
My favorite genre of books is memoir because I enjoy learning about life from someone else’s personal perspective. Sometimes I choose a memoir specifically because the writer has lived a life very different than mine and I want to explore that difference. Other times I choose one because I relate to the author and can place myself in her shoes. Beyond memoir, you will also find me reading young adult fiction and historical nonfiction, with the occasional adult fiction and graphic novels. Working at the library is expanding my reading horizons, but I mainly stick to these genres when I’m choosing my reading material.
I’ve read a lot of great books this year, as well as some not-so-great books. You can see them all on my Goodreads page. I don’t plan on reviewing every book on my list from this year, so if there’s a book in particular I’ve read that you’d like to see, leave a comment letting me know. I hope that with my #31daysofreading you’ll discover new books to enjoy.