I know, I know. This isn’t a book review like I’ve promised. The honest fact of the matter is that I haven’t gotten through a book in time for today. (Okay, that’s not entirely true, but the book I did read recently is an ARC and the review doesn’t go up for a while now. Oops.) So I figured I’d talk a little about what I’ve realized about reading and reviewing since the beginning of the year.
I’ve had an ongoing problem with reading since probably high school. I’ve always said that I loved reading, I was a huge fan of books…all of that. But if you asked me how many books I read between my graduation from high school in 2006 and the end of 2015…I don’t think I’d be particularly proud of the answer. Especially if I took out all the books which were part of established series I was just waiting on the next book of. If I’m honest with myself, it was pathetic. I was the biggest advocate for reading, particularly out of school settings, and then I utterly failed to live up to my own ideals. I wasn’t reading.
Why? If you asked me back then, I likely would have told you I didn’t have time. I still have a tendency to say that. What the actual answer is? I was too busy wasting my time on other things. Playing games with friends. Watching YouTube videos. Sitting on Facebook. Playing video games. Reading my old work. (Not writing, which would have at least been productive, no. Just reading it.) Anything else aside from reading.
Too often, I don’t read because I say I have to be productive. I need to be writing, I need to be doing work, I need to be…etc, etc, etc. But that wouldn’t actually change what I was doing. (Not being productive.) This really came into a harsh light last year, when I tried to do the Goodreads reading challenge…and failed. I’m pretty sure my goal was 40 books in a year, and I couldn’t do it.
40 books. For a writing student, who can read even a good sized book in 24-48 hours. Over the course of 365 days, I failed to read just forty books. Something was very wrong. This wasn’t just “being busy.” This was failing to be the person I believed I was.
So this year, when I really buckled down on my book reviewing and blogging and vlogging and all that, that included reading books. My TBR is never going to get any smaller if I don’t read books. And if I wanted to have a review up at least once a week, I was going to have to at least read 52 books in a year, and that was better than none. At first, I was tearing through books like my life depended on it. Something in me was starved for it. I had denied myself the joy of books for so long, that when I finally let myself read again, it was water in the desert.
My goal on Goodreads for 2016 is to read 50 books in the year. Here at the beginning of June, I’ve already read 40. Goodreads tells me I’m 20 books ahead of schedule–but I think I’m only just now catching up to who and where I want to be.
I don’t have a review for today. I honestly didn’t have much time to read lately. Midway through May, I started helping my parents move across town, which meant a lot of my free time was spent hauling boxes around. Now I’m working on moving my own stuff across the city to join them, in hopes that by the time I move in July, I’ll only have the big stuff left. That’s most of my free time to packing boxes, hauling them down the stairs to my car, repeating the process three or four times. Sundays are days I spend with my parents, and only sometimes do we all have some downtime to sit around and read. This past weekend was a holiday and I had some time off, but a friend came in from out of town to visit. It was all I could do to squeeze in the editing I needed to get my videos out.
(Right. Don’t forget all the time put into those. Putting aside the manuscript I still need to narrate for my audiobook work, and the book projects I’m actually working on writing. Gracious. How did I have time to slack off before?)
All this aside, though: I regret nothing. I’m glad I’ve been reading and reviewing more. I’ve found some amazing books through this, and through some of my reviews I’ve gotten a chance to connect with other authors who have books coming out, who need reviews written. This is what the writing industry is about: making connections, knowing people who know people who can put in a good word for you. This is the platform I said I was going to start building back in the beginning on 2013.
Have I actually followed through on all the ideas I had back then? No. But I haven’t forgotten about them, either. Just like I haven’t given up on any of my manuscripts. Or this blog, or my YouTube channel. Or reading.
I’m going to see if I can hit 100 books this year. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get past that too. For right now, I’m going to take a step back, not worry about today, and work on getting that book I’m reading now done for next Wednesday. 😉 I’ll see you all then.