Happy New Year 2023

This is January’s picture in my new calendar for 2023, Space for Nature paintings of inspiring places by Leo du Feu, This a pastel painting of a humpback whale along the Fife coast.

I haven’t made any definite reading plans for 2023 just yet as I’m still wondering whether to join any reading challenges because recently I’ve fallen so far behind with writing reviews. I have joined the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2023 and will most certainly be checking what’s involved in FictionFan’s new Wanderlust Bingo Card. But so far that’s it. Whatever I read I intend to take my time and enjoy the books I choose – whatever I fancy reading next.

What about you? What plans if any do you have for 2023?  

Reading TBRs & The TBR Pile Challenge: May Checkpoint

In the context of this challenge and also the Mount TBR Challenge TBRs are books that have a publication date before 1/1/2014 (ie any book published in the year 2013 or earlier qualifies, as long as it has been on your TBR pile). It does not include all the books you’ve acquired since 1/1/204 even though they are, of course To Be Read books too!

official tbr challengeIt’s time for the MAY Check-in for the  2015 TBR Pile Challenge, hosted by Adam at Roof Beam Reader! We’re now almost half-way into the challenge, which is to identify and to read 12 books during 2015!

Question of the Month: If you could go back and edit your list to make ONE change, what do you think you would have done differently? A book or author that you wish you had included? A book that you wish you hadn’t bothered with?

First of all  this is my answer to Adam’s question – I wish I hadn’t included The Needle in the Blood by Sarah Bower, which I have put back one of the books on my shelves, at least for the time being, as I found it so confusing and I don’t like the fact that  it’s written in the third person present tense, which I find awkward. I bought this book 7 years ago and like to think that I am more careful now in choosing books and would avoid books written in that tense.

My Progress: 2 of 12 Completed – I am way behind! I’ve read The Burning by Jane Casey and The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld. The books for this challenge are shown in the sidebar to the right.

So, why am I behind when the books on the list are ones I’ve identified as ones I have owned for a while and want to read? One of the reasons is that I’m a great believer that there is a right time to read a book and often these books are not the right books this time. But there are other reasons too:

  • I start reading one of the books from the TBR Pile and find it difficult to read because it’s in a small font, or it’s very heavy/bulky to hold, so I read something else.
  • Or it’s very long and I fancy reading something shorter.
  • I keep reading about interesting books on other book blogs and want to read those now, so I either borrow them from the library, which means I have to read those first in case I can’t renew them, or I buy them and start reading them straight away.
  • Then there are books I read for my local book group which I have to fit in each month.

I’ll have to overcome these reasons if I’m ever going to read those books!

Who taught you to read?

btt button

A while ago, Deb at Booking Through Thursday interviewed her readers for a change, and her final question was, ‘œWhat question have I NOT asked at BTT that you’d love me to ask?’

This morning’s BTT question is the question I asked:

Who taught you to read?

I asked this because I don’t remember who taught me to read and I wondered if anyone else does actually remember being taught.

I just can’t remember a time when I couldn’t talk, walk or read. I know that I could read before I went to school and that I loved being read to and being told stories. It was my dad who read to me at night before I went to sleep and he was the one who made up silly, funny stories to keep me and my sister entertained. So maybe it was him who taught me to read.

But it could have be my mum who taught me because she was the one who took me to the library with her. The library was a small branch library with children’s and adults’ books in the same room and I could choose my own books whilst she chose hers and she could keep an eye on me at the same time. She was the one who always had her head in a book when she wasn’t busy doing anything else. 

I wish I could remember. All I do remember is loving books and it seems as though I learnt to read by looking and listening rather than being taught. But it can’t have been that simple – can it?

Booking Through Thursday – Cheating?

Today’s Booking Through Thursday question is:

Do you cheat and peek at the ends of books? (Come on, be honest.)

When I read this question I had a feeling that I’d answered it before and checking back in the blog I came across my answer back in June 2007. It was my very first Booking Through Thursday post. Here is what I wrote then:

I’m always tempted to look at the end of books and sometimes I do if the book is getting boring to see if it picks up. If the book is one that I can’t put down then I try to resist looking ahead ‘“ not always successfully though and then I wish I hadn’t!

Do I still think the same? Yes and no.

Yes, because now I don’t think of it as cheating at all – life is too short to continue reading a book that seems to be going nowhere, so I’ll look ahead to see if it looks as though it will pick up.

And no – now I don’t peek at the end of crime or mystery novels – that does spoil the experience.

Weekly Geeks – Time for Reading?

This week’s Weekly Geeks question is about how to find time to read:

Do you read for a few minutes here and there?

Do you put aside certain nights or times of the day to read?

How do you minimize family interruptions?

If I don’t have some time for reading each day I feel deprived – I have to read even if it’s only for a few minutes. Reading is essential.

I’ll read whenever there are a few minutes here and there. At work I used to read whilst waiting for the lift, at breaks and at lunch time. I’ll read whenever I have to wait – at the doctor’s, dentist’s and hospital waiting rooms (it is more difficult to concentrate in those places, I admit). I also like to read whilst eating breakfast (but not other meal times), and each night I read before I fall asleep.

Family interruptions aren’t a problem. I can read whilst the TV is on, provided I don’t want to watch what’s on, of course. Sport is ideal for both reading and writing – the background noise seems to help me to read. This may be because growing up I had to do my homework in front of the TV in a warm room, or upstairs in a freezing cold bedroom (we didn’t have central heating).

Weekly Geeks – Shiny Book Syndrome

The Weekly Geeks’ topic this week is from Tara SG (25 Hour Books). She writes:

In case you don’t know me, I like to make up medical sounding names for my book obsessions. For example: P.A.B.D.. I’d now like to introduce Shiny Book Syndrome. This is usually accompanied by a book hording problem yet to be named.

So what is Shiny Book Syndrome? It is when a person only wants to read their newest book and leave piles of poor unread books on their shelves to collect dust.

What can you do to alleviate the symptoms?

My first suggestion would be to make a list of all the books you own. I use GoogleDocs. I start by creating a form and then can organize the spreadsheet to see what I have and if I’ve read it yet or not. (For more info on how to do this, go here).

My immediate reaction to this topic was that yes I have Shiny Book Syndrome, but when I looked at the list of books I’ve recently finished I realised that although I may think of reading my newest acquisition, I don’t actually do it.

I am tempted to read new books as soon as possible, and sometimes give in but mostly I wait until I’ve at least finished the books I’m currently reading. By that time the urge to read that newest book has faded, only to be replaced by the next book/s.

At the end of last year I joined Emily’s Attacking the TBR Tome Challenge and have been making quite a few inroads into my unread books (I’ve read 18 of them since December!) and I try to balance my reading – reading some from the TBR shelves, then some of the new books and slot in reading library books somewhere in between. Other challenges may help, if I can slot in some of the TBR books, but often they don’t, so these days I’ve backed off from some challenges.

Borrowing books from the library is one  reason I don’t get round to reading my own books, because I’ll often read a library book in preference merely because it’s due back and I’ve reached the renewal limit.

Most of my books are catalogued in Library Thing, unread books tagged TBR. It’s very useful as I can quickly see all the books I’ve yet to read, but that doesn’t make me pick one up and read it. Why is it that once I’ve owned books for a while they no longer have the same attraction they had when I bought them? There are always more books to attract me – that’s it – I keep on finding more books I want to read.

But, it’s not really a problem, because I read as the mood or interest in a book takes me. It would be a problem if I was left with no books to read as I would feel deprived and irritable – that would be much worse than too many.

Musing Mondays – Distractions

from Should Be Reading by MizB

This week’s musing asks…

Can you read amidst distractions? (tv, others talking, sporting events, etc)

I used to be able to read through most things. When I was at school I had to do my homework downstairs in the winter – my bedroom was too cold (no central heating) and as my grandparents lived with us and had the front room I had to do my homework with the rest of the family who were watching TV and talking. It never bothered me. I used to lie on the floor reading or writing, oblivious to the noise all round me. My sister could be chattering, playing the piano and generally messing about and I was still absorbed in a book. I used to walk around reading and could read anywhere.

But these days the sound level can affect me. I can read with the TV on, but the sound level has to be just right – too high or too low can be a distraction - but a programme that interests me can intrude sometimes. Music is great for reading by, I rarely hear it. I can read in waiting rooms, but people sitting next to me talking loudly (both the old and the young can do that) can be distracting. And children playing are very distracting. I was waiting in the hospital for my husband recently and a small girl was playing very quietly on a little rocking horse, well she was quiet but the rocking horse wasn’t and it kept moving nearer and nearer to my feet.

So, I do read with noise all round me and it’s not distracting if it’s just background noise, but anything more and I can’t do it.