Challenges and Resolutions 2.0

As the end of 2015 draws close, I thought I should look at how I did with my challenges and resolutions – the verdict is: very well with some, terrible with others. I suspected this would be the case when I made them, but perhaps I’ll do better next year, who knows. I did a similar post back in August and I like the progress I’ve made since then, even if I haven’t been blogging a lot. I’ll be writing another post on challenges and resolutions for 2016 – this one is simply intended as a general overview of what I’ve done this year. I really think it was a good one!

nimona-noelle-stevensonFlights of Fantasy (info): I reviewed (favourites are starred) Hounded, Shadow Scale, World After, The Thief, *A Darker Shade of Magic, *Half the World, Angelfall, *Stardust, *Heir of Fire, Gates of Thread and Stone, *Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, *Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, *Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, *The Accident Season, Perfect Ruin, *White CatEnd of Days, *Uprooted, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Hidden Huntress, Soulless, Kiss of Deception, Half a War, *Nice Dragons Finish Last, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Night Circus, *Daughter of the Forestand I also read *Carry On, The BFG, Shadows, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Ruby Circle, and *Nimona, most of which I intend to review soon(ish). This means I COMPLETED THIS CHALLENGE (I set myself a 24 book goal and read 34, I think)!

Dusting Off the Shelves (info): I read AllegiantEleanor & Park, Eleven on Top, Twelve Sharp, My Sister Lives on the MantelpieceThe Mad Ship, Looking for Alaska, Lady Thief, To Kill a Mockingbird and Daughter of the Forest. I set myself a 12 book goal, so I’m one book behind – I might make it, though, we’ll see. I like to think I am insanely competitive – and I mostly try to beat myself at things, so yeah. Here’s my physical tbr list, incomplete, of course, but still hefty. I update it as I go…

lady-thief-gaughenFairytale Retelling (info): I reviewed ScarletUprooted, A Court of Thorns and Roses and Lady Thief and I also read Thorn and Daughter of the Forest, so I made it! (I set myself a 5-9 book challenge). I also wrote about why I love fairy tales and about the same old story.

Re-reading (info): I re-read half of the Sweep series but I haven’t written any reviews yet. I’m counting Sweep as one book, they’re so short. I wrote a mini review for How to Entice and Enchantress. Here are the others: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and I also re-read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as well as Silver Shadows and The Ruby Circle (for translation purposes). I’m currently re-reading both Uprooted and The Lies of Locke Lamora, both of which I should be done with by the end of the year. If I manage that, I’ll be at 13 books, which means I completed this challenge (I set myself a 12 book goal).

In terms of Classics – which was my self-imposed challenge – I read The Handmaid’s Tale and To Kill a Mockingbird, which is pretty damn miserable as far as challenges go. I didn’t set a number on this one, but I’m pretty sure I failed anyway. Ugh.

srcek

Resolutions

  1. I want to succeed at my reading challenges. I’m going to cross this one off because I think I did good, overall.
  2. classics-spin-2I want to read more classics. Oops. I’m keeping this resolution for next year for sure.
  3. I want to finish more series. Again, oops – and I wrote a post about it. I was actually doing okay with this in the summer but now I started so many new series I don’t know how I’ll finish them all. *sigh*
  4. I want to update my blog design. YES! I did that! And I still love how it turned out.
  5. I want to comment more on other blogs, interact more and use social media to their full potential. I don’t know about the social media part and the full potential part but I have been commenting more on blogs and I love interacting with other bloggers!
  6. I want to read more non-English books. Ahh nope. I read 35 Kilos d’espoir which was short but sweet. I’ll definitely be keeping this resolution for 2016.
  7. I want to be better at managing my ARCs. I crossed this one out in August, but I’ve fallen behind again. My ratio should be higher, I think, and I’ll keep working towards it.
  8. I want to read less fluff. Weeeelll… I have been reading more YA fantasy, but I really should try to read less romance. This really depends on my mood. I didn’t read a single romance for a month and then I had a week-long binge when I read 5, I think. Oh, well.
  9. discussionI want to continue posting three times a week. Mostly done, some weeks I do 2 posts, but I think I’m pretty consistent! – This was my update in August before my life got even crazier than before. I had two or three very slow months, but I think I can keep up a 2-posts-per-week schedule for now. That gives me enough time to answer comments as well.
  10. I want to write more discussion postsAaah, this is the one I’m really proud of! I’ve written several discussion posts that drew really nice reactions from my readers! <3 I also enjoy writing these the most. Here they are: Why I Love Fairytales, Reading Fantasy in a Tiny Country, The Same Old Story, Are You Into Safe Sex?, Finishing Series, Sh*t Just Got Real: My Physical TBR Pile, On Jazz (And Maybe Modern Art), Fan Fic (+ A Ramble On Harry Potter and Sex), Just Another Love Triangle, In Defence of Good Guys, Reading Translations, Let’s Talk Spoilers, Comfort Reads, and Second Chances. YAY!

srcek

Author Addiction

Becky and I did a whole year of Author Addiction posts together, I enjoyed these a lot. We had some freebie months where we picked our own authors, but I really liked the months when we had a common person to write about – it’s so cool to read the different perspectives. We’re putting this feature on the back burner for now and we’re discussing a new one for 2016 but I don’t have any particulars yet, so stay tuned! :)

The Bastard Read-along

DJ and I are hosting a read-along of the Gentleman Bastards sequence by Scott Lynch in 2016. The reviews for The Lies of Locke Lamora will go up on January 5, so join us if you wish! All the details are in the link. I’ve already read the books and am re-reading them – I’ve already started on The Lies and it’s just as good as I remember. If you need me to convince you some more: this is one of my all-time favourite series and Locke Lamora is probably my favourite character ever.

srcek

Whew! This post was a pain to write (all the links!) but I like looking back.

How did you do with your challenges? Are you picking any new ones for 2016?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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  • I don’t think you should feel too bad about not hitting your “read less fluff” goal…fluff is what keeps us all going. I know it keeps ME going. Sometimes a fluffy read is the perfect palate cleanser between heavier books, they serve an important role in my reading routine! In any case, great job on your challenges :)

    • Yeah, that’s true. I just fell into a rut when I read almost exclusively romance and after a while, I got sick of it, hence the resolution. I don’t know, I’ll probably skip it for 2016, it seems like I read plenty of non-fluffy books in 2015 anyway! :)

  • Nicole Hewitt

    Sounds like you actually did really well – let’s face it, resolutions are made for breaking, so I think if you accomplished this many of them, it’s a win!! I plan to start reading Lies next week for the readalong! I’m looking forward to it! I put it in my calendar to review it on the 5th as well, but I still haven’t managed to put up a sign up post – sorry!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    • Oh, that’s great!! :) You don’t have to write a master post, unless you want to – you can just mention the read-along in the review or something. It’s entirely up to you! :) And I hope you’ll enjoy Lies, I’m already halfway through my re-read and it’s as good as I remember.

  • Wow, it looks like you did a pretty amazing job with this year’s goals! I completely fell out of regularly commenting on other blogs, but I hope to be better about that in the new year. Good luck on the continuing challenges!

    • I often go days without commenting, life just gets in the way. I know I’ll never be able to read all the stuff I want to read (either blogs or book), so I’ve come to terms with this – I try my best but that’s all I can do, you know? :)

  • Jolien @ The Fictional Reader

    Congratulations on your challenges! You did sooo well. Completed (or are about to) most of them, which is such an achievement. And you finished quite a lot of your resolutions too! I don’t think I did that well. I had a goal of reading 2 classics this year, and I think I only read 1. Oops. I hope you have a great year of challenges and resolutions in 2016 as well!

    • Thank you, Jolien! :)
      Ahh, these classics seem to be causing trouble everywhere! :) I just feel like I’m missing out because I haven’t read them yet – and almost invariably, I really love those books once I DO read them. So I’ll try to read more of them in 2016.

  • It sounds like you managed to keep a lot of your resolutions, so congratulations, and good luck for next year! Looking back at my own new year’s resolutions post from last year I’m not sure I consistently managed one.

    • Thanks, Laura!
      Ha, someone else just commented here that resolutions are meant to be broken – which is probably true, I don’t even know why I feel bad about it anymore. :) They’re just goals for tentative guidance but then life takes a different turn and it may even be for the best!

  • Maraia

    Wow, what an awesome year! You did so well on just about everything. I still don’t understand why you want to read less fluff. (And of course I don’t remember what your answer was the last time I asked, hah.) Your discussion posts are still my absolute favorites.

    It looks like I read 70 fantasies this year, not counting re-reads. Woo! Do you use Crini of All About Books’ epic spreadsheet? My life is so much better since I started using it, haha.

    My challenge was to read 200 books this year, and then 240, and now 250. My goal next year is to be less crazy. I would also like to read more German books, do the PopSugar challenge (as much as possible, I’m not going to force myself to read things I don’t want), participate in Crini’s Around the World Challenge, and re-read a ton. My basic attitude toward challenges, besides the number goal, is to see how many books I’m reading anyway can be made to fit the challenge, rather than the other way around. I did that with the PopSugar challenge this year and still managed to get 46/50. But really, I want to take my time more with reading next year.

    • Thanks! :)

      Ah, the fluff question. I wrote that resolution because I think I spent an entire MONTH reading only romances and after a while, they all bleed together and seem the same, so I HAD to do something about it. I still read lots of romances this year, I just made sure I never went on a really long binge. I find that I enjoy them more if they’re spaced between other books, you know.

      Am, no, I’m not using that spreadsheet yet! :) Is it worth the effort? It looks pretty complicated…

      Yeah, that’s what I did with my challenges – I picked the ones I knew I was likely to achieve anyway. I mean, I’m not going to participate in the ones where I know I’ll dislike the books or anyway. I’m still putting together my list for 2016.

      • Maraia

        Oh right, yes. I guess if everything you read seems the same, it does become a problem. It’s fun to mix things up, anyway.

        YES, so worth it. It’s actually pretty straightforward. (I mean, I figured it out, haha.) If you start it at the beginning of the year, it’s really simple. You just enter each book as you read it, and all the stats get calculated automatically. There are also fun filters that give you even more info. It’s great. :D

        I hope you find some fun ones to do next year!

  • Greg Hill

    It’s nice to see a summary of your reviews, I should do that. :) Great job on the challenges! I need to read Allegiant, and I’ve been curious about the Scarlet/ Lady Thief books. The Lies of Locke Lamor readalong sounds fun, I may tackle that book early in 2016. Looking forward to seeing your post on it.

    Have a great weekend.

    • Thanks, Greg!

      Well if you decide to review Lies, you can link your post in the comments to mine (on Jan 5) and I’ll add it to our list, even if you post it later.

      Allegiant was a bit of a disappointment for me :( I hope your experience with it will be different!

  • It looks like you’ve done really well. I always fail at some goals every year too, but it never bothers me when I see how much I also accomplished!

    • Yeah, that’s why I like making these summaries at the end of the year – it makes me realize how much I’ve accomplished after all!
      Merry Christmas! :)

  • I think you did amazing with all your challenges and resolutions!! I mean, naturally there are some that just aren’t going to get completed – that’s just the way it is! But you made some serious progress and you should be happy with that :) I know I would be! I always say I’m going to join some challenges every new year and I never do LOL! Good luck with the goals and challenges you’ve set for yourself in 2016 ♥

    • Thanks, Micheline! :)
      I am happy with my progress – did I come across as unhappy? Hmm… I am mostly just glad I kept blogging for this entire year, I like my blog and the entire community so much. I think this might be my favourite hobby so far.
      Eh, I try to set myself challenges I know I will fulfil without much effort – I don’t know if that’s really CHALLENGING. :)

  • Damn Kaja, you killed it with your challenges this year! The Flights of Fantasy one is particularly impressive. I’m pondering whether I should participate in that challenge in 2016 – it seems fun! Reading classics is great but sometimes they really take it out of you, both emotionally and intellectually. I always need a solid fluff binge after reading a classic.

    I’m so excited about the Gentleman Bastards read-along you and DJ are hosting! I will probably jump in when you guys get to Red Seas Under Red Skies, because I have yet to read that one. :)

    • Thanks, Danya :)
      Erm, I didn’t really PARTICIPATE in that challenge – mostly because I realized I wasn’t really reading the blogs that host the challenge and it seemed weird to just drop by to link up my reviews (kind of mercenary, or something, like I was just looking for other people’s clicks? I don’t know…). Anyway, I figured it was silly to challenge myself for something I would 100% achieve anyway – apart from romance, I mostly read fantasy, so it’s not really challenging if you know what I mean.

      And YES, I know what you mean about the classics – I don’t know how I managed to read mostly that during my high school and university days. Soooo much effort. But then “real life” was much less demanding then :D I need fluff in my life right now.

      And YES, join us – if you’re planning on reading RSURS anyway. Feb 15 is the date when we’ll be posting our reviews for book 2 if all goes well.

      And YAY you’re back in the blogging world! I’m so glad to see you (I mean, not that we SEE each other but you know what I mean) :) How was school? Are your colleagues alright? How about classes? :)

      • Ooh, I know exactly what you mean about those mercenary-feeling link ups! I never link up my Waiting on Wednesday posts for that very reason – I don’t read the blogs that run it. Plus I’m not really looking to get comments just for comments’ sake, you know?

        I get that same feeling from reading Canadian literature, especially Indigenous lit which is my favourite but often very dark (understandably). I just don’t have the emotional energy for that these days, haha. I read more fluffy romance novels in 2015 than I have in recent memory – maybe ever – because ad you say, real life is crazy! But in a good way. Haha. :)

        Perfect! I’ll be sure to start reading RSURS in January to give myself enough time to actually finish it. It’s massive! Can’t wait for more Jean and Locke bromance.

        Thank you!!! I’m happy to be back at it. :) Real life just got sooo hectic that managing one post a week got to be too much. Grad school is going really well, I’ve found my crew of people and got the grades I wanted so I’m going to call that a win! In January I’ll be volunteering at my uni’s Pride Library (queer/LGBTQ+) and I’m super excited about it! We need to catch up on Twitter soon so I can hear all about your life – Kiddo, A., your degree. It’s good to ‘see’ you too! :)

  • Congrats on reaching your goal for the Fairytale retelling challenge! :D You did a great job! Seems like you, overall, did well with your resolutions.

  • I think you did better with your challenges and goals than I did simply because you had so much more. Really, your resolutions are always a more difficult thing to tackle because they are a general goal for going forward, it’s hard to keep track in the same way a reading challenge. You don’t just read a set amount of books and then be done with it.

    I think your reading less fluff goal was achieved, fluff can be a good palate cleanser (or that’s what I tell myself) because sometimes you need the break and they are perfect for that. I feel like fluff stops me from getting exhausted from reading. That, and it’s fun and easy to read and sometimes exactly what you feel like reading. I am a massive binge reader though, so I can’t exactly judge, I’ve gotten better at not getting stuck in one genre and try and avoid romance binges because that’s when I hit a reading slump.

    I can’t believe it’s time to start thinking about reading challenges again. I definitely think I’ll only do one or two this year and make sure they’re ones which challenge me to read widely. I’m thinking about doing the PopSugar reading challenge for 2016 because it’s all about reading a book to fit a different thing, like ‘read a book based on a fairytale’ or ‘a political memoir’ or ‘a book recommended by someone you’ve just met’ and that will definitely make me read more stuff. I won’t hit all the different things, but it will be fun trying through the year.

  • Wow, you did really well on your challenges! And you’re inspiring me for 2016 :) I really should reread more, I think, but then there are so many yet unread books out there… *eyes bookshelves*