It’s June! How? I don’t know, because January feels like about 1,000 years ago and 2020 has been such a strange year.
I lost my Grandma, my sister almost lost her husband, we both gained a surprise nephew and I ended up being furloughed from mid-March. I’m finally due to start working from home again in July, but to be honest I think I’m going to have to learn how to do my job again. I’m just grateful I was able to leave my house share for my parents’ house before lockdown.
2020 has also been a year of pushing myself, though. In January I interviewed for a managerial role at Bloomsbury (I didn’t get the job, but I wasn’t suited for it and, to be honest, I’m so glad I wasn’t in London when COVID-19 arrived), in February I went on a date (something I literally never do) and then later that same month I started singing lessons, after not singing for around a decade, which I’ve been able to keep up with thanks to Zoom.
As it’s June, though, and we’re halfway through this peculiar year, today I thought I’d check in with the reading goals I set myself back in December!
Only buy physical books that are 2020 releases
Something I need to get better at is keeping track of my book buying, but I think a part of me is a little scared of realising just how much of my money goes on books each year.
I can’t say I have been completely successful with this goal because there are some older books I’ve found secondhand because there are no kindle editions available and my library doesn’t have them, but for the most part I think I’ve been pretty good with my book buying this year. I’m still buying a lot of books on my kindle, of course, where the books tend to be cheaper, but I don’t think I’ve gone particularly crazy whenever I’ve popped into Waterstones or a charity shop.
I have also bought a few non-2020 releases from Book-ish, an independent bookshop that’s not all that far away from where my parents live, but I’m not sorry for that and I’ve enjoyed supporting an indie bookshop during the COVID-19 crisis.
So have I succeeded here? Nah, not really. Am I mad about it? Nope!
Use the library more
This I have definitely done! It’s another reason why COVID-19 has been such a pain in the backside because it’s meant not being able to visit the library. Four of the books I’ve read so far this year have been from the library, and while that isn’t a huge amount I know I’d have read so many more by now if the libraries hadn’t had to close.
There are so many books I can’t wait to borrow once I can get back to the library, too! All I will say is that, as someone who mostly reads SFF, my library kind of sucks. The SFF selection is very narrow and requesting an inter-library loan costs £4 per book which I just can’t afford to do, but where I can borrow books, I do.
That being said, I am also planning to take advantage of the audiobooks I can borrow from my library! I don’t listen to audiobooks as much as I did when I drove to work, as I prefer to read a physical book or an ebook on the bus, but I have been going for walks during lockdown and I like to have something to listen to on the go.
Read at least one self-published novel
I’ve done this, too! Back in January I read M.L. Wang’s The Sword of Kaigen and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be one of my top books of the year. If you hadn’t read it yet then you need to get on it!
Read at least one translated novel
In a way I have done this because I read almost half of A Winter’s Promise before I DNF’d it, but I’d definitely like to try some more translated work this year that I actually enjoy…
Read three non-fiction books
My very first book of the year was non-fiction – Venus & Aphrodite by Bettany Hughes – and it’s also one I borrowed from the library, which just proves how pure my intentions at the beginning of this year were. I haven’t picked up any other non-fiction yet, but I’m planning to do so really soon. I want to make a dent in the Tudor history books I own, and I also received The Book of Queer Prophets through NetGalley, which I’d really like to read, and I’d like to read Audre Lorde’s essay collection Sister Outsider, too.
So by the looks of things, I’d say I’m on track to hitting my targets for this year! I’d definitely like to read more non-fiction and more self-published work, and I definitely want to take more and more advantage of my library, and I’m hoping to make a real dent in my NetGalley reads this year so that I can focus on the backlist books on my physical bookshelves in future.