Setting Goals for 2018

I’ve been working on a big project this year, and I’m absurdly pleased with the results, so I’m sharing here. That project has been to create little slips of all the titles (both ebooks and print books – about 2,200+) that I have listed to read on my Goodreads account. The idea is that I could draw slips at random in order to focus on a much smaller pool to read or remove in a given time period.

So I divided my 2,200+ slips into 6 categories and put them in ziploc bags: 4 large categories (historical fiction (pre-1900), themes (I’ve had themes every year, like read 12 books related to Moby Dick, or Pride and Prejudice, or titles with Wife in them, or birds, or music, or whatever…), books in series (more than 3), both new series, and series I want to continue, and Other (20th century fiction, fantasy, sci fi, etc. Then I have 2 smaller categories of nonfiction, and books relating to either Wales or King Arthur.

For 2018 I randomly drew slips from each bag, 6 from the 4 large bags, and 3 from the two small bags to make 30 titles. My goal is to read at least 12 books out of the 30 for 2018. Another goal is to read the 12 books for my real life book club that I’m in, 12 more will be group reads from various online book groups and then 12 free choice, which may include things I started but didn’t finish this year. I say I’m going to read 48 books every year, and I never make it – my average is about 36 – but I still try.

I’ll create a page for keeping track of my overall reads, and try and keep it updated!

Wish me luck!

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2017 Goals – How Did I Do?

This is going to be embarrassing! These pyramid schemes are fun to construct, but realistically it takes several years to actually finish them! How did I do?

12 books: Started, never finished (these will all overlap)
Finished 1:
The Foundation by Peter Ackroyd (Read Jan. 2017)
Finished in 2018:
The Wine of Angels by Phil Rickman (Read Feb. 2018)
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (Read Apr. 2018)

11 books: Historical fiction (can overlap, but not including Walter Scott nominees, below)
Finished 12:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Read Apr. 2017)
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (Read Apr. 2017)
News of the World by Paulette Jiles (Read May 2017)
A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner (Read May 2017)
At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen (Read May 2017)
Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood (Read May 2017)
Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood (Read Jun. 2017)
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti (Read Jul. 2017)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Read Aug. 2017)
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Read Sep. 2017)
The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (Read Sep. 2017)
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Read Nov. 2017)

10 books: Daytimer’s Book Club (this is a group I manage through the library and I pick all the titles we will read. We meet monthly, but I’ve already read two of the titles – that’s why it’s 10…)
Finished 10:
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough (Read Feb. 2017)
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (Read Apr. 2017)
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Read Apr. 2017)
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Read Apr. 2017)
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (Read May 2017)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Read Aug. 2017)
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (Read Aug. 2017)
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Read Sep. 2017)
The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (Read Sep. 2017)
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Read Nov. 2017)

9 books: Next in series to read (but not including Mrs. Murphy rereads)
Finished 6:
Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon (Mitford #13) (Read Apr. 2017)
Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood (Phryne Fisher #2) (Read Jun. 2017)
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike #3) (Read Jul. 2017)
White Nights by Ann Cleeves (Shetland Island #2) (Read Oct. 2017)
Red Bones by Ann Cleeves (Shetland Island #3) (Read Oct. 2017)
Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves (Shetland Island #4) (Read Oct. 2017)

8 books: Newest TBR (Library books currently checked out, and any that catch my eye this year and add…)
Finished 11:
Upstream by Mary Oliver (Read Mar. 2017)
Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch (Read Mar. 2017)
A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner (Read May 2017)
At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen (Read May 2017)
Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood (Read May 2017)
Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams (Read Jun. 2017)
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti (Read Jul 2017)
Naked in Death by J.D. Robb (Read Sep. 2017)
A Weekend with Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly (Read Oct. 2017)
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (Read Nov. 2017)
The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston (Read Dec. 2017)

7 books: Oldest TBR
Finished 0

6 books: Mrs. Murphy rereads
Finished 4:
Pawing Through the Past (#8)
Claws and Effect (#9)
Catch As Cat Can (#10)
The Tail of the Tip-Off (#11)

5 books: Walter Scott nominees
Finished 0
Finished in 2018:
Conspirata by Robert Harris (Read Jan. 2018)
Dictator by Robert Harris (Read Jan. 2018)

4 books: Medieval non-fiction
Finished 1:
Foundation by Peter Ackroyd (Read Jan. 2017)

3 books: Leftovers from previous themes
Finished 2:
Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams (Pride and Prejudice) (Read Jun. 2017)
A Weekend with Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly (Pride and Prejudice) (Read Oct. 2017)
Finished in 2018:
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (Wife titles) (Read in May 2018)

2 books: Black Lives Matter (this is sort of a mini-theme for the Daytimer’s Book Club this year, so this is expanding on that theme and not including Daytimer’s books)
Finished 1:
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay (Read Jan. 2017)

1 book: Understanding Politics, or “How the Hell did Donald Trump get elected” (not something I want to read, but I feel I should)
Finished 0
Finished in 2018:
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (Read Jun. 2018)

Overall:
Read or reread 37 books out of a goal of 48…

Looking Through Lace

Looking Through Lace (Looking Through Lace, #1)Looking Through Lace by Ruth Nestvold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I needed a title beginning with L for a book group challenge and had this on my Kindle. I had also tagged it Christmas – which is tomorrow – so I thought why not? It really has nothing to do with Christmas, except that it takes place on a planet called Christmas, named for the predominant red and green vegetation. It was a fun little diversion – a short story really – so I finished it in two sessions. It’s really quite a polished little piece. The author manages to create a believable world, complete with folk tales. I love languages, so I enjoyed the puzzle of why there is a secret women’s language on this world, and the process of learning about a culture through its language. Not everything is solved at the end (what DID happen to the first contact team?), and there is a sequel.

Description: As the only woman on the first contact team, xenolinguist Toni Donato expected her assignment on Christmas would be to analyze the secret women’s language — but then the chief linguist begins to sabotage her work. What is behind it? Why do the men and women have separate languages in the first place? What Toni learns turns everything she thought they knew on its head. Originally published in Asimov’s in 2003, “Looking Through Lace” was a finalist for the Tiptree and Sturgeon awards. The Italian translation won the Premio Italia for best work of speculative fiction in translation in 2007.

The Witch’s Daughter

The Witch's Daughter (The Witch's Daughter, #1)The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I ended up liking this, but it took me forever to get it read. Almost two months… If you can suspend belief and go with it as a fantasy novel, it’ll be fine. My problem is, I wanted it to be more of a historical novel with supernatural elements. It didn’t work that way for me. I don’t like historical made-up witchcraft depicted as modern-day Wicca. It just never rings true as “historical.” But take it as a fantasy, as a world unto itself, and then you have a pretty good story of good versus evil. I might even read the sequel, which is actually #4 in the series, I think.

Book description: In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate: the Warlock Gideon Masters. Secluded at his cottage, Gideon instructs Bess, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had. She couldn’t have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life. In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life. She has spent the centuries in solitude, moving from place to place, surviving plagues, wars, and the heartbreak that comes with immortality. Her loneliness comes to an abrupt end when she is befriended by a teenage girl called Tegan. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth opens her heart to Tegan and begins teaching her the ways of the Hedge Witch. But will she be able to stand against Gideon―who will stop at nothing to reclaim her soul―in order to protect the girl who has become the daughter she never had?