It’s that time of the year again, when we reflect and review the year gone by. Keeping in line with mood of the season, this is my reflection post, but mostly of my reading life.
Let’s start with my number goal first. My number goal for 2016 was to read 30 books, and as of today I have read 38 books this year (am currently on my 39th one), which means I have crossed this goal by a decent margin. Yay me! 😀
That was the good news, now is the time for the not-so-great news – the Bookish Bingo. Wait, don’t jump to conclusions, it wasn’t exactly a fail. In-fact in many many ways it was a huge success.
For instance – it totally served the purpose it was intended for. Whenever I was unsure about what to read next, the Bingo was my guiding light, that kept me on track with my reading goals, the most important one of which was reading diversely. Having said that, I wasn’t able to complete the Bingo, which was a bummer.
I was able to check off 17 out of the 24 categories, and I am currently reading a book that will check off the 18th category, so I was able to do about 75% of my Bingo Board. Which isn’t too bad considering the year I had, but I would have loved to call out Bingo! at the end of the year. Anyway, such is life. By the way, I do have plans for the remaining categories of Bingo, but more on that in a different post.
As of now, let’s take a closer look at the hits and misses of Bookish Bingo 2016 (category wise) –
Read a book released in 2016 – This was a big win for me. I read not one, but several books that were released in 2016, which is great, because I have always struggled with keeping up with this in the past. The books that I read for this category are – The Love That Split The World, The Yoga of Max’s Discontent, The Raven King, An Autograph for Anjali, Hearts & Hots, Seduced in Spain, Rightfully Wrong, Wrongfully Right, and of course, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child.
Read an American Classic – This category is the sole reason I finally (after what seems like an eternity) picked up To Kill a Mockingbird, and boy am I glad I did. Such a treasure this book was.
Read a Book & its Prequel – Looking back, I realize that this category existed because I fully intended to read Go Set a Watchman once I finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird, but after I read the classic, I realized that I was no longer interested in reading its prequel. I am not ruling it out, possibly some day I will pick it up, but that doesn’t seem to be anytime soon, so for now, it’s a fail.
Read a book that involves/revolves around World War 2 – This category I owe big time. It’s the reason I finally picked up The Book Thief, and this book I loved so much that I am having a hard time doing justice to articulating how much I enjoyed the reading experience. Good problem to have, I say.
Read a book out of my comfort zone – This was a big win for me. This year I read several genres that I have shied away from in the past -Paranormal (The Raven Cycle), Spiritual (The Yoga of Max’s Discontent), Mystery/Thrillers (The Girl on The Train), Political (Clinton Cash), and Science/Medicine (Being Mortal). And what’s more -I have found unexpected new favorites among these genres. For instance, I never imagined I will enjoy paranormal stories and mystery/thrillers as much as I did. So this happy discovery I most definitely owe to Bingo.
Read a mystery/thriller – Success! Like I just mentioned, I read The Girl on The Train for this category, and I not only loved the book, but also found myself a new favorite genre. Double win!
Re-Read a Book/Series – This was a fail. I just did not have the time, or even the inclination really, to re-read a book/series, and I did not push myself, because then that would make this experience a chore, and that is the last thing I wanted. Bingo was primarily meant to be a fun way to track my reading life, and I wanted to keep it that way. Having said that, I must mention here, that while I did not re-read a complete book, I have re-read huge chunks of many books, and I have considered counting it, but that would amount to cheating, wouldn’t it? 😛
Start & Finish a Book Series – This category was a win. I read not one, but three complete series’ this year, starting with The Raven Cycle, then The Right Wrong Trilogy, and more recently, the Twilight Saga.
Read a paranormal romance – Clearly another win, as I just mentioned above, I finally read the Twilight Saga, after almost 10 years. This is one book/series that I am pretty sure I would have procrastinated for another 10 years, had it not been for this category. So mission accomplished.
Read a book over 500 pages – This was another easy win. I read 5 books that were over 500 pages – The Book Thief and all 4 books of the Twilight Saga. Well okay, the first book of the Twilight series was technically 498 pages, but let’s not be so picky here for two measly pages. Especially because at times reading 2 pages worth of Bella felt like 20. Don’t get me wrong, overall I liked the books , but Bella really got on my nerves. A lot.
Give a second chance to an author – This was a fail. And I really don’t have an excuse for this one, except that I just did not feel like reading the book I had picked for this category – Looking for Alaska by John Green. And I couldn’t think of another author I would like to give a second chance to. Sad, I know. Sigh.
Read a book which teaches me a new skill – For this category, I was intending to read a book teaching me some photography skills (which I sorely lack by the way), but I wasn’t able to get to it. And then I happened to read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. Clearly I did not read this book to check off this, or for that matter, any other category, but I feel that it sorta fits here. It might not fit into many people’s definition of the term ‘skill’, but I feel that handling our finances well is a very important life skill. What do you guys think?
Read a book recommended by a friend – Okay, this one had many contenders, but the one I was most interested in reading was The Name of The Wind recommended by Nidhi from More than Curry. But when I looked it up, I realized that the final book of this series was yet to come out. And I typically marathon series’ (even if they work as standalone reads and don’t end on cliffhangers), which is why I want to wait till the series is complete. But this category was still a win, because I did read The Book Thief which came highly recommended from not one, but many of my friends.
Read a historical romance & Read a book that was written over a 100 years back – Two birds, one stone – that’s what I did with these two categories. I read Pride & Prejudice, which fits both these categories, so I am counting both of these as wins. I would have continued on about how much I loved the book, but I think I have done more than enough of it here, and then again here where I review the many screen adaptations of the book.
Read a book about Writing – This was a fail, and I don’t really have a decent excuse, outside of procrastination, which is a lame defense, I know. Sigh.
Listen to an audio book – Okay this one was one of my biggest wins of Bingo. I read (okay listened to) 4 audio books, and have totally (and irrevocably) fallen in love with the format. I know that it doesn’t work for every kind of book, but for the ones it works, it is such a game changer. This past year I read (listened to) – Bossypants, Furiously Happy, Being Mortal & The Total Money Makeover, and for at-least the first two, I am positive that I wouldn’t have enjoyed the print version as much as I enjoyed listening to these authors narrate their own story.
Read a mental health memoir – Well technically, I listened to one, but since that totally counts, I am checking off this category with Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson.
Read a book based on a mythology new to me & Read a book based on a fairy tale adaptation – I wasn’t expecting either of these two categories to be fails, but I just couldn’t get to them. And I believe part of the reason is also the fact that both the books that I had picked for these two categories are the first books of a series, and like I mentioned earlier, I always marathon series’. So for the fairy tale adaptation I would have had to read not only Cinder, but the entire Lunar Chronicles, and then there are the intimidating number of books that the Percy Jackson world has – my choice for the mythology category. Anyway these were fails, but I hope to get to them soon.
Read a book on American Politics – I read Clinton Cash – a graphic novel, for this category, so this was a success. But I think I am done with this genre for a while now. Too horrifying and depressing – the state of our times.
Read a book by an author new to me – This category was a huge win, since I read many authors for the very first time this year. It’s a long list so I will mention only my favorites from the newly discovered ones – Harper Lee, Jane Austen, Karan Bajaj, Maggie Stiefvater, Tina Fey, Atul Gawande, Paula Hawkins, and Marcus Zusak.
Read a book set in the future – This is the Work-In-Progress I mentioned at the beginning of the post. I am currently reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which clearly fits in this category. So far, this book is quite an experience for me, as I have never read anything like this. Ever. But more on this when I have finished reading the book.
That’s it from my end folks. How has your reading life been in this past year? Have you met all the goals that you set for yourself? Or maybe like me, you have had your hits and misses? Do share. I would love to hear from you guys.