reading diversely

Thoughts on… my Read the World Project

Way back in January 2017 I was inspired to try and read a book from every country in the world before I was 30. I turned 30 at the end of September this year and unfortunately, I didn’t hit that goal – I had 48 countries still to go. I’m still carrying on with this challenge though and I’m tweaking my deadline. I will now attempt to finish my Read the World Project while I’m still 30. So, it’ll kind of be in line with what I originally planned.

I’ve enjoyed reading books from places and authors I’d never normally pick up. I’ve read poetry, plays, novels, non-fiction, and short stories. I’ve learnt a lot about different places and cultures and have just generally read a lot of interesting and entertaining stories.

I had a pretty bad reading year in general which didn’t help me with my Read the World Project and as it stands, I have 42 countries left to read before I’m 31. I should read at least more book this year (I hope). I already own 25 books that fit 25 countries. They’re a mixture of hardbacks, paperbacks or ebooks. That means I have 17 more books/countries to acquire in the next nine months.

It is getting harder to find books, poetry etc from the remaining countries. Many of the countries I don’t have works for yet are smaller ones and therefore the chance of having works in English and readily available is smaller too. So, if you happen to know of any writers who are from any of these countries, please let me know: Brunei, Central African Republic, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Mayotte, Monaco, Nauru, Niger, Panama, San Marina, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste (East Timor), Tuvalu, Vanatu.

42 books in a year is normally doable for me and I’m going to make reading a priority in 2022. Wish me luck that I’ll finally complete my Read the World Project.

Mid-Year Reading Update

We are over half way through 2016 (obligatory, how on earth did that happen?! statement) so as I did an update on my film-watching goals of the year, I thought I should have a look how my reading is doing. I had four main reading goals for this year so without further ado, let’s see how I’m doing.

Read 40 books
Done! Thanks to the fact I read eight books in ten days while I was at my Dad’s in Spain, I have reached that target and I have currently read 43 books. I honestly didn’t expect to read that many books in the first six months of the year! I’m surprised but happy that I’ve already reached my reading goal – especially because over the past week or so I seem to be in a reading slump as I can’t figure out what I feel like reading. To try and combat that slump I’m reading the unread graphic novels and trade paperbacks comics I have on my shelves, hopefully the shorter, more “easy read” nature of them will get me back into reading.

Have 50 unread books or less on my shelves
This one definitely needs some work. While I have been reading a lot, I also seem to have been buying a lot of books. My TBR at the start of the year had 93 unread books on it and now, after I’ve read books but also bought more, it stands at 80 unread books on my shelves. So unfortunately I need to read 30 more books and not actually buy any more for the rest of the year to reach my goal. I’m not sure if I’ll reach it to be honest. I think I do need to have a look at my bookshelves too see if there’s any books there that I know I’ll never read and then give them a new home at the charity shop.

Review at least 26 books
This challenge is well on its way to being completed. I have currently reviewed 21 books. I have more reviews scheduled to post and, as long as I read some more books over the next six months, I’m pretty sure I will end up reviewing more than 26 books. I’m not sure why but I am actually really enjoying writing reviews this year, I don’t review every book I read and maybe that’s why I’m enjoying the reviewing process, I don’t feel pressured to have definitive thoughts and opinions on every book I read.

Complete the Bookish Bingo
This is a bingo challenge hosted by The Girly Geek to try and get you to read a lot of different books. There are 35 bingo squares or challenges and I have currently completed 20 of them without really trying. I haven’t been concentrating too hard on the challenge as I didn’t want my reading to be too structured or feel like I have to read certain books. So every few weeks or couple of months I go through what I’ve read and see what fits with the various categories – it’s been quite a good way to do it. Hopefully this system continues to work for the rest of the year but I do need to think of a book that has stars on the cover – any suggestions would be much appreciated!

So that’s how my reading is going so far this year. Three out of four goals are doing very well, I just need to stop buying so many books! Did you have any reading goals at the start of the year? If you did, I hope you’re well on your way to completing them!

My Reading in 2015

My reading has been pretty good in 2015. In fact, it’s been the best it’s been for years. When I was at Uni, I rarely read for fun and if I did it was often YA, this year I read more thanks to my five hour commute each day and I read more diversely in terms of genre and author.

I read 81 books this year and reviewed 52 of them. This meant I completed The Mad Reviewer Reading and Reviewing Challenge which I was very happy about. I actually enjoyed reviewing books as I didn’t review every single book I read, just ones that I had a lot to say about. This made it less of a chore and more fun.

I signed up for two other reading challenges at the start of the year. Wormhole’s The What’s in a Name Challenge where you had to read six books that had certain words in their titles and BookdOut’s The Eclectic Reader Challenge where you had to read 12 books from some very different genres.

I completed both of these challenges. I actually found The What’s in a Name challenge harder because it wasn’t always easy finding a book that had a certain word in the title. One of the last books I read this year was for this challenge. It’s kind of crazy that a challenge to read just six books took me the whole year. (more…)

Reading Diversely – A reply to The Telegraph’s article

Yesterday I read this article titled “Are you reading too many books by straight white men?” by Martin Daubney on The Telegraph’s website – I think it misses the point a bit. It talks about a feminist writer who has challenged herself and other people to stop reading books by “straight white cisgendered male authors for a year” and then goes onto question “do such outspoken attacks on white men constitute some form of sexism – or even racism?” The answer to that is no – you can’t be racist to a white person because racism is based on those with privilege and power oppressing others – white people have the power so can’t be oppressed. And the same goes with sexism, men have the majority of power so cannot be oppressed.

Yes I believe we should all be free to choose what books we read and many people read the blurb and choose a book based on that, not based on whether the author is a man or a woman, white or black.

But the problem is that publishing, like many media industries, is biased to white people and to men. It’s not by chance as to which books are put on the stands near the door of Waterstones so you see them as soon as you walk into the shop. It’s not luck as to which books are on the tables in the middle of the room, or placed at eye-level on the shelves instead of close to the floor where it’s a bit more awkward and inconvenient for someone browsing to see.