What I Learned From My 2019 Reading

It’s that time of year again! Time to start another year of reading. One reading challenge over and on to the next reading resolution. Last year, I did a sort of competition with two of my friends. We battled away, reading as many books as we could, trying to read the most books on our pre-selected reading list. Okay, well we tried to battle anyway.

I didn’t end up reading as many books as I had aimed for. I definitely was overreaching. But, it was okay because having a high number of books as a goal helped me to read more. I was aiming to read 52 books, one a week. I ended up reading 19 books all the way through and 4 books partway. So, this year I’m going to be more reasonable about it and do my best to achieve my goal. Even though I didn’t read as much as I hoped, I won!!! Which means I get two free books! My sister is buying me Around the World in 80 Days, which I’m excited to read. I haven’t yet, and it’s her favorite. My friend is getting me The Help, which I’ve read and really liked, so here goes reread #1!

My favorite book I read this year:

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

I absolutely loved A Year in Provence. It was charming, cozy, fascinating, funny, and I even learned a lot. Every time I opened the book I was transferred to a thrilling life in the beautiful fields of Provence. I learned about truffles, boules, goat-races, and charismatic Provencal masons, among many other things.  I fell in love with Yves Montand’s music. I laughed each time I stumbled upon Peter and Jennie’s next adventure. Mayle’s writing made me fall right into each scene, see each view, taste each Provencal dish, smell each hint of the incoming Mistral, hear every bicycle zoom past, and feel each step in the vineyard. Not to mention how much I loved the ink pen drawings by Mayle at the start of each chapter.

5 things I learned from this year’s reading challenge:

Don’t stress about the competition. Reading challenges exists for us to have fun. It exists so that we motivate ourselves to learn a little bit more, fly away a little more, laugh a little more, feel a little more, and ultimately read a little more. So, don’t worry about it. Read what you want to read.

Don’t worry about finishing books. I was so concerned in the beginning of the year about making sure I finished every book I started. If I didn’t finish the book wouldn’t it have been a waste of time? No! It’s not a waste of time! If you hate the book, you hate it. That’s okay. You learned that you hate it and you can move on to a book you love. The waste of time is if you keep reading something you hate.

Set a realistic goal. You heard it from me first folks, I did not set a realistic goal. Shooting for the moon is a good thing, don’t get me wrong. But, I wasn’t even close to landing in the stars. I made it almost halfway to my goal. It was fun to have such a big goal, but I wasn’t able to get close enough that I thought “GO! Just a little more reading and you’ll make it!” If I would have set a goal of 24 books, I would have been motivated to get there because it was possible.

Be willing to go outside of your comfort zone. I know I said last year that I would read a western. I did, sort of. I read about 30% of it. I still would like to read a western, and I will. But, I chickened out. Don’t be a chicken! Try out different genres. Someone asked me the other day what my favorite genre is. I couldn’t give her an answer. Why? I haven’t tried out enough genres that I could decide on a favorite. Have fun with trying out new things. Who knows? It might be better than anything else you’ve ever read.

Keep your eye out for good books. A lot of the books I read this year were ones I found lying around my house, friend’s houses, AirBnB’s, you name it. Reading them was a lot of fun. I loved finding new treasures everywhere I went. When you go to your friend’s house or are sitting in a waiting room, look around and see if there’s some book you’ve never seen or one that you’ve always wanted to read.

The books that I read:

A book being made into a movie this yearLittle Women
A New York Times bestsellerMarley and Me
A picture bookToo Loud Lily
A book with a number in the titleWalk Two Moons
A fantasy novelInkheart
A classicLord of the Flies
An audiobookTheodore Boone: The Fugitive
A historical novelBrooklyn
A childhood favoriteWhen You Reach Me
A humourous novelRestaurant at the End of the Universe
A book of poetryWhere the Sidewalk Ends
A book set in your stateWhen the Music Stops: Dance On
A romanceFar From the Madding Crowd
A children’s novelThe Phantom Tollbooth
A book written by a deceased authorPride and Prejudice
A sequelPartners in Crime
A book about adoptionLost Carousel of Provence
A book with a blue spine/coverThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
A book set in EuropePersuasion
A book with a child narraratorThe Princess Academy
A book set during WWIIN or M ?
A book that’s more than 500 pagesThe Help
A celebrity memoirA Year in Provence

My 2020 Reading goals:

Read the Count of Monte Cristo. This is one that has been haunting me for a long time. I keep telling myself excuses why I’ve never finished it. No more excuses.

Read 24 books. This year I’m not going to be in a competition, so I’ll not stress it. I’m setting my personal goal of reading 24 books, two per month.

Let me know…

  • How did your 2019 reading go?
  • What are your 2020 reading goals?

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