So How Did My 2021 Reading Intentions Go?

A review of my intention that I laid out last year and how I did underneath it.

My Own Books
Sarah has said again that I have too many books piled up (Tsundoko) around the house. (Note to self, try not to buy so many books). Did manage to read 25 of my own books, but that isn’t enough. That said, I am allowed to get some more bookshelves! So that is a new year project to sort that all of that out and unhaul some books. I am looking forward to having all my Little Toller and Eland books together in one place too!

Partial failure at this. I did buy and immediately fill two new bookshelves. And bought way too many books this year. Again… Ho hum…

Review Copies
According to my spreadsheet, I have 124 outstanding review copies to read. Even though there is a lot of books on the two shelves that I have for them, I’m not sure if this is right as I counted way less than that on the shelf!!! I am grateful for every book I receive through the post from publishers, so thank you to you all. I fully intend to read and review as many of those as possible as soon as I can, but also see the blogging post below.

In total, I read 110 review copies this year and I am proud of that. I still have lots and lots left to read and I am slowly working my way through the backlog and passing them onto the library or others when they have been read. Thank you once again to the publishers who are brave enough to send them on for my thoughts.

Library Books
As I said last year, these places are a precious resource. Sadly, our present government seems hell-bent on eradicating them from our cities, towns and villages. I still have too many library books out, and will still keep getting them out too. The author gets a small amount every time a book of theirs is borrowed and for the reader, most books are free or have a nominal reservation fee. I am fortunate that I have two library cards, and I am going to try not to max each one out…

Still have too many library books out, but I think I need to use them to keep them going. Support your local library

Female and BAME Authors
In 2019, 35% of my reading was by female authors. Had intended to raise that for 2020, but have dropped back to 33%. So will be aiming for 40% in 2021. I want around 5% of my reading to be BAME authors too.

In the end, 34% of the books I read were written by female authors. Less than I wanted so aiming to try and read more in 2022. This may mean that I end up reading more fiction as sadly publishers are slower moving to publish women in some of the genres that I read.
I read books by five BAME authors this past year, which equates to 3% and not the 5% I was aiming for.

Last year I managed to read a poetry book each and every month and sometimes read more than one. I like poetry, even though I don’t always get it, so am going to try to read around two books a month in 2020.

In the end, I managed to read 16 poetry books this past year. Less than I wanted to but I am happy with that. I do find poetry difficult to review, it feels like I am back at school again with the teacher getting me to look for meaning which I can’t really see. So I think I am going to change the way that I review poetry next year

Literary Awards
I will be aiming to read all of these again (Next year I might get to the Baillie Gifford list as I didn’t this year)

Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards (I am judging the Adventure Travel next year)
Royal Society
Baillie Gifford
Arthur C Clarke

Failed at this to a certain extent, but have managed to read most of the Wainwright bar five. Same with the Stanford’s prize where I have all the books from the shortlist but still not got to five of them. Have read two from the Baillie Gifford Prize and non from the Arthur C Clarke. 🙁

The World From My Armchair Challenge
Managed to read 13 more books for this long term challenge bringing my total read so far to 65. I have been acquiring books for it though, and have a further 41 books on various bookshelves scattered around the house to read for other countries. I am still looking for travel books (or non-fiction) that are set in or pass through these countries, below. So if you know any, please do let me know.

Antigua and Barbuda
Brunei Darussalam
Capo Verde
Central African Republic
Persian Gulf
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Sao Tome and Principe
Trinidad and Tobago
Balearic Sea
Ligurian Sea
Alboran Sea

I read another eight towards this challenge and this brings my total to 73 now. Still a long way to go but I have decided not to set a deadline on it at all and just keep going.

Managed two more from the Discworld series, but these are still to go:

I have finished Discworld!!!!! And it made me sad. Really sad.

Science Fiction
Only read two (yes two) science fiction books this year which I am ashamed of really as I had high hopes of getting more than that read. Aiming to read at least one a month.

I did really poorly at this and only ended up reading three in the end. That said, I did read eleven fantasy books so I am going to take that as a win.

I have always been a reader first and foremost and I get immense pleasure from reading and talking about books. It was reading that introduced me to NB magazine and the blog came off the back of that. After a lot of thought, I have decided that I am going to change the way that I am blogging. I am going to still be reading and reviewing on here and Good Reads and so on, but will be drastically reducing the number of review copies that I request as I can’t keep up. I am still happy to receive a book if a publisher or publicist still wishes to send them to me, but will not guarantee when I will get to read it. Instead, I have decided that I will either get the newly released books in 2020 from the library or buy them myself to read as and when I can. I will still take part in Blog Tours, but only a maximum of once a month as I don’t always like reading to a deadline.

I managed to usual 190 for my challenge this year. That seems to be my natural limit for reading, but I could get through more if I spent less time on Twitter. I requested far more books than I could get through as usual… I did buy a lot more new books than usual, partly to support my great local bookshop and partly because I can. More importantly, I am still blogging and when I get told things like this by a publicist then it makes it all worthwhile:

you’re one of the most respected bloggers around… you cover such an interesting range of books too. And your BTR pile is probably even higher than mine!

Thank you to all those that have commented and engaged. Here’s to 2022

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  1. Annabel (AnnaBookBel)

    I managed to read 11 SF/Spec fiction books this year, up a few – and I must say I really enjoyed them hugely. As an older teen, I read little else – so I’m glad to get back to it in a way – although my preferences are definitely on the literary end of SF / Spec fiction these days.

    • Annabel (AnnaBookBel)

      Got sidetracked onto SF, and forgot to say, I am always in awe of the amount and variety of books that you read too. I don’t always comment, but always come by to see what you’ve been reading.

      • Paul

        Thank you, that is really kind of you to say that, I normally convince myself that no one reads this blog!

    • Paul

      Well done. I think that different genres give a very different perspective of life and there is very little better than expanding the mind than SF.

  2. kaggsysbookishramblings

    I am trying to draw back a little when it comes to review copies, as I just can’t keep up and end up feeling guilty. The temptation is sometimes too much, though…

    • Paul

      It is very hard to do! I think it will give me more independence to say what i feel too.

  3. Helen Williams

    I enjoy your blog – you read such a variety of books. I have added some to my wish list from your reviews.

    • Paul

      Thank you, Helen. That is kind of you to say that

  4. Liz Dexter

    I love your blog, too, we have a nice overlap of interests. And Toufah Jallow’s “Toufah” will give you The Gambia.

    • Paul

      Thank you for saying that, Liz. It means a lot. Will look that one up too

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