Category Archives: Goals

Vacation Reading List and Other Priorities

It’s official, I have too many potential books to read for my upcoming vacation and now I don’t know which to read.

I’d read the whole time except I get to meet this fluffy-face while I’m away.


This is my new dog-brother, Reggie, and I’m sure playing with puppy might actually beat out reading books.


2016 Reading Goals

I’m on my last reading challenge book for the year and then I have to get through one additional title to make my goal for the year. reading-goals

I set 80 as my goal for 2016 and it’s been a push especially here at the end to make it.

I thought 80 would be achievable since I got through 75 books last year while planning a wedding. Surely, I thought, five more would not be that challenging.

Yeah. Ha.

Several things changed:

  1. We commute together so even though my commute was already short, it cut out a chunk of audiobook time.
  2. In the evenings, there’s this other person to do things with. This is not a bad thing in the slightest, but it was just a reality that while I knew, I didn’t know. 
  3. I read during my lunch hours at work and with increased job responsibilities and more times of needing to take donors to lunch, I lost reading time there.
  4. I didn’t fly anywhere on an airplane in 2016. Strange to list this as a factor, but usually I can get 1-2 books done on a trip depending on length because of the captive time.

I think *fingers crossed* that I’m going to make it for this year. But I doubt that I’ll ever be back to a year with 100+ titles again. I’m already thinking 70 or 75 for next year’s total goal. I’ll likely exceed that, but it takes the pressure off. Reading is supposed to be fun, not a race to meet a number.

Stay tuned for what I decide 2017 will actually be.

Hutchmoot 2016

This Word Nerd is unplugging for a few days, leaving the hubby at home and packing her bags for Hutchmoot.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it next week.

2015 Reading Stats

Compared to 2013 and 2014, 2015 was a bad reading year for total books.

The grand finale number was 76, a whopping 25 less than reading_challenge_banner-5af93c1b99dcf21294acf388c6dcea52last year and 32 less than in 2013. My goal was 75, so I made that (just barely) but that counts!

Included in this is 122.75 hours of audio book listening. This is my first year for tracking audio books by hours, so I don’t know if that’s high or low or average for me. I still did about one audio book a month, so I suspect it’s fairly normal.

Wedding planning was a giant time suck and a major factor in the reduced number of books. It’s also lower because I’m not sitting alone on the weekends reading to fill up the time.

My goal for 2016 is 80 books.

I think that’s really do-able. First, I’m not spending my entire January reading one Russian masterpiece. Also, I’m really going to hope that I’m not sick with salmonella in November either, which wiped me out for a week-plus of reading (and pretty much anything else).

So far, one book down… 79 more to go!


40 days

I told my writers group that my goal for October was not to turn into a bridezilla. I think I successfully managed that for that month. Keeping the goal the same for November as we are getting really close to the wedding and the beginning of married life.

Grown-up Coloring Books

A few weeks ago, Crimespree Jon posted something on Facebook about spending some time with coloring books.  It was a pretty non-specific comment that I really didn’t think much about at the time, other than the fleeting thought of “I like to color.”

I should have known better.  It started an avalanche of the universe speaking to me.  Suddenly, coloring books, specifically grown-up coloring books, were every where.  After much thinking, internal debate, and deliberation, I purchased one for myself as part of my Easter bunny basket (also a first, but that’s another story.)

I spent time this weekend coloring one picture and was thrilled with the whole process.









Overall, I thought that it turned out really well:



As I colored, I was picturing my next project and how I could pick-out a set of specific colors to use to really enhance the patterns of the mandalas.  It really satisfied my inner child, to create something so complicated, yet so beautiful by coloring.  The picture is from Angie Grace’s Extreme Stress Menders (Volume 1):  Balance.  This one gets a two thumbs up from this Word Nerd.

Have you tried adult coloring books?  What did you think?



2013 was The Year

Last year was The Year.

I hoped that someday, I’d managed to read 100 books in a year. I’d gotten close with 96 in 2007, but thought the 100 book mark might just be a tad elusive, the yearly totals going down from that point.

completed 2013When 2013 started, I set a Goodreads goal of 75, hoping to focus more on quality than quantity. Yeah, about that…

I read 108 books this year. I was focused on the 1,000th book milestone so much, I didn’t even realize I’d crossed 100 for 2013 back on December 4 when I finished Lee Child’s “Nothing to Lose.”

As for my goal of more quality instead of more quantity, I’m not sure I did that. On the other hand, I read a lot of fun books, even if they aren’t “important” books as far as being great literature. I’m tired of being told genre fiction isn’t “real literature” so I’m saying this is OK.

The truth is, I love series books and that means genre fiction. My 108 count included five Linda Robertson urban fantasy novels books, all three of Andrew Grant’s David Trevellyan spy thrillers, the audiobooks of Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom Trilogy, several Reacher books, eight Ex Machina graphic novels, three Marcia Clark legal thrillers… you get the idea.

Also, it’s audiobooks that helped push me over the 100 book threshold. I finished 18 audiobooks in 2013, which means I read 90 print books. I still use audio mostly for “rereading” things, though I’ve been slowly working through the Dune series on audio.

Ninety books in print still means a book every four days. That’s about right, if you do the math. A book is an average of 350 pages. I read about 80-100 pages/day based on what I’ve noticed in the way I update my progress on Goodreads. I’ve also noticed that my #fridayreads book is often something I’ve just started as I seem to find myself finishing things on Thursdays and Sundays (one book for the week, one for the weekend.)

I’m working out just what my 2014 goal will be. I’ve set a number already on Goodreads, but I’m still hoping to refine that in my own head more. Maybe it’s a year for another Russian…


Eight-up and Goal

I set a low reading goal for this year of only 75 books. Last year, my 90-book goal stressed me out. Of course, lots of things last year were stressful and that was just adding on. So, I dropped it for this year, to make sure I continued to enjoy reading and not worry about the number. goals

Yes, I know the average American reader reads something like 12 books or less and so my goal is still a lot. At the end of August, I was sitting at 71 finished books. This averages out to 8 a month and with four months left in the year, that comes out a potential 35 more which would be 106 total for the year.

Reading 100 books in a year has been an elusive, albeit never written down goal since I started tracking books back in 2002. (WOW, I just realized I’ve been doing that for more than a decade. CRA-ZY!) This year, by actually relaxing on the goal, it’s looking fairly probable. Might the total include another graphic novel or two to help get there? Yes. But it will still be 100 books.

Also — a few months, I introduced the Eight-Up list to manage my TBR pile.

Truth, the TBR pile is still largely out of control and for the end of August and start of this month, I’ve mostly ignored Eight-up. It started with my hold coming in on “The Cuckoo’s Calling” and then two ARCs I’d agreed to read and then September’s book club selection, then realizing that I needed to keep reading works by the five Indiana Authors Award honorees so I’d be done with them by the Award day. Truth — I’m done with two and well into a third and have realized I’ve saved the hardest ones for last. I am sure they are marvelous and excellent, but books of short fiction and nonfiction history are just not my thing. This is entirely the point though and I will press on.

Book club titles will still trump Eight-up but I’m going to try to adhere to the list more in the rest of the year. There are books that have been on there for a long time (World War Z, for example) that I would like to get read and moved off the list (or to make space for new titles!)

On the other hand, I’ve actually gotten a number of titles that I own read thanks to Eight-Up when normally that’s a stack that gets ignored.

The system is working and I’m excited to see if I can reach this goal by the end of the year.

Tagged ,

Good-bye to a great author: Elmore Leonard

You’ve been influence by Elmore Leonard, even if you never heard of the guy.  He’s the author of over 50 novels, of which a startling 26 were made as movies.  He passed away at the grand age of 87.  He was behind Get Shorty, Freaky Deaky, and 3:10 to Yuma.

I’m pretty sure I have a book that is based on columns he wrote about writing, but most of it can be summarized in his 10 rules for writing:

1. Never open a book with weather.
2. Avoid prologues.
3. Never use a verb other than ”said” to carry dialogue.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb ”said” . . .
5. Keep your exclamation points under control.
6. Never use the words ”suddenly” or ”all hell broke loose.”
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

Originally posted at the NYTimes.  Click the link for the full version.


First quarter stats

I am, admittedly, a data nerd sometimes.

Tracking my books read, page count, etc is one of those nerdy places, but I realized I hadn’t updated my count for the year, so here’s the first quarter:

Total books read/listened to: 23

Total page count: 6125

Longest book, YTD: The Sweet Far Thing (Libba Bray), 819 pages

Shortest Book: YTD: tie, Vol 3 and Vol 4 of “Ex Machina” from Brian K. Vaughn (144 pages, each)

According to Goodreads, I set my yearly goal at 75 and it’s happily telling me I’m 4 books ahead of schedule. The TBR pile is still rather out of control and it will probably only get worse, now that it’s spring time and yardening work has begun.