Q1 Challenge Report 2016

As usual, I have been caught off guard by the fact that a quarter of the year is already gone. I set myself five goals for 2016, so let’s see how it’s going.

2016 Goodreads Challenge

2016 Goodreads reading challenge image.This year I set the metre at 130 books, which seems to be approximately my natural reading pace, at least with my current schedule. So far this year I have read 38 new books. I also revisited The Illegal by Lawrence Hill, which I originally read in 2015, but did not count it towards this challenge. Speaking of which, why doesn’t Goodreads have a way to track rereads? This puts me at 29 percent, or just modestly ahead of schedule.

Maintain Diversity Awareness

Last year, my main reading challenge focus was to read more books by authors who are members of visible minorities. Although I set a new goal for this year, I decided that I wanted to continue keeping stats on this item so that it wouldn’t entirely fall off my radar. Twelve of the books I have read so far this year qualify, or about 30 percent. I also reviewed all but one of these titles, so that is about 40 percent of this year’s review posts. While this is definitely down from 2015, I merely want to keep my eye on this ball. I knew there would be a drop given the number of other goals I set for this year.

Even out my fiction to non-fiction ratio

Last year I listed strongly towards fiction, and only 23 percent of the titles I read were non-fiction. So far this year I have read fifteen non-fiction titles, which is only about 38 percent of my total reads, but since I reviewed thirteen of them, that is about 45 percent of this year’s review posts. However, I have mostly held to posting a non-fiction review each week. I am satisfied that I am on this right track with this goal, even if I am not achieving perfect parity.

Read more Canadian Literature

Flag_of_Canada.svgIf I have knocked any of my goals out of the ball park this quarter, it would have to be this one. Last year, I only read eleven Canadian books the entire year. So far in 2016, I have read eight, or 73 percent of what I read all of last year. This was in large part due to the five great Canada Reads titles I tackled in March. I also read two more titles that were on the long list but didn’t make the debate, and did The Handmaid’s Tale with my book club. I only need to read three more Canadian titles this year to top 2015, though I don’t think I will be satisfied to stop there.

Update Blog

My final reading-adjacent goal for 2016 was to do some updates to this site. I was starting to feel that the old, three column lay-out was a little cluttered, and I hadn’t updated the banner or photos since launch. I got busy on this goal first thing, and updated my theme to something a little cleaner on January 6 while the NYR energy was strong. Since the new theme doesn’t use a banner, that eliminated the need for that update, though I still want some new profile pictures. Also outstanding for this item is the launch of a new feature, which I plan to work on in Q2. However, before I could do that, I decided I needed to make another big change…

On February 15, after some serious contemplation, I overhauled my Review Policy. Namely, I decided to stop taking review requests. This change prompted by a couple of things, first and foremost that I strongly prefer to set my own reading schedule, rather than being beholden to outside obligations. Moreover, most of the requests I received betrayed no indication that the requester spent any time checking if their book would be something that I might enjoy. I’ve been pitched everything from sports mysteries to military fiction. I found that I had come to dreaded dealing with review requests, so I simply decided to do away with them. I was tremendously relieved when I published the updated Review Policy, and instantly knew that it was the right decision for me.

This doesn’t mean I won’t ever be reviewing ARCs. I still enjoy some great relationships with select tour operators and publishers, and I often attend conferences where ARCs are available. These sources do a much better job of connecting me with books that legitimately fit my interests, and with the exception of scheduled tours, can respect the fact that I will read and review what I want, when I want. For readers, my blog will remain very much the same, but on the back end, I have saved myself the time and energy previously spent dealing with review requests. In Q2, I plan to reinvest that energy back into a new feature that I have been thinking about for some time. Stay tuned!

So that is the state of the blog. How are your 2016 reading goals going?

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