Thursday, 29 January 2015

Half-Way Point: 25 Before 25

Way back on the 1st July 2014 I made a list of 25 things I wanted to do before I hit 25 on 1st July 2015. I've slowly been trying to get through the list and I did promise you all an update at some point during the year. It's somewhere around the half-way mark now, so here's what I have achieved so far and what I have left to do in the next few months.

1.  Read War and Peace - will be happening in February/March thanks to Hanna

2. Learn a new language - I need to get on Duolingo

3. Run a half marathon in 1hr 50 - this isn't going to happen, but I did run a 10k in 51:20

4. Get a job I enjoy  I don't know about the enjoy part yet, but I have a new job at least!

5. Go to the top of the Shard (without panicking)

6. Read something out of my comfort zone

7. Learn a new skill

8. Visit a new country - planned for June

9. Go to five new cities/towns in the UK - so far Hastings, Lowestoft, Southwold

10. Get a new tattoo - more or less planned (sorry, Mum)

11. Do a tough mudder/mud run

12. Listen to a new genre of music Thanks, Spotify!

13. Walk over the Millennium Dome (again, without panicking)

14. Try a new sport

15. Plan a WW1 battlefield tour

16. Watch a Quentin Tarantino film

17. Watch The Lion King on stage

18. Go on a bookish trip

19. Climb a mountain

20. Go on a solo trip

21. Make a new friend

22. Complete a creative writing project - in progress

23. Re-learn the cello

24. Re-read all my childhood favourites

25. Finish reading the complete works of Wilkie Collins - in progress

I'm not actually sure whether I'm on track for this. I've completed some biggies (job, learn a new skill), but there are still a couple of huge ones left (there's lots of trips in there). 

I've found that having these specific bucket-list style goals has really helped with how I've planned my time. Knowing that there are things I want to achieve means that I spend less time, and less money, doing the things that I'm only half interested in.

Have you ever set time-limited goals for things you really want to do?


Sunday, 25 January 2015

Things That Made Me Happy This Week #12

1// Crossing off the most difficult thing on my 25 Before 25 list This week I was offered a job and I gushed and shook with excitement and then finally made my jaw work enough to accept it. I'm still in the pinch-me-I'm-dreaming stage because I'd convinced myself that I'd messed the interview up big time. I found out on Tuesday and I don't think I've stopped smiling since.

2// Spectacles At the end of last week I went to the opticians and was told I need glasses for computer work - admin roles are killer for your health. I picked them up this week and, although I think I look odd, I really kinda like them. My mother said I look studious.

3// Cake and mint tea dates On Wednesday my sister and I met up with a friend to go for a celebratory dinner. We ended the evening in a lovely cafe in Soho with the biggest slice of coffee and walnut cake (seriously, it must have been as big as my head) and a pot of fresh mint tea. Much giggling and happiness ensued.

4// Non-fiction This week I've been reading Shell Shocked Britain and it's got me hooked. I spent the majority of my MA researching shell shock and since then it has become such an obsession (if I ever decided to try for a PhD I would definitely focus on shell shock/mental health in war). I'll be reviewing this one for Centenary News so I'll link to it here as I'm sure many of you would enjoy the book.

5// Beautiful winter mornings I leave my flat just before 7.30am, just when the sun is rising and the sky looks utterly stunning. I cut through a park on my way to the tube and I stop at the exact same spot to take a picture most mornings. The one above was taken on Friday and it truly doesn't do it justice.

What has made you happy this week?


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Reading Wish List #2

A week or so ago I happened to be in the vicinity of Waterstones Piccadilly. It was entirely unplanned and almost serendipitous. I jest, I arranged to meet my sister there purely for the opportunity to surround myself with literary cheer. Can you blame me? Although I am on quite a strict book-buying ban, I still do enjoy looking around and seeing what's what.

I noted a few titles that really tickled my fancy, which I'm sure I'll be picking up when my self-imposed book deprivation is lifted.

The Offering by Grace McLeen
Although I didn't get on with her second book, the memory of The Land of Decoration still makes me want to read everything McLeen releases.

If This Is a Woman by Sarah Helm
I can imagine a lot of people are thinking 'finally'. It's time to hear about the female experience in Ravensbruck camp.

Honeydew by Edith Pearlman
I've got the Dec/Jan issue of the Literary Review to thank for making me search this out.

Late Fragments by Kate Gross
I feel like this may shatter me, but it also sounds like the perfect book to realign my perspective and remind me to find happiness in the small things.

Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders
I've seen nothing but good reviews about this sequel/tribute to E. Nesbit's Five Children and It.

Happiness by Design by Paul Dolan
Frequent readers of this blog will know that I'm a tad obsessed with happiness - how to get it, where to find it, how it makes you feel etc. The concept of this one sounds particularly interesting.

Have you read any of these? What's on your wish list?


Thursday, 22 January 2015

How to Overcome a Really Bad Day

Overcome a Bad Day Lit Nerd

I'm not going for the sympathy angle here, but I have to admit that I have an uncommon amount of bad days (I can hear violins in the distance). I work in a stressful environment, in a job I dislike, which is slowly destroying my trust in certain areas of the charitable sector. Y'know, not ideal. Given that I now consider myself an expert on coping with bad days, I thought I'd share my foolproof tips for moving on and getting over it.

Draw a line under it I used to do this metaphorically, but since I've started making a conscious effort to journal everyday it's become a physical action. There is nothing more satisfying than literally drawing a thick black line across the bottom of my notebook and knowing that it means the day is done with. It doesn't matter how rubbish it may have felt, it's done and it's time to leave all of those feelings behind.

Start each day with a smile Just because the day may devolve into a mush of frustration, anger and despair, it doesn't mean it has to start that way. Wake up, smile, sing in the shower, dance whilst brushing your teeth (carefully though, don't choke) and grab the day by it's unmentionables.

Evaluate Sometimes the cause of a bad day is entirely external and not something you can influence, but the opposite can also be true. Before blaming your unhappiness on the world around you take a minute to think about why you have had a bad day and whether it could have been avoided. If your own actions have been your downfall think of a couple of things you can do to prevent the same thing happening again. Maybe it is just a case of letting something go over your head (water off a duck's back style) instead of internalising it. This is something I am consciously working on at the moment.

Finish the day with a treat I don't necessarily mean edible treats here as that can carry it's own set of problems. I really mean spending some time at the end of the day doing something you love. I read, practise yoga, or just have an early night and listen to my favourite music as I drift off to sleep. Find something that you can use as a detoxing activity to flush out all the nastiness and start afresh.

Think of one good thing No matter how grey a day may seem there is bound to be some light shining through, even if it's just a tiny slither and pretty muted. Try to think of at least one good thing and hold on to that. It may be that your favourite song came on the radio, you had a seat on the tube, you read a really great chapter or ate an apple that had the perfect balance of crunchy-tangyness (you know the ones I mean). Start by thinking of one thing and others will follow.

How do you pick yourself up after a bad day?


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

How Burning Bright Helped Me Fall in Love With Blake All Over Again

Burning Bright
Tracy Chevalier
2007 (This edition 2014 Borough Press)

Towards the end of last year on the anniversary of Blake's birthday, Borough Press asked people on twitter to share their favourite Blake poem. I said that 'The Sick Rose' is my favourite and that I'm aware Freud would have a field day about it. Clearly the lovely people at Borough Press took pity on me and my serious need for psychoanalysis and I was chosen as one of the lucky people to receive the new edition of Burning Bright, Tracy Chevalier's 2007 novel. Isn't it a beauty? 

I finished reading the novel last week and I obviously loved it - Tracy Chevalier remains one of my favourite contemporary novelists. Aside from the writing, the plot and the characters, what I loved most about the reading experience was how much it made me crave Blake's poetry. The short snatches from his Songs of Innocence and Experience that are woven into the tale had me recalling half-forgotten lines and verses of 'The Divine Image', 'The Tyger', 'The Clod and the Pebble' and so many others. It's been a long time since I've delved into his poems, but now I think it's high time I explored them once again.

Let's take a trip down memory lane...Blake has been one of my favourite poets since college. I studied the Songs for A Level English Lit, a course which I started with a dislike for poetry that verged on hatred. I blame GCSE English for that (sorry AQA, your anthology destroys any and all passion for poetry). As a typical seventeen year old I moaned and sulked when I saw poetry on the syllabus, even more so when it was 'old, boring' poetry. On my first read of the Songs I was already retracting my initial assumptions, by the second read I was beginning to see what the fuss was all about, and by the third, well, I was in love. Move over Willy Shakes, there's a new fella in town.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Burning Bright imagines London in Blake's time - a lively, dangerous city dealing with the repercussions from the French Revolution. The novel focuses on the Kellaway's, a grief-stricken family who move from the Dorset countryside to the city where everything seems alien. Young Jem Kellaway meets Maggie Butterfield, a local streetwise girl, and together they explore London, continuously moving away from innocence towards experience. Blake is the Kellaway's neighbour. He is set up as a slightly odd man, powerful, intelligent and creative, occasionally seen wearing the bonnet rouge. Maybe it was the bonnet rouge that put me in the mood for his poems.

As ever Chevalier expertly blends fact and fiction to create a truly gripping story. There's nothing explosive that happens, there isn't a giant plot twist or a ton of tension building up to one point. It's just a good story, with brilliantly imagined characters, that keeps moving forward and leaves you wondering what happens to the characters long after you've finished the final page. The poetry is just the cherry on the cake.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a pressing engagement with a certain gentlemen and his poems.

Have you read Burning Bright? Do you enjoy Blake's poetry?


Sunday, 18 January 2015

Things That Made Me Happy This Week #11

1// Yoga Starting back at work after almost two weeks of not sitting at a desk for eight hours a day has been painful, to say the least. Most evenings this week I've got home and my shoulders have been tense, my back twingey, and my hips unbelievably stiff. Fifteen minutes of yoga later and I'm feeling relaxed, stretched out and seriously chill.

2// Writing this post on art in Station Eleven It's been a while since I really got stuck in to writing about a book. I loved writing this almost as much as I loved reading the book.

3// In Your Eyes I watched this film on Netflix last night and loved it.

4// Monday night takeaways It was my brother's birthday on Monday so he came to London to celebrate with a cider and a takeaway curry. Yum.

5// Reading from my sister's TBR I realised this week that I have a lot of classics and serious literary fiction on my TBR, but at the moment I'm in the mood for a good story that isn't too taxing and has a good cast of characters. I settled on The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and I'm really enjoying it so far.

What has made you happy this week?


Friday, 16 January 2015

Review (ish): Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

Review Station Eleven Lit Nerd
Station Eleven
Emily St John Mandel

'Shakespeare and weapons and music'

I've been seriously debating whether to add another glowing review of Station Eleven to the numerous glowing reviews already in existence. I've decided not to. But, that doesn't mean that I don't want to talk about it, far from it. Instead I'm going to talk about my favourite element of the novel, which is an element that is already close to my heart: art.

I'm a huge fan of 'the arts' and culture in all its forms - I love the theatre, books, museums, music, art, photography. Station Eleven, I think, is a celebration of the power art and culture have to unite people, to bring hope and, most importantly, to bring happiness. There are many things I love about Station Eleven, but this is the one that will make me remember the book for a long time to come.

I know this is a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel and novels in this genre generally act on some level as a warning, usually letting us know that if we carry on doing what we're doing then this is a possible outcome. This is the reason that I usually avoid dystopian fiction as such deep, disturbing thoughts often freak me out. Station Eleven adds another component to the typical dystopian tropes, which both emphasises the warning and lessens its impact: comfort. I found this novel comforting. Is that odd, or did anyone else feel the same?

The presence of theatre and performance in this dystopian world full of death, emptiness and sadness is comforting because it suggests that even if things go utterly pear-shaped and civilisation falls apart, then we will still be able to hold on to a part of humanity. Personally I think creativity is such a human trait and it is one of the few things that stop us from being a faceless mass (wow, cynical much?). And the fact that the big S-man (also known around this parts as Willy-Shakes) lives on is just a huge plus in my opinion.

I found the role of the Travelling Symphony was often unsettling and frequently incongruous. I loved that the performers have slowly taken on their instruments as their identity - almost as if music has redefined who they are in the world after the epidemic. But it is the combination of death, violence and art that unsettled me most by demonstrating the new world order. To use one of my favourite words at uni - it is a startling juxtaposition. I think it is that combination of art and death that illustrates the difference between the before and after most clearly. This makes Arthur's death whilst performing King Lear an even more significant moment in the novel as it becomes a premonition of what is to come.

There is so much more that I could talk about with regards to this subject, but as this post is already threatening to become an essay, I'm just going to make one final point. When the Symphony perform in front of the Prophet at St Deborah by the Water the audience react in a variety of ways - one guy is reduced to silent tears - that are not dissimilar to the ways audiences not under the control of, dare I say it, a maniac. So, there we have it: art in all its forms is a unifying force, it can be enjoyed by anyone no matter their belief system (obviously it depends how far their belief system goes), no matter their age, gender or values. This novel reminds us that art can help us cope with all manner of things (death, solitude, sadness), it reminds us that beauty can always be found somewhere, even if it's hidden under a stone in the dirt. Ultimately it can inspire us to look forward, to move forward, and to find new ways to survive when survival seems impossible.

Station Eleven may not be a flawless novel (is there even such a thing?), but it holds an irresistible power over you as a reader. That power is not nameless, it is not obscure – it is simply the power of the arts, of artistic expression and of the ability they have to unite seemingly disparate and irreconcilable people. If the world as we know it can end yet Shakespeare live on, then that gives me such hope. I never turn down an opportunity to be hopeful.

What made you love/like/dislike Station Eleven?

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Monday, 12 January 2015

Race Recap: RunThrough Battersea 10K

Fitness Lit Nerd

As many of you who follow me on twitter will already know, yesterday I dragged myself out of bed disgustingly early for a Sunday morning and made my way to Battersea park to run a 10k. Is that dedication to my sport? Yes, I think so.

Last November I made the decision to start 2015 off with a race - just to get things moving - and this one in Battersea Park organised by RunThrough was the first one I came across. I swiftly booked my place and put it in my diary without a second thought. Until, of course, this week came around and the universe seemed to be aligning against me. I've had a cold, a chesty cough, and my usually ailing hip has been recovering (slowly) from a rough patch.

Basically by the time I made it to the start line, frozen to my bones, wiggling and jiggling to try and get even the tiniest bit of feeling back in my toes, I was not in the best frame of mind to run.

Time for an action shot:

Fitness Lit Nerd
Despite the cold, it was a beautiful sunny day.
Fast forward 51 minutes and 20 seconds and I was crossing the line, about to burst into tears (finishing always makes me really emotional for some reason), knowing that my thighs had just carried me round the course in my fastest ever 10k time. Wow, that feeling though! It's an exciting concoction of triumph, elation, disbelief and happiness that I have never experienced at any other time.

The event itself was well-organised without being clinical, I knew what I was doing and when I had to do it, but I didn't feel like a sheep being herded this way and that. Organisation is an important element of taking part in races for me personally, as I need it to be a stress-free as possible. Everyone was really friendly and helpful and the atmosphere at the start and finish of the race was invigorating. The general atmosphere around the course was a bit lacklustre, but I can't really blame anyone for wanting to stay inside on a freezing Sunday morning in January rather than cheer a few runners on. Still, I had a good time plodding around the circuit, listening to my playlist and minding my own business. I did get a cheer on every lap as I passed my sister who braved the cold to provide emotional support and potential physical support at the end (thankfully, not needed).

Sometimes I kick myself for entering races, particularly if I'm not physically prepared for the training or the distance, but every single finish line I cross gives me that unbeatable feeling of being unbeatable and I know I'll never stop.

When's the next one?!


Sunday, 11 January 2015

Things That Made Me Happy This Week #10

Happiness Project Lit Nerd

Happiness Project Lit Nerd
1// Time with my sister With the New Year bringing a quieter time in the catering business, my sister has been having a little more time off work, which means more time with me. Before Christmas the time we did have together we spent going out, being busy and exploring places. Now that we have a little more time to do that, we have also been enjoying some lazy evenings in front of movie in our lounge pants. Bliss.

2// Reading from my shelves So far this year all the books I've read have been from my shelves (I realise that's not saying much seeing as we're only on the 11th day of the year!). Not only that, they're also books that have been on my shelves for 6 months or longer (one had been waiting for 2 years - shocking behaviour).

3// Broadchurch The long anticipated second series of Broadchurch started this week and I couldn't be more excited. I don't often watch TV (I usually watch films if anything), but I could not miss this. It was a tense and emotional first episode and I'm looking forward to the rest. I do have to watch it on ITV player the following day, though, because 9pm is just too late for an oldie like me. Do you watch Broadchurch?

4// Getting back into a routine Being on holiday was absolutely wonderful, but after a while I always start craving my routine - mostly so I can keep on top of my exercise and eating habits. It's been tiring going back to my 6am wake-up call but I do secretly love it.

5// Pre-race nerves Today I am running a 10k locally and all week I've been really nervous about it. It's not an unknown distance for me or an unknown route, but because I've had a chesty cough I've not been able to train properly. My fitness is consistently at around a 10k level yet, even though I know I can do it, I've still been worrying. It didn't help when my physio heavily suggested that I should take it easy...oops. Nevertheless, just as I secretly love 6am starts, I also secretly love pre-race nerves. Weirdo, much?

What has made you happy this week?


Saturday, 10 January 2015

Challenge Completed: 25 Days of Fitness

Way back in December (it feels like so long ago) I challenged myself to do some form of exercise every day up until and including Christmas Day. Aside from a couple of small blips - well, it was the end of the year and I was tired - I did surprisingly well. Given that tomorrow I will be running my first race of the year (a 10k in Battersea Park), I thought today was as good a day as any to take a look back at the challenge and see whether I achieved what I hoped I could.

I feel like the challenge achieved it's goal of helping me remember that I love exercise. Now I'm in a place where I can continue to exercise for the joy of it, rather than as a chore. Now we're well and truly into 2015 I've decided that my approach to exercise is going to be much more chilled, and I have this challenge to thank for that. No more beating myself up and feeling guilty if I don't make it to the gym after work and no more running through the pain. It's time to look after myself a bit better and do less frequent, but more effective, exercise. I want to run more for the fresh air, gym slightly less and spend more time practicing yoga.

I'm going for healthy, not obsessed.

I'm sure 25 Days of Fitness is something I will do again even though my thighs felt like lead by the end of my run on Christmas Day. I am a serial goal-setter because I love the satisfaction it brings when you succeed and the satisfaction I got from this, paired with some serious exercise related endorphins and a delightful thigh-burn, certainly made the challenge worthwhile. Time to think of the next one - perhaps training for my next half-marathon or getting that little closer to touching my toes (the latter is a life goal)!

I shared most of my progress on Twitter and Instagram and here is a roundup of my favourite photos. I did warn you at the beginning that it would mostly be my feet!

Running through Battersea Park | Running home from physio (not my best idea) | Yoga | Abs at the gym | A day walking around London | More yoga | A killer plank workout | I'm definitely a walking advert for Nike Dri-Fit | The tastiest post-gym salad | The tastiest post-run smoothie | Onto my emergency lycra | I love the stepper | Tired legs | Getting by with a little help from Rudolf | A walk in the country complete with rainbows | A Christmas morning run

Do you have any fitness goals for the new year?


Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Happiness Project in 2015

Happiness Project Lit Nerd

A few months ago when I started feeling more like myself and I realised that taking action is the only way to move forward, I made a list that formed the start of my Happiness Project.

Now that I'm slowly learning the rhythms of 2015 and my post-New Year lethargy is showing signs of dissipating, I decided to revisit that list and update it for the coming months. Whilst my original list remains true, this update includes some new elements that are more specific goals for this year. If you read my previous Happiness Project post you will recognise a few of these and those that are familiar have been repeated for a reason - mostly because they are goals that need particular work or play a significant role in my happiness levels.

I plan to talk a little bit more about each of these goals and what they mean to me later on, but for now I'll leave you with the list:

- Say hello
- Take more photos
- Regain control
- Be more positive
- Laugh often
- Write
- Explore
- Learn
- Declutter
- Give back
- Accept who I am and embrace it
- Focus

Did you make any happiness-related goals for 2015?


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Recently Read #3

It's been a while since I last compiled a recently read list so I thought that I'd have a few books to share with you. Well, apparently not! I do have a couple of standalone reviews due so I'll crack on with those in due course, but for now here are two books I recently enjoyed.

Recently Read Lit Nerd

Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson
Over Christmas I started to read New Grub Street by George Gissing and actually found it pretty dull (sorry George, it's not your best). I came across Almost English whilst I was browsing my shelves looking for something different and realised that it was basically a year to the day since I'd been given that novel in hardback. Shameful. I'm pleased I finally got around to reading it as it was the perfect book to bring the new year in with.

Almost English focuses on Marina and her mother Laura, as they both try to discover how to live and cope with their respective woes. Marina is at boarding school and wildly unhappy as she tries to make it to the other side of teenage life - post-virginity, with her life all mapped out. Laura is living with her estranged husband's Hungarian family having a failed love affair and barely making it through the day. There are some difficult subjects addressed in this novel, but in very subtle ways. Laura considers suicide and it is dealt with in such a way that it isn't overwrought or exaggerated. Similarly, the feelings and events that Marina contends with are not disproportionate to the actual teenage experience. I found certain elements of this novel frustrating - for example, the constant miscommunications and lack of communication between Laura and Marina. Though I do recognise that that element is essential to the momentum of the story. All in all, I really enjoyed this novel as I have enjoyed Mendelson's earlier work.

Recently Read Lit Nerd

Miss or Mrs?/The Guilty River by Wilkie Collins
Wilkie knocks it out of the park again! Can this man do no wrong?! This collection of three of Wilkie's shorter works is brill. I made the decision not to read The Haunted Hotel this time because I had read it before and it terrified me (I'm not ashamed to admit), but the other two in this collection were top notch. Both stories have the typical Wilkie tropes - disguise, hidden identities, questionable female roles, manipulative males, secrecy and mystery. Miss or Mrs? was by far my favourite of the two. It has a hero you love to love, a strong (by comparison) female character that you really root for and a dastardly plot. Although not as good as some others, The Guilty River had a really interesting plot twist that had me thinking of The Moonstone (think: drugs and poison). I've got Armadale next on my list of Wilkie's to tick off.

What have you been reading recently?


Sunday, 4 January 2015

Things That Made Me Happy This Week #9

1// Potted Sherlock A couple of years ago on a family trip to New York we decided to go off-Broadway and see Potted Potter, a comedy show where the two actors retell every single Harry Potter book in about 90 minutes. Their latest offering is Potted Sherlock which, you guessed it, has them retelling every single Sherlock Holmes story in 80 minutes. It's literally laugh a minute stuff and perfect for Sherlock enthusiasts like me.

2// Being back in London I adore being in the countryside when we go back to Somerset, but there is something so comforting about coming back to London. I think that really goes to show how happy living here makes me and how much it feels like home.

3// Coffee in Foyles On Monday we had a wander round our usual haunts - Charing Cross Road and Soho area - and stopped in for a coffee at the cafe in Foyles. We'd not been there before and it was just lovely - bookish, quiet and so very relaxing. Good coffee, too!

4// New Year's Eve My sister and I had quite a laid back New Year in the end. We went to a comedy show at the Top Secret Comedy Club, followed by dinner at Polpo, then found our way home (eventually) in time to watch Graham Norton and Hootenanny (not good this year, sorry Jools.) We had a laugh, ate some lovely food and spent the big moment in our lounge pants on the sofa - the perfect way to end one year and start the next.

5// Batch cooking Productive Saturdays are all about batch cooking. Yesterday I whipped up a veggie chili using Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals recipe and a very tasty tomato and lentil soup perfect for my lunch at work. I also put together another batch of homemade muesli earlier this week which I've been eating every morning with blueberries. Homemade tastes better!

6// Reviewing 2014 As much as I try to keep looking forward, sometimes looking back can be a lot of fun. This week I've really enjoyed putting together my 2014 in Review posts which finished with my favourite fiction on New Year's Eve.

What has made you happy this week?


Friday, 2 January 2015

Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway, tweeted, commented and followed. I'm astounded by how many of you entered and I'm just sorry that there can only be one winner.

Rafflecopter did it's random name out of the hat thingy and I am happy to announce that Lindsay from The Little Reader Library is the winner! I could not be happier to share my Wilkie enthusiasm with such an all-round lovely person who has been with me on this blogging journey from the get-go.

I hope you enjoy your Wilkie straight-up and mysterious, Lindsay!


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Reading Resolutions

Happy New Year lovely people! Today, in between naps (midnight is far too late for an early bird like me), I have been thinking about my reading goals for this year. I'm not really making reading resolutions, I just like the alliteration for the title, because I think goals are more achievable and I love having something to work towards.

I have a history of piling the pressure on myself and making things too stressful so this year I'm stripping things right back - from my reading habits, to my running schedule and to my general lifestyle choices. If 2014 was stress and anxiety inducing then 2015 is going to be as cool as a cucumber in the arctic. Pretty chilly.

My reading goals are well-suited to that chill as this year I'm all about reading what I want, when I want to read it. 

That means no advance planning, all spontaneity.

Following on from that is my decision to not do any challenges this year. I'm keeping things simple. I'm still going to keep up with the Classics Club and have a look at what books I have to read on my list, but I'm going to tackle books when they suit me and because I want to, not because I feel that I have to.

There are a couple of exceptions to this as I will be participating in Leah's Jazz Age in January and Hanna's War and Peace read along. But both events are exciting and relevant to my usual reading habits.

My final two goals are a little more structured. Firstly, I want to read more non-fiction. I started reading more in 2014, but there are now so many titles that have piqued my interest and been added to my ever-expanding wish list. I think it's time I cultivated the habit going forwards.

Secondly, I think I'm ready to really start tackling my bulging TBR shelves. I have a feeling that now is the perfect time to do it as I'm currently saving for my big European adventure and therefore cannot afford to not visit the backlist.

I've never thought that I will finish every single book I own, but it will be nice to make a dent before I add any more to my collection.

So there you have it, a few choice goals that should pave the way for a relaxing and exciting year of reading.

What are your reading goals for 2015?

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