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2011: The Year That Is

Happy New Year, everyone! Yeah, I know I'm really late - that's five days late. But the nasty virus that I caught five days back only just started letting me relax. After a really wonderful vacation, the fever was a setback. So here I am - finally writing my first post of the year.

One thing I had a lot of fun reading was everyone's reading/blogging resolutions. I rarely stick to resolutions, but I'm a planner, so I make a lot of plans all the time. After blogging for more than a year now (Oh yeah, my blogaversary slipped by unnoticed - even by me), there are a few things I decided - both about my blog and about my reading habits.


Reading
Much as I love receiving review books, they are occasionally turning out to be stress avenues for me, especially when life gets real busy, which with my job, will only be getting busier. That's not to say that I'm not going to accept any books for review, but I think I need to choose better. That's kind of hard based on just a blurb, but my choices last year have been mostly favorable. I'm just going to have to take a long hard look at my calendar before I say "yes" to any review book. Thank goodness for NetGalley - reading to-be-released titles only got easier for me!

Another reason why I want to be picky about which books I review is because on top of the challenges that I signed up for, I'm planning to do a few reading projects for the year. One of them is to finally tackle those books that I've been meaning to read for ages. And by ages, I mean ages. Literally. Those are the books I've heard about for years before I started blogging or even reading voraciously, and it includes books like Shantaram, Little Women, The Godfather, Fahrenheit 451, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Kite Runner, The Alchemist, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and To Kill a Mockingbird (re-read, because I forgot most of it). Those are just the books I remember. And most of them aren't light reading. I hope to read at least five of those books this year.

Another thing I noticed about my reading last year was that most of the books I read are based in the US. Which is fine with me. But I have a lot more books from non-US countries which just keep getting brushed aside. I'm not a fan of global reading challenges, mainly because when I have to read from a country or continent, I feel cornered. I'd rather just pick a book at random and read it because I want to, and not because it is from a specific country. Which is why I'm doing this as a personal project rather than a challenge. I'm also borrowing Sheila's idea of using Google Maps to trace my reading progress across the globe. That would be a fun incentive!

The reason I'm not even doing a challenge round-up post is because I failed big-time in many of them. I guess challenges lose their appeal after a while, or I'm just demented to feel that way! Which is why, this time around, I'm playing safe with challenges I know I will do, or sticking to the lowest levels in others; and instead focusing on personal projects.

Blogging
During the first half of 2010, I blogged almost every day, sometimes after sacrificing a little sleep. The second half of 2010, however, interfered with my routine a lot - a new job, moving, then my brother's illness. In the end, I took a lot of downtime during the last half of 2010, and found time to relax. If life didn't happen, I probably would never have realized that breaks are good. Now, I blog without compulsion, which I know, is the right reason to blog. My posts also don't feel hurried or contrived to me.

Thank goodness for Bloggiesta, because I was beginning to get tired of my blog design. I definitely plan to move things around a bit and get it 2011-camera ready. I may even consider changing my blog name to something less seasonal, but that's a department I'm rotten in, so I need to think a bit about it. I also want to try posting something different than reviews - something more impulsive and less planned.

Ash and I have a feature planned to start from February. It was supposed to kick off in November 2010, but that didn't happen. There's still a lot left to plan in this, moreover Ash is on an amazing backpacking trip through Europe, so I'll wait a while before posting about it.

I guess that's my plan for the year. What are your resolutions?

Comments

Cat said…
Happy New Year, Aths :-)

Your plans for 2011 are almost a mirror for mine.

Here's to a great and more relaxed year of reading and blogging.
bermudaonion said…
Good luck with all of your plans. I hope 2011 is a wonderful year for you!
Tales of Whimsy said…
I feel ya. I do the same thing. If I have more than two for review at a time I freak out. Good luck doll :)
I am also doing the Google Map and really like it so far, but I am a map-lover anyway!

Your books to read that you've been meaning to read for ages is an awesome list. I particularly like Fahrenheit 451 and the 2 Hosseini books.

I agree that ARCs and author requested books can get overwhelming. I am trying to be really careful with the ones I pick. And I have GOT to check out NetGalley!
Athira said…
Carol, Happy New Year!! Let's sure hope for a relaxed year, shall we? :)

Kathy, thank you! I hope you have a wonderful year too!

Juju, some pressure that is, right?

Helen, I tried doing the maps last year, but found it taxing to add so many books. I hope I stick to it promptly this year.
Anonymous said…
Glad you are feeling better and after the year you had, you deserve a relaxing, rewarding reading year to come.

Happy New Year.
i felt pressure this year as well--work and life sometimes get in the way of blogging, reading, and reviewing. i think what's made it a bit easier for me is that i don't sign up for challenges and feel pressure that way. also, i'm very selective about committing to reviews from publishers--i accepted 20 books for review last year--and plan to be equally selective this year.

i hope that you find the balance-and if you do, let me know what it is!! hope you're feeling better and have a great 2011.

nat@book, line, and sinker

ps. would you be able to open your comments to accept from NAME/URL? it's a bit tricky for self hosted bloggers like me to leave comments on your blog.
Lisa said…
It's so funny that you mentioned trying to do a better job of reading books from other countries. I was just thinking the same thing myself and planned to talk about it my Sunday Salon. But I'm with you in that I don't want to do it as part of a challenge.
Eva said…
Review books ended up stressing me out too! Now, I usually find I can get it from the library if I really want it. :)
Jenners said…
Welcome to the Take A Chance challenge! I hope you have fun with it and get lots of fun and surprising books to read.

Here is the link to the blog that I created to post your finished entries: http://www.takeachance.lifewithbooks.com/
Wonderful post and sounds like you have fun plans for this year. I too am looking forward to Bloggiesta :)
Athira said…
pburt, thank you! :)

Natalie, I do hope I have a better 2011 than 2010. I'm beginning to be more selective about what I read - that should really help!

Lisa, it's so hard when I'm given a list of countries - I rarely do a good job then!

Eva, I'm beginning to do the same thing - check the library catalog first before accepting a book for review.

Jenners, thanks for the new link! Am so excited about this challenge!

Sheila, I'm so excited already!

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