Happy New Year, all! It feels really weird saying 'last year' to mean the last 12 months rather than 2009. Time sure does fly like crazy! One of the best parts of any new year is starting on a fresh slate and making plans for the next 12 months. I tend to make a lot of far-fetched and ambitious plans, that all fizzle out within a month. This year, I'm going to try not making any plans, except to listen to serendipity more often.
At the beginning of this year, I signed up for a few challenges, but eventually got rid of all but one. The Graphic Novels Challenge is possibly the only challenge I ever finished in my two years of blogging. I don't plan to do the challenge again in 2012, because I've been automatically reading more graphic books lately and know that I will be reading a lot more in future. I had signed up to read 10 graphic books this year, and eventually read 20. I have my full list of graphic books I read here, in case you are interested in checking it out.
So far, I've signed up for two challenges in 2012. At the moment, I plan to stay with just the two - I've realized that I genuinely suck at challenges. For some reason, once a book makes a to-read list, it loses all its pull and motivation, making me not want to read it anymore. Serendipity is still my favorite source for books, and I've found some truly wonderful books that way last year.
The first challenge I joined is The League of Extraordinary Gentle- Men of la - Book Challenge, which Zohar @ Man of la Book is hosting. I've already read a couple of the books, so all I need now is an incentive to read a book from a list. The other challenge is the Middle East Reading Challenge, hosted by Helen of Helen's Book Blog for the second time. I only read one book towards this challenge the first time round, but this time, I'm hoping to do better.
At the beginning of last year, I started keeping a PIE list, in which I mention all the titles that I keep hoping to read someday, but the someday never really comes. I had hoped to read at least 5 books from the list, but I only managed 4. I did start the fifth one a few days before the end of 2011, but have not finished it yet. This year, I'm again hoping to read 5 from the list. Here's the four I read:
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
This year, I've decided not to plan for the whole year. I know perfectly well how seasonal my interests are, and I hate making plans and not feeling up to seeing them through. I'd rather make quarterly plans - that way I can easily make and break lists and choose something different to focus on every few months. I'm still not sure yet what I want to do for the first quarter, since right now I'm reading sporadically based on which book is nearest to me. It will be a while before I get back to routine, so I'll wait until then before I decide what I want to do this year. Still, chances are it'll be one of these - read some of the much-awaited 2012 ARCs waiting in my shelves back in Virginia, read a few of the 2011 releases that I didn't get to read last year, or get a head-start on Helen's Middle East Challenge! We'll see which one will pull me more when I get back.
Other than that, I'm looking forward to being less planned and more impulsive about choosing the books I read. I've found that most of the books I loved have been what I picked without planning to. I do want some structure and will be planning my reads a bit (it would be hard to get a book from the library without some advance list-making), but I don't want to stress out looking at a list.
I've been happy with the ARCs I accepted last year. I made a decision a year ago to be more picky, and so far, it's been easy deciding what books I was willing to accept. Moreover, if I didn't get to a book, it didn't worry me like it did earlier.
So that's pretty much my plan, or rather a lack of it, for this year. Let's see how it goes!