Happy New Year! I hope you all had happy and peaceful Christmases. My family went out for dinner on Christmas Eve for the first time, which made cooking on Christmas Day itself feel much lower stakes and therefore less stressful. Recommended if, like me, you nearly came to blows with your brother in 2021 when he innocuously tried to help. Anyway, it was a nice day along the lines of our normal Christmases: food, Scrabble, films. Next year there will be a Doctor Who Christmas special once more – the removal of the Christmas specials was one of many terrible choices Chris Chibnall made during his period as showrunner – and I am already looking forward to that.
I don’t do big blogging (or other) New Year’s Resolutions, having learnt that I can only manage one or maybe two challenges at a time, but I do like to take the new year as a chance to think about what I’ve enjoyed about my reading and blogging year, and what I might like to do differently in the year to come. Last year, I set myself three priorities for the year, which I shall now review.
- Cook through Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower
Nope. I didn’t do this at all. Two reasons: I had to give up up my allotment, so I didn’t have the gluts of fresh vegetables I was expecting. (I couldn’t keep it nearly nice enough to satisfy the retirees who are at their allotments all the time). Also, given the price of both energy and food at the moment, I’m not cooking quite as adventurously as I normally do (alas). I’ve enjoyed the bits and pieces I’ve made out of this book, and it’s very usable, but a big cooking project isn’t really viable at present. Another time!
- More non-fiction
I haven’t read much non-fiction this year – eight books – but it’s more than the last couple of years, and I’ve really enjoyed a lot of it. There are even a couple that I’ve read over the Christmas break and haven’t got round to reviewing yet. Overall, I think this qualifies as a success.
- More historical fiction
Yes, this was definitely a success! In fact, my book of the year was historical fiction – Rose Nicolson – and again, although I didn’t read that much of it, most of what I read I enjoyed.
Other highlights of my year were, of course, my long-delayed trip to Peru (Weeks 1 and 2 here), which was well worth the wait; a trip to Glasgow to see my best friend and her family; and my family coming to visit over the summer. I also had a lot of fun doing a Book Awards this year for the first time, and that’s something I’ll be doing again. What would I like to work on this year? Well, I have a few ideas:
- Reduce the amount of books I buy and use the library more.
I don’t get the same TBR anxiety that a lot of people do, but I do buy a lot of books. Almost all of them are from local charity shops, so I’m not too worried about it from either an environmental or a financial point of view, but I would like to read more from my library and my own shelves. At the same time, I’ve got into better habits with exercising regularly, and would like an incentive to keep going. I’ve therefore decided that I will limit myself to one purchase a month (excluding my Audible subscription), and another purchase when I exercise at least four times a week for the whole month. Yes, I realise this is effectively giving myself a sticker chart. Hopefully it will work!
- Finish the Wanderlust Bingo challenge.
I’m having a lovely time doing some armchair travelling for Wanderlust Bingo. I still have five books to read (or finish), and another four that I’ve finished but haven’t yet reviewed – so it feels like I’m nearly done, but in fact I still have quite a lot of reading and blogging left on this challenge!
- Write more Book to Screen reviews.
I really enjoyed writing about the Lord Peter Wimsey series last month, and I have several other classic adaptations lined up to watch this year (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Rebecca, To Sir With Love, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, In a Lonely Place). I’d like to write a few more of these book-to-screen posts as they are a lot of fun.
In terms of non-reading goals – I am trying to write a book proposal at the moment (for work-related nonfiction, nothing likely to be exciting to the vast majority of people reading this blog!), so I’d like to get that submitted to agents by the year’s end. I’m also very slowly learning to sew, and by the end of the year I would like to be able to move from the “beginner” to the “improver” or “intermediate” categories on pattern websites. And I’d like to go to the London Bookshop Crawl again this year! The Bookshop Crawl was almost the last thing I did in February 2020 Before the Event, and I couldn’t go last year as it clashed with other things. I always enjoy it, and am very much hoping to go this year. (My “one book a month” rule will be suspended for the course of the weekend).
So there we go – no resolutions as such, just a few things I would like to do this year if I can. Happy New Year again, and I look forward to another year of reading, blogging, and talking books with you all!
Happy New Year! Your goals for 2023 sound very reasonable. I look forward to continuing to follow along!
Happy New Year to you too! Yes, reasonableness is my main aim when I am setting goals – otherwise I get dispirited when I feel like I’m not meeting them, even though it’s just for fun.
I love your idea of combining two “goals” for the year – buying less/exercise more. Genius! You’ve got me thinking now because both of those are in my goals for the year. Last year’s exercise goal was to walk/cycle 1,000 K and as an incentive I gave money to charity for every kilometre. But now I’m thinking that I could still do the charitable donation but use an added incentive of one book purchase for every 50K? or 100K.
Ooh, I like the idea of building a charitable donation into your goal – I may have a think about how to incorporate that into my own goals! Walking and swimming are my main forms of exercise so I could easily do something similar.
Very doable to include a donation element to those activities. You could donate xx amount per kilometre or xx amount per 50 kilometres (or any variation)
That all sounds like resolutions to me… 😉 I’d like to do some more Film of the Book stuff too – haven’t done any for ages. However, the idea of connecting books to exercise just seems like masochism to me! Each to her own! 😂 I have some bad news for you – there will be a new Wanderlust Bingo card tomorrow, so you’re not as close to finishing as you think… 😈 Happy New Year!
Ah, well, in my mind, something only moves from being a “plan” to a “resolution” if I’m strictly measuring it! Like “I will read X number of books in translation this year” or whatever. That’s when something in me immediately decides to rebel and do everything but that! As for linking books to exercise, almost all my exercise is walking and swimming, both of which I enjoy for their own sake – but I still need a nudge to get me out of the door, especially in winter, hence the idea of books as a bribe. (It would not work for something I didn’t enjoy!) I look forward to seeing the new Wanderlust Bingo card and immediately being behindhand on the challenge – I’ve had a lovely time travelling in my books the last few months. Happy New Year!
Happy New Year Lou, I always enjoy your Book to Screen posts so look forward to those
Happy New Year! I’m glad you enjoy them, I find them a lot of fun to write and it’s nice to have an excuse to curl up in front of a good film on a wet winter evening!
Happy new year! I really love your approach to resolutions. It seems like you’ve focused on a few achievable things that are likely to make you happy. I’m still pondering how I want to approach the new year myself and will try to do so I’m a similar spirit 🙂
Happy new year! Yes, I realised a few years ago that thinking “what have I enjoyed/appreciated over the past year and how can I be more intentional about it?” is much more sustainable for me than “new year, new me” goals, which tend to be a spectacular failure.
I am absolutely on board with the “buy no books” project. Well, you said fewer, but I think I am aiming for none beyond textbooks because, hooboy, is my new tuition more costly. Ugh. I’m sad to hear that your Doctor Who Christmas special didn’t exist for a while, so may I recommend you pick up A Lot Like Christmas by Connie Willis? I still haven’t read The Doomsday book you recommended yet, but the Christmas collection is lovely, and I haven’t heard any stories like them before. There’s always a bit of a sci-fi bent to them, too.
I like Connie Willis’ work in general (despite the fact that some of it is very flawed!) but I’ve heard mostly negative things about her Christmas collection, so I’m pleased to hear that you liked it!
The stories are quite long in audio format, but when I looked up the table of contents, each is only about 30 pages long. I’ve found them delightful and am continuing to listen to the book now, stretching out the Christmas season as long as possible! Which may be why Nick has spent the last week taking down the tree. He’s on Phase 4: removing the fake branches and placing them on the floor.
I’m with you, every year I hope to read more nonfiction but I rarely do. Starting school this past year really put a damper on all my reading, but especially the nonfiction as my brain was so full of other stuff.
Good luck with the sewing! I’m hoping to blog more about my knitting and crocheting this year.
I had a similar experience during the height of the pandemic – because I work in healthcare, I was reading so much work-related nonfiction that I simply couldn’t read any other nonfiction because my brain was too full. It has been a joy to get a bit more into nonfiction again!
Thank you! I look forward to reading your knitting and crocheting posts.