New Year reading resolutions

I read my procrastination diatribe from last year in the last few days, this added to an overview of my Goodreads reading year has led me to the conclusion that I need to address my lack of reading for fear of literally being a hypocrite when I tell people I love books and reading. I’m an English teacher now (in training) and find myself in need of finding that majesty of reading my last post addressed so I can in good conscience stand before learners (their not students anymore apparently) and not feel a fraud. In my own defence last summer though I’d finished my English degree and should have been free to read whatever I wanted for the first time since I was about 12, I found myself with a list of books which could be taught to first year secondary school (middle school?) students. As I was going to be teaching that year group predominantly (I actually now teach second years also) and was unaware of which book would be chosen as this years text within my school (asking seemed monumental at the time the ridiculousness of which is evident now). In this way I read all of them and procrastinated between the reading of each because that was my want this summer. “Let’s put off everything I want to achieve this summer until I have to achieve it all in a whirlwind of anxiety”…there’s that procrastination again – who needs Hamlet when you have me! This means that the first 4 months of the year was filled with literary greats (for college), followed by 3 months of less monumental literary examples (for teaching) and the last 4 months was a barren wilderness of nothingness devoid of any stimulus but my many essays , class planning and lack of sleep.  So with that in mind, along with the fact I’m sick to death of not reading all the books I’m excited about and on the back of finishing my first book of the year by the 3rd of January here are some New Year reading resolutions.

 

  1. Read all of Shakespeare’s sonnets – my collection has 152ish if memory serves so using my poor mathematical skills that works out as 1 every 2-3 days. I’ve already read the first two in the allotted timeframes so this should be achievable once I stay on top of it.
  2. Read for pleasure not pressure – this will be achievable for the majority of the year I suspect. But will be challenging when I begin planning tutor/grinds classes I’m giving in the next 4 months and when planning for next years classes. But as my colleagues manage to do it, I’ll get there.
  3. Complete my goodreads challenge for the year – to achieve this I originally had it set at 10 but as this is ridiculous I changed it to 30. This should be manageable even with my hectic university department who refuse to accept that trainee teachers require sleep (oh sorry was my growing bitterness showing).
  4. Read the books I own – I won’t stop myself from treating myself as I have book vouchers which need to be used but I’ll try. Buying books was a pleasure I revoked from myself due to my student status but with grinds money coming in and those vouchers I think I can treat myself every so often once the books are being read.

I may add to these but I’m excited about these. Though they are basic, they are more structured than I usually go in for and a little more realistic than my mammoth post in 2014 (won’t be hard January posting is my forté!)

Speaking of that procrastination I’m writing this instead of an essay on the new oral element of the English curriculum…I’m actually my own worst enemy!!

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Late Declaration of Reading Plans for 2014

I’ve been wanting to write this post since I posted my first haul more than a week ago but college demanded that it be delayed somewhat. Like so many other book bloggers out there, Goodreads has become invaluable to me overory gilmore challenger the years in helping me to compile lists of the books I’ve read, books I want to read and just lists  of books in general (God I love lists! :P). So it’s not surprising that I’m entering into their book challenge for my fourth consecutive year. I successfully read 36 books in 2013 and only challenged myself to read 30. I was more than surprised that I read as much as I did over the year because I spent the summer away from home in New York, working. Despite being incredibly busy and unable to bring a lot of paperbacks with me, a 2 hour daily commute and my trusty Kindle meant that I surpassed my own expectations. This year, while I hope to get a job, it won’t be in another country so I should have a lot more time to read. Therefore, I’m setting my challenge for 40 books. I failed to read that many books when I set it as my goal in 2012 but I was under a lot of pressure to study for exams in the first six months of that year so I forgive myself :).

I promised a reading list of some sort that would map out my reading for the next year and I sat down today and compiled it. It’s not exhaustive and it’s open to change but I either have to (for college) or want to read all of these in the next 12 months and I’ve left 9 spaces free for books I just pick up (or more likely books for the next semester of college).

The List is as follow:

College Books

  1. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  3. Emma by Jane Austen
  4. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  5. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  6. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  7. York Mystery Plays
  8. The Knight of the Burning Pestle
  9. The Revenger’s Tragedy
  10. The Alchemist and other plays
  11. Anthony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare
  12. As you Like it by William Shakespeare
  13. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare
  14. The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare

Pleasure

  1. As I live Now by Meg Rosoff
  2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  4. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  5. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  6. This Star Won’t Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl by Esther Earl and Earl Family
  7. The Fault in Our Stars (while it won’t count towards the Goodreads challenge as it is a re-read I can’t resist reading it before seeing the film in June)
  8. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  9. Eon by Alison Goodman
  10. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
  11. Are You Somebody? Nuala O’Faolain
  12. The Cather in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  13. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  14. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David
  15. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  16. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  17. The sonnets by William Shakespeare

I also stumbled across a reading challenge called ‘The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge’ recently on two blogs which I’ve linked: NJC Novella and Blogs-of-a-bookaholic. Basically a list has been compiled of all the books which the character of Rory Gilmore either read or mentioned during the seven seasons of The Gilmore Girls . She was a veracious reader and I loved the series when I was growing up so it seemed like the perfect challenge to start with. I’ve gone through the list and marked the ones I want to read in purple and the ones I have read in blue however changing the colour of font on WordPress is beyond my abilities so I’ve just added two separate lists below (edit: I’ve since learned how to do it but this way works too). There are a number of books that I want to read this year and there are a lot that I have no intention of ever reading but my personal challenge is to eventually read the books off the list that I have indicated below.

Books to read for the challenge

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – 2014 TBR
  2. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  3. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  4. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – 2014 TBR
  5. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  6. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger – 2014 TBR
  7. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  8. A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
  9. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père
  10. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  11. The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
  12. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  13. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  14. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
  15. Emma by Jane Austen – started to read but didn’t finish – 2014 TBR
  16. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  17. The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1 of The Lord of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
  18. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
  19. George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
  20. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  21. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  22. Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
  23. Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
  24. Henry V by William Shakespeare
  25. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  26. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  27. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
  28. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  29. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
  30. The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
  31. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  32. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris – 2014 TBR
  33. The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
  34. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  35. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  36. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – 2014 TBR
  37. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  38. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  39. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
  40. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – 2014 TBR
  41. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
  42. The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings Book 3 by J. R. R. Tolkien
  43. Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
  44. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – Started to read but didn’t finish 2013
  45. The Sonnets by William Shakespeare – 2014 TBR
  46. The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare – 2014 TBR
  47. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  48. Ulysses by James Joyce
  49. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
  50. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
  51. The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

Books I’ve read for the Challenge

  1. 1984 by George Orwell – read February & March 2011
  2. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – Childhood read
  3. Atonement by Ian McEwan – Read December 2010-June 2012 repeatedly for school
  4. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney – Read April 2013
  5. The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer – Read December 2012
  6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon – Read July 2012 –Reviewed
  7. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – Read August 2013 and again in November for College
  8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Read August 2011
  9. Hamlet by William Shakespeare – Read September 2010 to June 2012 repeatedly for school
  10. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling – Childhood read
  11. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling – Childhood Read
  12. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini –  Read January 2013
  13. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – Childhood read
  14. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – Childhood read
  15. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold  – Read October & November 2010
  16. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka – read January 2012
  17. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – Read March 2012
  18. Othello by Shakespeare – Read unwisely read during my leaving cert J – June 2012
  19. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – Read March 2013
  20. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – Read 2012
  21. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe – Read June 2011
  22. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare – Read March 2013
  23. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – Read January 2014
  24. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – Read June 2012
  25. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Read 2008- June 2010 repeatedly for school
  26. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – Read October 2010

Books I’m not interested in currently from the challenge list (there are a lot hence the cut)

Continue reading

Hi 2014

It’s 2014! Not that this will have escaped anyone’s notice 🙂 and given that it is a new year I find myself surprisingly inspired to get proactive again about the things that I’m most passionate about. Now taking that the most neglected endeavor in my life to date is probably this blog (wasted piano lessons as a child ranks a close second!), you would think that books probably ain’t one of those things, but sadly they are; which makes the lack of posting on this blog even worse. So my resolution is not to blog regularly this year, but it is to blog. One of the worst things a person can do is to ignore their own urge to create something and I’ve been guilty of that where this blog is concerned. I do often get inspired to write something or think of witty (witty to me anyway) or interesting things to say about a passage or book that I’m reading. Even more often I’d love somewhere to write all the ideas and thoughts about the material I study in college (I’m taking English) that are largely disregarded because they just don’t contribute to the overall direction that the lecturer is taking the module/course. So in the next few days I’m going to post a TBR list for 2014 or at least a partial one (since I don’t like the idea of being completely tied down) to the blog and create a corresponding self on Goodreads. I have set a challenge of reading 40 books this year on that website; it’s not a lot when I look at some other goals that people have set themselves ranging into the hundreds but it’s doable for me since most of the books I read need to be analysed extensively for college (not to mention I take a joint degree in history as well) so there you have it. I have a feeling that I will exceed this goal just because I read 36 books last year (according to Goodreads) and that was while living and working in New York for three months and ploughing through the Game of Thrones series, neither of which were conducive to flying through books (though the commute into Manhattan was pretty handy for getting some reading done I have to say). Anyway Happy New Year to those who catch this post hope you have great years ahead!