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Playing Catch-Up

2023: Playing Catch-Up

The theme of 2023 is Playing Catch-up. I have this looming feeling of unfinished business where my reading is concerned as it feels like I’ve failed to keep promises to myself. And this weblog is part of my rebuilding trust with myself (deep or what).

In this post I’m trying to get an overview of my reading intention for 2023.

The question is, ‘How am I going to ‘catch-up’?’

I plan on doing three things:

  1. Catching up on the books/series I’ve started
  1. Continuing with my Extended Dark Tower Reading Challenge 
  1. Reducing the overflowing physical and Digital TBR piles.
  2. Bonus Challenge: Read More Shorter Fiction

Catching up on the books/series I’ve started

I am at various points with solo books or interconnected works for various reasons but I need to either DNF them or get them completed.  

Here are a few examples:

Battle Ground is the latest book in The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and I admit to finding a novel length battle a bit tiring. I think I exhausted myself around 1/4 way in and need to get the drive to go back in. 

This year I’ve been catching up with Charles Stross’s The Laundry Files by reading two books but I now need to embark on ‘Tales of the New Management’ (a soon to be completed trilogy that starts with book 10 (Dead Lies Dreaming) and ends with May with Season of Skulls. I’ll probably be caught up by the time the paperback of Season of Skulls comes out. 

I have been reading more ebooks than physical books (along with the occasional audiobook) as they are generally more convenient for me but I’ve been missing the impact of seeing the read pages stack up. For example, I thought I’d read more of The Fifth Season than the 66 pages I actually had. There is a second trilogy of a fantasy series where I managed to get 54% into the first book but I fizzled out and seeing the stars for book 2/3 I want to see what happens.  

I’m going to do an experiment and swap some of these half-read ebooks into physical format and see how that impacts my reading. The Fifth Season is a book that I’ve picked up as physical book to see if I can get myself moving. 

I want to finish two Joanne M. Harris duologies (at least each has two books in the them and I don’t think any more are planned – one is Runemarks/Runelight and the other is The Gospel of Loki/The Testament of Loki. And I’ve read the The Gospel of Loki and listened to the audiobook of The Gospel of Loki. 

Hold up! According to Joanne’s website there is an official reading order ?!

1: Runemarks. 2: Runelight: 3. The Gospel of Loki. 4: The Testament of Loki.

Umm well that’s sorted. 1 through 4 it is. 

And finally for here, but not the final thing on the stacks, is the first Mistborn trilogy. I remember stopping half-way through The Final Empire as it wasn’t holding my interest. But I’ve given into FOMO as I keep seeing so many people who love Sanderson’s current work. And that’s driving me massively to try again.

Continuing My Extended Dark Tower Reading Challenge

This is a multi-year but hopefully not a multi-decade project.  You may or may not know that Stepen King has an interconnected world where a lot of his works are set and the Dark Tower connects them. I’ve added more information on this project on my Expanded ‘DT’ Challenge page along with a list of the stories I want to read. There is a shorter list of books on blog post linked in that page if you want to dip your toe into the idea too. 

I’ve just read King’s take on vampires, ‘salem’s Lot, a what if they were American rather than a Eastern European nobleman… His take is less romantic and a bit more bleak… And I have QUESTIONS about its links the Dark Tower series.

I am just about to embark on The Stand. I read it as a teen and got over half way through I think but that was 25 years ago. So let’s see what I make of it the context of the Dark Tower. 

And linking his works to the Dark Tower is why I’m doing this deep dive into King’s work.

One of my favourite novels of his is Dolores Claiborne and he has written one of my favourite novellas in ‘The Mist’. I enjoyed ’Salem’s Lot, which surprised me slightly as it’s a long book.

But King’s strength (and also a curse) is exploring communities in the face of the horrors he’s inflicting on them. And that usually means the need for a wider selection of characters and longer stories than I’m used to.  

Reducing the overflowing physical and digital TBR piles

This is not a book ban, but the idea of it did cause me to add a few last minute additions to the TBRs… sigh.

I do have a bad habit of adding books to the TBR pile at a faster rate than I read them. You only have to read my last post to see that clearly illustrated. And I end then up having to unhaul books to charity shops when I run out of space. The curse of ebooks is you have to permanently delete them, you can’t pass them on and they don’t take up any more physical space than the e-reader itself.  

So in 2023 the plan is to set some sort of controls or add some sort of breaking mechanism like a 6 read then buy 1 ratio or only buying physical books – I am out of space so I can’t just sneak books into gaps on the shelves/book carts – with e-readers space as I’ve said isn’t an issue.

I also have a new habit of buying books when they are suggested on TIkTok. This is so they don’t get lost in the wash of books and I have them handy – or at least that’s the excuse I tell myself at any rate.  #BookTok has been wonderful and really bad for me in equal measure.  

My method of coping with instant gratification purchasing  is to set up a More Books? page (before this I was making very long wishlists and that did kind of work) as somewhere I can put, as well as check, on books that have caught my attention.

I think as it’s easily accessible (and easy add to or remove from) I can see where there are and decide if I really really need to have them now. Or if can they wait until I clear the TBR some more (and they should be waiting…)

The other control is to visually remind myself of what books I already waiting for me. That is the purpose of the A Curated TBR Selection page. I am a mood reader in the sense that I don’t like to keep reading one genre one after another. I like to shift mental gears. And I plenty of books swap between. 

Bonus Challenge: Read More Shorter Fiction           

Finally, I do love shorter fiction but I’ve not been giving it that much chance of late. Let’s see if I can change that in 2023. This is not a concrete plan but I’m going try to add a monthly summary page.

Finally, don’t forget to have fun!

This is all starting to look a little overwhelming. But I think it gives shape to my intentions.

Reading is supposed to be an enjoyable pass time so I’m not going to pressure myself too much, though I need to seriously slow down book acquisitions or speed up my reading pace!

I’ll update is weblog throughout in 2023.

Please check back to see how I’m getting on.

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