Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

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2021 has come and gone, fellow readers. Did you make your TBR Challenge goals?

For the second year in a row, I didn’t. And for the first time ever, the number of books I did read was only in the single digits. One the one hand, I’m disappointed–not just because I didn’t make my goal, but because reading has always been an activity I loved and spending less time with books makes me sad on several levels. On the other hand, it was an arbitrary number and while 2021 was better to me than 2020 was, it was still a rough year. So I’m shrugging my shoulders and closing the book–so to speak–on the 2021 TBR Challenge. The phrase “it is what it is” has been used perhaps too much lately, but 2021 was what it was.

At the end of 2020 I wished for peace and energy in the new year, but for 2022 I wish for healing and rest. I have a feeling there are a lot of us who could use both.

Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

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We have just under 4 weeks left in 2021, fellow readers! Are you going to make your TBR Challegne goal?

I’m still sitting at 4 TBR books read out of the 20 I’d hoped to read this year, but I have hope that I can get 16 more books in before the new year begins. With the exception of a couple of chores, outdoor stuff is done for the season–that was my audiobook listening time, so I don’t know how much more listening I’ll do until the weather warms up again. And I’m (slowly) plotting a new book, so that’s taking up some of the time I gained back when the yardwork went away. But I have some time off from the day job at the end of the month, and we’re still slow(ish) during the day so I have the energy to read once I’m clocked out.

I’m also wanting to read again, which has been my biggest struggle. Between this year’s changes (new house that needs more care than the the last place, new job that requires more hours than the last one) and the things that carried over (still on the board of Regency Fiction Writers, still have all the author-y things that need doing in addition to writing), I haven’t had a lot of mental bandwidth available for fun things. But that’s coming back! So here’s to cramming as much reading time into the rest of 2021 as we can ❤

Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

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Two months left in this 2021 TBR Challenge, fellow readers! Are you going to make your goal?

Despite what seems like ages spent doing yard work (and thus listening to audiobooks), I’m still very far away from my goal–I’ve completed only 4 out of the 20 TBR books I’d hope to read this year. Can I read 16 books in two months? Sure, if I didn’t have too much else going on. Will I be able to do it this year? I don’t know. I haven’t been very prolific so far, plus I have baby blankets to crochet for Christmas and I’ve begun plotting a new book (for the first time in forever!), so I’ll need to find time for writing again. I’m thinking about changing my goal, but this late in the year it feels like cheating, lol.

There is good news for me this year, though! I have only acquired 22 new books! My Goodreads shelf says that I gained 72 new books last year (yikes!), and that doesn’t count anything I may have borrowed from a friend or the library. So while I’m not reading nearly as fast as I did in previous years, I’m also not adding to the TBR pile as fast 😉

Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

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Hello fellow readers! We’re 2/3 of the way through 2021–how is your TBR Challenge going?

Mine is still going so very, very slowly, lol. But I’m making progress. I recently had my schedule changed at the day job, so I’ve started sleeping better and that makes me want to get back into the things I’ve been neglecting this year (reading among them). I’ve also continued to listen to audiobooks while I do yardwork–I’m about 3/4 of the way through Persuasion at the moment with a long weekend of outdoor chores coming up, so I expect to finish that one shortly. I’ve got two other (paper) books going, but they’re both professional development-type things, which have been difficult to focus on lately. I’m hoping both the schedule change and long weekend will help me reduce this sleep deficit I have going, and the PD things will be interesting again 🙂

So, while I’m still in the single digits of books read this year, we still have 18 weeks or so left in 2021 and I think I can get to my goal of 20 TBR books read. If I can do it while getting my writing back on track, even better!

Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

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We’re halfway through 2021, fellow readers. Are you halfway through your TBR Challenge?

If you’ve been following my updates this year, you’ll know I’ve been struggling mightily to read, so it won’t surprise you to learn that I am nowhere near the halfway point for my TBR Challenge goal. I DNF’d one book early in the year, and have literally read nothing (except spreadsheets at the day job!) since then.

Until this month.

I’ve mentioned before that I’d begun listening to audiobooks while I do yard work, and that did the trick. It’s a much slower way to read for me, but listening to someone read a book to me requires less energy than reading with my eyes. Plus, it makes cutting the grass a lot more enjoyable 🙂 Sherry Thomas’s A Study In Scarlet Women got me through a hot June, and I’m working on The Trial and Execution of the Traitor George Washington now (highly recommend A Study In Scarlet Women and looking forward to the rest of the series, unsure about George Washington yet). Maybe this is the year I’ll finally make a dent in the metaphorical pile of audiobooks I’ve amassed!

So I’ve only completed one book out of the 30 I’ve set as my goal for the year, but I’m not quite ready to make modifications yet. I want to get through the busy season at the day job (a couple more months and things will quiet down a bit), and re-configure my writing/release schedule (which has also fallen by the wayside temporarily). Then we’ll see where reading for pleasure fits in again 🙂

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Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

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Five months down and seven to go, fellow readers! How is your TBR Challenge going?

According to Goodreads, I have only completed one book this year. The last time I read that little was when I was still a teacher with barely enough energy at the end of the day to take care of myself, so I’m both shocked and not at all surprised by my current total. Shocked because I didn’t realize the total was *so* low until I looked at it to write this post. Not at all surprised because, between the new house and the new day job, I haven’t been this busy in literal years. I’m enjoying both, but there’s a lot of work to do!

On the bright side, I’ve begun using an old trick to motivate myself when it comes time to do yard work–an audiobook! Right now I’m listening to Sherry Thomas’s A Study In Scarlet Women while I cut the grass, and sometimes that book is the only reason my yard doesn’t look like an abandoned lot, lol. The narrator is amazing and the story itself has been very interesting so far (though I sometimes wonder if I should have read this one with my eyes instead of my ears–I’m more of a visual learner than an auditory one). I’m not even halfway through, but I suspect this is a series I’m going to devour 🙂

Cover of A Study In Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

Happy spring to everyone in the northern hemisphere! And happy autumn to everyone in the southern hemisphere! The sun is shining (though we have snow in the forecast, lol), I have cake to eat, and we’re three months into 2021. How is your TBR Challenge coming along?

Goodreads tells me I’m having an abysmal reading year so far–I’ve only managed to complete one book, and I’m partway through two others (one of which is a textbook). I didn’t realize I’d hit that much of a dry spell! But it makes perfect sense–I started my new day job* in mid-February and I’m in the process of relocating to be closer to the office (it’s all work from home right now, but someday I’ll have a building to go to every day again). I’m working more hours than I previously was, and it’s been a challenge to balance those hours with everything else that needs to get done. And now, with procuring a new living space and trying to get all my stuff (and my very anxious pupper) into it, there seems to be an endless number of things on my To Do list.

Hopefully, in a few weeks maybe, I won’t have so much going on, and I’ll have the mental bandwidth to read substantially again. But we all know something else will just come along (like writing a new book!) and add to the madness again 😉

*The new job is great! I work with some wonderful people who believe in supporting employees and taking mental health days when needed. And the work itself is in education (though a bit more tangentially) so I feel like I’m still working in my field, even though I’m not teaching anymore.

Bo, my German Shepherd, laying on his dog bed looking sleepy and a little sad.
Bo, trying to relax amid the chaos that has been our home lately, wondering why I’m taking his picture instead of petting him.

Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

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We’re one month into a new year, fellow readers! Has your 2021 TBR Challenge started with a bang or a whimper?

Mine is somewhere in between, lol. I have a research book going that I started last year and a textbook for a class I’m taking, both of which are being read bits at a time. I started a Tudor-era romance early on in the month, but put it down to go do something else and just never wanted to pick it back up again. In all fairness, I don’t think there was anything wrong with the book–I just didn’t have any focus or concentration–but I DNF’d it and took it off my Goodreads Currently Reading shelf so it didn’t feel like something left on my To Do list. Maybe I’ll give it another try in a few months. Maybe it will go in the donate bin and I’ll try a comfort read instead 🙂

I’m interested to see how the rest of the year goes with respect to my reading time, though. I’ve finally landed a new day job so I’ll be back to working full time again soon, and I’ve got at least one book to write this year. I also need to relocate for the new job, and have promised to stay on as Treasurer of Regency Fiction Writers for one more year, so I won’t have a ton of free time. I suppose I’ll be putting my vacation time to good use 😉

Cora’s 2021 TBR Challenge

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We’re a few days in to 2021 and I’m in the process of getting organized in writing, reading, and around the house. I started a modified bullet journal last year, but it didn’t work out so well–too much work. This year I’m going back to a regular monthly planner so I can keep all my To Do lists and calendars and appointments in one place. Seems like I get all the organization of a bullet journal that way, with none of the extra set up 😉

One thing I did manage to get organized was I my TBR Challenge conditions for this year:

1. How many books from your TBR pile will you read?  I’ve decided on an overall goal of 30 books for my Goodreads challenge, and 20 of those must be from my TBR list. It doesn’t seem like a lot–especially when I was regularly reading over 50 books a year a few years ago–but it’s more than I read in 2019, and I struggled to meet this same goal in 2020 so I figured I’d give it a try again. Plus I always have the option to change it later if I feel like I need to.

3. How will you hold yourself accountable? Like years past, I’ll post here once a month to share my progress and see how you all are doing. I found that creating a Goodreads shelf and the dedicated page on this website to be enormously helpful, too, so I’ll do both again. I’m a very visual person and being able to see the collection of books that I’ve read gives me a nice sense of accomplishment, which makes me want to read more TBR books when I’m able.

4. What about adding more books to the pile? Like previous years, I’m going to keep track of how many books I purchase with another Goodreads shelf. I’ve found it really helpful to have an exact number readily available that I can compare to how many books I’ve read. By the end of the year, I’d like to have read more books than I bought (though that hasn’t been the case…ever!).

So that’s my set up for this year. What plans do you all have? Anybody feeling really ambitious? Cautiously optimistic? Reading to comfort yourself through hard times? Let me know!

Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

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We have reached the final day of 2020, fellow readers. How did you fair in your TBR Challenge?

I fell short, reading just 12 TBR books this year out of the 20 I’d set as my goal. I fell short of my overall Goodreads goal, too, reading 22 books out of the 30 I’d pledged. And I acquired 65 new books, so my TBR pile had a net gain.

But you know what? That’s okay.

This year was bad in a lot of ways and when my energy ran dry, reading was one of the first things I put aside. Fiction helps me cope with real life, and has pretty much since I learned to read. But this year I got my fiction fix more often from my TV, which requires less energy. It was easier to lay down on the couch or stretch out on my bed and grab the remote than to decide which book to read and keep myself (and my dwindling attention span) engaged in it.

In this year of abject misery, easy is what I needed. So that’s what I did 🙂

And I got through it. We got through it. Hopefully 2021 will bring peace and energy and lots of reading time, but if it doesn’t, we’ll get through that too ❤

courtesy of Jbuatti via Wikimedia Commons