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

Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

Eleven months down, fellow readers. Are you going to make your TBR Challenge goal this year?

I’m unsure, as usual 🙂 Checking my Goodreads shelf for this year’s challenge, I can see that I haven’t read a thing during the entire month of November. Not even a comfort re-read. It’s just been a sort of blah month–the weather in Michigan this time of year is notoriously gloomy, which isn’t helpful either–and I suspect the weight of everything that’s happened this year (both to the world at large and to me personally) has been pressing me down, making even things like just doing the laundry that much harder.

But all is not lost. My goal for this year was 20 TBR books (of which I’ve read 12) and 30 books overall (of which I’ve managed 21 so far), so while I’m behind schedule on both counts, I can still catch up. The sun is coming out as I type this, too, so perhaps my energy level will rebound a bit and I’ll find a book buried deep in my TBR that captures my interest 🙂

courtesy of Jbuatti via Wikimedia Commons

Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

Ten months down, two months to go fellow readers! How is your TBR Challenge going?

I’m behind schedule, but that seems to be the case every single year, lol. Still looking for a new day job, still Treasurer for my RWA chapter that struck out on its own (we’re Regency Fiction Writers now, open to anyone–published or not–who writes in any genre and sets their books during the Regency era), so still short on reading (and writing!) time. But I’m not so far behind that I won’t make it. I’ve only got eight TBR books to read before the end of the year, and I could read eight books in a week if I didn’t have anything else to do 😉

I’ve also been trying to carve out time each week specifically to do something relaxing–not housework, or Treasurer work, or looking for jobs, or anything that might be considered productive–and I’ve spent a lot of that time reading. If that pattern continues, I’ll be fine…though I might have to stick to some of the shorter books in my TBR 😀

courtesy of Jbuatti via Wikimedia Commons

Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

We’re 3/4 of the way through 2020 fellow readers! Are you 3/4 of the way to your TBR Challenge goal?

I’m not, but I’m getting there. My non-reading To Do list has been getting longer again–I’m treasurer for an RWA chapter that has voted to become its own organization (which is *so* much more work than I anticipated, but very exciting!), been looking for a new day job, and started working on a web design course sequence through Coursera and the University of Michigan. When I have had some reading time, I’ve been wanting non-fiction–gotta give those research books some love, too!–and those always take me longer to get through, even when they’re well written and easy to read.

So I’ve got 10 more TBR books to read by the end of the year, and 13 books for my overall Goodreads challenge. Under normal circumstances that’s a piece of cake, but this year hasn’t been remotely “normal” lol. I’m comfortable with my progress so far, though, and we’ll see how that next few months go 🙂

courtesy of Jbuatti via Wikimedia Commons

Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

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We’re 2/3 of the way through 2020, fellow readers. Are you 2/3 of the way to your TBR Challenge goal?

I’m not, but I’m not too far off, either. I’ve managed to get about halfway to both my overall Goodreads goal and my TBR Challenge goal. Given everything that’s been going on this year, both in the world at large and for me personally, I’m okay with my reading progress. I’m still laid off from the day job, too, so I can actually get stuff on my To Do list done and still have time left over to read (and write!).

I’ve currently got two historical romances going: A Duke In Disguise by Cat Sebastian and A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby by Vanessa Riley. They’re very different from each other, but I’m really enjoying both of them so far! I’ve got a couple of research books on deck, too: The Housekeeper’s Tale by Tessa Boase and The Sharpe Companion: The Early Years by Mark Adkin (even though I haven’t read any of Bernard Cornwell’s Richard Sharpe novels yet). Both should be helpful with my current work-in-progress, which has a housekeeper as an important secondary character and a main character who fought in the War of 1812 (not Sharpe’s war, but things will be similar enough for my purposes). Both look like they’ll be very helpful. Hopefully they’ll be interesting, too  😉

courtesy of Jbuatti via Wikimedia Commons

Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

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We’re into the second half of the year (already? finally?)! How’s your TBR Challenge going?

The past two months have been difficult and busy for me–my grandmother passed away while I was trying to finish What If I Loved You, so I was writing and grieving and trying to deal with family and paperwork all at the same time. I seem to have made it through the worst, though, and have started reading again.

I’ve been neglecting my TBR pile, though, lol. I’m still sitting at 7 of 20 TBR books read, and yet I purchased mystery boxes from a couple of great indie bookstores: Romances featuring Women of Color, curated by Farrah Rochon, from Tubby & Coo’s in New Orleans (these are still available!); and a Surprise Box from Love’s Sweet Arrow in Chicago (these also appear to still be available!). I haven’t read any of the books I received, but it looks like I got some good ones. Hopefully I’ll get them read soon so they don’t end up part of this challenge next year!

I do have two books going that will count toward my TBR Challenge when I finish them: Midnight by Beverly Jenkins and A Duke In Disguise by Cat Sebastian. I started Midnight all the way back in April and only got about a quarter of the way in before everything fell apart, so I’ll probably start that one over again–all I remember is that I was enjoying the story. I’m only about that far into A Duke In Disguise, too, and it’s very interesting so far–Cat’s writing skills are just… Well, I aspire to her skill level 🙂

Books from Tubby & Coo’s and Love’s Sweet Arrow