I wasn't quite sure what to write this Sunday morning of Memorial Day weekend. It is the official start to the 2009 summer season, and while that means a much-needed break from the regular routine of life, it also means a change of educational focus for me. From June 16 - July 29 I will not be the teacher, but rather the student, and in preparation for this summer of study I need to pre-read about 10 books (not to mention 4 Shakespearean plays) before I board the plane. I have given much thought as to how I might review the books for the blog and have decided that I will wait to post reviews until I have actually had the class that discusses the book. That way I can post the general class discussion (for those who care to read), rather than just my own thoughts.
So, if I don't post reviews of these books until mid-June at the earliest, what do write about now?! I actually have 3 books that I need to review - and I know I will have at least 1 post about BEA (Book Expo of America), so I will have some material about which to write.....but for today's post I thought I might review my challenge status for 2009, and my blog status to date.
So far this year I have read 30 books and listened to 3 audio books for a total of 10,529 pages (this does not count the books that I re-read each year for the classes I teach). These numbers are by no means stellar in the book blogging world, but they are significant for me. While I would like to complete the 100+ book challenge some year, I am trying to challenge myself to read 52 books this year: a book a week. I seem to be on task, at least for now.
I have not only learned to keep track of books read (and in what genres), I have also started to write book reviews. While I am still learning (and have a long way to go), this has been a wonderful, educational experience. I am finding that I now read more closely - knowing that I must keep track of certain details for the review. I find that I take more time when I complete a book to formulate my thoughts and opinions - and this in turn helps me to appreciate the book and the author even more. I am slowly learning to develop a system for reading and rating books. Using the ideas that I garnered from a previous post, I have now started to use an index card as a bookmark. As a thought occurs to me, I quickly jot it down on the card - along with the page number - and then keep reading. If I am reading a book from my own personal library, I keep track of significant pages on the blank page in the back of the book. This has made writing the reviews much easier, and now I have a written record of my thoughts/feelings, etc for posterity's sake.
I have the goal of doing book reviews on a more regular basis next fall. I should have Tuesdays and Thursdays free - and I would like to use that time to read more books of my own choosing, to hone my book review skills and, in general to create a more professional blog. I am hopeful to gain tips on this process when I attend BEA next week. In some respects I am very excited about going to this event, and in other respects I feel like I am crashing the party. I do not consider myself a book professional (yet) -- but rather a book professional wanna-be. I am anticipating that I will be very overwhelmed, I will do a LOT of observing, and I will learn what I want to accomplish over the next year in order to fully appreciate the BEA 2010 event.
So how about those book challenges? As I have mentioned before.....I had never known reading to be a competitive sport until I discovered the book blog world last fall. The first time I read about a reading challenge I was intrigued; the 2nd time I was mesmerized; and the third time I was hooked! Now, since I tend to have a compulsive personality, I really tried to curtail the number of challenges I signed up for this first year, however, I know that will increase significantly next year :)
In all I would say that I am doing better than I expected, but I certainly have some catching up to do. I keep a detailed list of my challenges - and a running tally of what I have read for each - in a link at the top of my header. Here is a summary of those stats:
Support your Local Library Challenge: read 14 out of 25 books
I don't think I will have a problem finishing this challenge.
Shakespearean Summer Challenge: read 0 out of 4
I know I will finish this challenge, however, since I have to read 4 Shakespearean plays for one of my classes this summer.
The Summer Vacation Reading Challenge: read 0 out of 4
This challenge only started on Friday, so technically I am not behind AND since it is hosted by me, I know I will finish it (if for no other reason than to avoid embarrassment).
18th and 19th Century Women Writers: read 0 out of 8
I feel horrible about this one. I originally signed up because I thought I would be taking a Jane Austen course this summer. Alas, that course wasn't offered this year. I still want to read all 6 Jane Austen books in a concentrated time period, but I am just not sure that will happen in 2009. I know I will read at least 2 books for this challenge - but I will probably not accomplish the minimum goal of 4 (sorry, Becky!)
Casual Classics Challenge: read 2 out of 4
I have faith that I will complete this one as well.
TBR Lite Challenge: read 3 out of 6
I am hoping that I can complete this one too. I am allowed to change the titles of the books on my original list, and I may need to utilize that option in order to complete the challenge.
Cozy Mystery Challenge: read 2 out of 6
I plan to complete this challenge after my summer school course. I will be ready to read some easy-going cozies at that time, so I am confident that I will be successful with this particular challenge.
Just for the Love of Reading Challenge: COMPLETED!!
I read a total of 12 books from January through April.
So how about you....do you have any reading goals for these summer months?