books

Reading Goals and why it’s important to branch out

By Shar

The title is self explanatory, really. Also, I’m wearing pyjamas and sitting on my bed because it’s raining, a standard state of affairs for the next 3 months. *sigh* 

So remember way back in January when I wrote this post (during my ‘off’ week, as well. As co-bloggers Shanti and I each write for one week, then have a rest for the next.) about my 2015 reading goals? Today I’m going to do an update about where I am with them, and talk about the importance of branching out.

  • This is what my (somewhat messy) handwriting and my yard looks like
    This is what my (somewhat messy) handwriting and my yard looks like

    Writing down everything I read– I’m pretty sure I’ve done this. I’m a few books behind right now. *consults calendar* but I think I got them all. I read 15 in January, 10 in February, 5 in March, 5 in April, maybe 3 (I couldn’t remember) in May, and so far 9 in June. That’s a grand total of something like 48. So that actually went quite well. I used my calendar to write down what I finished each month. Can you guess which months I had school and which month I had exams? ( the amount of books I read appears inversely proportional to the amount of schoolwork I have. I should write an equation.)

  • Read some classics- I’ve only read Jane Eyre, so far, which was quite good. I should probably read more classics, but they’re so much work!
  • Review more books- I’ve only reviewed what I’ve posted, so that’s not that much, but probably more than I did in 2014.
  • Read some nonfiction- This has gone semi-well. I’m about 50 pages through Collapse by Jared Diamond (but I have been for 3 weeks so that doesn’t quite count), I read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, and yesterday I finished City of Djinns by William Dalyrymple.( that was summer reading though, so does it count?). I also have to read In Cold Blood for summer homework.
  • Read the newspaper- I’ve read it a bit, maybe one article a week. But I prefer the fun ones about science or random funny news or opinions to actual things that are happening.
  • Read in Hindi- This has utterly failed. I haven’t read in Hindi at all and my skills are deteriorating (although being fully immersed for  3 days two weeks ago probably didn’t hurt) except reading quarter of a page of a Hindi Bible, which I found super difficult for some reason.

So why do I want to branch out? I could just read fluffy contemporaries and be happy. But sometimes, by branching out, you discover a new genre, or new type of book you love. I thought Jane Eyre was amazing ( although I didn’t like the ending) even though it was hard work to read and took me over a month to get through. A few years ago, I thought I only like fantasy- until I discovered dystopia. Later, I discovered contemporary and now I enjoy a lot of genres. If I had looked at, say, the People of Sparks (my first dystopia) and said ‘that sounds dumb. I’ll read Harry Potter.’ then I wouldn’t have discovered a whole genre I liked. Even if I don’t really like every genre, even if there’s a book that’s a genre I love, that doesn’t make it good. I don’t want to miss a really good book just because it’s the wrong genre. Just like ‘judging a book by it’s cover’ or a person before you really know them, choosing books for their genre is very close minded and makes it extremely easy to miss a gem. Sometimes, with non fiction or classics, it might be harder than reading something you’re used to, but it can make you wiser or see the world in a different way than if you’d stayed with your favourite genre, clinging like a stubborn blind limpet that doesn’t want to see the world.

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Did/do you have reading goals? Have you ever learned something from branching out? (and it doesn’t just have to be with books) What’s your favourite genre? Tell me!

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10 thoughts on “Reading Goals and why it’s important to branch out

  1. Awesome! I love nonfiction and am always excited to see someone else exploring the genre. If you liked Outliers, I’d recommend Dataclysm as well. It’s a fun little book about what the author learned from data on dating website, which I thought was pretty cool 🙂

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  2. I haven’t had any reading goals, but thanks for keeping us updated on yours! It’s good to say that you have been branching out, although I haven’t been doing the same much myself. I’ve been reading more adult novels, though, and that’s been an interesting experience. Also, it’s good to hear you liked Jane Eyre. I like that one. 🙂

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    1. Well I do confess I haven’t gone so far as to branch out into adult novels. Yes, I mainly liked Jane Eyre, although the age gap bothered me a little. Sometimes I prefer just to read easy books, but I do think branching out is worthwhile.

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  3. I do have a few reading goals!! I wanted to try and finish more series this year, as well as read 150 books (I finished that one…early…oops) and I’m not doing too bad with the finish-all-the-series. I’ve only got one more Heroes of Olympus and Infernal Devices books to go! YAY ME. 😄 Good on you for doing so well with your goals too…classics can be hard. I’m a wimp and haven’t even tried one since I finished school. I agree branching out can be super good for us. *nods* Although, I really don’t want to get bogged down reading books I hate, so I branch out cautiously. I decided to try more epic fantasy, which I usually love, and I’ve done a ton of hardcore ones!! So proud of me. :’) Hehehe

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    1. Yes, Cait, reading (or hearing) anything by George RR martin is a commendable achievement. Finish the Heroes of Olympus and you will have all the feels (just trust me on this, okay?) You will also want more. (Even if it’s only one chapter). I don’t know that I’ve done that well on my reading goals, but thanks for the encouragement. I have another 6 months anyway, and they weren’t numerical goals. School is very good at forcing us to branch out, I must say 🙂

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  4. I’ve got three challenges going this year. I’m almost finished with two of them (too early!) and I’m on track for the third. I guess I underestimated myself at the beginning of the year.

    I read mostly contemporary or historical fiction when I was an actual teenager, but the YA book scene wasn’t like it is today (it was mostly contemporary back then). I got into fantasy after reading Sherwood Smith’s Wren to the Rescue. Then I got started with paranormal after reading some of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’s vampire novels. Now I read in lots of different genres. My top five reads of 2015 (so far) are from different genres and reading levels.

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  5. I have like zero reading goals. I mean, I filled out the Goodreads challenge, but the truth is my school life is eating up too much time and I’d rather set writing goals and read according to time constraints. Because the book blogosphere always manages to get me excited about books anyhow, even if I don’t set goals.

    Branching out is definitely important, but equally important I think is how you choose your branching out books. I’m a fantasy reader primarily, but I did check out Unwind, an SFF book, because a friend highly recommended it, and Simon Vs, a contemporary, because I wanted to read more LGBTQIA+ books and this was praised by practically veryone. It’s important, I think, to be selective when reading out of your comfort zone so that one mediocre book won’t ruin your impression of the entire genre.

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  6. Branching out works, though. Around a year something I ago, I was strictly fantasy only. I mean something without dragons and magic and snarky wizards? I wanted to stay and reread a book rather than take the risk of reading a new one (especially since book slumps, which are the worst *shudders*) I don’t know what happened, because now I’m into YA contemporary and dystopia and books about children with illnesses and classics and God knows what 😄

    So branching out is cool, sure enough you might come across a book you don’t like, butit the longer run that’s how you find some of your most favourite books 🙂

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