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  • Writer's pictureEmily

The mid-year reading challenge check-in

Last December, I set myself what seemed like an easy challenge: each month, I'd read one book from my own shelves. I thought I'd ace this, reading extras, zipping right along- but I'm behind!

I read one book from a non-fiction shelf and another from my kids' books shelf. I finished the one book on my Jane Austen shelf that I hadn't read (Love and Friendship, a book of her juvenilia).

I got a bit stuck on my April book. I chose a biography of Shakespeare (Will in the World). This was a month when I really thought that I'd read an extra book; I've had Hamnet on my shelf since I got a galley at a library conference two years ago. I've been saving it because I didn't want to read a plague book during a plague. (Also why I'm holding off re-reading Station 11.)

But, two months later, I'm still reading that Shakespeare book! Sometimes I leave it at work for my lunchtime book, and sometimes I take it home for my reading-before-sleep book. It really is interesting, but I just peck at it. I am determined to finish it before the end of the month, and I am down to the last forty pages or so; if I just get through the next week without any bad headaches or other time-suckers, I can do it.

I chose a book from my poetry shelf for May knowing that I wouldn't finish it. I have a book of Sylvia Plath (Sylvia Plath: The Collected Poems) that I read one or two poems at a time. I usually read them twice through. So, I don't feel bad about this one; I just want to finish by the end of the year.

And nearly at the end of June, I haven't taken down a book for the month. I'm on my knitting books shelf, and I have four or five that I've picked up at used book sales and really want to read. Another month, I'll have to double up.

For the second half of the year, I'll have much easier shelves. I have three shelves with contemporary fiction. One shelf is for Christmas and Halloween books, and there's only one scary novel on there. I'll definitely take care of that in October. There are a couple of shelves of classic literature that may take longer, but if I can be a bit more disciplined about not checking out ten books at a time from the library, I can read some of my own.

Part of the reasoning behind this challenge was that I might take off some books that I don't like, but the first one has sentimental attachment, the third one is a Jane Austen, I'll probably want to keep the Shakespeare bio, ditto the Plath. I did get rid of the YA that I read in February because it was a very beat-up copy that I weeded from a library where I used to work. It had a years-long reprieve from the recycling bin. So, I'm not making any room at all on my shelves so far. Oh, well!

I don't think I've bought more than ten books so far this year, which is real restraint for me.

If anyone else has a reading challenge they're working on, I'd love to hear about it. :)

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