Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Salon: No More Excuses

As I sat here thinking of what to write about, asking my husband for suggestions, he came up with the idea of distractions. I told him that's all I've been talking about for awhile now in one way or another. I don't seem to be reading nearly as much as I would like this year. Other things have been getting in the way. There are books I've committed to reading for which I am sure the authors and publicists have given up on me ever getting around to (it must be said that I still intend to keep my commitments, however belated I may be). I am much more aware of my limits than I was at the beginning of the year and have adjusted accordingly. More or less.

I wish I had one of those day jobs in which I could spend my time reading. That isn't possible. Not being much of a morning person, waking up earlier than I already do to read isn't really an option, especially considering how early I have to get up as it is. I fit in reading before bedtime, during my lunch break, on the weekends when I can, and whenever those other little but not-so-regular moments occur like waiting in line or for an appointment. And that doesn't ever seem like enough.

When it really gets down to it though, while I am reading less than I have in years past, I am not reading a whole lot less. Just a little less. When did it start to matter so much how much--or how little--I read? And why do I feel the need to make excuses? None of this mattered before I became involved with other readers online, through book groups and in the blogosphere. I suddenly feel like I need to keep up, and, when I don't, I feel like I have failed somehow. In truth, I haven't; not at all. There are actually many other bloggers just like me, who are lucky to read one book a week, if that. Some even less. We are no less readers than those who read hundreds of books a year. On the other side of the coin, the majority, if not all, of the readers I know who do read a jaw dropping amount of books a year think no less of me for reading less than they do. They really don't care how much or how little I read when all is said and done. So then, why do I?

Right here and now, I am going to stop making excuses and worrying over numbers. I will read as much or as little as I want and am able. And that will be okay. Give me a few days. Isn't there some sort of research out there that says to change a habit or thought pattern, it takes time and repetition?

I have not hit a reading slump, if that is what you're thinking. I am reading. This past week I read Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris. I enjoyed visiting again with old friends. I am about half way through The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies. It is a bit slow in parts, but I continue to enjoy it overall. I have had a few reading distractions to contend with while reading it. My effort to keep my short story reading to my lunch half hour at the office did not work out so well. As I mentioned last week, I was more in the mood to read short stories than to dive back in the novel and so ended up finishing the short story collection. And then the lure of Charlaine Harris' book was too strong to resist, thanks to the help of a well-meaning but pushy friend. Now it seems I have yet another distraction.

Normally I would not start another fiction book while reading one already, but I committed myself to reading The Red Tent for a book group discussion this month. I have the worst luck with group reads, and I know better than to join in one. I really do. But every once in awhile, I have to give it another try. I enjoy the discussions that can arise from reading a book as a group. Such discussions can get me to think about a book in a different way and perhaps bring to my attention something I may have missed. For some reason though, I have a difficult time sitting down and reading a group read in time for the discussion. It doesn't matter how much I try to plan ahead. I think my brain automatically sends out signals that I have no interest in reading the book I wanted to read when I first cast my vote for it. Really though, it is not that I do not want to read the book at all, just not when I am supposed to. I don't have this problem with reading books for book tours. So, I am not really sure what the problem is.

It doesn't help that The Red Tent has been one I have put off reading, however many people praise it. If I hear one more person say "it's a great biblical story," I'll run screaming for the door. That's exactly why the book has sat on my shelf unread for so long. What makes it all the more amusing is that the book really isn't a religious book per say. Add to that the fact that I actually like reading books that have ties to religious history to some extent. Religious history fascinates me. So why my aversion to this book for so long? I am not sure I have a rational response to that question. Maybe it's the word "biblical" that often pops up in descriptions (including on the back of the book) that turns me off. Isn't it silly, the small details that can get under our skin and bother us? Or maybe it's just me. I am kind of weird that way.

I am not sure how much reading I will get done today. Anjin and I have plans to see the new Harry Potter movie this morning and that will eat up a good part of the day. I still have household chores I've put off doing long enough. I will fit a little in somehow. I always do.


An Announcement:

Just about everyone's talking about it these days. The dates have been set for this year's Book Blogger Appreciation Week. If you thought it was fun last year, be prepared for a bigger and more fun-filled week this time around. The event will run from September 14-18, 2009. Registration is free. There will be special features, giveaways, awards, and much more. Nominations currently are being accepted for book blog awards. The deadline is August 15th, so hurry on over to nominate your favorite blogs before it is too late. I had a blast last year and discovered many new and wonderful book blogs. I hope you will join in this year!


An Inquiry: I considered reaching out to individual people with this request, but not knowing who to ask and not wanting to put anyone on the spot and making him or her feel like the only answer could be yes, I decided to put it out there to you, my dear readers. I will be taking a two week leave of absence during the middle part of August and was wondering if any of you might be interested in being a guest here at Musings of a Bookish Kitty. I could go dark during that time (and then you wouldn't have so many blog posts to fall behind on), and if no one volunteers, that's certainly an option. I thought it would be more fun to hear from some of you, however. Whether you are a non-blogger looking to try your hand at writing a blog post, a blogger who would like to play in my playground for a day, an author or publicist who wants to reach out to my readers and share a little something about yourselves or whoever, please let me know. I would prefer the topics remain somewhat book-related (maybe even movies or television), but if you have another idea, let me know. You can leave a comment below or e-mail me at literaryfeline AT gmail DOT com if interested. Thank you.


In Reading Mews:

Book reviews posted this past week:
Sookie Stackhouse: Five Years of Memories
Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris (& Sook Stackhouse Challenge Wrap Up)
Short Story Saturday: "Rat Beach" by William Styron


Currently Reading:
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant


New Additions to my TBR collection:
Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter by Darwin Cooke (This is a graphic novel that my husband actually bought for his collection this past Wednesday. It is now on my TBR pile. I almost stole it from him before he'd finished reading it.)
Sophie's Choice by William Styron (How could I not add this book to my collection after reading Styron's short story this past week?)
Testimony by Anita Shreve (Many thanks to Wisteria of Bookworm's Dinner for this one!)
God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation by Joseph Sebarenzi with Laura Mullane (ARC from Atria Books with Simon and Schuster)


Other Posts of Interest This Week:
A Page in the Life with Kristie from Kristie Love Books
Wordless Wednesday: Pitstop at USAF (Part 6)
TGIF: Appearances Aren't Everything, the TBR Room, Friday Fill-Ins

(Many thanks to Florinda of The 3 R's: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness for allowing me to copy her status report idea. And an added thank you to Anya who helped my husband and I come up with the title of my status review report.)


© 2009, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.
If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

50 comments:

  1. Good for you Wendy! You're right the numbers don't matter and nobody else out here in the blogosphere is worrying about how many books you're reading. We are just thrilled whenever you have a review for us!

    But I think all of us go through the same thing. I know I do. I'm kind of an inbetweeny. I don't read hundreds of books but I do read over a hundred and I look at the guys who read way over 200 and think how can they do it. My reading is down this summer. My numbers are down from earlier in the year. I feel like I'm not reading enough. I have review books whose pub date has come and gone months ago. I'll get to them ... eventually. I really will. I'm not complaining mind you. I love my reading! but those darn numbers .....

    So I say, you go girl! Stop worrying about numbers. Enjoy yourself. Read for fun and maybe some of your attitude will rub off on others of us who need to take your advice too.

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  2. I just finished the Welsh Girl and I understand what you mean by the slowness in the beginning. I had to read the book for book club, so I kept plugging away at it and finished it just in time. It is a beautifully descriptive book and the ending does make up for some of the slow plot so I encourage you to keep reading!

    I also understand your hestiating with The Red Tent. My book club read this before I was a member and they always tell me that I have to read it. I have borrowed it from the library before but never read a page. I guess you could say I got distracted -- there were so many other books that were calling me to be read at that time. I keep telling myself that I will read it someday. I just couldn't tell you when someday will be.

    Have a great Sunday!

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  3. I was really careful at the beginning of the year not to overcommit, but I'm sort of losing control. Oh well. You know, you may feel you aren't reading much, but even though I'm not keeping specific track of you, it seems like you read plenty. I think the most important thing is that you read and you enjoy it, and not feel pressured. I need to take my own advice, though, because I start to get twitchy and depressed if I slow down!

    I would love to help you out while you are gone. I can loan you a book review, if you like! I did something like this when I was in Poland. I pre-posted everything. I used some book reviews from other people to ease the burden a bit. I also got the Monday Movie Memes early from the the Bumbles, and did those in advance. Just let me know what you need!

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  4. Wendy... I'd be happy to pitch in and do a guest post for your absence. ABSOLUTELY would love to!

    You know, I love your blog no matter how much you do or don't read! Love it!

    Sheri
    A Novel Menagerie

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  5. So many wonderful books to read & review! I also have gotten a bit carried away, but I guess the point is to get back to enjoying your books again and shake off the pressure! Easy to say, Hard to do because we feel a certain obligation to our readers and a BIG obligation to the pub. who sent you the book! I'm right there with you! And I enjoy your blog! And loved your post today! Maybe we should all form the one book a year book club and when we read much more than that we'll feel extremely accomplished! lol!

    Suzanne

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  6. I could relate to nearly everything you said in this post! I finish far fewer books than most people. No big deal, right? So why do I for some reason feel guilty about that? So dumb. I know my blogging friends don't care if I only finish a book a week, so why do I feel like I'm letting people down? Again, just silly on my part. And I really have been trying to remind myself of that.

    That said, I still wish I had more time for reading. Well, at least for "me" reading. I think that is my biggest problem--I have to spend sooooo much time reading in making homeschooling plans that there's little time left to just read purely for fun. And of course, it's partly just my mindset, the "must read" thing. Because I honestly enjoy nearly everything I read for homeschooling anyway.

    And by the way, you will be very much missed when you head out on vacation! But I sure hope you have a good time!

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  7. I have been slacking in July. I simply am not reading as much I want to. I think I have only read 5 books till date. My goal is 13 books a month! However, I have been writing a lot of poetry. So I don't really feel guilty.

    And yes, I would like to do a guest post for you. Any specific topic or do I get to choose what I write?

    For example, I can write about my poetry or any Indian festival/customs and lot more.

    gautami.tripathy[at]gmail.com

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  8. I love your easy-going style of writing and all your honest and personal comments. You always bring up good points and leave me with something to think about.

    Thanks for this great blog and enjoy your time away!

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  9. I know what you mean about feeling the pressure to keep up with everyone else! Good for you to remind yourself it's not necessary.

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  10. So well said! I feel exactly that way myself, I usually get about two books read a week. It is mount TBR that makes me feel guilty. I need to learn to say no more!

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  11. I understand what you've said. If reading turned into pressure to compete, I'd find a new hobby. I'm out to enjoy.

    I'm hoping you have a nice vacation--going someplace special? Have fun.

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  12. We've been revamping the DIVA show, so my reading feels like it has slowed to a snail's pace. Like you, it's not a slump at all, just other things I need to get done. I hate when that happens! :-)

    I think a lot of us obsess on numbers, me included. And you're exactly right, no one is judging who reads more or less, so why do we worry? Human nature, I suppose, since so many of us do it.

    Lezlie

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  13. I think I average about five books a month, which is one a week- and I hope no one judges me for that! I looks at bloggers who read over a hundred a year and think: how do they do that? I wish I could spend more time reading, but there's so much else to do. (I fill in the gaps between newly-read books by writing reviews about books I read before I started blogging, so it might look like I read way more than I actually do!)

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  14. Hooray for not worrying about the numbers. The important part is that you enjoy reading and that you read what and when you want to. There's no need to 'keep up'. Nobody here cares about the numbers - we just like to hear what you have to say :).

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  15. Good for you for not worrying about your numbers. Sometimes I worry a little, but then I just remind myself that reading is fun. Of course I miss it when I don't get to read that much, but life does have a way of popping up and taking away time. Sometimes I get a little jealous at those who read 100s for books each year, but I am really more jealous of having all of that time to read.

    Have a great two week vacation! We will miss you! I hope you enjoy Harry Potter. This is yet another series/movie that everyone loves but I just can't get into. Sometimes I feel guilty about that, but just remind myself that reading is supposed to be fun and it wouldn't be much fun if I was spending time reading/watching something that didn't interest me.

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  16. When reading becomes more like work than fun then we all need to take a step back and reaccess what we really want. The only time I stress is when I look at how many books I check out from the library and that I only complete 50% of them. I'm working on that though. As long as you're enjoying your reads numbers don't count...only what you take from each experience. We're just some of the lucky ones who get to share that with you when you write on your blog! Have a relaxing and fun Sunday!

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  17. You're right - you're reading for pleasure, not competition. I'm amazed at how some bloggers seem to do so much. We each need to do what works for us.

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  18. I've felt the same way about my reading this year. I'm reading a fair bit, and I've had a pretty enjoyable year, but I'm not getting through as many books and it's starting to frustrate me. I feel like I need to read more, more, more to keep up with everyone else in the blogging community. I keep on telling myself that it's not a competition, and my comparatively slow reading speed is just fine, but I haven't quite managed to convince myself yet.

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  19. Wendy, I wouldn't worry about the numbers. You know that really isn't what it should be about. Reading is supposed to be fun. I find myself getting caught up in it all too but most of the time I enjoy putting deadlines on myself. lol. I see people who are reading 20 books or more a month-I don't know how they do it. I'm happy with where I'm at. I'm still reading the same amount I used to before I began blogging and I'm ok with that. I do make a point of reviewing everything I read as well so that sets me back. Ultimately I still say do your best, read what you want and how much.

    I could have Buddy show up for a guest post on your blog with books and pictures. lol. He loves being the star of the show.

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  20. Wendy, Hooray for you! Please don't worry about the numbers, it is sad to see you being so hard on yourself!

    It is amazing to me how we all feel the need to keep up with or outdo each other. I am awed by how much others read and how many reviews they write but I'm fine with exactly what I read and write. Be kind to yourself and have a wonderful vacation. What are your plans?

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  21. I know how you feel as far as comparing yourself to other readers, and in my case the internet has a lot to do with it. I went through the same thing when I found the large community of knitting bloggers several years' ago. Seeing how many garments other knitters complete in a month definitely hurt my knitterly self-esteem for a little while. Now I am feeling the same pressure from reading book blogs. It will pass, though.

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  22. You and I are so alike, Wendy, and just not in our names and locations! I too have been reading less this year and feeling a tad guilty about it, and wondering why, etc... And, like you, I decided this week it really didn't matter. I am reading at a comfortable pace for me right now in my life. There are all kinds of other things going on and other distractions taking me away from reading, and I think that is healthy. Putting pressure on ourselves to read a certain amount I think takes away some of the pleasure...I entered fewer challenges and decided to give myself a break this year. I'm glad you are letting up the pressure on yourself too!!!!

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  23. You know, I read a ton of books, and I still feel like I'm not reading enough. Isn't that just ridiculous? I told myself that July was for slowing down and reading chunksters and more thoughtful books, but I keep feeling pressure to read more and more. If you can relax and read at your own pace, I applaud you. This definitely isn't a competition; as long as we're enjoying our reading, why should we care how many books we've completed?

    I really enjoyed The Red Tent and I'm not a huge fan of biblical fiction. It's just a great book, IMO. =)

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  24. We need to remember that we read for enjoyment, not for numbers. That said, I do know how you feel about wanting to read more like other bloggers do. Part of the problem is all the good titles that are shared. I want to read them all but I can't and so I get a bit frustrated. Before blogging we didn't hear about so many wonderful books, we read what we picked up at the library or at a bookstore and hoped it would be good. Occasionally, someone would recommend a good book but with book blogs we are inundated with hundreds of delightful sounding books. How to choose? How to read them all?

    I also buy a lot more books than I used to because of all the good reviews. Now those books are crowding my shelves and I feel a need to get to them as well as all the new ones people review. Whenever I get overhwhelmed I think about the time when people couldn't read or didn't own books or when there weren't libraries, etc. It reminds me how blessed I am to have choices and to have them so readily available.

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  25. I'm with everyone else who has commented. Don't compare yourself to other book bloggers, although it's hard to do. Read what you can, when you can. Personally, that's what I do. This week I finished one book because that's all I had time to do. Do I feel bad about it? Nope. I'm just glad to get one done.

    By the way, love your Book Blogging Cohorts list and how it scrolls. I don't have a blogroll right now because it gets so out of control. That might be a way to do it. I might e-mail you to ask how you do it.

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  26. I think I've put pressure on myself to read since I've joined the blogging community. It's really silly, because it's me doing it not someone else. I love to read but honestly I'd lose my mind if that's all I did. As for The Red Tent, I liked it, but I don't consider it a biblical story. It's fiction. I've read the bible and this story isn't in there. I read it on my own and can see where reading it with a group might get annoying. Have a great week Wendy!

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  27. A lot of what you've said here sounds very familiar to me. I think I'm actually reading a bit more this year than I did last year, but last year was pretty awful :-). I think it's true for a lot of us that we feel like we want to (need to?) keep up with other book bloggers, but I suspect that pressure doesn't come from anyone except ourselves.

    I'm actually dropping a book that I just started to re-read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. We saw the movie this morning too :-). I thought they did a good job with it, but I feel like this is the book I know the least, so I want to go back to it while the general storyline is still fresh in my mind.

    I e-mailed you about the guest-post question.

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  28. I haven't read a book this week, although I am working on three, and in my head I could be finishing them.....this is mostly due to my own goal of wanting to read 100 books this year. How do others read 150+? I know they have lives! Do they sleep? Go out? I'm like many of your commentators, I can get stressed when I see others have already read over 60 or 100 books this year and I still haven't got to 50.....then I look at this year, and all that's in my life, and I know I'm reading and having fun, and I like my own challenge.

    I also think it comes down to quality of reading. If you or me are reading so fast to get the book done, are we absorbing it? How much do we remember of the book in a month, in a year? If I read too fast, I don't remember anything about it, and that I think is a waste too, because the author did put time and effort into it, and I am giving my time of my life to read it. The least I can do is enjoy it, or put the book down. It's not a contest.

    The readers who do amaze me are those like Eva and Nymeth who read so much and have such thoughtful posts, they are like guiding lights for me!

    Another thoughtful post, Wendy, and I hope you have a fabulous two week holiday in August! though I'll miss you....

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  29. I can so relate on the reading less and letting it get to me when really it shouldn't. It's not about how many books we read or how often we read. I get discouraged that I'm not reading nearly as much as I have in years past. And yet, I'm still reading more than I did even 10 years ago. Yet, really it's not that important. We get caught up in the numbers sometimes and need to re-focus on why we read.
    I couldn't get into The Red Tent myself. Just didn't grab me. Will be interesting to hear what you think if you end up reading it.

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  30. I completely understand what you're talking about. I think it is smart that you have decided to stop worrying about the numbers. Enjoy your reading no matter how little or how much you do. We all get a little obsessed with the numbers (or at least I do) and I also feel the pressure to read and review and read and review...

    I'll be interested to see what you think about The Red Tent. My book club read it several years ago. Most in the group gave it rave reviews. For me, it wasn't anything special but I have thought I should re-read it since maybe it was just the mood I was in at the time.

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  31. I am doing much better now with my reading/request balance. I requested far too many books a few months back and I am just a couple of books away from finishing up those commitments.

    I also have to remind myself that I do this for fun and it shouldn't be stressful. I want to enjoy what I read. I'm sure you feel the same way.

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  32. I'm not doing that well for my reading this year as compared to the last, but I think as long as we take our own time and enjoy what we're reading, nothing else matters. :)

    As for the guest post, do let me know if you need anything from me. ;)

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  33. Hey Wendy....
    I so agree with you about the number of books we read and the expectations of pressure we feel.
    I always wondered and marveled at the blogger who read copious books week after week. I am not one of those bloggers. I wish I could stop my life and read all day, but is that realistic? I love to play the flute and crochet. Since I have had my blog I have not crocheted or knitted anything. How sad is that.
    I have stopped requesting books, but they still come. So, yes I also have tons of reviews to do. However, we are not being paid to produce these marvelous reviews good or bad that offer press to the author and publisher.
    We do get a free book and that is wonderful, but, at what price.

    I teach and am also taking post graduate classes. I love to read for enjoyment. That's why I started to read a book for me at the same time I am reading a "required" book.

    Any teacher will tell you that comprehension and loving what you read is the most important. When we give those two elements up for numbers ....we lose.

    I think your blog is awesome and you should be psyched that you get so many comments for your efforts. I sometimes get discouraged when I have so few comments, yet I know that I try and comment and engage with bloggers all over.

    So...great post!!! Great thoughts!!
    Take it slower and I plan to too.

    Regarding the Red Tent. I am not going to tell you it is Biblical.
    I will tell you that you and I have similar likes in books, or so I have noticed. This one has a strong heroine that is worth reading if for nothing else. Just my 2cents.
    Have a great week.....
    Don't read too much. LOL

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  34. I am just shy of a book a week for the year so far. It does bother me that I read so little, even though I know all the reasons why and they are GOOD reasons! I think it has something to do with thinking of ourselves as "readers" and when that number slumps we question it.

    I loved The Red Tent. It wasn't biblical at ALL to me. I'm pretty unreligious and don't have a great biblical history background, and don't WANT to know all that, and I still loved it.

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  35. I like keeping track of my numbers and stats, and sure I wish I could read as many books as some other bloggers, but when it comes down to it the numbers really don't matter. Reading one great book is always better than two mediocre ones. :P

    I know what you mean about "biblical" fiction. I seem to have a natural aversion to anything labeled "biblical" or even worse, "Christian" fiction too. But that said, I really did love The Red Tent when I read it. Maybe just try to think of it as historical fiction. :)

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  36. I think I've finished one book this month, lol!!!

    I liked the Red Tent, but not so much as a Biblical story...I know a lot of Christians don't like it! But more b/c it was absolutely fascinating. ;)

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  37. Isn't that numbers bit insidious? I've always had my nose buried in a book but started keeping track on an Excel sheet a few years ago and then got annoyed when my numbers are lower than - - what? I have a quota? I don't think so.

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  38. I'm one of those who like you finds her reading time when she can, and really it isn't much. I'm lucky to get a book a week and sometimes I'll read more sometimes less. Sometimes I'll go entire days without reading a word. It's a little discouraging, especially when comparing myself to other bloggers, but this year I've really been focusing on enjoying what I read instead of worrying so much about the numbers. I'm not where I want to be, but I'm OK with that. I've also been focusing on other things besides reading and that's really important to me as well. I could read more, but then I'd be giving up little pieces of life that are too precious. Anyway, all this to say, I hear ya.

    I *can't wait* to hear what you think of The Red Tent. I read it years ago and it's in that stack of books I'd like to read again. I'm not big on religion books either, although I have nothing against them. This was an interesting retelling of a story I was vaguely familiar with.

    Hope you're having a great week so far, Wendy.

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  39. No guilt reading, I say! Reading is supposed to be something we enjoy - not an obligation or something that induces guilt or anxiety. :)

    I'm curious to hear what you think of The Red Tent - I have had it on my to-read list forever and have put it off, too.

    And I would be happy to do a guest post here in August if you haven't received enough offers. My e-mail is nnjmom at yahoo dot com.

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  40. It's already July 21 and I've read only 4 books. Anxious, anxious. I don't know what happened to me but my reading has slowed down by leaps and bounds. And then your thoughtful post came along and I feel much, much better. Thanks, Wendy!

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  41. Nicola - Thank you, Nicola. The night afte I posted this, I had a dream in which a little old man was fastidiously taking notes on the number of books each blogger read and reviewed. LOL I guess it's gone to my brain in more ways than I originally thought.

    You bring up a good point. I still love reading and blogging. And that's really what is important.

    Jess - You're right, The Welsh Girl has picked up in the second half. :-)

    Sometimes we really do have to be in the right mood to read certain books, don't we?

    Sandy - I began the year with the intention of not overcommitting, but even my more careful planning hasn't proven to be enough. LOL I think I expected more of myself than I could really manage. It's that overachiever in me, you could say. :-)

    Sheri - You are so sweet, Sheri! Thank you for your kind words.

    Suzanne - Yes! I only say yes to review books that I really want to read, and even then I've been turning down books I really want to read because I know I won't get to them. And still there are so many! Haha.

    It's nice to know I am not alone in one sense, but I hate the fact that others feel the pressure too.

    I like the idea of the one book a year book club!

    Debi - It really is no big deal if we read less than others. I don't care how much you read, and you don't care how much I read. And yet we can be so hard on ourselves, can't we? We need to stop that!

    I doubt we will ever feel as if we get enough time to read (for ourselves) even if we were reading as much as we might want.

    The preparation and reading you do for homeschooling is so important. I can see how that could be time consuming. I am glad to hear you enjoy doing it too. I'm sure it comes across in your teaching, which makes it all the more better for everyone involved.

    Gautami - July has been a slow month for me too. I started out the month would good intentions, but that only gets me so far.

    You definitely shouldn't feel guilty if you don't reach your reading goal this month. Your poetry is important too and when the mood strikes, you have to go with it.

    I e-mailed you about the guest post. :-) Thanks for the offer.

    Linda - Thank you, Linda! That is so nice of you to say.

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  42. Stacy - It really isn't necessary. I wouldn't want anyone else to put this kind of pressure on themselves, so why do I? It's silly.

    Carey - Thank you! Yes, the ever growing TBR mountain certainly can be intimidating at times. That's why I try not to think of it in terms of how many books are in it. I know it'll only make me feel worse. LOL

    Diane - Thank goodness I haven't lost that enjoyment factor.

    Lezlie - Exactly. Sometimes other things do need to get done. While I often joke that I wish I could quit my job and read all day, I doubt I could do that. There are too many other things I'd want to do as well--and that's not including the stuff I'd have to do. LOL

    Jeane - I think we're hardest on ourselves.

    That's a great idea, going back and filling the gaps with older reviews. I could do that too, I suppose, especially since I've already got the reviews written. My review quality was so poor back then though. It'd be a bit embarrassing. But there I go again, being hard on myself. :-)

    Lana - Thank you. I've had such a good reading year in terms of enjoyment. I'm really grateful for that. And you're right. That's what I should be focusing on.

    Kristie - Yes, it is supposed to be fun! Our reading is something we do for pleasure, not for work.

    And you bring up a good point about being more jealous of the extra time others seem to have to read rather than the numbers.

    And don't feel guilty about not caring to read (or watch) Harry Potter. As you said, your reading is meant to be fun and you shouldn't force yourself to read something you aren't interested in. There's plenty of other options to choose from. :-)

    Staci - Fortunately my reading has yet to feel like work. Sometimes the review writing starts out as a chore, but it is still fun and I enjoy it once I get over that initial start-up issue.

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  43. Kathy - Very true! "We each need to do what works for us." I like that. :-)

    Memory - It's hard isn't it? We don't mean to feel that way--we even know we shouldn't--and yet we do.

    Dar - Deadlines can be good, I think, at least for me. It helps keep me focused and I find the challenge of meeting them to be fun--at least most of the time. I'm not sure why group reads seem not to have the same effect on me. It's the mystery of the month. :-)

    And I agree, I should focus on reading what I want rather than about how much.

    Gavin - Thank you! You are definitely right, I need to ease up on myself, especially since reading is something I do for fun, not to earn a paycheck.

    Dani - For me, it seems to come and go. I just need to find my comfort spot and stick to it. :-) It's nice to know I'm not the only one who has struggled with this feeling.

    Wendy - It doesn't matter, especially if we are enjoying our reading. As you suggested, balance is important.

    I've already decided that I won't be joining as many challenges this next year. And I long ago gave myself permission to not worry if I don't finish a challenge I'm in this year.

    Meghan - We'll see how long my new resolve lasts. LOL Seriously though, I do hope that I will continue to stay focused on what really matters, that I am enjoying what I am reading and getting what I want out of it.

    Thanks for your thoughts on The Red Tent. It helps to have a little reassurance! :-)

    Booklogged - You raise a really good point. The number of books we are being introduced to--the rapidly growing rate of our wishlists--plays into wishing we could read more and not feeling like we are reading fast enough.

    I'm right there with you on buying books. My unread book collection is huge--and sometimes feels overwhelming. In those moments, I like to think of how lucky I am to have such variety and to not have to worry about what to read, no deadlines to worry about in regards to returning books . . .

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  44. ReadingFool - That's a great attitude--and hopefully one I will be able to stick with as well. No, strike that. One that I will stick to from now on.

    I would be happy to share the scrolling code with you if you want it. Melody from Melody's Reading Corner was the one who gave it to me. It's sure a space saver.

    Kristy - Finding that good balance is important. As you suggested, we can't read all the time.

    Thank you for your thoughts on The Red Tent! I haven't made too much progress in it yet as I've been focusing mostly on The Welsh Girl.

    Florinda - I think that year I read over 100 books raised my expectations unreasonably and I've been disappointed that I haven't been able to reach that again. But that was an exception--not the norm, and I think I've finally gotten that through my thick skull.

    I almost wanted to pick up the final book in the Harry Potter series after seeing the movie this weekend. I told my husband I wanted to know what happens next and he gave me a funny look. Yeah, I already know, but the details are a bit fuzzy. :-)

    I definitely want to go back and re-read all the books again. Whether I do that before the final two movies come out, is a different matter. I am gld you enjoyed the movie!

    Susan - I feel like I get nowhere when I am juggling more than one or two books at once. I think it's partly because finding time to read isn't always easy for me.

    I do wonder if people who read hudreds of books sleep or go out. LOL I've discovered that some are skimmers, which explains a lot. I am definitely not a skimmer.

    Which fits in with your point about quality of reading--definitely a good point!

    Yes, Eva and Nymeth get so much of their reading. I really enjoy their reviews.

    Debi (Twiga) - I think that's been an issue for me too. Like I mentioned to Florinda, that one year when I read over 100 books, has only added to the pressure I was putting on myself. I did it once, why can't I do it again? When it truth, that year I was reading slightly different types of books and my life circumstances were different. It was a fluke. Not the norm.

    I'm sorry you couldn't get into The Red Tent. It's good to know though. It takes the pressure off me if I don't especially love it. :-) We'll see how I do with it.

    Kathleen - It has been a load off my shoulders to let go of the idea that I'm somehow inadequate as a reader because I don't read more. And all these supportive comments have helped too. :-)

    I'll definitely let you know what I think of The Red Tent when I read it.

    Ti - You are doing good! Maybe you can rub some of that off on me. LOL

    And you're right. We do this for fun and it really shouldn't be stressful.

    Melody - So true, Melody! And I am enjoying what I'm reading, which is the important thing. :-)

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  45. I've been reading, but having trouble getting the amount of time I want to read. No slump, just busy both at work and at home with not enough hours in the day. It was bugging me for a while, but then I realized that hey - I'm enjoying myself with how I spend my time and reading is not a race nor a competition.

    So . . .

    A: good for you for realizing that it's not about the number of books or challenges, it's about reading what you enjoy and enjoying what you read.

    B: I hated The Red Tent.

    C: Guest post?? Bwah Ha Ha - I have enough trouble getting post posted on my own blog ;-)

    Relax, enjoy and hope your two week respite is for fun and relaxing reasons.

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  46. Wisteria - I often think I would like to read all day long, but as you said, that isn't very realistic. I'd probably want to do some of my other favorite activities too.

    Blogging has cut into a lot of my other hobbies as well. I hardly write letters anymore, if at all. I sometimes miss that.

    You raise a good point about review books. The books themselves may be free, but it does cost us. The time we put into reading the book, writing the review, and formatting and posting it to our blog takes a lot of time and effort.

    I love what you said about comprehension and loving what you read being the most important--that is so true!

    Thank you for your kind words, Donna. I haven't always been so lucky in the comment department. You write such insightful reviews and read the most intresting books. Sometimes getting noticed takes time. And I know not everyone leaves comments despite the fact that they visit.

    Oo! You used the magic words. Strong heroine. You know how I like strong heroines. :-)

    Lisa - It's an identity crisis of sorts.

    I am glad to hear you liked The Red Tent. Hopefully I will too. :-)

    Nat - I like keeping track of my stats too, Nat. And you're right, numbers don't matter--or they shouldn't. Sometimes it is easy to forget that.

    I know what you mean about "Christian" fiction. I have read a couple of books that carry that label and enjoyed them both, one very much so that it was in my top five list. It's not a category I gravitate towards regularly--but then I can say the same about horror and science fiction. It really does come down to the book itself and whether or not I want to read it.

    Amy - We're about on the same track then! Haha!

    The Red Tent certainly sounds interesting. Hopefully I will find it just as fascinating as you did. :-)

    Carrie (Patience) - Yes, it does seem ridiculous would you think about it in terms of meeting a quota. LOL I keep track of the numbers and a bunch of other statistics. I love looking for patterns and such in my reading over the years, so I doubt I'll ever give that up, but I can see how, if used the wrong way, it only proves to add to the problem of making it solely about the numbers.

    Trish - I'm the same way, Trish. Sometimes I don't read all for days at a time. I've been really happy with my reading so far this year, even if not the numbers, and like you, that's what I am trying to focus on.

    The time period The Red Tent is set in may have something to do with my hesitation too. While like historical fiction, I've never really been drawn to that particular time period. I keep thinking of how much I enjoyed Nefertiti though, which has helped spur me on some.

    Carrie (B&M) - Yes! No guilt reading. I have enough anxiety-producing stuff going on in my life. I don't need to add the pleasures in my life to it.

    I'll definitely let you know what I think of The Red Tent. :-)

    Alice - I was going to say that I wish I had read so many so far this month, but that would go against my new resolve, wouldn't it? LOL

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  47. Suzi - If we had more hours in the day . . . Just not for work. I think I work enough hours. LOL

    I'm sorry to hear you didn't like The Red Tent. I'm not far enough in it yet to really say what I think.

    Haha! I know what you mean about doing a guest post. :-) I was asked to do one recently for an author and that was the first thought that ran through my head.

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  48. "Really though, it is not that I do not want to read the book at all, just not when I am supposed to." You know, I do this same thing and I haven't figured it out yet either! I hope I'm not just being contrary when I do this. I'm guessing it goes back to my college days when I had to read to a schedule and it had to be certain books (even though I really did want to read those books). Re The Red Tent ... I will be interested in what you have to say about it.

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  49. Terri - Maybe we are being contrary. LOL I do like reading books on my own time table, that's for sure. That's partly why I rebel when it comes to using the library.

    I haven't made much progress into The Red Tent yet. I do like it, but I hope it gets better. I'll say that much. :-)

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  50. It's funny I'm always so hard on myself and feel like I could always read more than I do, too. I still worry over the numbers and haven't stopped doing that yet, but I have a feeling I will starting this month, as I'll be starting a new job that will take up a lot more of my time.

    I think as long as we are enjoying reading and what we are reading, the numbers shouldn't matter, right? :-)

    BTW, hope you enjoy HP and the HBP.

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