August Reading Audit

After reading this article about taking a closer look at what’s on our bookshelves, I decided to have a look at my own and crunch some numbers. Because, really, I can’t resist scribbling notes and coming up with stats. (Yes, I’m a nerd, are you new here?)

For context, I went into the task thinking I had:

A – a lot of books in general
B – most of my books still unread
C – most of my books (both read and unread) written by women

I should say at this point that I was looking at my physical shelves, e-reader, and audiobooks. I didn’t bother with comics or graphic novels. Fan fiction also wasn’t included at this stage.

Without going into too much detail (knowing that others don’t love stats quite as much as me) my findings were basically:

A – I don’t have as many books to read as I thought
B – I’ve already read a fair chunk of the books I do have
C – most of my books are indeed written by women, but not by a particularly high percentage

Seeing as gender representation isn’t an issue for me (Yay!), I’ll end discussion of that particular point here. Though it will be something I’ll keep an eye on, in future.

Regarding points A and B: I have approximately 100 things in my possession, either in print or online, ready to read. That includes some novel-length fanfics I’ve bookmarked but doesn’t take into consideration a bunch of free Kindle books I got once upon a time and I have no intention of ever starting.

Because of these 100 things (novels, poetry collections, audiobooks, etc), I’m going to reinstate the book-buying ban I placed on my self during the first half of the year. So, between now and Christmas, I’m going to see how low I can get that number.

Wish me luck!

Six Months of Books

Now that half the year is gone, it really is high time I got around to summarising everything I’ve been reading. I set myself the goal of fifty books this year, and I’m very pleased (not to mention surprised) that I’m well ahead of target with thirty-seven already down (74% of target, 13 books ahead of schedule).

Here is a breakdown of those thirty-seven books:

Poetry

Through a Hedge Backwards by Rene Greig, Reflections from the Enler by Alex Dempster, The Orchard by Isobel Gamble, The World’s Wife and Feminine Gospels by Carol Ann Duffy, Famous American Poems edited by Gene Baro, The Goose Tree by Moyra Donaldson, Undying by Michel Faber, Crow by Ted Hughes, and Stranger Baby by Emily Berry.

Audiobooks in the Dresden Files Series

Turn Coat, Changes, Ghost Story, Cold DaysSkin Game, and Side Jobs all by Jim Butcher.

Young Adult Novels

No Life But This and Spinning Thorns by Anna Sheehan, Terror Kid by Benjamin Zephaniah, Amoung the Ghosts by Amber Benson, Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Life and Death by Stephanie Myer, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and Inish Carraig by Jo Zebedee (audiobook)

Adult Novels

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin (audio), As You Like It by Shakespeare (audio), Where Three Roads Meet by Salley Vickers, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Non-Fiction

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (audio), The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck and Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight (audio).

Novelty/Gift Books

In the Garden of Happiness by Dodinsky, Doug the Pug by Leslie Mosier, and Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones by Bryan Cogman.

Other

The Female Line edited by Ruth Carr (poetry and short stories), and a novel-length fanfic.

*sighs a deep, contented breath* What have you guys been reading?


Want even more stats? Follow me on Goodreads here.

End of Year Reading and Writing Audit 2016

Before I let myself get too carried away with excitement for the new year, I thought I should wrap up the one that’s coming to a close. For context and comparison, here is my ‘year in review’ post from 2015.

Earlier in 2016, you might remember I carried out what I called a “literary audit.” Since then, I’ve been keeping much better track of what I write. It’s been good to look back and it certainly makes posts like this a heck of a lot easier! Anyway, without further ado…

This month I wrote 4,000 words. During the entire year, I wrote over 100,000 – can’t say exactly because, like I said, I only started taking note part way through the year (it was 95,000 words total, April – December). I do know I wrote 55,000 words of fanfic (January – December) and a hell of a lot of poetry.

December saw me devouring four audiobooks, a Kindle short, and a novel-length fanfic, leaving my books read for the year at 54 (off a goal of 45). Goodreads have laid all my stats out in a handy chart, here.

Personal Highlights for Twenty Sixteen:

Finally, 2017 Goals:

  • Get married
  • Read 50 books
  • Join the Society of Authors
  • Get a literary agent
  • and a cat
  • Take an official proofreading course

Also: In a bid to catch up on my ‘to be read’ pile, I’ve decided to not buy any new books for the first six months of 2017. I can still loan out books from the library, however, and I’m allowing myself to continue getting one audiobook a month during this time.

I am so excited for this!

NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up 2016

Four years ago, yesterday, I had the joint book launch for Still Dreaming and Wake. That was also the first year I won NaNoWriMo (and won it properly, by working on a novel and not just lots of smaller writing projects).

This November? Well… let’s just say it’s been very different, and not just with the many, many small projects, either.

Main point: I didn’t win. I got sick for three weeks and went on holiday (not in that order), but I also managed twenty-two thousand words and I’m really happy with that.

November =

  • 1 Holiday
  • 7 boxes of tissues
  • 6 blog posts (1,100 words)
  • 20 micropoems (800 words)
  • 4 bottles of cough medicine
  • 3 and half fanfics (17,000 words!)
  • numerous squares of chocolate
  • despair about a lack of client work, followed by…
  • a lot of client work
  • 3,000 words towards my novel
  • a partridge in a pear tree 

While I’m here, I should also probably get my reading update out of the way – not that there’s much to report!

Books Finished: Diary of a Wimpy Vampire by Tim Collins, A Choice of Emily Dickinson’s Verse

Books Started: White Night by Jim Butcher, No Life But This by Anna Sheehan, one fanfic novel

Books Bought: The Female Line: Northern Irish Women Writers

(Okay, so that was a little more than I actually remembered. Go me!)

How was your November?

Reading and Writing in October

2016-reading-challengeI’ve been quite busy, this month, but the main thing to report is that I completed my 2016 Goodreads Reading Goal. That’s a total of forty-five out of forty-five books read, several weeks early.

Books Completed in October:

Words Written in October: 12,000

  • 5,500 words of Novel Work
  • 3,500 words of Fan Fiction
  • 1,300 words of Poetry
  • Piece of Flash Fiction (1,000 words)
  • 2 Blog Posts (700 words, combined)

An Epic Month for Books! (Reading Wrap-Up Sept. ’16)

Stack of Recently Acquired Books
Stack of Recently Acquired Books

After a couple of months of not reading much, September had me flying through books (at least, by my standards). I completed eight things – count ’em, eight!

Current Tally: 39 books read out of 45

Currently Reading: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and Summer Days, Summer Nights: Twelve Summer Romances edited by Stephanie Perkins.


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A Seasonal Summary

At the launch of the Bangor Poetry CompetitionFirst years at university often fall foul to what’s called ‘fresher’s flu’ – a really bad cold resulting from coming into contact with so many new people and their accompanying germs.

I managed to attain this affliction for three years running. (Thanks, immune system!)

This September, I seem to have defied the odds once more. The cold that seemed to have vanished at the end of August, returned during the night last night. Maybe it’s only fitting, seeing as I’m due to start a poetry course this semester. Or maybe it’s because I’ve been really busy, meeting a lot of (wonderful) people.

Last night I was at the launch of The Fourth Annual Bangor Poetry Competition, and the night before that I coordinated my second Women Aloud & FSNI Poetry Recital.

In five months – to this day, exactly – I’m getting married.

…needless to say, things are crazy, and exciting, and amazing, and scary cool!

The season has changed, and I’m trying to set myself up to make this new one a good one, knowing that good things are coming at its end.

Going forward, I’m once more gonna try and implement a weekly work schedule in which I spend two complete days a week writing for myself, completely disconnected from the internet and phone.

But before all that, let me catch you up on last month…

Last month, I finished reading To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han, I read Belonging to Myself (a poetry collection) by Jenny Cleland, Why I Write by George Orwell (review here), and I listened to Summer Knight (fourth book in the Dresden Files series) by Jim Butcher. As such, I’m 31 books into my 45-book goal for the year.

What I wrote during August? A bunch of blog posts, a piece of flash fiction, notes for a novel I have on the backburner, five poems, and two pieces of fan fiction. Total words: just over four thousand.


Read about my recent client work over on my work blog.

Reading Wrap-Up – July 2016

mini book haulThis month, I finished reading The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer (which I had started last month), I read A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan cover to cover, I listened to the third audiobook in the Dresden Files series: Grave Peril, and I started reading To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han, which I’m currently about 60 pages into.

Books I bought this month were Spinning Thorns by Anna Shehan, Room by Emma Donoghue, and Why I Write by George Orwell.

Goodreads Goal Update: 27 out of 45 books read (60%) – 1 book ahead of schedule.


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Lots of Library Books (Reading Wrap-Up – June 2016)

Library Book HaulWhile volunteering for Write Club*, recently, I picked up and read a copy of The Pencil – an award-winning children’s picture book. 

This month, I also delved into Goose Eggs and Hoover Bags by Dawn Cairns (review here), and got back into using my local library, where I picked up Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer, and To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han. Of those, I read the first two, and have started the third.

Also, I bought a Kindle version of Black Rainbow, and a paperback copy of The Stars beside the Sun – a poetry book by Samuel McConnell. Knowing Samuel personally, I’ve read his other poetry collection – By the Roadside – already.

Goodreads Goal Update: 24 out of 45 books read (53%) – 2 books ahead of target.


*Part of the volunteering I do for Fighting Words Belfast.

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Reading More Diversely

WNDB_ButtonI’ve heard the phrase “we need diverse books” batted around for a couple of years, now. And I’ve always agreed, always shared tweets and statuses that said as much, with great enthusiasm. But, well, that was kind of it. I thought it was the place of publishers to see what people wanted and to respond, but now I know that there needs to be more. I, personally, feel compelled to do something – to take action instead of saying words. But where do I begin? I asked myself. And the answer is that you can only really start from where you’re already at. For me, that place was YouTube.

I watch a lot of ‘BookTubers’ – that is, people who make videos specifically about books for YouTube – and so I began by looking through recommendation videos, trying to find out who the people I follow, follow. That introduced me to a few new faces, but it still didn’t feel enough. I did a search for diverse booktubers, and came up with some more. Subscribed to those, and watched their videos; had a look at what they were reading and recommending, and now I have more diverse list of voices that I’m listening to, as well as a list of books by black, LGBTQ+, and disabled authors to check out.

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