Blog:- Hello 2019| General Update & Bookish Goals

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Hello and welcome to a new look on Ashleigh’s Bookshelf. After a rather long hiatus, I decided the best way to get back to blogging, and excited about it, was to give the blog itself a bit of a facelift. So, here we have it. It’s purple and inspired by my tattoos in that it’s watercolour-y in theme and I hope you like it! It’s still in progress, and if you have any suggestions or feedback just drop me a message.

The reason there weren’t any posts for the last 3 or 4 months of 2018 is simple – I wasn’t reading. After a few really good months over the Summer my reading motivation just slumped, my reading consisted of Harry Potter fan fiction and I’m not ashamed in the slightest. I bought a PS4 and have rediscovered a love of gaming (Tomb Raider mainly). I’ve been watching movies, drinking wine and making memories with friends. For me, the last few months of 2018 were some of the happiest I’ve had, and before I knew it it’d been 3 months and I hadn’t picked up a book.

Looking back on my reading in 2018 one of the things which I found most rewarding was reading the Wellcome prize longlist – something I hope to do again this year. The longlist is released next month and I actually can’t wait! I’m going to be more about balance this year, as I feel that it’s something I almost conquered towards the end of 2018 and that I want to carry forward. I’ve decided to be less about quantity of books and more about quality and the value they add to my life, so my goals for this year are:-

  • Read one book a week
  • Read more non-fiction
  • If you don’t like it, DNF it.

And reading is going to naturally take a backseat when I’m focusing my time on other things too. For a long while all of my free time was used reading, but I’m enjoying having that variety in my free time and it means I’m enjoying and appreciating things more!

As for the blog – reviews will happen when books are read, I may also do monthly updates again- games I’m playing and movies I’ve watched as well as books.

But for now, I will say goodbye and we shall speak soon!

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5 Reading Goals for 2016 || Blogmas Day 13

In August 2014 I set myself a list of goals to work towards – they were all casual goals that didn’t really have any time limit on them, but were more personal goals I wanted to achieve with my reading. The full post can be found here but the main goals were set monthly TBRs, read more classics, read more diversely, rejoin a book club and for a lot of them I succeeded. I just feel that 18 months on I should set myself some new reading goals for the year ahead!

  1. Read 52 Books – I’m going to lower my goodreads reading goal this coming year. Between my final semester at university and planning to start teacher training in September, I want to just aim to read a book a week. I’ll have time in the Summer to read as much as I want (I hope!) but I’m a girl who likes to meet targets so in setting the goal lower, I’m more likely to hit it!
  2. Read More Classics – I’ve been really hitting this one but I want to explore classics further and challenge myself more. My classics collection has grown exponentially over the last year and I really want to just get through them. I’m wanting to read more Dickens, finish Charlotte Bronte’s bibliography… heck, I’d actually like to read War and Peace next year!
  3. TBRs – Aiming for one book a week, I do want to continue with a monthly TBR for at least the near future. I will be posting, in the near future, a list of 12 books I want to read in 2016 and will aim to read one of them a month but I realise that if my reading drops significantly if I start teaching then a monthly TBR isn’t really practical, a TBR with one book on it is pretty dull!
  4. Read More Non-Fiction – I’ve really enjoyed non-fiction this year and really want to continue reading more of it, or rather listening to it. Audiobooks I’ve found are incredible for non-fiction!
  5. Actually Join a Book Club – I still haven’t joined a real book club. I really need to do this. Graduating in the Summer I’m going to need something to fulfil my social needs and I want to find a good book club! It’s just finding the confidence to do that which is proving difficult!

So there you have it, five goals for 2016 reading. I’m not being nearly as ambitious as I usually am but if I give myself targets, I always want to exceed them so in setting reasonable goals, whatever I achieve above them I will be pleased with! Do you set yourself reading goals? If you do are they monthly or yearly?

Reading Goals 2015

Happy New Year!

So, in August I wrote a post listing my reading resolutions and now we’re 4 months on and it’s the start of a new year I felt it was a good time to go through the list and see where we’re at! (Original post here)

I think it’s safe to say that I’m plodding along at all the goals quite well. A monthly TBR has worked wonders for me, classics are still my favourite genre of literature and the goal of reading Austen and Dickens is progressing (slowly, but it is). Revisiting school books hasn’t gone as well as planned, I’ve read one book by John Steinbeck and that’s pretty much it; I will endeavour to read more in this category this year but I don’t think it’s nearly as important! Point 7 fits in more snugly here and I’ve managed to read a few non-fiction books though maybe not of the genre I was expecting! I really enjoy a non-fiction book so I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for another one to read soon!

Readalongs/readathons/book clubs – this covers point 4 and 5. I’ve not had a chance to participate in a readalong since August but I’m keeping my eye out for one that ticks my boxes so watch this space! I’ve rejoined the book club I mentioned in the original post and I’m planning to join a local ‘meet in actual person’ book club at some point too!

It’s also safe to say that point 6 has been a success as I’ve reviewed every book read from September and I’m going to continue on with that!

On to 2015; adding on to my resolutions is reading more diversely. This year I’m going to try to read at least 1 book a month by a person of colour; it’s not really much in the grand scheme of things, I know, but it is a start. I did a post recently about diversity in reading and it really shocked me when I added up my numbers so I’m going to do something about that.

Also, I set my goodreads challenge at 75 books this year. I managed 63 last year but having only read 17 of those in the first half of the year and 7 of those were a reread of Harry Potter (which hardly counts when you’ve read it more times than you can remember) I feel that 75 is most definitely doable now I seem to have a routine down with balancing uni and reading! An unsaid goal though is I want to try and limit my rereading; last year most of my reading was re-reads simply because I could get through them quicker and they were more comforting when I was stressed. However, while I love re-reading there are so many books that I want to experience that it seems a waste of time to be rereading. That isn’t to say I’ll not re-read whatsoever, there are a couple of books I do want to revisit and I’m sure that I’ll want to pick up books like The Secret Garden and Ballet Shoes again because I do just adore reading them on a cold afternoon!

So, there will be a January TBR post up soon along with a 10 books to read 2015 post. I’m going to try and put more ‘interlude’ posts up to break up reviews this year as I think it can get clogged up. So expect a haul and maybe a few more ‘life’ posts over the next few weeks!

Have a wonderful 2015!

Reading Resolutions 2014/15

So, as I work on an academic timetable/year I’m starting my reading resolutions from September 1st. One, I’m more likely to stick to them and two, I’m determined to not let reading fall behind this coming year at uni. For most people, these probably aren’t all that ambitious, but when I only read about 12 books through 8 months at uni I feel I ought to try and do at least something.

  1. Do a monthly TBR – I think this is doable, I can base the next month on the previous month and it will also focus my reading a little more. There’ll not be any indecisiveness over which book to pick next, which I think will help a lot.
  2. Read ONE Penguin English Library classic a month (or any variation thereof, including my other pretty Penguin editions) – I love classics and I read so very few now. I’ve got several on my shelf, and a couple I plan on investing in so I want to set a goal to read them and not allow them to stagnate! There are a couple of sub-goals:
    1. Persevere with Jane Austen – This is a goal for the long term. I want to revisit Jane Austen. I think this time I may try and watch the adaptations first to get a better grasp on the story as a whole before throwing myself in to the books. I didn’t enjoy them while I was at school and even now I don’t enjoy them as such. The only Austen I have enjoyed was Persausion – but I saw the movie first!
    2. Start reading Dickens – I can shamefully announce I have read only A Christmas Carol. Nothing else. This is something I want to try again. I’m going to aim for 3 in the next year! Maybe as with the Austen plan, I shall watch adaptations first!
  3. Revisit books from school – and just authors that I explored at school; I’m not going to aim too high over the next year
    1. Shakespeare – I’d like to get back in to Shakespeare, MacBeth is one of my favourite plays and I just love Shakespeare so I’m going to aim to read 2 or 3 of his plays.
    2. John Steinbeck – I really enjoyed Of Mice and Men and I’ve heard great things from many people about his other works. Hoping to read East of Eden and maybe Grapes of Wrath.
    3. George Orwell – I read an extract of Animal Farm. Not even the whole novel.  My sister adores Orwell so I’m wanting to read at least Animal Farm and 1984.
  4. Participate in readalongs & readathons – This is quite a new concept for me, but I’m going to try it out as I really enjoyed the Classical Literature Readalong this August!
  5. Read as many book club books as I can – I’m part of a book club and hardly ever read the books. This has to change! I’ve bought Septembers book for my kindle to take on holiday with me, and I am going to read it. A post about this book club will follow mid-month as it’s more than just a reading group! A year-long read-a-thon/challenge is going on again this year starting on September 1st so I’m going to be making a post about that at some point!
  6. Review – I’ve really enjoyed reviewing books this summer, I want to keep on top of that! So I’m going to aim to write one or two long reviews a month and then anything more is a bonus. I’ll endeavour to write at least 250 words for every book I read though and maybe put them in a monthly overview around the end of the month.
  7. Non-Fiction – I’m going to aim for at least 6 non-fiction books this year – cover to cover opposed to just the suggested chapter of my textbook. I do love a good popular science book or a biography so I’m going to aim for more!

I think that’s everything for now! If anyone wants to suggest books to me that fit in to any of the specific categories I’ve mentioned, or wants to throw a good movie adaptation at me, please do!