The First 10 Books of My 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge

Reading a book is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It can transport you to a completely different time and place and let you experience things from a whole other perspective. I came to the realisation last year that I barely read for pleasure anymore, which I wasn’t particularly happy about. I was constantly reading when I was younger – to the point of bringing my book with me to the breakfast and dinner tables and eating one-handed.

I’m not entirely sure what happened to make me stop but I think it might have been, ironically, school and university that did it. I got so caught up in getting good marks in VCE in order to get into the uni course I wanted that somewhere along the line I must have figured I didn’t have time to read on the side. And then when I got into undergrad, I was working so hard to get the marks to get into Honours, and then – you guessed it – in Honours I was studying to get high enough marks to get into a Doctorate. So it wasn’t until I was in the first year of my PhD that I realised I hadn’t picked up a book just for fun in a reeeeaaaally long time. Damn education system.

Around the same time, I stumbled upon Goodreads and fell in love. I set up an account immediately and started cataloging the books I had and the books I wanted. I noticed you could set yourself a Reading Challenge and thought I may as well go ahead and do it. Apparently I wasn’t particularly confident in my ability to maintain this rediscovered passion though and set myself the oh-so lofty challenge of reading three books in the last half of 2014. I am very pleased to announce that yes, I did manage to meet this goal and, in fact, read 13 books. Go me!

This year I have branched out and set myself the challenge of reading 50 books. That’s right, 50! Five-oh. That’s essentially a book a week. I’m fairly confident I can do it but just to make sure, I thought if I wrote a blog post about it I would be less inclined to suck at it. Nothing like a bit of public pledging to motivate you.

These are the first ten books of my 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge (in no particular order):
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
Everyday Sexism – Laura Bates*
Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
Quiet – Susan Cain
Burial Rites – Hannah Kent*
Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan*
Brain on Fire – Susannah Cahalan
Yours Truly – Women of Letters (Marieka Hardy & Michaela McGuire)*
The Opposite of Loneliness – Marina Keegan
Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay

I’ve also made a teeny tiny promise to myself that I won’t buy any more books until I’ve read a good portion of the ones already on my shelves. So the general rule is: every time I finish ten books, I can then allow myself to buy a new book. Or two. Or five.

Somebody help me.

So what are your reading plans for this year? Do you have any? Are you stuck in the no-reading-rut that I was once in? You can get yourself out, I promise! Goodreads really helped me so you could create an account and be friends with me on there. Or you could, of course, just pick up a book one day and start reading again – it’s as simple as that.

Jacquie

*Reviews will be coming shortly!

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Jacquie is a 20-something maker and writer from Melbourne. She enjoys eating virtually anything that is labelled salted caramel and, contrary to popular belief, has forgotten how to ride a bike. She feels ambivalent about writing in the third person but thought it might be fun. It was.

16 comments

  1. Pia

    Seriously looking forward to the reviews there are some amazing books in that stack and some I've been wanting to read. Having an incredible library in the country town we moved to made a huge difference to my reading. I love being able to borrow instead of buy (it seemed to take the pressure off somehow?) and if i didn't get around to reading it, then I could always return and read again. I think it had to do with already bulging bookshelves and running out of space to keep more books!

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  2. Laura

    Good luck on your challenge! I had the same mentality. I didn't read a single book in the first half of last year (despite working in a library! Gasp!) because I had to read so much in my paper, but once I started reading, I miraculously found time for it. I can't wait for you to read Eleanor and Park, it's one of my favourite books. And I'm waiting for We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, to become available at the library, it's meant to be good! Looking forward to your reviews! Happy reading 🙂 (now I better get back to exam revision – thanks for the distraction!)

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  3. birdandfox

    Ohhh boy, I can totally relate to bulging bookshelves! I have had to get very creative with how I store my books – "Maybe if I stack them *this* way, it will create more space!" Libraries are great, aren't they? I haven't visited my local one in a long time but a comment on one of my Instagram photos yesterday made me think I should go and check out their sale book section! (You can see why I'm having to get creative with storage ideas, I'm sure). Thanks for stopping past, Pia – good to hear you're looking forward to the reviews! x

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  4. birdandfox

    That's the thing isn't it, Laura? Reading seems to be something that can slip out of your life pretty easily but it's also something that can be reinstated quickly once you devote some time to it.

    Eleanor & Park and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves are the ones I'm reeeally pumped to read! I've heard good things about both of them as well so fingers crossed they deliver.

    Thanks for stopping past, Laura – I hope you enjoyed the distraction! Good luck with studying.

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  5. Lila Wolff

    This is wonderful it's so easy to fall away from reading for pleasure you've found a great way to re dedicate yourself to the joy of reading! Looking forward to the reviews.

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  6. birdandfox

    Thank you, Lila! I'm very much enjoying getting back into it – it makes me really happy. Good to hear you're looking forward to the reviews! Thanks for stopping past 🙂

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  7. Jenny

    That is a great goal and I'm sure you'll love getting back into the reading habit again. I too have joined the year of Australian Writing and have read some excellent books so far. I can see you have Burial Rites on your pile-I really enjoyed that book and thought it was so cleverly researched and written. I'm not one to ask about book buying as i can't go into a bookshop without coming out with at least one new title-so I keep out of my favourite bookshop if I can!

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  8. OneSmallLife

    I'm really enjoying following your progress and picks on Goodreads! I've found it hard to read consistently since having kids, but they're getting bigger now and reading is finally finding a natural way back into my life. Love it! x

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  9. birdandfox

    Yes! A Year of Australian Writing is proving to be a lot of fun! I really loved Burial Rites, too – beautifully written and such an interesting story. Haha good to know I'm not the only one who struggles with the buying of books 😛 Thanks for stopping past, Jenny.

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  10. birdandfox

    Yay! Thanks, Kate! I love Goodreads – having a list seems to really inspire and motivate me and, of course, it's always good to see what everyone else is reading. Yay for reading time! Thanks for the comment 😀 x

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  11. Pearl - Pretty Mayhem

    I absolutely loved 'We all completely beside ourselves' and 'Eleanor and Park'. I'm currently reading Mindy Kaling's book 'Is everyone hanging out without me?' but next on my reading list is 'Mr Penumbra's 24 hours bookstore'. Looking forward to reading the reviews. x

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  12. birdandfox

    Oh excellent! I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into those two in particular. Mindy Kaling's book sounds really good. I'm keen to read Amy Poehler's book as well – both very funny ladies. Glad to hear you're looking forward to the reviews! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 x

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  13. Francine

    Your blog is so interesting and I agree with you, reading is so important and everyone should read more 🙂 Kisses from Italy!
    xx Francine

    http://www.francinesplace.blogspot.it

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  14. Clare Davis Etheridge

    Great pile of books there! I have read Mr Penumbra and We are all completely beside ourselves and Quiet are also on my list to read. Our local library is really good, but I sometimes only have two weeks to read a really popular book which I can't renew.

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  15. birdandfox

    I completely agree, Francine – reading is such a wonderful pastime. Thank you so much for your kind words and for stopping past! 🙂 x

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  16. birdandfox

    Ah yes, sometimes it can be a bit tricky to get through the book that quickly! I'm really looking forward to reading Quiet, too. I've seen Susan Cain's TED talk on the same subject and it was so fascinating – that's why I bought the book! Thanks for dropping past, Clare 🙂

    Reply

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