Tuesday, 18 December 2018

2019 here we come - ready or not!

I mean really!
Where did 2018 go?

In some ways this has been a hard slog of a year. Personal challenges abounded, lots of change and compromise at every turn and a very hectic schedule. I'm pretty tired and run-down right now.

The thing that keeps me going though, through good times and bad, are my good friends, books. When all else fails, there's a book waiting to be discovered or an old friend waiting to be reread.

I'm starting to see posts about reading challenges for next year as well as the 2018 in review posts, but it was Fanda's recent post that got me motivated to write something myself. Next year, Fanda is embarking on a no plan reading year. I heartily support this!

I've been a no challenge blog for two years now and feel so much freer for it. As much as I loved the community chatter and discussion that surrounds the making of new year reading plans, I never, ever followed through all the way to the end of the year.

In the end they became another thing I HAD to do. They began to feel like a chore.

But I do love this book blogging community and I do love a readalong. And that is where my focus no lies. Because I have no reading challenges to get through by the end of the year I can join in or even create random readalongs at short notice. Just for fun!


Fanda reminded me that I had proposed a Moby Dick readalong for 2019 and that is still in the works. It will probably be February before I get it up and running, but I would like to combine reading a chapter of the book with listening to a chapter of the Moby Dick Big Read podcast. At the moment my brain is only coming up with rude hashtags for the readalong, so I welcome your thoughts!

I still have two more Iris Murdoch books ready to go for Lizzy's #IMreadalong in 2019 (The Sea, The Sea and The Book and the Brotherhood) and I always look forward to Fanda's Zoladdiction in April.
Reading an Austen in August is now a lovely habit and something to look forward to rather than a challenge and I will always read three or four classics a year thanks to the Classics Club Spin.

The closest I will come to a reading challenge is this lovely Agatha Christie one that I spotted recently, hosted by Robin @Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks. I have caught up on all my cosy crime series, so some Agatha Christie's will be my stop gap measure until Jacqueline Winspear and Sulari Gentill write their next books.

There may or may not be some kind of combined Classics Club and Rachel @Hibernator's Library Shakespeare readalong to look forward to in 2019 as well.


My TBR pile is a constant, threatening to topple over and smother me in my sleep at any time! I don't/can't/won't keep track of how many of them I'm reading each month or over the year, but I love any prompt that helps me to read another one.


Well, yes. 
I love the Dewey 24 hr Readathon - I will attempt as many as they dare to host! The next one is due for 6th April 2019.

Special Events:

Thanks to my on-going editor's position at the Australian Women Writers Challenge (as well as my job in an Indie bookshop), I will always be lookin for a chance to read more Australian authors. If you're keen to read more Aussie books yourself, feel free to browse our database or join in the yearly challenge to be posted soon.

Paris in July and Non-Fiction November are the other two big book blogging events I look forward to every year as well. They do nothing to help my expanding TBR pile, but they're such a lovely social gathering I cannot resist.

I will also join in Shelia's annual First Book of the Year meme.

Currently Reading:

I'm in the middle of both the Michelle Obama memoir, Becoming and Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales. I'm loving both for their positive attitudes and hopefulness.

My summer holiday reading stack includes Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton (my next book club book) and my CC Spin book, John Matteson's bio on Louisa May Alcott and her father, Bronson, Eden's Outcasts. My stand by book is Bridge of Clay by Marcus Zusak and the little light relief option is A Maigret Christmas by Georges Simenon.

Finally, a blogging curiosity.

Last week, the Google doodle was in honour of Nobel prize winning poet, Nelly Sachs. Two years ago I wrote a post about Nelly, including some of her poems in translation.

Last week my stats went wild.
My Nelly Sachs post suddenly appeared in my 'popular post' sidebar at #3 with a whopping 1298 views in just 24 hours. So thank you to Google and German/Finnish artist, Daniel Stolle for highlighting a little known, mostly forgotten award winning female poet.

Good luck with your 2019 reading plans, whichever way they work for you and please let me know below if you'd be interested in joining in a Moby Dick readalong early next year.


  1. I try not to do too many challenges because I tend not to follow through, as well. I do set a Goodreads goal of 52 books and that lended well to the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge.

    Have a wonderful, reading filled 2019!

    1. I went through a phase and signed up for numerous challenges. I loved going through my TBR pile & seeing what I could make fit into each particular challenge. And for that reason the challenges are a good thing - they bring things from the bottom of the pile back into the limelight & give me an excuse to bring them to the top. But the stress of following through was too much in the end. My day job means that I need to read lots of current new releases & I can only fit so many books in, in one year!

      My Goodreads target this year was 110 books, but I also count the extra special picture books I read at work as well as the junior fiction & teen stuff I read for work.

  2. I also had a rough year. Let's hope for better things in 2019. <3

    1. Hear, hear! I hope the bushfire recovery is proceeding smoothly in your area as well.

    2. The housing market has gone wild! Slowly, we're getting there....

  3. Ooh that's two great Iris Murdochs, two of the best, and I look forward to you joining in with those in IM's centenary year.

    1. I've really enjoyed reading my handful of IM's is such good company. I doubt I would have got as much out of them as I did, if I hadn't had your enthusiasm and knowledge to inspire me. So thank you for committing so wholeheartedly to such an extensive and exhaustive readalong :-)

  4. Happy to see you decided to delve into the Agatha Christie reading challenge on 52 Books. Enjoy your Moby Dick readalong. Read it a few years back and enjoyed it. Nathaniel Philbrick's Why Read Moby Dick is a great lead into the story. I plan to read his nonfiction In the Heart of the Sea this coming year. Also a spin off from Moby Dick, Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund is excellent. ~cheers and best wishes for a better 2019!

    1. I had wondered if I could/should extend the Moby Dick readalong to include the Philbrick books - would it be too much Moby to attempt to read them all over a 6 mnth period?

  5. Yay for no plan reading year! Though at some point we DO make plans, LOL... But at least we don't have to set any deadline or target, and certainly won't feel guilty if we just didn't make it.

    I'm glad you decided to host Moby Dick readalong, it will be fun.

    And you have tempted me to read/reread Agatha Christie's! I think Robin's perpetual reading challenge suits me very well, as there is no time limit. I have read a lot of Christie's in the past, but not all. It will be fun to read them all over again in chronological order.

    And for #Zoladdiction, I will need your idea/thoughts, as next year I will be more hectic than ever :((

    1. On reflection I realise that for me, it's not so much, NO reading plans, as NO challenges. I'm no longer trying to match book titles to colours, seasons, time periods, genres or trying to work out just how long this book has been lurking on my TBR pile.

      As you know, planning a readalong takes some organising, so having a plan is necessary for some books. But the rest is serendipitous :-)

  6. Wow, for someone who is challenge-free, you have ALOT planned! I can't wait for the Moby Dick read-along. Thanks for being pushed into it, lol! ;-) All your other plans look wonderful. I'm adding back challenges this coming year; after being nearly challenge-free for the last couple of years, I find the challenges push me to read more so even if I don't complete them, I read more. Being challenge-free I'm reading less and less, which I don't like. I hope you have a wonderful reading year in 2019, Brona!

    1. Challenge free, but not plan free :-)

      My goodreads target kept me hopping this year (I bumped it up to 110 this year as I kept reaching the 100 mark in early Dec previously). I now have to finish 5 more books before NY.

  7. How funny, I had the exact same reaction as Cleo. Imagine what your year would look like if you had actually included challenges ???? I tried a no-plan 2018 (I called it my year of reading naked). It meant stepping back from some challenges like 20 books of summer. But I did join in some of the shorter events like Non fiction Nov. So yes its possible to do both!

    1. I don't mind making some reading plans as I do need help to get through my enormous TBR pile! Compiling books for the 20 Books of Summer (Winter) helps me to rediscover books long forgotten on the bottom of the pile. I usually don't read everything from my initial list as my day job/new release commitment gets in the way, but I do like the push it gives me to get 20 books read during that time.

      I find that Non-Fic Nov is more of a blogging challenge than a reading challenge. I read non-fic throughout the year, but being ready with a non-fic post every week for 5 weeks in Nov is not easy for me!

  8. A Maigret Christmas! How have I missed that one. Of course when you say no challenges, you surely don't mean mine! If you have a spare day or two over Christmas/New Year you could always read/review an old Australian for my Australian Women Writers Gen 2 Week (writers who came of age in the Bulletin years 1890-1918). The one challenge I missed this year which I was looking out for was AWWC Bingo.

  9. Keep me updated on the Moby Dick readalong. That is a book I plan on reading next year. :)

  10. I'm definitely interested in the Moby Dick read-along!!!

  11. I can relate to your feelings about reading challenges. I love them and every year I join at least 4-5 but I don't always complete them. While I've seen a couple of challenges that sound really good I'm also going back and forth and maybe not doing any. One thing though is the reading events, those I think are much easier to join and see through so I think that may be my focus as well. I guess I better decide soon. Best of luck with your reading plans for 2019!


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