What to Read Next?

As the year approaches its end, I find myself looking back at the books I’ve read in 2023 and wondering how I became so distracted from my plan for the year.

Actually–this happens every year.

I start out with a shiny perfect to-be-read list that, while it might be overly ambitious, is orderly and logical. Then sometime around February I add books to the list. These might be a novel for one of my book clubs, a new release by a favorite author, or a book that was gifted to me. Other times I might read a description of a book that really grabs me and–wham! That’s another addition to the list.

A portion of the books I had planned to read for 2023.

Thinking about my book chaos made me wonder how I decide which book I’m going to read next. Sometimes it’s a deadline – like for book club or a review that I want to coincide with a particular date. Often I’m just excited about delving into a particular story. Or I’ve been staring at a book that I left out on a table or desk.

I also have a dilemma when it comes to what format to read. I’m usually reading a physical book, an e-book, and an audiobook all at once. If I finish the audiobook, then I need another audiobook after that. And if I already have that book in another format, I’m not going to also buy it as an audiobook. Or for books that are part of a series, I try to keep with the same format for the whole thing, especially if I started it as an audiobook and really liked the narrator.

Books on my October to-be-read list.

I will try to control the chaos by breaking my gigantic to-be-read list down into smaller pieces by each month. Above is an example of those books sitting on my October list, none of which I have started and it is nearly the end of October. I do have to start On Fragile Waves for a book club meeting so that one will have priority over the others. Oh – and I should go back to look at the four books from my September list that I didn’t start yet.

As an aside, I did some work updating this blog last week and now you can see what I’m currently reading in the Goodreads widget in the sidebar on the right (scroll up from here).

How do you decide what to read next? Do you have an organized list? Do you stick to that? Let me know in the comments (above).

Returning to Blogging and Reviews

I’m not sure what happened this year.

Everything was going well and then I just stopped writing posts and book reviews here. I guess I got busy with other priorities, but I don’t remember a specific event that occurred. Whatever it was, it is time to get back to writing posts and book reviews!

While I often feel like I haven’t been reading enough, when I look at my numbers on Goodreads, I have been steadily working through my to-be-read list for the year, despite the lack of posts about any of it.

I had set an unreasonable goal to read 100 books this year when I usually fall somewhere between 40 to 50 books read per year. My current number stands at 32, so that puts me on track for my usual numbers. I would like to think that I’ll have time to read 2 books per week through the end of the year (giving me about 26 more), but that is likely wishful thinking. In any case, here is a peek at what I’ve already read this year:

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Some standouts to me included The Scholomance series by Naomi Novik, Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows and Alex Stern series, Babel by R.F. Kuang, and Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

I’m currently reading Where the Crawdads Sing (physical book) by Delia Owens (not genre, I know) and The Fated Sky (audiobook) by Mary Robinette Kowal, the second book in the Lady Astronaut series.

Other books that I’m planning to read by the end of the year include The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty, Horse by Geraldine Brooks, Scorpica by G.R. Macallister, On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu, and The Road to Roswell by Connie Willis.

I also wanted to comment briefly on some series that I have been reading. It took me a LONG time to get through book 4 of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. I’m planning to get back to that series, but I needed a break from it. I may start book 5, The Fires of Heaven, by the end of the year.

Another project that I have had was to read all of the original six Dune novels by Frank Herbert. I had finished the first three, but struggled to get into God Emperor of Dune. I’m going to try again, but also not until at least the end of the year.

The last ongoing series that I’ve been plodding through is the Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett, but I can’t figure out why I keep putting this one off. I have really liked these books so far. I have the final two in the series, as well as another related work. Maybe I’m afraid to find out how it ends?

In 2023 we also got to see the release of Brandon Sanderson’s four “secret project” novels that he wrote during the lockdown portion of the pandemic. He broke the record for the most-funded Kickstarter in 2022, topping $41.7 million for the campaign.

I have mixed feelings about Sanderson’s writing (I liked one book but hated another series). But I appreciate his work ethic and his efforts to help other writers, so I contributed toward the Kickstarter and found myself with four more novels on my to-be-read list. I do intend to read them, but haven’t had time yet.

There are so many other books that I need to read and write about, but I’m going to stop now and get back to reading! How is your year of reading going? Let me know in the comments (above).

Books to Read in 2023

I like to start my reading year by updating my Goodreads lists with all the books I want to read for the year ahead. Usually this means taking the list from the previous year and pushing it over into the next one since I never get everything read that I had wanted to.

This is how I started my plan for 2023, but there were just too many books! I solved this problem by creating lists for 2024 and 2025, and then rolling some books onto those. For the rest of my 2023 choices, I am continuing a past theme of trying to finish some series. Of course, I tend to start a lot of new series, so this keeps the list continuously growing.

In the end, here is a graphic of all the books I’m hoping to read in 2023:

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Looking at overall numbers, last year I read 39 books from my Goodreads goal of 89. That was 44% of my goal. For this year, I’m not backing down! I set my goal for 100 books for 2023. My current 2023 list stands at around 90, so I can even add a few more.

To break that goal down, I’ll need to read 8.3 books per month, or roughly 2 per week to meet that goal. I’ve already picked out the first month of books I’m planning to read and these are my January choices:

I’m already a third of the way in to The Lady of the Lake, the final book in The Witcher series, and I’ve been listening to these as audiobooks. I also have Season of Storms queued up next for audio – this is a prequel in The Witcher universe.

I’d like to read more graphic novels this year, so I’ve put Demon in the Wood on here as a stand alone from Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse, and then the next volume of The Sandman (vol. 2) since I just finished volume 1. Noor is for a book club discussion in about 2.5 weeks so I started to read that yesterday. I need to get back to my read-through of The Wheel of Time, so I stuck the next book (#4 – The Shadow Rising) on here for January.

For the rest of these, I’ve been staring at Stephen King’s recent release – Fairy tale – since I picked it up at NY Comic-Con a few months ago. It is a longer book, but likely a fast read. Since I also just finished a re-read of The Silmarillion last year, I’d like to continue working my way through the less well-known Tolkien stories, so Unfinished Tales is up next.

The last one on here (Never Say You Can’t Survive) is a series of essays by Charlie Jane Anders about how to write when the world is seemingly falling apart. I grabbed a copy at an earlier NY Comic-Con (2021?). I started this book yesterday and I think it may provide a helpful perspective to get my fiction writing back on track for 2023.

Forging further ahead from January, I’m excited to get back to the Dune series, NK Jemisin’s The World We Make, the Lady Astronaut series by Mary Robinette Kowal, and the second two books in the Scholomance by Naomi Novik.

Lastly, I just received my first backer reward from Brandon Sanderson’s secret projects where he confessed to writing a ridiculous number of extra books during his pandemic confinement. The first one is Tress of the Emerald Sea and seems to have an interesting premise.

What are your reading plans for 2023? Have you read any of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments (above).

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