Reading in 2013

{Inspired by Estrella Azul’s post My 2013 in books}

In 2013, I had a goal of reading 50 books, which I revised to 62 when I felt that I was going well. Little did I know how well I was going to do! I knew that I would have more time during the year as my workload was less, but I wanted to make sure that I didn’t set an unrealistic target. I should admit it from the beginning: I am a bookworm. As bad as they get – that’s me. If I’m reading a good book, then all else fades away into oblivion. For example, today I had a lot of work to do, but I got distracted by my book. For 5 hours. Oops. Now, I get to make up that work time tonight after dinner. Anyway, that might be a story for another time.

2013 Reading Challenge Goal

I do enjoy reading a variety of books – almost anything, but it has to keep me entertained: if it follows the same pattern, then I get bored because I can predict generally what will happen. That’s often while I’ll get stuck on a series for a while and then just stop – I know the basic format of the book. I mean, once you’ve read 15 Jack Reacher books, you can almost predict what will happen in the 16th {spoiler alert}: Reacher finds himself somewhere he normally isn’t; he gets involved in a situation he doesn’t want to be involved in; he wants to leave – he knows he should leave; he stays (for now – he might leave and return again shortly after); he sees things that the other characters don’t; he finds a girl (well, 70% of the time); he makes a mistake and berates himself; he ends up solving the case using unorthodox methods and then disappears into the night. Don’t get me wrong – I really love reading that series at the moment, but I can predict it. So, it becomes numbing reading – reading that doesn’t challenge me to think or try to guess the plot. There’s always “what happens next?” or “did I guess right?” and that gets me through the book, but it’s becoming more difficult for me to be surprised by mainstream authors.

Hence, I try a variety of different styles and authors – and they invariably give me different results. In 2013, I was pleasantly surprised by a few different authors and books. I must admit that I think the story of a centurion on an adventure stole my heart and ruined me for other books for a while. I had a serious book hangover and I just couldn’t shake it off for a seriously long time. (Well, a long time between books for me – maybe two weeks?) While I read more than my goal of 62 books, only a few really made me think and appreciate the ability to read and to enjoy reading. Here are some of those books in no particular order (well, except the centurion who stole my heart is first!):

A side note: I love using Goodreads to track my reading – both what I’ve read, what I am reading, and what I want to read. If you haven’t seen that website yet, then I encourage you to do so – they give some good information and appropriate recommendations based on your reading. It’s also a place where you can follow your favourite authors and see what they’re up to. I guess one of my favourite things is the notification of when my favourite authors have just published a new book. I have so many “favourite” authors, though, that I am constantly being given lists of books that have just been published or are just about to be published.

Here’s a visual of what books I read – you can see that there are some choices that are more “escaping reality” than “rocking good reads”, but life sometimes demands books that allow you to escape without using your mind too much. There are also some books in there from my book club – one of the most relaxed book clubs I’ve ever participated in. The basic requirement is that you turn up to the meetings – no actual book reading required. {However, we do mostly read the books in some format – or at least I do…}

2013 in Books {Goodreads}

*Note: The starred books are some of my favourites this year – ones that I truly enjoyed reading.

What piqued your interest in 2013? Do you have any recommendations for me for 2014? I’m already on my second book (with 836 pages, too – and I just can’t put it down!), but am very open to suggestions. Please share your ideas or your favourite books below in the comments.

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A clean slate.

The Question: What would you be more of if you let go of the past?

I’m trying this one. I want to work out what is holding me back from my potential. I know I can do this and I know I can do it well. But something stops me. Continually. There’s moments when I can say “Well, just do it already!” and I will start to do it. Then I get distracted or have to do something else that cannot wait. Then I lose the thread again. I look for it everywhere, but to no avail. So what is really holding me back?

This burning question has been burning in me for a while now. I keep coming back to “…but there’s nothing in my past that’s holding me back! I have no regrets and I love who I am, and how I have come to be!” But something is holding me back. Two weeks ago, I think I found out what it might be. It might be fear of success. That’s right – fear of success, not failure. This realisation made me start to think again. Am I fearful of success? What happened after the last time I was truly successful? Let me tell you. I burned out. I crashed. I couldn’t do what they asked (and expected) of me. I bombed out so hard that it’s taken me at least a year to recover. (Yes, a year is not that long, but in my life, it’s painfully long. Let me digress for a moment. Imagine being separated from your loved one for an entire year because some government official wrote a silly sentence that meant that everything was not “safe” anymore despite the world around them being safer than ever before. It’s like weather forecasters who don’t look out the window to see the sunshiny beautiful day, but would rather imagine the rain and create the sounds of the rain. Being separated because of one person’s introverted, convoluted view on the situation. Frustrating. It’s like that.)

So, if I look back into my past and see that I have a fear of success and this is holding me back, what can I do to make this change? What would I be more of now if I let that go? What would I be more of?

I would be more of:

  • joyfulness in writing
  • happiness in living
  • confidence in understanding
  • security in loving
  • success in being me.

Not a long list; a long list would not be my reality. I am happy with who I am; I have no regrets; my life has shaped me in ways that I don’t always understand or appreciate at the time, but I love it now. If not for my past, then I would not be who I am today. I love who I am and who I am becoming. For now, though, it’s time for me to face my fear of success. And just succeed anyway.

let it begin!

So, after a reasonable absence from the blogosphere, I plan on coming back with a vengeance… A good one, though… A positive outlook is all that I need and I can do anything. That much, I know. When I get on a positive roll, then it all just flows like a raging river – the thoughts, the ideas, the concepts, the actions, the results – all there, all good, all positive… I’m ready to provide some kick-ass experiences for some very unsuspecting students… Just wait until they actually try to wrap their head around the new look, new feel, new mode of study – all completely interactive, completely engaging, completely immersing, completely authentic, and completely real… it’s going to blow minds and create quite a stir among the ‘traditional’ academics… but so be it – I am here to bring change and bring university learning into the 21st century… at least, that’s how i see my role here and how i want to see it… others see me as ‘that new upstart’, but i see that as such a powerful place to be – i can change it all because no one has any preconceptions about me and my style… bring it on, i say… bring it on!!!