In the absence of anything to review right now, this is going to be a bit of a ramble about my reading life right now, and my plan for the rest of the year.
The major thing that I have changed recently is that I am no longer taking part in the 2016 Classics Challenge. I wish I were able to keep it going, but something’s gotta give.
I didn’t have time to read Mrs Dalloway in October, as was the plan. Although it’s a pretty short book, I didn’t find the time or brainpower to slot it in. Right now my TBR is full and strict. I’m very deliberately saying didn’t rather than couldn’t here because of course, if I really wanted to – if I stopped watching Brooklyn 99 and Gilmore Girls, got up half an hour earlier every day, took shorter showers etc – I could make more time to read. But I am still reading lots at the moment, and at a more consistent pace than I think I ever have before. I want to make sure all the reading I’m doing is still enjoyable.
Obviously, it can be a challenge to make everything enjoyable when a lot of my reading is for University – books that I didn’t choose independently and can’t read to my own timescale or at my own pace. The when, where, why of reading affects so much of our feelings towards a book, I’m sure, that I wonder how different my thoughts are to things I first read as study texts. Among all of that though, I am trying to keep up with some of my own, private reading, which is already on squeezed time – I’m part way through both A Closed and Common Orbit and Six of Crows, both of which are fantastic books which I’m desperate to finish, and yet it’s taking longer than I ever anticipated. What uni reading really does change is the prioritising of a TBR, which I’ve never been particularly good at before – and yet I’m getting there, now.
To not have skipped a book for my MA course so far seems like a minor achievement to some people, I’m sure, but it’s something I’ve been feeling proud of. I’m sure every student has skipped something, but my postgraduate degree means more to me than my undergraduate did, and I don’t intend to waste any of it. My life is full to the brim with stuff that needs doing – and honestly, I love it. Every moment of every day at the moment has a purpose and a list of things that need to be done, and while it’s exhausting, it’s also motivating and exciting.
Hopefully in the new year, I will have more time. My plan is to get ahead with as much reading as possible over the Christmas break, so that I’m not reading week to week or feeling I have to rush things. The way I read has such an effect on my impressions of a book, and forcing myself to speed through something that actually I would prefer to make my way through at my own pace.
In terms of posting, I’ve dropped my quotes of the week. It’s a shame because I really enjoyed doing them, but there isn’t any point if they won’t be any good, and I can’t spare the time to spend having fun with them right now – again, it just comes down to prioritising. I’m reviewing a Uni read every Saturday, and when I get around to some personal reading again as well, hopefully I’ll have more other reviews on Wednesdays too. In any case, I’m trying to stick to a review a week.
If you have any thoughts on balancing compulsory reading with a personal TBR, I’d love to hear it. Next review on Saturday: Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer.