I was considering making another infographic about my reading habits but decided I would rather reflect on my experience on doing the challenge and also talk about what goals I’d like to set myself for the new year. One of the things I realized while doing the reading challenge is that I buy a lot of my books. Which is ironic because I’m studying to become a librarian. I love going to a library and I love how helpful librarians always are but I love the feeling of owning a good book. I love re-reading my books and re-reading becomes a lot easier, when you own it.
I know this isn’t entirely practical but even though I read off of my e-reader a lot, and despite how convenient my Nook is–nothing can really beat how it feels to turn a page and an e-reader doesn’t smell quite the same as a new book. And you can really tell which publishers really put their all into creating a book. Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson is a great example. If you happen to see the US edition in a bookstore, try opening it and the end pages are amazing. They hired an artist to do it and each depicts a god from one of the religions in the story. The Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter is another example. The size of the book and the artwork done by Jim Kay isn’t quite the same if you were to buy a digital edition.
But I’m not trying to say an e-reader is worse because I own one and I read off of it every day. They both have their different merits!
When I started my reading challenge and set my goal to 100 books, I wasn’t really setting out to aim that goal. I wanted to challenge myself to read more but I didn’t want to beat myself over if I didn’t reach that number. Despite not reaching my end goal, I still managed to read 88 books (not counting books I’ve re-read this year). I was able to read that much is because I commute a lot and I usually read before I go to bed. I set aside at least 3 hours to read per day and if I enjoy the book, I have a hard time putting it down.
I actually didn’t have a lot of time to read in December because of school and I had two major essays due but reading is really important to me, so I made sure to organize my schedule properly. I set aside time to do my readings/lectures/homework throughout the week and also set aside time where I had free/relax time. I tried to remind myself not to overextend myself!
I also realized that I read a lot of paranormal romance/urban fantasy. I think because they’re always churning out with paranormal romance/urban fantasy books these days and the more I read of the same genre, the more I begin to see the cliches and find it harder and harder to find a good book to read. Stand out books in the genre included the Innkeeper Chronicles by Seanan McGuire and The Others by Anne Bishop. Both series completed this year and they’re both equally amazing!
I also read a few different novels based off of superheroes and Miles Morales: Spiderman by Jason Reynolds and Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo were incredible as well. They both, I felt, had strong characterization… which I feel is important for superheroes (over what kind of power they have). If you’ve heard of the Six of Crows series, Leigh Bardugo wrote that as well!
A book I didn’t expect to like was The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
Overall, I’m really glad I did this challenge! I learned a lot about my reading habits and I did read a lot more books than I normally would have read (because I decided to document all the new books I’ve read this year). This is something I’d like to continue next year and maybe I’ll create a separate section for books I’ve re-read. I’d like to challenge myself to read more books outside of fantasy but I said that this last year too and look how well that turned out. I haven’t read any science fiction books this year, so I want to challenge myself to read at least one sci-fi novel!
Read at least one sci-fi novel: Like I mentioned above, I want to read more and that includes reading more sci-fi novels. I like fantasy and although the two genres are different, I feel like I could find a good sci-fi novel to enjoy. I recently bought Ninefox Gamit by Yoon Ha Lee, which I’m very excited to read!
Finish at least one book written in Korean: I previously mentioned that I bought two books in Korean, which are The Hobbit and Moonlight Drawn by Clouds. I started Moonlight Drawn by Clouds and managed to finish one chapter. I sort of put it aside because it’s really frustrating to look at a page and not know where you’re at because you’re unable to skim the page. Which I didn’t realize that I could only skim pages in English really quickly, because I’m fluent in English. Doh. The more you know, I guess.
Finish Grad School: I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to finish grad school, so I don’t know if this really counts as a “goal” but I only have two quarters left! Which is really exciting but also really stressful. My capstone (aka final/culminating project) is making oral history material available online for the Wing Luke Museum (an Asian-American museum).
Find a Job: I haven’t even started yet and I’m already stressed out. I’ve been working at my current job for about 3 years now and the idea of having to find a new one really, really stresses me out. I’m horrible at interviews and I’m really stressed about the idea that I might not be able to find a new job and about leaving my current job and will I be able to find a job in the field that I want?? Someone save me. Can I just skip ahead to after I find a job? haha
Travel: I really want to travel somewhere, outside Washington, at least once. Maybe Oregon? I really want to go to the Oregon Zoo! Or Vancouver B.C.? Or New York?? South Korea?? Somewhere in Europe??? I’m not sure. Out of country will probably be difficult financially, but I’m sure I can manage Oregon!
Be Creative: This is really general but I didn’t want to create another 3-4 goals. I want to do more film photography, I want to draw more, I want to do more paper crafts, I want to build things. I want to do a lot of things creatively!
Things I’m Looking Forward To
I have a lot of empty notebooks and journals that I’ve never used, that I want to get rid of. Or maybe I can gift them? I read Marie Kondo’s book and I want to try and get rid of all the stuff I don’t need. I realized that they only take up empty space and they’re really only collecting dust.
Something I’m also excited about is getting a handheld light meter! I’ve mentioned this in the past, but my film camera uses a battery that contains mercury, which means they’re no longer being made. Why does a film camera need a battery, you may ask? The battery is for the light meter, which tells you what to adjust so that the picture doesn’t come out too dark or too light. Which is a really noobish way of saying it and the explanation probably isn’t right, if you wanted to get nit picky, but it explains the gist. Right? I don’t know. Anyways! It doesn’t have to be exactly right, because depending on the type of film you use, you can achieve different effects.
So I’ve been using hearing aid batteries, which I think has a slightly higher voltage. I could continue using them but I felt like a handheld light meter would be a better long term investment, and also teach me more about using my light meter. And maybe one day I’ll be able to just intuit what to change the settings to! Which would be great. I found a really nice compact one that isn’t too expensive, so I’m going to purchase one and see how it works out!
I’m excited for a lot of other things, long term, but right now I’m really excited for my compact handheld light meter haha.
Thanks for reading. Happy New Year!