With the year half over, I figured I’d look back at the reading I’ve managed to accomplish this year. Already, I’m only eight books shy of my total for 2007; I plan to overtake that within the next month, so I’m doing well so far.

The year got off to an odd start, with the back-to-back depressing reads of Amsterdam by Ian McEwan and The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards. However, where Amsterdam had the luxury of being well-written (and there was even a grim sense of satisfaction with the ending), The Memory Keeper’s Daughter was depressing for the sake of being depressing, and that’s just excessive. I followed that up with some young adult reads (reminding me why I love Sarah Dessen), and then I seemed to come to something of a stop. I barely read at all from mid-February until April, when I finally started to shake off some of the slump I’d gotten into, and in May, I managed to finish five books. June wasn’t nearly as productive, in terms of new reads, but between new reads and re-reads, I read seven books in June, while continuing on with at least four others.

I’m doing a lot better in terms of the quality of books read this year. In 2007, I read a lot of YA novels and chick lit. With my discovery of the wonder (and obsession and frustration) that is the list of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, I’ve discovered some authors I never would have otherwise, such as Sarah Waters (I can’t say that this is true of Kazuo Ishiguro, because it was just a matter of time until I got around to reading him). And I think it’s improved the criteria I use to select which books I’m going to read. It’s fine to read YA books, because there are some good ones out there (despite the best efforts of Cecily von Ziegesar, Zoey Dean, and Lisi Harrison, who are, in my opinion, the three worst offenders in the YA-novels-must-feature-spoiled-rich-kids trend). And chick lit is good when I need a mindless read. But I shouldn’t spend an entire year reading little else besides those two types of books (though there was some historical fiction- some good, some not as good).

On Library Thing, one of the other users graded her progress in the form of a mid-term progress report (my school only gave them out when grades were poor- I usually got one in math). Though I didn’t really set too many official goals for myself at the beginning of the year (I hadn’t discovered most of the world of reading challenges), I do want to assess some of my progress.

Total books read (not including re-reads): 20
Grade: Fail (I’ll be copying my first Algebra 2 teacher on this and writing out the word fail, because the letter “F” just doesn’t make it quite clear enough)
Reason: I should have read at least 25 if I wanted to make my preliminary goal of 50 books. I should have read at least 28 for my 888 challenge. I’ll have to read a lot during the remaining months of the year to make up for this.

Total Pages Read: 7422
Grade: Pass (so far)
Reason: I’m a smidgen behind here. I usually set myself the unofficial goal of reading 15000 pages a year (makes sense if the average book is 300 pages, and one plans to read 50 books). I should clear this fairly easily before the year is out, particularly if I finish the remaining three books in the Outlander series.

Pre-2008 Books: 7
Grade: Fail
Reason: Again, I never put this in writing, but I wanted to try to cut down on some of the books I owned but hadn’t yet read. Of the 20 books I’ve read this year, only 7 were purchased in 2007 or previously (and one of the books was purchased at the *very* end of 2007, so much so that it almost shouldn’t count). I blame this on two things: Library Thing, and the discovery/abuse of a lovely used bookstore in Roseville. I wouldn’t have spent even half as much money this year if I didn’t suddenly have books at reduced prices right at my fingertips!

Goals for the rest of 2008:
-read books I already own (as of July 1- I’m aiming for a rate of 75% for the rest of the year, since I’m at a dismal 33% currently. I’ll be happy if I average 50% previously owned for the whole of the year)
-a self-imposed limit of three books purchased per month (exceptions include gifts and bookmooched books, as well as a purchase from Amazon I’ve already made; I technically ordered them in June, so they don’t count for July)
-complete reading for 888 challenge- preferably without having to take advantage of the 8-book overlap rule
-complete the remaining 7500 pages for the 15000 page goal

I’m hoping to update my progress on the July book blowout later today, after I’ve gotten some actual sleep. Come back in December for the final grades for the year!

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