Looking Forward: 2018 Reading Goals

I’ve been browsing through various reading challenges to find one I might like to do in 2018. I’ll be finishing up the Read Canadian Challenge in July. (It’s from Canada Day to Canada Day.) I wasn’t sure whether I just wanted to beat a number, or go with a more restrictive challenge. I think a mix of both is where I’ve ended up, along with two more specific, personal goals.

So first, 100 books. I read 85 in 2017, so 100 doesn’t feel like that much of a stretch. I’ll set this as a goal on Goodreads.

ColonizethisSecond, I like the looks of the PopSugar 2018 Reading Challenge. There are 50 prompts total on it, so that’s only half my goal, leaving me with plenty of space to read whatever I want that doesn’t fit on the prompts. My next post will be a master list of prompts and the books I’ve chosen to fit them. As I review them, I’ll link from the master list as well.

Third, I want to read more of the books on my Civil Rights and Activism list on Goodreads. I have 152 books on it, only 5 of which I’ve read. I’ll start with Colonize This! since I found it at a used bookstore recently. (Incidentally, that qualifies for a couple of categories on the PopSugar list as well! The recommendation is one category per book, no doubling up, so I’ll have to pick which category I assign it to.)

americaFourth, I’m going to read America, a US history textbook I picked up. My history and science education were never the best, and I’ve been trying to remedy that most of my adult life. (I worked through a biology textbook a few years ago, and I have a Zoology textbook I should work through as well.) America has 36 chapters, so if I read 3 chapters a month, I’ll have read it by the end of the year. I’m going to try to come up with activities to do about my reading, because I absorb things more permanently if I actually DO something with the information. Not sure what I’ll do yet, but we do live in Maryland so there is a lot of history around us. We might try to make some trips to historic sites, or go to the American History Museum or the American Indian Museum in DC again. We also haven’t been to the African American Museum yet.

Fifth, I’m also going to try Booked 2018, the seasonal Litsy Challenge. There are six prompts per quarter, so that only adds two books a month. Should be doable, and I might be able to make books double up between this and the PopSugar Challenge.

I think these five goals will keep me pretty busy this year. I’d like to do a few more Literary Landmark posts, so I may try to do some research into local authors and literary places. I unfortunately missed 2017’s Baltimore Book Festival, on account of being incredibly sick, but I’m hoping to make 2018. I know there are more Book Festivals nearby, so I’ll look into those as well. I’d like to do more non-book review, book-related posts.

What about you? Are you doing any Reading Challenges this year, whether organized or personal?

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Oh boy, Tonsillitis.

Might be taking a week or two hiatus from blogging as I recover from being pretty ill. I’ve mentioned in the past that I have some chronic illnesses, but I have been pretty steadily gaining new readers here and there, so I’ll update.

My main issues are migraines and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease where the immune system gets confused and attacks the thyroid gland. This eventually destroys enough of the thyroid gland that it can’t produce enough thyroid hormone, and a supplement needs to be taken. That’s where I’m at now – I have a daily thyroid pill. On occasion, usually when I’m sick with something else, my immune system will flare up and attack my thyroid again, causing it to swell up, get inflamed, and deteriorate further.

So my chronic cough, that I’ve had for a couple of years now (Bronchitis a few years ago plus my migraine maintenance med has a side effect of chronic cough) turned into Tonsillitis and an ear infection this week. Which triggered the Hashimoto’s. So after an urgent care visit Thursday night, I’m on an antibiotic, a steroid/anti-inflammatory, and some prescription cough syrup with a pain med in it. My voice is almost entirely gone (I typed up my symptoms and history to hand to all my doctors at the Urgent Care instead of having to talk so much!), I’m still coughing though not NEARLY as bad as I was Thursday, and I’m having trouble staying awake. (All three meds cause drowsiness, yay!)

All three meds also have a side effect of headache, which is not playing well with my predilection towards migraines anyway. So as you can imagine, the last several days have not been the most fun.

I did manage to finish American War by Omar El Akkad (an Egyptian-Canadian author, so it qualifies for my Read Canadian challenge), and I have a LOT to say about it. It’ll be getting a review soon, but for now I’ll just say it’s one of my favorites of 2017. I also have No is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, which is on the National Book Foundation’s longlist for their Nonfiction award this year. The same author has written a few other anti-capitalism books (Shock Doctrine, No Logo, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate) so if I like her style in No is Not Enough, I might have to pick up some of her other work.

I tried reading Demon Hunting in Dixie, because I won book 6 through Goodreads, and wanted to start from the beginning of the series. I almost threw it across the room less than a hundred pages in, but that reason deserves its own post.

I have several other books from the library I’m still trying to work on – Dark Money, Hitlerland (which is really interesting, I just keep getting distracted), The Tigress of Forli, and The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes, among others.

I’m really sad because I had planned to go to the Baltimore Book Festival today – I’d been looking forward to it for months – and now I’m too sick to leave the house. Especially when it’s so hot outside, which I don’t deal with very well even when I’m not actively sick. So that’s REALLY disappointing.

My To-Read Stack

I haven’t actually done a lot of reading in the past week. We’ve been pretty busy prepping for the Maryland Renaissance Fair, which kicks off on Saturday! We help a friend out with her booth, so we’ve been going to her house a lot to work on inventory. I do have several books out from the library, though, so I’ll try to give a real quick description of what I’ll be reading soon!

I checked out several books on the history of LGBT rights in the US – Gay America, which I’ve now read, was FANTASTIC. I’ve already turned it back in, though, so it’s a little hard to write up a review. I still have The Gay Revolution: the story of the struggle, by Lillian Faderman, Gay Lives by Robert Aldrich, and Stonewall: the riots that sparked the gay revolution, by David Carter.

I also checked out a batch on the history of Baltimore, our adopted home city. I reviewed Walking Baltimore last week, but I also have The Baltimore Book: new views of local history, by Elizabeth Fee, Linda Shopes, and Linda Zeidman, and Charm City: a walk through Baltimore by Madison Smartt Bell.

In more fun reading, I have Steampunk II, a book of short stories edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, Smoke by Dan Vyleta, and The Young Elites and The Rose Society, both by Marie Lu.

In searching for something else, I stumbled across Eve of a Hundred Midnights by Bill Lascher. It’s “the star-crossed love story of two WWII correspondents and their epic escape across the Pacific.” It sounded interesting, but we’ll see if it holds my attention.

So that’s my current reading list!