Review: Lancelot by Giles Kristian

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Lancelot (The Arthurian Tales #1)
Giles Kristian

Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publishing year:
2018
Pages: 661
ISBN: 9780552174008
Language: English
Genre: Fantasy, historical
Rating: 5/5

The world Lancelot is born in is turbulent. The Saxons want to conquer Britain and the king, Uther Pendragon, is dying. During his secluded youth, Lancelot meets proud and beautiful Guinevere and he falls in love with her. Lancelot has a talent for battle and he comes to serve Arthur, the hope of Britain. The tides can turn quickly, however, especially when there is treachery and betrayal.

Retellings of the Arthurian Legend aren’t particularly known for their happy endings. Hardly a surprise, considering it often ends with the fall of Camelot and a lot of dead people. So even when going in with these expectations, Lancelot by Giles Krisitan managed to punch me in the gut.

This is largely due to the very, very detailed and introspective character work. Lancelot is often a rather bland character in the retellings, mostly being there to be the strongest knight ever and to commit adultery with Guinevere while the focus remains on other characters. Though this version of Lancelot is also the strongest, he is a very flawed character. He’s short-sighted, arrogant, and possessive of Guinevere (even though he eventually realizes she’s her own person, what a twist!). Despite this, he’s still sympathetic. Kristian has accomplished this through not only showing Lancelot’s childhood, adolescence, and adult life, but also through the introspective writing style.  The book is very much focused on Lancelot’s thoughts and viewpoint during events, which really allows you to experience his emotions as a reader.

This makes Lancelot a very slow burn. Though I personally love slow burns, others might regard this book as meandering. Another downside of this book are the other characters. Though Guinevere is a remarkable and character, headstrong and proud, the nature of this story still causes her portrayal to be framed by Lancelot’s perspective, which doesn’t make her as wellrounded as she could have been. Mordred was also an interesting and even tragic character, but he wasn’t as developed as I would have liked. The other characters are just sort of there and aren’t fleshed out at all. The main offender is probably Arthur himself — he was actually unlikable, which made it somewhat hard to see why Lancelot would adore him so much. That said, I do understand that this was Lancelot’s story, so complaining about the lack of focus on other characters kind of seems nitpicking.

Lancelot is a bit different from most Arthurian retellings due to its introspectiveness. It also has very minimal world building. The setting is more historical; magic is as a ‘blink and you miss it’ implication at most with Merlin and refences to a ‘gift’. Even the plot takes a back seat to the character focus. If you’re into action and more plot-driven narratives, you’ll probably find this too long-winded and meandering. If character-driven slow burns are right up your alley, however, you’ll likely find this as beautiful as I did.

Review: Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

eames-kingsofthewyldKings of the Wyld (The Band #1)
Nicholas Eames

Publisher: Orbit Books
Publishing year:
2017
Pages: 494
ISBN: 9780356509020
Language: English
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

The golden days of the mercenary band Saga seem to be long past. They used to be the most renowned band to tour the monster infested Heartwyld, but nineteen years later they’ve grown old and have gone their separate ways. Former member Clay Cooper has settled down with his wife Ginny to have a cute daughter and a dog. One day, the former frontman of Saga, Gabriel turns up at his doorstep. Gabe needs the help of his ex-bandmates for what can only be a very, very desperate mission. As the blurb on the back says: it’s time to get the band back together!

So yes, we’ve got a bunch of old men going on an adventure. Clay and Gabe start out on their quest with just the two of them, but one by one the former bandmates will also end up coming along. The party consists of the reliable and down to earth Clay, the seeming ghost of his former self frontman Gabriel, the eccentric wizard Moog, the fun-loving Matrick, and the battle hungry Ganelon. They might’ve gotten old and a bit out of shape (most of them, anyway), but they’re still a very lovable bunch and their banter is very entertaining. Clay is the narrator of this story; his personality makes him the sane man of the group, which contrasts nicely with some of the crazy and sometimes awkward things that happen to these men. As much as the humor made me laugh out loud, however, Kings of the Wyld also has some heartfelt moments. Yes, expect to be hit in the feels from time to time. This is partly aided by the fact that the main characters each have understandable issues, whether it’s longing for home or the grief of losing a loved one. It never gets too depressing or sad, but it does add some emotional depth and relatability to what is otherwise a pretty fun adventure.

The mercenary bands in Kings of the Wyld also have a bit of a rock band theme going on. Mercenary bands are touring, they have a frontman, they have bookers and gigs. There’s money and fame involved, and some mercenaries have nicknames such as ‘Slowhand’ or ‘Skulldrummer’. It’s a fun take on mercenary bands, which makes it a bit more lighthearted. This, along with the aforementioned humor, adds a sense of self-awareness to this book that makes it even more entertaining

The writing itself is fast paced and flows nicely. There is some world building, but it builts on fantasy tropes that are pretty prevelent in the genre, ranging from a fallen ancient society with some surviors to all sorts of famous fantasy critters in this book. If you’re looking for an original fantasy setting, you won’t find anything genre breaking here. Due to the self-awareness, though, I think this book proves that one doesn’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel in order to tell a good story.

For those who prefer super detailed worldbuilding or something grittier, then you might want to look elsewhere. If want a fun adventure in a fantasy setting with lovable characters and enough emotional depth to make you care about them, however, Kings of the Wyld is definitely a great choice for escapism while social distancing!

Review: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

russell-mydarkvanessaMy Dark Vanessa
Kate Elizabeth Russell

Publisher: 4th Estate Books
Publishing year:
2020
Pages: 372
ISBN: 9780008342241
Language: English
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: 4/5

Trigger warnings: pedophilia/sexual predator, rape, sexual abuse

To Vanessa Wye, the affair she had as a fifteen year old with her forty-two year old English teacher Jacob Strane was the love story of her lifetime. Fast forward to when Vanessa’s in her early thirties, when sexual predators are finally ousted as a result from the #MeToo movement, the very same teacher is accused by another former student of sexual assault. Vanessa does not view her relationship with Jacob as sexual abuse and whishes to remain silent, yet the situation forces her to think about what the affair with her teacher truly was.

I got this book as an ARC through my former job as a bookseller, so I got to read it last December. I’m writing this review months later, because I had to think it over for a while. Due to the subject matter, My Dark Vanessa is a very, very uncomfortable book to read. This is not only because the author does not shy away from explicitly describing the sexual content, but also the clever way that Jacob manipulates Vanessa, who is an impressionable and naive teenager, and how he preys on her insecurities. It certainly underlines that, by default, such a relationship is unequal in terms of power and agency. The prose is detailed without getting long-winded, and does a great job of getting Vanessa’s thought process across.

The narrative moves back and forth between 2000, describing Vanessa’s relationship with Jacob, and 2017, which shows how Jacob is still a significant presence in her life. It’s heartbreaking how Vanessa is essentially a broken person as a result from her experiences. We get to see Vanessa’s insecurities and thoughts regarding her own agency in the affair and internalized guilt, and how she deals with her trauma. Though this can be difficult and at times even frustrating to read, this offers a nuanced view from the perspective of the victim and the choice to remain silent rather than testifying against a sexual abuser. Though Vanessa is not necessarily a likable character, she is flawed and understandable.

There are a lot of references to Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, however, up to the point that the intertextuality felt a little too forced sometimes. Furthermore, the characters around Vanessa felt a bit flat and stereotypical.

My Dark Vanessa is an uncomfortable and difficult, even disturbing, read. Nonetheless, it offers a complex and important voice in what’s unfortunately still a relevant topic. It’s a novel that gets under your skin and makes you think, even after you’ve read the final sentence.

Want a Book? Shop Local, Especially Now!

Today, a news article appeared in the Dutch media saying that a third of Dutch bookshops are threatening to go under due to the Corona crisis, especially in the bigger cities (here is a link in case you’re interested — of course, it’s in Dutch). According to this article, most physical bookshops in the Netherlands are dealing with a significant plunge in profits, some even up to 80 to 90%!

The news is anything but surprising, especially because a lot of (small) businesses are struggling right now due to the (understandable) regulations the government has set to flatten the curve. Of course, this also isn’t just applicable to the Netherlands; the crisis is world wide, after all. Regardless, as a book lover and former bookseller, this still makes me very sad!

Bookshops, especially independent ones, have already been struggling a lot in the past years. People read a lot less these days, especially with so much other sources of information and entertainment available at our fingertips. A lot of the remaining readers order their books through the big webshops online, such as Bookdepository or Amazon (or Bol, the Dutch equivalent).

And then Covid-19 came along, forcing people to stay inside and causing shopping districts to become abandoned ghost towns — excluding places that sell toilet paper. As of now, bookshops are struggling even more or threaten to topple over altogether — after all, bookshops don’t tend to have an emergency fund to tide themselves over due to already previously declining profits. And unlike those big online giants, they might not be able to survive.

But once this is over, once we can leave our houses again, we’d still like to be able to go to a bookshop, right? We’d want to browse and ask the booksellers for advice to find a new gem. Thankfully, there is something we can do to help our favourite bookshops weather this crisis, and it’s quite simple:

Do you want a book? Shop local! 

A lot of bookshops, including independent ones, have a website from which you can easily order books. Your order will be delivered to your home through mail (though I’ve read of some shops personally bringing your order to your doorstep , provided you live in the neighborhood!). Need advice, or would you like to check if a book’s in stock? Some bookshops might have closed their doors, but they still have staff around to answer phonecalls, emails, and to ship out orders. Also, a lot of websites of these bookshops also sell ebooks, in case you prefer that over physical copies.

So, if you have the disposable income to afford books and you were already planning to order one (or two, or three, or more) anyway? Or perhaps you were looking for some entertainment to pass the time? Then please consider supporting your favorite physical bookshop by checking their website first, or give them a call. I’m sure they’ll be happy to fulfill your order!

Thank you for reading!

Books to Escape in While Social Distancing

I could write a whole intro about how the past weeks have been pretty crazy, but even if you live under a rock, you know what’s going on. While some awesome people are fighting the Corona pandemic at the frontlines, the best thing the rest of us can do is stay home. The degree of lockdown varies in every country, but social distancing and even isolation is definitely a thing happening across the world. So, most of us got a lot more time on our hands all of sudden.

Of course, reading won’t solve our loneliness, disappointment at cancelled plans, or our anxieties about our health, our loved ones, or our job security. It can, however, distract us from endlessly scrolling the news and taking our mind off these bizarre, trying times. Without further ado, here is a list of books that might provide the escapism you need right now.

watershipdown_adams

Watership Down by Richard Adams
A classic, but a very adventurous one. It was my favourite read of 2018 for a reason. It’s about a group of bunnies leaving the safety of their warren to find a new home. They travel across the English country side, yet this seemingly small scope is delivered in an epic way. There is a lot of lore, likable characters,  and for those who want a bit more depth, it also has something to say about society and leadership. Even if you’re looking for something a bit light, though: it’s an epic tale filled with both tense and heartwarming scenes.

 

Nevernight-kristoff

The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff
Admittedly, this series, starting with Nevernight, isn’t for everyone. It’s pretty vulgar (there’s both sex and graphic death scenes), the prose is somewhat flowery, the humor is dark and snarky, and some people will find the heavy use equally snarky footnotes to be a bit too much. If none of this sounds like a problem, however, then Nevernight will be right up your alley! It’s about a girl named Mia whose family has been murdered. She wants to take revenge on the ones responsible, so she enrolls in a sort-of assassin boarding school. Becoming an assassin through this school is not without its many casualties, however, as the teachers do not shy away from testing their students. Admittedly, most of the characters are assholes, but they still manage to be flawed and especially Mia is sympathetic. I also like her relationship to Mister Kindly, a somewhat mysterious shadow creature that accompanies Mia from her childhood. One note: I’m only halfway in Godsgrave, the second book, so no promises about the rest of the series.

 

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The Dark Tower  by Stephen King
I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like The Dark Tower series. It’s a fantasy, but it has  elements of science fiction, horror, and western weaved into its narrative. In essence, it’s about Roland Dechain, a gunslinger (sort-of knight-errands, but with guns — Roland is the last) on his quest for the titular Dark Tower. This is a very simplified description, but his journey takes up seven whole books! The first book, The Gunslinger, can be a bit — odd on your first read, and Roland might not seem to be a very interesting character. Starting from The Drawing of the Three, however, more characters are introduced and Roland is allowed to grow as well. The lore also expands with every book, eventually including multiple worlds and universes. There are some references to some of King’s other works, especially ‘Salem’s Lot and It, but I think they can be read on their own. I must warn you though, you will get attached to these characters when you journey for the Dark Tower along with them.

 

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The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan 
If you want a cosy read involving dragons, you can’t go wrong with The Memoirs of Lady Trent series. Starting with A Natural History of Dragons, this book series is about a young lady who lives in a world that is quite similar to ‘our’ Victorian era — except that there are dragons! The young lady, Isabella, is determined to study these amazing creatures, even if she must battle gender norms and societal expectations to do so! Though the dragons are more animal-like in this world, Isabella’s fascination with these creatures is amazing and she becomes quite easy to root for her, even with all her flaws as a character. The novelty admittedly wears a bit off in subsequent installments, but it’s still a rather fun series to read.

 

neverwhere-gaiman

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
I could recommend many titles by Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane being personal favourite of his), but I decided to go for a book that has a sense of wonder. Stardust applies, but I think the setting of Neverwhere is a bit more original. It’s an urban fantasy; the main character is arguably a little bland, but the world he explores below the London he knows is very fascinating, filled with remarkable species and colorful characters. Once you’re finished, there’s also the short story called How the Marquis Got His Coat Back, that’s a nice and entertaining additional read.

 

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Circe by Madeline Miller 
I’ve read this book last year, and if you enjoy Greek mythology, this one is a must. Circe explores one of the lesser known characters in the myths, the titular witch on her island. Though most of the story takes place on this island, it never gets boring: Circe proves to be a crossroads of sorts to other important characters in the Greek myths. Several of these characters make their appearance, but they are not the focus. Circe is. It helps that Miller portrays her as a sympathetic yet flawed character, who grows from a somewhat naive girl to a strong woman.

 

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Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
With three hefty tomes, this is quite a book series to sink your teeth into — that is, if you like slow burns. Starting with The Final Empire, this series starts out with an interesting concept: what if The Big Bad of a fantasy story has actually won? Mist covers the land, ash falls from the sky, and The Lord Ruler oppresses the masses along with the nobility. Most of the ‘normal’ people are known as Skaa and are forced into slavery, but some manage to make a living as thieves. One of these is a man named Kelsier, who is determined to overthrow the Lord Ruler and end his tyranny. The young and paranoid street urchin Vin somehow gets involved as well.  If this sounds all rather bleak, I can see why you’d think so. Yet, there is also a recurring theme of hope in these series. Finally, Sanderson has created a captivating world and a wonderfully detailed magic system.

 

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Temeraire by Naomi Novik
I will forever keep recommending this series! It’s the Napoleon wars, but with dragons! It’s quite different from Novik’s more known works Uprooted and Spinning Silver, as it’s obviously more historically based. Starting with His Majesty’s Dragon, it’s about William Laurence, a British navy captain who discovers a rare dragon egg on the enemy ship he has captured. The egg is about to hatch, however, and the hatching is to be harnessed. Unexpectedly, the young dragon picks Laurence as his handler, so the navy captain is forced to abandon his navy career and his marriage to become an aviator. The best thing in this series is the growing bond between Laurence and his dragon, Temeraire. The incquisitive and somewhat rebellious nature of Temeraire is a wonderful foil to the propper and straight-laced Laurence, as well. Finally, Novik has managed to insert the dragons naturally into ‘our’ world, which is very fascinating to see. Not all books in the series might be equally strong, but this is definitely a wonderful series to read nonetheless.

 

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Lancelot by Giles Kristian 
A very recent read. If you want something that doesn’t punch you in the gut, then you might want to avoid this one. If you want something slow and character driven, then Lancelot might be worth a try. In legend, Lancelot is known to be the strongest knight who commits adultery with Guinevere. In most retellings, he’s a rather bland character. By placing Lancelot in the lead of an introspective story, starting from his childhood, Kristian has fleshed him out into a flawed yet sympathetic character. He’s groomed to help Arthur fight the invading Saxons, but his love for Guinevere — whom he knew as a child — defines his life, which ultimately makes his story tragic because he can’t be with her. The beginning of the book can be especially slow, and there are several time skips to make up for this. There’s some action and battle scenes, but they are not the focus. Furthermore, Arthur is not that likable as a character in this version, which makes you wonder why Lancelot wants to follow him so much. That said, if you want to delve into a time with warriors in glorious armors fighting Saxons, try this one. There’s going to be a sequel about Galahad later this year, too!

 

I hope you found something to your liking into this list, so you’ll have another title to escape into for the time being. It’s no coincidence that most of these contain some fantastical elements. At the very least, perhaps it can make social distancing a little more bearable. Take care of yourself and your loved ones, and stay safe in these bizarre times!

And finally, stay home!

How Minimalism has Improved Both My Book Collection and My Reading Experience

The claim in the title might be a strange one, because I do not consider myself a minimalist. Of course, not all minimalists are digital nomads who live out of their backpacks or people whose bare, white homes only contain a bed, a chair, a cup, and a fork. Minimalism looks different for everyone, after all, and people rarely conform to stereotypes.

However, I have a book collection, a manga collection, and a video game collection. I still own dvds of my favorite movies, and geeky knickknacks such as figurines. All of these collections have gone through several decluttering rounds and the remainder is displayed neatly, but they aren’t what you’d consider ‘minimalist’. Hell, plenty of people would argue that having a collection of any sort is counterintuitive to minimalism in the first place. Whether they fit under minimalism or not doesn’t matter, however: I like having these items around, so I’ll keep them.

Before these decluttering rounds a couple of years ago, however, I realized I was getting overwhelmed by my own stuff. I began to declutter, and procrastinated on working on my master thesis by looking around for inspiration on the internet. Marie Kondo and minimalism eventually caught my attention. I initially felt that minimalism was a bit too extreme, but I discovered there were some useful aspects to the movement. I began following several minimalist YouTubers, who advocate simple and intentional living, and I read Fumio Sasaki’s Goodbye, Things, which I found thought provking.

Though I do not consider myself a minimalist and I do not agree with everything, I like the idea as a countervoice against consumerism, materialism, and accummulating stuff one doesn’t really use or need. It made me look at my own stuff, my relationship to these items and shopping in general.

To me, minimalism isn’t about what I do or don’t own, or how few items I own. It’s a helpful tool in deciding what brings value to my life. This element of minimalism is applicable to what’s often perceived as the very antithesis of the movement: collections! Here is how minimalism has helped me with my book collection.

It helps me declutter my book collection
This one is obvious, but it deserves to be mentioned. If you’ve read my previous post on why unhauling books is a good thing, you’ll remember there are various benefits to unhauling books, such as space and no longer having any books collecting dust on your shelves that will never get read (again).

Previously, I (probably subconsiously) considered my book collection as a collection of trophies, telling everyone what I had read. As embarrassing it is to admit, some books would take up valuable shelf space as status symbols to impress others. My experience reading Ulysses by James Joyce was absolutely dreadful and I despise Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe with a passion. I will never read these books again unless someone holds a gun to my head. There are also less extreme examples: I had a lot of books that were highly regarded but I personally didn’t find anything special, such as Dune by Frank Herbet. Eventually, I realized there was no reason to hold on to these books. Keeping these titles out of a misplaced sense of pretentiousness is not only silly and superficial (and honestly, nobody cares what books I have on my shelf), but holding on to every single book I’ve read as a ‘trophy’ is not sustainable in terms of space management. At least, not when I still want to be able to walk through my home.

I’ve had several rounds of decluttering and a lot of books were donated or given to friends. I decided that I only wanted to keep the books that, in the words of Marie Kondo, ‘spark joy’. I keep my favorites, books that I’d want to read multiple times, or books I’m very excited to read in the near future. It means that a lot of classics and literary works haven’t made the cut and a significant part of my remaining books are fantasy. Most of my collection might consist of ‘genre fiction’ which doesn’t have a good rep, but I don’t care. Of course, some classics and literary books still remain, such as Lolita and The Count of Monte Cristo, but that’s because I loved them, not because they are highly regarded. I still have a few books lying around I’m pretty sure I’ll donate after reading them, and that’s alright too.

It helps me get a better sense of the books I enjoy reading the most
Especially after discovering GoodReads, studying as an English major, working in a bookshop, and discovering BookTube, I added a massive amount of books to my TBR. These books were either hyped as the best thing since sliced bread, or I felt that I ‘should’ read them due to the themes and critical acclaim. That’s not to say that all of these books didn’t deserve the attention, yet I found my interest waning. Deep down, the book didn’t really interest me. I used to read these books anyway, but usually, my initial lack of interest was indicative of my lacklustre reading experience. I not only began ruthlessly removing these types of books from my wishlist, but also had a good look at my physical TBR. Did I still want to read this? Was I genuinely still interested in this particular book? If I was still excited, the book would stay. If not, off the book went.

As time passed, however, it became easier to determine whether I was genuinely interested in a book or not. Minimalism can not just apply to things, but also to time. Do I really want to spend my precious time with a book I have no interest in, simply because others loved it or I felt that I ‘should’ read it? The answer is no. Futhermore, it also made it way easier for me to DNF a book. If I don’t like it for whatever reason, I DNF the book and don’t look back. Life’s too short to read books I don’t like, no matter how ‘important’ these books are. The only exception are review copies.

Result of all this? I got a better sense of my likes and dislikes, and most books I finish are books I really enjoy.

It helps me be more critical of the books that find their way on my shelves
To add on to my previous point, I’m more critical of the amount of books that find their way into my home. For example, I’ve realized that I’ll read thrillers only once most of the time. It seems a bit of a waste to buy a physical copy I’ll end up getting rid of, so I’m trying to decide between getting a library subscription or an e-reader for these titles.

I also won’t buy anything that I ‘should’ read, but only if I’m genuinely interested in a book. Whenever a book piques my interest, I actually keep it on my wishlist for a while; I sometimes realize that my interest has passed after a couple of weeks. It saves a lot of money!  That’s not to say I’m not buying any book ever, but my purchases are more intentional and I only stick to books I want to read soon.

Finally, it keeps my physical TBR smaller. I’ve been working to downsize my TBR pile, and this has helped me to make sure it won’t grow bigger again. A very large TBR was stressful and overwhelming to me, and it actually prevented me from rereading my favourites because I had so many unread books! I also don’t want to have books sit on my shelves for years, only to DNF them after 100 pages because I don’t like them or because my tastes have changed over the years.

My purchases have been intentional and come from a genuine interest in reading these books in the near future.

It made reading less stressful
The reading challenge on GoodReads, overwhelming TBRs… I’ve realized that when I attach too many numbers and ‘things I should’ to my hobby, it becomes too stressful which negatively affects my reading experience. After all, books should be about their contents and the experience they provide, not about numbers or stats. I already had the sense to avoid readathons because they are simply not my thing and I never really bothered with reading stats, but I also don’t feel like stressing about my TBR and my GoodReads reading challenge. So I’ve decided to keep both numbers low and manageable.

Even if I do not consider myself a minimalist, I do feel that there are aspects that are applicable and helpful even to those of us who like maintaining a collection. It has helped me evaluate my relationship with items and to determine what brings me value. Of course, my life is not perfect, and neither is my book collection. It just means that my hobby, something I do for fun in my spare time, has stopped being overwhelming or stressful.

2020 Reading Goals … Or the Lack Thereof?

Happy new year everyone!

The title might make you raise an eyebrow, but before we get to that: last year, I wrote about my goal of reducing my TBR. I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to do so! I went from 69 to 29 owned unread books!!

I first wanted to give myself another number of unread books to reach before the end of 2020, but I decided against it. Why? Because I do not want to pressure myself. Of course, I’m going to make sure that my TBR doesn’t get any bigger (I really don’t want a large TBR any more), but I can get to reading the remaining pile (and whatever does come in) on my own pace.

To that end, I’ve set my GoodReads reading challenge to 25 books. For me, this is quite low, especially because I also include manga these days. I do not want to worry about some arbitrary number, but I do like having the list of the books I have read that given year. I’m not even sure if I’ll read a Brick this year, because I don’t currently own a book that qualifies, but who knows? It’s not like I’m not going to buy any books this year…

The main reason for the lack of reading goals is that there are some other goals I’d like to focus on this year. Things like drawing, saving money, getting an exercise routine and a decent sleeping schedule in, and perhaps more importantly: getting used to my new job! Last month, I quit my job as a bookseller for several reasons, and I’m starting at another company as a technical administrator next week. Something completely different, but there’s training on the job and I’m very excited to learn something new.

Of course, I’m still going to read books! I really enjoy reading before bed, for instance, and I’m bound to spend at least some spare time reading. There are several titles I’m excited to get to this year, both owned and on my wishlist. Imaginary Friend (Chbosky), The Skyweaver (Ciccarelli), The Wolf in the Whale (Brodsky), the final book in the Mistborn series (Sanderson), Godsgrave (Kristoff) … the list goes on, and I haven’t even included any manga series I’d like to continue reading yet. I also intend to keep reviewing books (whenever I find one I want to write about) and write other posts, albeit on a very loose blogging schedule.

So I’ll still be reading and writing, but no reading goals this year! I actually like the complete lack of pressure in what’s essentially a hobby, and I’m excited to see what I’ll read and write about this year!