Goodreads Challenge: Quality Over Quantity

I never used to read. When I was younger, I read the books assigned to me in school and didn’t enjoy most of them. It turned me off of reading.

I read more as I got older, but it wasn’t until I started this blog and decided to do book reviews that I started reading regularly… which, if I’m to be honest, was the main reason I started reviewing books. It would hold me accountable to actually read.

Goodreads Challenge Quality Over Quantity | Reading | Books | Reading Challenge | Goodreads | RachelPoli.com

The Goodreads challenge is something that has really made me get into reading. I’m competitive and I love seeing a chart increase with my progress. For the past couple of years I’ve set my challenge goal to 52 books – which means I plan to read one book a week.

For me, this is a steady goal and it’s easy to keep up with. No joke, I’ve seen people aim to read 300 books in a year. If that works for you, great, but I feel like that’s a bit much. If I read 300 books in one year, I’d have to read about 6 books in one week. That’s almost a book a day. Unless I only read picture books and graphic novels, I don’t have the time to read a book a day.

Would that be wonderful and awesome? Yes, but I do have life things to deal with.

When it comes to reading books, I like to think quality chumps quantity. I want to take my time with the books I read and enjoy them, not inhale them.

For me, a week is a perfect amount of time to get through a book. I aim to read 50-100 pages a day so I can easily get through a book that’s 300-500 pages long. Though, most of the books I read are typically between 200-400 pages.

There have been times I’ve read more than one book in one week depending on the length and how much free time I end up with during that week. That’s always a nice treat and then I’m able to get ahead with my reading.

Even though my goal is 52 books, I aim for more because I like to break records. I still take my time though because I think books should be savored.

If it’s a really good one, I want to stay in that world for as long as I can.

How do you do with your Goodreads reading challenge? Do you aim for a lot of books or a little? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Genre Bingo

Yesterday I talked about finding your genre when it comes to writing.

One of the points I made was to practice with all genres; whether it’s reading different genres or trying to write in different genres.

I love a good reading challenge whether it’s Goodreads yearly Reading Challenge, a Bingo board, a deadline for a book review, or even just a book recommendation.

With that being said, I decided to make my own Bingo board. I have a few, but this one I made is plain and simple. It’s Genre Bingo.

If you heed my advice about reading in different genres, this will be a great way to keep track.

The bingo board includes 24 genres plus the lovely free space that everyone adores. It also has a reading list at the bottom so you can write down which books you read for which genre. I don’t know about you, but I like keeping track of the books I read for which square whenever I do a reading bingo. So I thought I would throw that in there.

Anyway, you can download the Genre Bingo here.

I hope you guys enjoy it! I’m sure I’ll be doing the challenge soon enough.

11 Out Of 50 Squares Complete

It’s been a long time, but I have actually been keeping up with my reading! I usually don’t, so this is a pretty big accomplishment for myself.

I don’t know if any of you remember, but at the beginning of 2014 I found two Reading Bingo charts. I completely forgot about it for a while, but when I found the charts the other day I looked through my “Read” shelf on GoodReads and filled in a few of the boxes.

Three of the boxes you all ready know about… I read Coming Clean and The Hobbit, and I, Robot. I’m going to explain the other seven books I’ve read whether you’re interested or not. These are all the books I read on the general bingo card:

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

For the square “a book with more than 500 pages” I read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I had to read this book for my Science Fiction & Fantasy class last semester. I know people rave about this series and the TV show, but…it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I was very glad I was able to get through it. I will admit that it was interesting and I liked it to some certain extent, but it wasn’t good enough for me to run to Barnes & Noble and buy the rest of the series.

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

I read Psych: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read by William Rabkin for the square “a funny book.” I’ve watched and re-watched the TV show and absolutely love it! When I saw there were books based off of the show, I had to give it a shot. I must say, the author did it justice. The books are just as good as the show and I could hear the characters’ voices in my head as I read. It was written exactly like the show. Plus, it made for a good laugh.

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

For the square “a book published this year” I read The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel. I was at Barnes & Noble one day and while waiting for my parents, I picked up the book and started reading it. I got through the first 50 pages and then decided I might as well buy it. The reviews rave about how funny the book is, but I didn’t find too many “hilarious” moments. Overall, it was a good book and a quick read.

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

I downloaded A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton onto my Kindle for the square “a book with a mystery.” This is the first book of an “alphabet series.” The second book is called B is for Burglar and so on. I have yet to read the next book, even though I have it downloaded on my Kindle all ready. I read it because I started writing my own mystery series (Detective Florence) and wanted to read a bit in that genre. I look forward to finishing the series as the first book was very good. However, while the ending was satisfying, it was a bit abrupt which caused me to be a bit disappointed. I hope the other books don’t end like that.

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

For the young adult bingo card, I read If I Stay by Gayle Forman for the square “a book with music.” It was an interesting story line and the book is short, so it should have been a quick read. Yet, it took me a while to get into it. It made me cry, so there’s a plus for the book. As weird as it sounds, I love it when a good makes me cry–it shows the author did their job and I feel for the characters. I look forward to reading the sequel, but at the same time, I’m in no rush to go out and buy it anytime soon.

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, I began reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I read The Socerer’s Stone for the square “the first book in a series,” The Chamber of Secrets for “a book that became a movie,” and just yesterday I finished reading Prisoner of Azkaban for “a book with magic.” Starting in September I’m taking a class called Selected Authors: Tolkien & Rowling. I’m going to have to read books one, three, and seven of the Harry Potter series and since I’ve never read the books before I didn’t want to read them out of order, so I’m reading the entire series now. I don’t think I have to say much more to say on the matter… I’ve always loved Harry Potter and I know most of the rest of the world does, too.

And that’s that! I’m going to continue working through through the young adult bingo card as I’m currently reading through the whole Harry Potter series. I’m hoping I can finish the series in the next month. It took me about two weeks to get through the first three books, so here’s to hoping!

Two Squares

So I’m sure most of you remember the Reading Bingo I announced a little over a week ago. I discussed that even though I don’t read too much I feel very determined to do not one, but both bingo cards, which is 50 books. However, I will settle to complete only one card.

At the pace I’m going, I have to say that I am in pretty good shape. I’m starting with the purple bingo card (the orange one is geared toward more young adult novels whereas the purple is just general). It’s the beginning of February and I have already read two books for the bingo, which helps my GoodReads 2014 Reading Challenge because I am now four books ahead of schedule for that.

The Hobbit

The first square I filled out was “A book with non-human characters” in which I read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I had to read this book for my science fiction and fantasy class. It took us two weeks to read it; we had to read chapters one through seven the first week and the rest of the novel the second week (which happens to be this week). I ended up finishing the entire novel last week. I did this because I wanted to attempt to have less homework this week, so I thought I would read bits and pieces each day. I ended up reading the rest of the novel in one or two sittings. It was really good; I don’t read fantasy all that much mostly because I have a hard time understanding it (hence why I read mostly middle grade fiction), but it just happened to be one of those “can’t put down” books.

Coming Clean

Speaking of “can’t put down” books…the second square I filled out was “A book you heard about online” in which I read Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller. This book was self-published through Amazon back in July 2013. I heard of it through an article on Yahoo and thought to myself, “This sounds like an interesting book.” It’s a memoir about growing up with both of her parents being hoarders. As interesting as it sounded, I never really read memoirs or non-fiction books. I thought about reading it, but in the back of my mind I knew I most likely never would read it.

Well, since there are very few books I hear about online (well, I do, but I just don’t pay attention), I didn’t know what to read for that square. Then Coming Clean popped into my head, I downloaded it onto my Kindle, and guess what? I read it in three days. According to my Kindle, I read 20% the first time, got up to 48% the second time, then I spent about three hours this morning reading the rest of the book. If it wasn’t too late last night and I wasn’t so tired, I probably would have stayed up half the night to read it. I couldn’t put it down. It is certainly a book I would recommend to anyone, and I did: to my mom and both of my sisters.

So I have 23 more books to read for the purple bingo card. For seven of those squares I know which books I’m going to read. One of them I started reading, but I’m reading it with Kris (we alternating reading the chapters out loud to each other–we’re weird), so it’s going to take us a while to get through it.

If any of you out there is doing the reading bingo, I would love to know what you’re reading and how far you are. If you think this is something you might want to do, then click here: This is the original website of the bingo cards, even though I found them on Pinterest.

Daily Word Count

Writing

 

 

I posted this picture from Pinterest because this is how I’ve been feeling lately. It’s gotten to the point when I’ve started asking myself, “Why am I doing this to myself?” again. You all know my answer as I have explained it once or twice before.  As writers we’re not allowed to make excuses, but we make excuse after excuse anyway. Here’s my current excuse:

School started.

You know how I was writing 5,000 words a day? I was doing fantastic at that! Well, since school started I have been more preoccupied with that (as I should be) so it’s gotten to the point where I’ve said to myself, “It’s already 8pm, I’m not going to hit 5k…I’m just going to go watch Seinfeld.” …My sister and I have been on a Seinfeld kick lately.

Anyway, I decided that I’m going to shoot for 1,000 words a day while school is in session. During winter break, summer, Spring break, etc, I’ll go back to the 5,000 words a day. I’ll update it on my To Do List whenever I change the word count, even if it’s just for a week (like for Spring Break).

Now this bothers me because I assumed by taking three classes I’d have more time to write as opposed to taking five classes like I did last semester–not to mention I’m not working full-time anymore. But here’s the thing: I’m taking three classes and have 14 books for it. Mind blown, right? You have no idea how much reading I have been doing in the past two weeks since school started. I’m not saying this is a bad thing because it’s certainly helping me on GoodReads (I’m three books ahead of my 20-book 2014 Reading Challenge goal!) and I’m using a few of those books to fill up some squares on the Reading Bingo. So even though a few of the books are boring (no offense to anyone who likes Gertrude Stein and/or Ernest Hemingway), it helps. Plus it’s good for writers to read books they like and books they don’t like, right?

So today I pushed myself to get back into that daily writing routine. I wrote 1,259 words and I am happy with that. However, I will admit that I am looking forward to Spring Break in the middle of March so I can not be too exhausted out of my mind and will be able to write 5,000 words again even just for that week.

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo

Look what I found! I found this Reading Bingo chart on Pinterest. I am a Pinterest addict like most people and I found this a while ago, but completely forgot to post it on here. You “play” it just like regular Bingo. You get five in a row and then…well, nothing, actually. I guess you can go out and buy yourself something nice as a reward.

On GoodReads there is a Reading Challenge every year. For 2013 I set the bar for 20 books. I failed, but we all knew that because I don’t read too much. I try, but…whatever. So, for 2014 I set the bar for 20 again. Then I found this Reading Bingo thing and I decided that instead of  trying to hit five in a row, I plan on wiping the entire board clean. Yes, that’s 25 books. And yes, some people play Bingo that way–they try to fill up the entire board.

So, my goal on GoodReads is 20 books, but the Bingo goal is 25 books. If I read somewhere between 20-25 books, I will be happy. But…here’s the catch!

If you click on the “Reading Bingo” link back in the first paragraph of this post, it will lead to where the Bingo cards originated from. Notice there are two cards. One, the purple you see above, is a general one. The other one (on the website) is orange and is meant for young adult novels. Which one should I do?

Well, naturally I decided to do both. Can anyone tell me what 25 plus 25 equals? That’s right–50! (Good job, guys! Go eat a cookie!) So, I raised the bar from 20 to 25 to 50. Can I do it? Honestly, I think it would be nice to hit at least 20 and beat last years record (I think it was 16), but it would be even better to read those five extra books to hit 25. That’s why I’m only focusing on one Bingo card at a time. I’ll still try to do both, but I want to finish at least one full one by the end of 2014.

I printed out both cards, but I’m focusing on the purple one (the general one) right now. On the purple one I numbered the boxes and began to make a list of which books I’m going to read. For example:

A book by a female author: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The second book in a series: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
A book with a blue cover: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Okay, how many of you are freaking out right now? “She’s never read The Hunger Games before?!”

Let me say this: I read The Hunger Games when it first came out. I read it before it was cool, way before it became a movie (which I still haven’t seen…that you can freak out about). I read that book my sophomore year of high school during the MCAS testing. I remember because I rushed through the test so I could spend the majority of the four hours they gave us to take the test to read the book.

Now, like I just said, that was my sophomore year. That was about five-ish years ago. It’s been a while, so I decided to read it again; especially before I finally decide to watch the movie. That, and I want to refresh my memory so I can prepare myself for the second and third books.

Other than planning the books I’m going to read, I have only just started the actual reading part. School started last week and I am taking a science fiction & fantasy course. One of the books I have to read for that class is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m almost halfway through the book and I’m reading it for the box that says: “a book with non-human characters.”

I hope you all find this Reading Bingo interesting and maybe some of you will even be willing to do it as well. I think it will be a lot of fun and it will expand my literary horizons. It would be great to know that there are others out there doing this challenge, too.

Hello 2013!

I Can’t Believe Another Year Has Come And Gone…

 

I hope everyone had a great holiday and a lovely New Year! I spent last night at my friends house with my sisters…our host fell asleep. But it’s okay, we woke her up 20 minutes before midnight! We watched the people in New York…no one would be able to drag me there for anything on that night. Too many people and it was way too cold. Plus, I like to go to bed right after midnight…even though I didn’t. But that’s besides the point.

Anyway, I got a new little nifty gadget from Santa! I got an iPod Touch. I know some of you probably don’t think that’s a big deal because most of you probably have the iPhone 5, but my phone is an old Sony Ericsson flip phone that I have had for a few years and it still works wonders…even after I accidentally drop it a million times a day. His name is Caleb and I love him.

But speaking of Donny (this is what I named my new iPod), I have used him quite a bit. One of my favorite things is the WordPress App that I have for it. That’s what I used when I wrote my last post oh so long ago. But at least now, I can update while I’m in class at school! Isn’t that great? 😀

But let’s talk about the new year. The past two years I have had the same resolution and both years I started off the beginning of the year really well and followed it. Then half way through the year, I would either get bored or just forget about it. That resolution was to read more. So, I think I might try it again, but we’ll have to see how it goes. I am on GoodReads and the link to my profile is on the Come Find Me page of this blog if anyone wants to check it out (I also have the app for that, too!). I also just joined the 2013 Reading Challenge on there with a goal of 20 books. It told me that I only read eight books last year. That’s kind of sad…but kind of a new record for me, I guess.

Another resolution: write more. I feel as though I say this every single day, but I really am going to start writing a lot more. Here’s a little bit of news for you: I finished Saving Each Other. Remember that NaNo I was trying to accomplish? Well, I finished it in the middle of December. The only thing is that I’m going to try doing something  a little different…

My sister came up with this idea and I’ve decided to follow through with it because I believe it would work out better this way. Instead of Saving Each Other being one book with sequels, I’m going to have it be in one book. Saving Each Other is just the first part. So I guess you can say that I finished one part of a book that’s going to have five parts. So, I edited my To Do List page and replaced “finish Saving Each Other” with “finish Seeing Things.” I also got rid of the whole write 360 pages by the end of the year…I think I got to a little over 200 pages. Not bad, at least.

So this is what I’m going to be doing this year: reading more and writing more. Let’s hope that I can keep it up with school and work!

Happy New Year everyone! And good luck with all your resolutions! 🙂