2021 reading challenge check in

We’re officially half-way done with 2021 – where has it gone? This year I started a new job and, as lockdowns and restrictions are constantly easing and going back into place, I’ve found it somewhat difficult to really settle into a routine. 

At the start of the year, I set out to read 26 books in 2021, but thought it would be nice to read more than that. I’m currently on my 9th book of the year which, according to Good Reads, puts me one book behind schedule.

This year, I’ve flown through a few books, which pushed me ahead. Unfortunately, I’ve also felt determined to finish books I haven’t really enjoyed, which has dragged me way back. I’m a completionist, and hate putting down books that aren’t finished, but I also hate the feeling of being held back, and being kept from books I could really actually enjoy.

What’s more is that I love being in the routine of reading. Especially now; Scotland is in a very random wee heatwave. Last year when I was languishing in lockdown I really enjoyed hours spent on my balcony when the sun came round. I’d put on a pair of shorts, put my feet up, and read. I’d read during the day on my couch while listening to lofi beats to relax/study to, but most regularly, I’d read for a little while before bed. 

In the winter, after work, reading from 9pm was my best chance to get through books. But as I happened on books I wasn’t so keen on, it became easier and easier to stay on the couch for longer, until bed, watching something more interesting on TV. Or, if I were to be distracted by a notification on my phone, if I wasn’t enjoying the book I’d end up allowing my phone to continue to distract me.

On that note: I realised how much I really struggle with reading books from my phone. I was lucky enough to get a few ARCs this year, like Michael Gallagher’s Jamies Keepsake and Helen McClory’s Bitterhall, both of which I read on my phone. Enjoyment of these stories aside, being confined to the small screen and being beholden to the distraction that would come from notifications really slowed my progress.

No I will not put my phone on Do Not Disturb. I’ll forget to turn it off and everyone in my life will think I’m ignoring them. 

Back to the ARC thing, though: how exciting!! I love getting to read review copies of books. Getting the opportunity to read new talent is always so amazing, and then there’s the shot to get the first glimpse of an established writers’ new material. There’s your bragging rights. 

That said, reading books to a time constraint and knowing that I have to review them can feel a bit daunting, can add some pressure to the process and diminish my enjoyment of reading, despite how much I’m enjoying the actual book. 

This blog post is unashamedly me making excuses as to why I’m behind my reading goals. To catch up, I think I’ll read some books I’m genuinely excited about, and maybe press pause on receiving review copies at the minute, just to get back in the habit of reading for me. 

So, what have I read this year? As of writing…

So far, my favourite from this list has been Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. It really gripped me, and I read the whole second half in one sitting one evening. Truly exceptional work – breathtaking, exciting, and beautiful.

As always I’m open to book recommendations! I love fun fiction and am particularly interested in reading works of new and emerging authors.

Thank you for visiting hol7ly.co.uk ! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading today. If you REALLY ENJOYED your visit, I accept donations via my Ko-Fi account here. Any donations are massively appreciated as they encourage me to keep writing, and fuel my dreams of writing full-time and completely independently one day! 

Thanks again ~ 

Holly x

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