How to Reach Your Reading Goal This Year

 

Free stock photo of blur, blurred, book, book pages‘New year new me.’

We hear that everywhere in the first few months of the year as it is a time for goals and resolutions. A lot of people make it their goal to read more; gyms are not the only place getting new customers. Whether your goal is to read 12 books or 112, here are some tips to help you achieve your reading goal this year.

 

1. Get a Library Card

I cannot stress this one enough, and no it is not just because I am a librarian. While libraries are evolving to meet the needs of communities in the 21st century they still have books. I personally read anywhere from 80-110 books a year and if I had to buy all of those it would cost me around $2000! I am assuming like me, not everyone has that amount of money to spend on books (though we wish). Having a library card eliminates this expense and allows you to give books a chance that you would normally not pick up. Since there is no cost involved you can try a new genre or new author free of charge. If you do not like it… bring it back. Librarians are also a good resource on what to read and libraries have every genre and format you can think of.

Speaking of formats…

2. eBooks

Another reading option are eBooks, which you can purchase for a lower cost or borrow from your public library. Libby by Overdrive is a popular app, but check with your local library to see what they use, because well… it’s free. There is a big debate between physical books and eBooks but I like both formats and I can tell you that eBooks do not scare librarians!

I love how I can download books to my phone and read them while I wait in line at the grocery store or a waiting room, not to mention being able to download books for a trip. I also appreciate being able to read on my side and not have to struggle keeping a book open.

3. Try an audio-book

If you struggle with reading, have difficulty finding time to read, or just want to switch it up, try audio-books. They are also available at public libraries through apps such as Libby, or on CDs and playaways (think MP3). Audio-books are not for everyone. A lot of people mention that they think they will get distracted or fall asleep. I had the same concern. I found that if I was doing a task where I did not have to think, like cleaning the house, I was able to follow the story. I want to try and download audio-books this year to listen to while I exercise as I find working out very boring. Audio-books are also great for those of you that have long commutes or are taking a road trip.

Tip: Listening to a book that the author recorded can be a great way to really get into a book, especially memoirs.

4. Keep track

Keeping track of your reading can really help you accomplish your reading goal. Not only does it help you know how many books you have read, it is so satisfying crossing off a book on your list. I use Goodreads to keep track of my reading as they have a handy tool to keep track of your reading for the year. It is also helpful in recommending other reads, reading reviews, and to see what others in the community are reading.

If you are into bullet journals you can make a fun sheet to keep track of your reading. My friends who bullet journal have a list of books they want to read in their lifetime and will colour in the book when they have completed it as well as a page to write the books they have read for that year/month.

5. If You Don’t like it, Don’t Read It

I have a lot of patrons that come into the library that did not like the book they checked out and struggled to read it. I always say there are too many good books in the world to suffer through a crappy one.

This tip is simple: If you don’t like it, don’t read it. I wouldn’t go so far as to stop reading a book after one paragraph, unless you really cannot stand it. I usually give a book a chance by reading the first 70-100 pages. If I do not care about it by then I move on and try the next book. Struggling through a book you do not like can be discouraging and takes the joy out of reading. This isn’t high school. You do not have to read books you do not like.

6. Read What YOU Want to Read

I see many new readers at a loss of where to start and so they turn to the classics, or the books that they think they should be reading such as 1984, The Great Gatsby, Animal Farm, Moby Dick etc. This isn’t english class, read what you want. If the classics are your cup of tea go for it! But if they are not, do not feel bad about it. If you are not sure what you like, pick up a few different genres and authors from the library and see what sparks your interest. You might be surprised with what you find.

How do you keep your reading goals for the year?

 

Advertisements
Posted in Reading Tips | Leave a comment

Reading Something New

I usually read Adult Teen Fiction, mostly fantasy, but this year I wanted to expand my reading horizons (cue angels singing). I friend introduced me Graphic Novels and I fell in love. I will admit, sometimes I get frustrated and wish the author would write plainly what is happening rather than having to decipher illustrations, but I grew to love this form of literature. Graphic Novels are quick reads, can tackle important subjects, and are a great mix of writing and visual art.

I also read some contemporary books this year. I always had the mindset that I would rather read fantasy or historical fiction rather than books set in the here and now because I live in the here and now and sometimes I want to escape it.

I even read a few non-fiction books. Gasp!

I have always loved reading for the sense of escapism I get from it but there is also something comforting reading a book and saying to yourself, “I know exactly what you are going through,” or “I have a friend that deals with this.” It is a great feeling when you realize you are not alone in this world.

I do not know what genre or format I am going to try next. Maybe some adult fiction? (shudders) I should try and listen to an audio book for workout and cleaning the house purposes but… NO! Wait. This is a new year, new me. I will listen to an audio book while I workout.

Now to renew that gym membership.

Did you try anything new this past year? What are your plans for new reads in 2018? Are there any genres you refuse to read?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 5 Reads of 2017

Here are my top 5 reads of 2017. I chose books from different genres and formats as I tried to expand the types of books I read in 2017. The following books were not necessarily published in 2017, I just happened to read them last year. So without further ado here are my top 5 reads of 2017 (in no particular order).

1. Long Way Down – Jason Reynolds

Long Way Down

Image Via Goodreads

 

Written in Verse

Quote: “No Crying, no snitching and get revenge.”

I thought this book was cleverly written and I appreciated the quick read. Going into it I thought I knew what was going to happen but I was wrong. And the last line gave me chills.

 

 

 

2. The Agony of Bun O’Keefe – Heather Smith

The Agony of Bun O'Keefe

Image Via Goodreads

 

Canadian Author

Quote: “Santa stopped coming when my dad left. I figured it was ’cause my mother turned me invisible.”

I loved this book. I loved the main character and how smart she was and naive at the same time. I loved the supporting characters and I LOVED how this book tackled so many issues at once. This book should be read in a high  school English class.

 

 

3. This One Summer – Mariko Tamaki

This One Summer

Image Via Goodreads

Canadian Author

Graphic Novel

Quote: “I wish I was a little kid. So I could just scream and be mad. It’s terrible to say, but I wish I could just… disappear.”

This was the first graphic novel I read and I fell in love. The story and graphics were great but what I loved most was the feeling I got when I read it. I think we all have that special place in the world that we visit where every memory is happy and special. This book reminded me of that. It was very nostalgic.

 

4. Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History – Sam Maggs

Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History

Image Via Goodreads

Non-Ficton

Quote: “Women can write programs, launch rockets, fly airplanes, cure illness, prove theorems, name planets, win battles, climb mountains, build robots, break records, start movements, and keep fighting.”

This is a non-fiction book that is easily digestible as it is broken down into short biographies of women around the world who went against the norm, did what the loved, and changed the world. It was very inspiring to read about these women and their perseverance through all the obstacles they faced.

 

 

5. Midnight at the Electric – Jodi Lynn Anderson

Midnight at the Electric

Image Via Goodreads

 

Quote: “‘The Longer I Live,’ she looked up at the ceiling, ‘the more I think our big mistakes are not about having bad intentions, but just not paying attention. Just bumbling along, a little self-absorbed.”

I cannot describe how much I loved this book. Three stories come together across 150 years and you care about each one! It was beautifully written, thought-provoking and somehow made the dust bowl interesting. I recommend this book to everyone I can and they love it. Another one that could be read in a high school English class.

 

Honorable Mentions

Ban This Book – Alan Gratz

Daughter of the Pirate King – Tricia Levenseller

The Edge of Everything – Jeff Giles

Eliza and Her Monsters – Francesca Zappia

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares – Krystal Sutherland

Sit – Deborah Ellis

This Impossible Light – Lily Myers

Thornhill – Pam Smy

 

What were your favourite reads of 2017?

Posted in Book Recommendations | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The British Museum Archives

The British Museum is one of the most well-known museums in the world. In the mid-1750s this museum was created and has grown into the museum that it is today. The museum keeps everything that it acquires for the museum. The founding fathers and subsequent leaders of the museum kept detailed records of their meetings and aaquisitions. All of these records are in the tunnels below the museum.


Our class had a tour of the archives from the archivist and it was very enlightening. The British Library has only had a professional archivist for the past 15 years. 15 years out of the 250 years of it’s exsistance! The archive holds meeting minutes, lists of aquisitions, building plans, reading cards etc. These items are full of information but are not catalogued. In fact the archivist was only able to get a catalogue 2 years ago. There is only one archivist at the British Museum who is aided by 5 volunteers.

The fact that there hasn’t been an archivist until very recently can be seen. A lot of what is in the archives and how it is organized does not make sense. There are random scrapbooks of images, letters and plans that have been pasted in with no despcriton.

Each department now has their own librarian to help research for displays and exhibits but the archives still need to be consulted. Sometimes departments want to know when the Museum acquired an item and any history about it, and sometimes the museum has to prove ownership of an item. Since the archives are not catalogued no one is able to do it but the archivist who, after 11 years of working there, knows the collection the best from experience.

For example: The archivist was asked to find out when the giraffes came to the British Museum. The archivist had to scower the aquisition books to find an entry about the giraffes. She could not find any mention of them until she realized that at the time the museum would have acquired them, giraffes were called ‘camel leopards.’

The wealth of knowledge in this room is astronomical. Shelves upon shelves of books, some of which are still a mystery to their contents. There are boxes of reader cards from when the British Library was at the British Museum. We were shown Bram Stoker’s reader card. It was so neat. There are boxes upon boxes of reader cards that have not been all read. Imagine the secrets they hold.

One major problem is that the items are not catalogued. The archivist explained that it would take over 20 years to catalogue everything. The archivist spends most of her time answering inquiries, roughly 8-10 a day. She answers every question, no matter who it is from. She even received an email from a 10 year old boy asking about Christopher Columbus. Rather than ignoring the email she found some materials for him and emailed him back. The questions from the public and museum take up a lot of her time which means she usually only has 1 day a month where she is able to catalogue.

By the end of the tour all of us wanted to stay in London and help the archivist out.

I cannot stress enough the importance for decision makers to value archivists and they work they do. Since nothing is catalogued in this archive the archivist is the only one that can navigate it, from years of experience working there. If she is no longer available, for whatever reason, there would be no one who knows the collection. I hope people realize the importance of archives and libraries and the information they provide. Archives and special collections are full of items that you cannot find anywhere else. If they are gone or not taken care of that information is gone forever.

Posted in Europe, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Austrian National Library

The Austrian National Library, previously known as the Imperial Library, is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. It was created in the Hapsburg Palace in Vienna to show the magnificence of the royalty and their patronage to art and science. This library is still accessible by the public and now houses all items that are published in Austria. Similar to the British Library in England.


The library was constructed in the Baroque style so it is symmetrical, and decorated with many frescoes and statues. The books are still in the same order they were in in the Baroque period. The wooden shelves and thick walls halve kept the matierlas in good condition as they regulate the temperature.

There are 8 million items belonging to this library. These items are an accumulation of Hapsburg libraries, donations of other libraries, acquisitions etc. All published works of Austria are collected here, no exceptions, as well as selected material from all over the world.


There is an audio-guided tour that I highly recommend. The tour describes the library and it’s history as well as in-depth descriptions of the arcitecture and art. There are also rotating exhibits that are put on in the library. People who are interested in history, architecture or libraries would love this site.

Posted in Europe, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

St. Paul’s Cathedral Library

St. Paul’s is a Labirynth of awesome. We met some tour guides who gave a great history of the building and the architecture as well as the changes made throughout history. It was interesting to hear about the precautions made during WWII to protect the site and its’ treasures. There was a volunteer fire brigade housed in St. Paul’s and valuable items were taken elsewhere to protect them. The building suffered some damage from bombs but many missed or did not detonate.

We climbed a BUNCH of stairs to the second floor where the library is kept. The shelves are full of old books on topics such as theology, philosophy, dictionaries and topographic from travels of the holy land. The books were originally organized by size, small books on top and big books on bottom and then by author and still are.


Anyone can use the library that can make good use of it. They are able to read the books in the main library room with a librarian present. The database was lost so everything is not currently in one database anymore. There are other catalogues elsewhere that have certain parts of the collection catalogued such as a catalogue that has cathedral music.

This year the books will be removed from the library as cleaning will be done. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) is an organization that promotes the protection of ancient buildings. They stand for protection and conservation rather than demolishion or restoration. According to the St. Paul’s Librarian their motto is “as much as is necessary and as little as possible.”

I loved St. Paul’s but I would have liked to spend more time in the library and seen some of the items in the collection.

Posted in Europe, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The London Museum

I was very impressed with the London Museum and the variety and breadth of displays that they had. The London Museum showcases London History from Roman times to present day.

I thought that the museum did a great job of showing how the different eras in London history connected and flowed into each other. Each exhibit showed a time period on London history and the main political and social features of that time.

I really appreciated the exhibit on the Fire of London of 1666. There was video, and objects that survived the fire that told the story of this great tragedy.

I also really enjoy the Victorian Era and loved the display they had for that. There was a “Pleasure Garden” that had video of different classes and their role in society as well as some outfits that would have been worn. There was also a Victorian Era Street with shops to see some of the different goods that would have been for sale during this time.

The Museum did a great job of using space, even using the floor to display items. There were also different mediums used to display information such as objects, videos, images, interactive displays, models etc. This museum is defiantly worth checking out.

Posted in Europe, Travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment