8 Months, 14 Days or 258 Days, 3 Hours, 18 Minutes, 38 Seconds

Dear Reader:

It has been 8 months, 14 days since I started this blog on July 17, 2011.  Seems like a good time to take stock!

Reading Spot Central

When I started, my goal was to a) limit myself to buying no more than 20 books in a year, b) read my own books at a faster rate than I bought them, c) keep a record of my reading, d) read more thoughtfully, and e) read many of the classics on my bucket list.  How am I doing so far?

Some of my cookbooks.  No, those aren’t fur bunnies.  They’re an optical illusion.

A) Limit myself to buying no more than 20 books in a year

I passed this limit awhile ago, deciding that I wasn’t going to castigate myself in a post.  I’m at 43 books purchased since my blog started.  I also gave myself some wiggle room – I hadn’t intended to allow public library books, but I paid to renew my card when Amazon initiated kindle library book borrowing.  I borrowed some great books from my aunt’s lovely library during a visit.

I made a rule that I would count buying hard copies of books I already owned – applied to some classics I got for free on my kindle.  When I started getting back into hard copy books and after reading Susan Wise Bauer’s classic education book, I decided I wanted to be able to physically mark up pages.  I also decided to exclude books bought for work (I’m a professor and scientist – I need books for teaching, research, and publishing).

This allowed me to buy the above books for a new class I’m prepping on Animals and Society and not count them toward my 20 books.  It gave me an outlet for my book buying itch and is very helpful to my work.

So, I surpassed my goal by 23 books (so far).  Yes, I did not meet my goal.  But keeping myself to just 43 books felt really hard.  I can’t say how many books I buy in an average year, but it has to be 100s. Clearly, having this goal helped me reduce my buying hugely.

B) Read my own books at a faster rate than I bought them

I’ve bought 43 new books (for personal use as opposed to work).  Over the past year, I’ve read about 84 books.  Thirty-eight of them were in my library before starting this blog.  So, I’ve bought books at a slightly faster rate than I’ve read the books I had, but I’ve read nearly twice as many books as I bought.  I’m close to meeting this goal – now that I see the breakout, I can focus on meeting it by July.

C) Keep a record of my reading

This will be my 102nd post.  That’s over roughly 36 weeks and equates to 2.83 posts per week or nearly a post every other day.  A quick scan suggests my posts typically range between 1000-2000 words.  I’ve posted about nearly every book I’ve read.  So, I feel I’ve very much met this goal.

D) Read more thoughtfully

Blogging has changed how I read.  I read more deeply, especially the classics I’ve read.  I’ve frequently read biographies and biographical information (from websites) and other blogs and reviews, especially for the classics I’ve read, including the 20th Century classics.  I’ve taken tons of notes, particularly on some nonfiction books and classics.  I’ve read multiple books from particular classic authors: Willa Cather, George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, Elizabeth Bowen, Dorothy Whipple, and Helen R. Hull.

I’ve had lots of discussions with other bloggers about lots of authors – on their blog sites and mine.  Before blogging, I didn’t read book blogs.  And now that I do, I’ve discovered this whole world of wonderful readers out there.

E) Read many of the classics on my bucket list

Over the past year, I’ve read Cather, Eliot, Dickens, Wharton, Trollope, Bowen, Pym, and Penelope Fitzgerald.  I’ve read biographies of many of them and also one about Virginia Woolf.  While I can’t claim to have read all the books of any of them, I feel that I’ve gained a good sense of their styles and themes.

I’ve also listed the 271 classics I own and intend to read in the next few years in response to Jillian’s Classics Club Challenge.  I found this particularly valuable – I had a rough mental list of people I wanted to read, but now that I see them listed it feels very doable.

Summing It all Up

I’ve met most of my goals for this blog and am not too worried about going over my 20 book limit. The number of books I’ve purchased is a fraction of what I usually buy for personal use.  I’ve read deeply many classic writers.  Since I’ve taken notes and posted about my reading, the books I’ve read have become individualized in my mind as opposed to all blurring in my mind as they used to pre-blog.  As a bonus, I’ve found lots of wonderful new authors to read, including Dorothy Whipple and Helen R. Hull and all the Persephone and Virago writers.

I’ve become a member of a community of readers, bloggers, and blog readers.  Thank you, dear readers! for reading, commenting, following, liking, subscribing, supporting, and “friending” me (in the traditional, not FB, sense).  I couldn’t and wouldn’t do this without you.

And on a different note…

Hopefully, most of you are dog lovers because I love to mix my dog musings with my book musings.  But I tend to overlook my dear cat, Fred.

Zoe, Fred, Gus

Fred is 17 years old – I realized that I’ve owned him for one third of my life (I’m fifty).

Breezy, Fred

For most of his life (13 years), I didn’t have dogs.  He had only had bad experiences with them.

Fred – looking good for 17 years old!

Fred’s gone from being one of three cats to being one cat among three dogs.

Gus, Ruby, Fred, Zoe

Because he is a super self-confident and outgoing cat, he’s adapted with great aplomb.  And now he grooms all my dogs.

Fred, Gus

He’s a remarkable guy who has brought me great joy and I’m lucky to have lived with him all these years.

Your Daily Dose of Color

Nice Gaillardia, no?  Sadly, no longer living in my garden.

Happy reading, ruby



  1. Jillian ♣

    Aw, I am a cat person. 😀 Great job on your goals, Ruby!

  2. Soon the flowers will be back…I hope and dream 🙂

    Good job on keeping up with the blog, not overbuying books, staying true to reading and tracking what you read! The new class sounds very interesting – I look forward to hearing more.

  3. I meant to just glance over your site, while looking for some items on a favourite, now deceased author (Barbara Pym), and to possibly also find info on how to get going with ‘blogging’ in general.
    After more than a quarter of an hour, as I kept reading ‘just one more page’, I realized I needed to ‘Follow” you on WordPress, and come back to your site regularly, just to see what you have put down next! Hurray for our doggies and cat friends. 🙂
    You have arranged ideas in a very interesting manner, and I am hoping you keep on writing down your unique way of looking at things.

    • Hi: Thanks and welcome! I hopped over and checked out your website – cool focus. If you are new to blogging, a couple suggestions that helped me build readership – 1) keep doing what you are doing, checking out other people’s blogs and commenting. and 2) consider participating in blog hops or other memes. There are lots of books and animal blog memes/hops where people link up to each other and introduce themselves. They are a great way to add readers, find other great blogs, and see what others are doing, have fun, Ruby

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