Sunday Coffee – Bringing 2014 to a Close

IMG_8916Last Sunday of 2014. It’s been a wild year, one I’m ready to wrap up. I’m going to be putting up my end-of-year survey later this week, so I don’t want to say too much today about specific books. Instead, I want to bring this year to a close by looking at the general trends of 2014.

This was a very different year for me, not least because I re-awakened The Zen Leaf. It’s been interesting writing public reviews again, and having a blog dedicated to that. I was worried, when I first began, that I would very easily get drawn into that pressure of having to post all the time again, and my reading pace would increase drastically. Other than my normal bump up during RIP season – something that happened even when I wasn’t blogging publicly – I’ve stayed very relaxed, which is comforting.

It’s not just in reading pace that I’ve stayed relaxed, but in what I read. Since mid-2011, I’ve adopted a philosophy of reading whatever feels good at the time, rather than for any obligation. While that has led to a less diverse book list (both in terms of social issues, and in terms of genre/time period/etc), it has also led to a lot of personal enjoyment for the most part. This year, over 40% of the authors I read were ones I already knew and loved. Nearly 3/4ths of my fiction was speculative, and for the first time since 2009, half of the novels I read were young adult (normally my adult percentage is twice as high as young adult).

I no longer believe that reading “whatever you want, whenever you want” is a recipe for 100% book satisfaction. No matter if you’re reading for fun, reading to challenge yourself, or reading to expand your knowledge, you’re going to come across books you love and books you don’t really enjoy. Some of the best books I’ve ever read were books I didn’t want to read in the first place, and some of the worst have been books I was dying to read. I’ve had years of reading-for-pleasure that produced no noteworthy books, and others, like this year, that has produced a myriad of them. I’ve learned to be grateful for the wonderful books that come along, because they sometimes strike in very random moments.

It’s been a really good book year for me. I discovered several new authors/series to love, revisited some old favorites (books and authors), and (for the latter half of the year) had a public place to share all these loved-books with other book-lovers. The Zen Leaf has its history of six years of reviews fully rebuilt, and 2015 will start with a completely clean slate. Here’s to more wonderful reading in the new year!

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About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
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10 Responses to Sunday Coffee – Bringing 2014 to a Close

  1. Shaina says:

    I’m glad to hear this has been such a calm year for you, at least in terms of reading. While I like the structure that lists and challenges can bring, I agree that it can make reading feel like a chore, so good on you for breaking out of that “obligation” mentality.

    Here’s to another year of wonderful books and posting just as often as you’d like. πŸ™‚

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  2. I’m happy to hear that you’ve been reading what you WANT to read instead of reading out of obligation. That’s a huge part of the reason I transitioned my blog into a mostly personal one at the start of 2014. It’s been so much less stressful to NOT feel the obligation of reading certain books and needing them to be reviewed by a certain time. Now, I read what I want to read and only review what I want to review. πŸ™‚

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    • Amanda says:

      I did that in 2011, and then eventually left off blogging altogether (and had some trying to start again moments in different places in the intervening years). I’m happy to have a fully book blog again, even if it’s far more relaxed than the 2010 version of TZL!

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  3. Trisha says:

    Reading should be an enjoyable experience, so I’m glad you are finding your balance.

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  4. Trish says:

    Yes yes yes to everything you said here. Blogging is very relaxed for me these days (though I still try to post so many times a week on certain days and with a certain balance…BUT I SWEAR IT’S RELAXED), and I only posted about 60% of the books I read this year. I’m totally OK with that.

    I also agree about the reading what you want, when you want. That was basically my year today and it was “meh.” Maybe some of that is because I also had a bit of stay at home mom depression (ugh the boredom!!), but very few books really hit home with me. While I still don’t want to get into too much of the HAVE TO READ lists (like challenges), I do want to read more classics this year and more challenging books that will be work but also worth the work.

    Hope it’s a fantastic 2015 for you!

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    • Amanda says:

      The funny thing is, I’ve had years of reading whatever I wanted that were REALLY successful and ones that weren’t. I’ve also had years of obligation reading that were great and not. Sometimes we just find good books, right? (And I totally get you on the boredom!)

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  5. whatsheread says:

    Yay for successes in 2014! I am so thrilled you revived The Zen Leaf this year. It just feels…right. Here’s to a great 2015 and even more success!

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