December 2012
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A New Year, A New Plan – Reading in 2013

happy new year images 2013I am happy to welcome 2013 and it is my goal to make reading more enjoyable with less stress this year. Twenty-twelve was a tough year for me personally with the loss of my dad and my sister back in treatment for her cancer. I found myself craving “me” time and wanting to do the things which brought me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I wanted to feed my creative spirit. I ended up reading far less in 2012 than any time in the last four years (only 58 books), partly because I started spending more time in my sewing room (I made 11 quilts and numerous smaller projects in 2012). My priorities shifted a bit.

In 2013 I want to read more of the books I already have in my stacks. To do that, I need to stop accepting new books for review with very rare exceptions…and I need to commit to buying no more than one new book a month. Last year (if I’m calculating correctly) 124 new books arrived in the mail from publishers, publicists, and authors. Many were unsolicited, but some I agreed to take for review. I probably bought at least 40 new books myself. With those kinds of numbers, I will never make a dent in my stacks. So here is my plan:

  • Read from my stacks – choose at least four books a month which I already own and read them.
  • Stop accepting books for review with VERY RARE exceptions (for example, I may decide to accept a book which I have been eagerly anticipating and would most likely buy myself).
  • Limit book buying to no more than one book a month (so no more than 12 new books for the year). If I buy more than one book in a month (for example for a book club), that means the next month I can’t buy any! I should note that I am NOT counting sewing or quilting books which are reference in nature 🙂
  • Continue purging books from my TBR shelf which I don’t think I’ll read – donate to charities, to the library, to friends and family….

That’s it. Simple, right? I would love to get back on track to read 100 books in 2013, but I’m not putting that kind of pressure on myself. I still want to devote some time to quilting. I still want to have time to putter around my yard (we’re putting in a garden this year if it kills me!). I still need time with my wonderful husband and my pets. And, oh yes, I am still working full-time! Really, my goal is to keep things simple and prioritize what is most important.

I am also going to be putting two new policies in place on my blog:

  1. Respond to comments via email instead of on the blog itself
  2. Create a basic letter to use for response to book review queries which I am declining (responding individually to literally hundreds of emails in 2012 was nearly impossible)

The last two years have seen the loss of some of my favorite blogs. Burn out, changes in life priorities, feeling unmotivated to keep blogging – all these things play a role. I have to admit, there have been times in the last year I’ve considered exiting the blogging world. But, in the end, I find that I still enjoy the process of writing and talking about books, life and sewing. It is my goal to keep things fresh here so that I can keep on sharing what is most important to me. So, blogging will continue to be part of my life for now. How about you? Are you making changes in 2013?



  1. December 31, 2012    

    Like you, I am not really making big plans, other than to read mostly books I already own. I also have some books I’ve wanted to re-read for a few years now, and I’m hoping this will be the year I can make it happen. I have also considered quitting the blog, but I really do enjoy it when I am keeping it up–it helps me to escape a bit and connect with other readers in ways I don’t in real life. Here’s to a happier, less stressful 2013!

  2. December 31, 2012    

    Oh Wendy, I am so sorry that this has been such a stressful year for you, but I am glad that you were able to find ways to focus on “me” time … that you did not decide to give up blogging.

    My resolve for 2013 is to get back into the blogging world – on my own terms. I have missed the connections.

    Happy New Year to you…

  3. Kay Kay
    December 31, 2012    

    Wendy, I’ve been thinking about you and your dear sister recently. I hope that 2013 will be a better year for everyone’s health. I nodded my head as I was reading your aims for the next year. I am planning to totally concentrate on my own shelves (and Kindle), except for my book club reads. Since it’s a library book club, those can be checked out there.

    Even though my blog is not being updated, I’m renewing my goal to stay connected with ones that continuing with the blogging pursuit. And I’ve decided that 2013 is the year that I will branch out to some kind of creative endeavor. Not sure what that will be yet. I’ve thought about quilting, but I’d have to take a sewing class first. I am the world’s worst in that regard. Perhaps I will. I’m leaving the door open for something to come along.

    My best wishes for you and your family to have a wonderful 2013! Hugs!

  4. December 31, 2012    

    Those goals sound perfect, and I need to do a lot of that same stuff myself. I have way too many books I think I’d love on my physical TBR and even more on my mental TBR so I really don’t need to keep accepting review copies and buying the newest shiniest book coming out!

    I totally hear ya on the blog burnout and making room for other priorities, but I’m glad you’ve decided to stick with us Wendy. The blogging world would be sad to lose you.

  5. December 31, 2012    

    I have been trying to decide where I want to go with my blog – I started it to keep track of my thoughts on books but the pressure has been on to ‘build it up’ attract more visitors, do give-aways, become influential. And you know, thats not me at all – I have blogger friends – but not interested in making my blog to be bigger and better than anyone else – so I am not going to put pressure on myself, I may play a few meme’s but other than that I am going to keep a record of books I have read and record my thoughts 🙂

    I like your idea of responding by email instead of on the blog though

  6. December 31, 2012    

    LOL – have corrected my e-mail address left off a letter 🙂

  7. December 31, 2012    

    I understand the need to use reading as “me time” all too well. It was a rough year all around. I am so sorry for the loss of your father and for your sister’s relapse with cancer. I hope that this coming year is better for you in more ways than one. Many of your goals are similar to my own for this coming year–read more of my own books and limit my book buying.

    Have a Happy New Year, Wendy!

  8. January 1, 2013    

    Wendy, once again our lives have some parallels — this time, reading fewer books due to both family issues and other creative outlets. I have to say, every time I see one of your Mailbox Monday posts I ask myself, how on earth does she manage it? I bet you have plenty of reading material on your stacks!

    Happy New Year — let’s hope for good things in 2013.

  9. January 1, 2013    

    Aw, I’m glad you aren’t going anywhere. I would miss you too much. I hope the reading year makes you happy, Wendy!

  10. January 1, 2013    

    Keeping things simple and not putting a ton of pressure on oneself sounds good to me — as well as keeping blogging fresh & fun instead of a drag or a chore. Thanks for the ideas, and best wishes in 2013!

  11. January 1, 2013    

    I need to do some serious purging of books that are probably NOT going “TBR” from the TBR stacks, too. And I like your idea about a standard decline-pitch response–lately I just don’t reply at all, and I know that’s not polite. Here’s too a good 2013. Happy New Year, Wendy!

  12. January 3, 2013    

    I’m so glad that blogging is still going to be part of your 2013! I would miss you. 🙂 I definitely am going to accept less review copies, and read more from my own shelves, as well.

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