Reading Challenge and Abandoned Books 2016

I started this year by setting myself a reading goal of 65 books for 2017 (over at my Goodreads account – check it out here). Last year my target was 60, which I found quite challenging. I only just scraped the achievement by finishing my 60th on the evening of December 31.

I’m not sure if others do this also, but I counted graphic novels and comic collections in my challenge. I don’t mean single issue comics, I mean collections or trade paperbacks (two examples from this year were Vol. 1 of The Marquis by Guy Davis and Ragemoor by Richard Corben and Jan Strnad). Do you do this? Do you think these kinds of books should count towards your reading goal? My reason for doing this is because I want my reading challenge to primarily be a record of the different things I read that year – it’s not an exercise in how many pages I can read in twelve months. I’d prefer to read a 150 page graphic novel that I enjoy than a 500 page epic fantasy novel that does nothing to move me.

I also abandoned quite a few books in 2016 (something I don’t normally do), which put a bit of a dent in my reading challenge plans. I just felt it was better for me to give up on a read that was just not particularly enjoyable at that time than to slog through it for the sake of my reading challenge number. For the record, some of the books I abandoned were:

Man After Man by Dougal Dixon
Abandoned around 70% into the book. Enjoyable but it gradually grew more obtuse and complex for me. I was reading this on Kindle, as well as the iOS Kindle app, and also my Instapaper account – which might explain why I found it a little disjointed. A very unique book though, and I would like to eventually start and complete this again.

The Colossus by Sylvia Plath
I tried reading this twice this year, but couldn’t get past half way either time – I just found it so challenging and too hard to digest. I really enjoyed her posthumous collection Ariel, so I definitely want to give this another go, but perhaps I ought to find the correct time and location to read this, instead of relying on my half an hour of reading time during my busy morning train commute.

Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas de Quincey
I have an old Wordsworth copy of this that I found a long time ago in a local charity shop, but I never seriously tried reading it until this year. In 2015, I read de Quincey’s psychological essay Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow which I thought was excellent, so I thought I would try his most well-known work. I struggled with the first few pages a few times between May-July this year before giving up again. At that time I was in the middle of some unpleasant health issues so I’m not sure I gave it the attention it may deserve. However, I recently bought an Oxford Classics edition of this, which includes his 1845 Suspiria de Profundis, along with an annotated text of Opium, so I’m planning to give it another try in 2017.

The Megalithic Odyssey by Christian O’Brien
A study of the rock formations and ancient cairns of Cornwall’s Bodmin Moor. I bought this a few weeks before a trip to Cornwall in July but never got around to finishing it. It was interesting to read of the author’s trip to the various sites and circles, but as this was published in 1983, I didn’t feel as though I could rely on it for accurate walking paths or any up to date information. I just found it easier for us to investigate the sites by ourselves instead of using this book.


I’m determined to read more in 2017. Did you set a reading goal for yourself this year? If so, let me know in the comments.

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One comment

  1. I dont read graphic novels or comics but I would say that its entirely your choice what you count – it’s your goal and you decide the parameters. What other people do doesnt matter that much does it – its your reading experience after all.

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