Book Talk 9: 2019 Bookish Resolutions


Rachel: 00:00 Let’s talk about books.

Sarah: 00:06 Happy New Year.

Rachel: 00:07 Happy New Year. It’s 2019.

Sarah: 00:11 And it’s been 2019 for two weeks now.

Rachel: 00:14 True.

Sarah: 00:15 Uh, but that’s how this works, since you know, second Friday.

Rachel: 00:19 Yeah.

Sarah: 00:20 Yeah. So I guess…

Rachel: 00:22 Let’s talk about what we’re reading.

Sarah: 00:23 Yeah.

Rachel: 00:24 In 2019.

Sarah: 00:25 Well I feel like I’ve got to do a disclaimer here.

Rachel: 00:30 Shh, shh, Sarah, no.

Sarah: 00:30 I know, I know we’re recording this pretty far out to like be ahead of holiday travel. So we’re like on the second Friday of December right now. We normally…

Rachel: 00:43 Don’t give away all our secrets.

Sarah: 00:45 We normally don’t do this. We normally record our book talks pretty close to when we release them, but this time we’re pretty far out.

Rachel: 00:52 So the truth is we read all these books like a month ago.

Sarah: 00:57 Yeah. When you’re listening to this right now we were reading them and if just finished them, but.

Rachel: 01:00 Right now we really are reading these books.

Sarah: 01:03 Yeah, I just, I…

Rachel: 01:04 Not everything is a lie.

Sarah: 01:06 I feel like, you know, I’m going to be talking about these like awesome books and you know, if you look at any of our social media, it’s going to be like you read these a month ago, so I’m just like letting you to know upfront, but I’ll start us off with the awesome book I’m reading which is How Long Til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemisin.

Rachel: 01:25 I’m so excited to read this one.

Sarah: 01:27 So I didn’t know anything about this. I had just finished the other book I’m going to talk about, and I’ve got a bunch of holds on libby.

Rachel: 01:35 As always.

Sarah: 01:36 I didn’t want to start, as always. And like two of them are gonna come through any minute now, so I didn’t want to start something really long and I was like, Oh this is a collection of short stories and I love N.K. Jemisin so I’m just going to check this out. This looks awesome. Little did I know that Rachel spend like anticipating this book and is like super hyped about it.

Rachel: 01:55 Yep.

Sarah: 01:55 I knew nothing about it until I checked it out, but I am three short stories in right now plus I’ve read the intro, and it’s fantastic.

Rachel: 02:02 I’m so excited to hear that. I mean, I knew it, but I’m so excited.

Sarah: 02:06 Yeah. This is sort of a collection of short stories. She’s written over years, and they are very, very good. At least the first three are. I love all of them so far. I think. Let me check the name of the one I just finished because I think that was my favorite one so far. “Red Dirt”, which I think has been my favorite so far.

Rachel: 02:26 Ohh. Okay.

Sarah: 02:27 But there are a ton of short stories. Let me count really quick. I believe there’re 22 short stories, so.

Rachel: 02:33 Oh Wow.

Sarah: 02:34 And have just noticed this is like a 700 page book, so maybe not so short.

Rachel: 02:37 That is really big for a short story collection.

Sarah: 02:42 Yeah, I think, I had the impression that these are like the short story she’s written over her whole career.

Rachel: 02:47 Okay.

Sarah: 02:48 I also thought the title’s kind of interesting. So this is also the title of an essay she wrote, but the essay is not included in the collection because this is just fiction, not essays. But In her intro she’s like, if you want to read it, here’s where you can go read that online. But yeah, you know, she’s a fantasy, sci-fi kind of writer. So these are all have some sort of fantasy or sci-fi element and they’re really good.

Rachel: 03:13 I’d say one of one of the probably biggest, most well known modern afrofuturism writers probably.

Sarah: 03:21 Yeah. Yeah.

Rachel: 03:22 Which is also a great tie in to our book club episode. It is.

Sarah: 03:27 It’s an unintentional tie in because I’m pretty sure we’re going to talk a good bit about N. K. Jemisin in that too. Not a good bit, but a little bit as we talk about sort of the context that surrounds Children of Blood and Bone. But this is great if you’re interested in maybe you’re reading Children of Blood and Bone and you’re like, I want to read more afrofuturism. This might be a fun place to start because it’s just a lot of really cool short stories and there’s a variety of genres within sort of the sci-fi fantasy world. The one I just read was sort of like a not an alternative history, more like a history with like a magical spin and it was very good. So what are you reading?

Rachel: 04:06 So the first book I’m reading is The Girl King by Mimi Yu which when this episode comes out, will have just come out a few days ago. So you all can go read it if it sounds interesting to you. Yeah. So it’s this fantasy book about these two sisters,always loved books about sisters. So it’s about Lu and Min who are the two daughters of the emperor, and Lu is the eldest. And she’s this very ambitious, fierce young woman. And she’s expecting to be named emperor because she’s very smart. She’s, like I said, she’s very ambitious, very driven, and then her father names someone else emperor her cousin who he also betrothes her to, and she’s not having it.

Rachel: 04:52 So she decides that instead of allowing this to happen, that she’s going to go against his wishes by challenging her cousin who was just named heir to compete for the title of Emperor. So you know, it’s this whole big to do going on with her trying to become the next emperor. And then meanwhile Min who’s Lu’s younger sister, and they have a kind of interesting complicated dynamic. They don’t get along super well because they’re very, very different. Min’s, a lot weaker than her sister and she’s kind of more supportive of Set, who’s the young man that her father named his heir, and she’s also kind of discovering all these weird lights and visions and things around the palace. So I’m thinking maybe they’re going to be some magical elements going on, which will be interesting since magic has been strictly outlawed in this land.

Rachel: 05:41 So I think, I’m not super far into it yet, but I think you know, there’s going to be a lot of political intrigue, a lot of kind of competition elements between Lu and Set as they’re competing to become emperor. I think there’s gonna be maybe some sisterly betrayal and complications going on. It’s definitely going to be a really interesting story. I’m enjoying it so far and I always. We’ve talked about this a bit before. I think that I’m always a really big fan of fantasy that’s inspired by cultures outside of Europe, especially like outside of England and France specifically because so often it’s inspired by that, you know, idea we have of medieval Europe and this is much more inspired by Asian culture and yeah, I think it’s just really cool and I’m really enjoying it so far. So I think that’s a fun one for anyone who likes why a fantasy, particularly ones inspired by cultures outside of Europe.

Sarah: 06:32 Awesome. And speaking of fantasy set outside of, you know, England and France, I just finished Spinning Silver.

Rachel: 06:41 Great Segue.

Sarah: 06:41 It is a good segue. I’m very proud of it. I just finished Spinning Silver by Naomi Novak.

Rachel: 06:46 Who also wrote another book we both enjoyed.

Sarah: 06:49 Yes. She also wrote Uprooted a few years ago. And like Uprooted, Spinning Silver is sort of set in a Russian inspired fantasy world. I wish you had read it because I strongly suspect that it’s pulling from Russian folklore or fairy tales for a lot of it.

Rachel: 07:09 Uprooted definitely pulled on Slavic folklore, so I would imagine it probably does.

Sarah: 07:13 Yeah, Uprooted. I knew because I knew about Baba Yaga, but this is maybe pulling from stuff I know less about.

Rachel: 07:21 Right.

Sarah: 07:22 Although it also in an unusual twist you don’t normally see in fantasy is also using real world religions. There are Jewish and Christian characters in this book and.

Rachel: 07:32 Ooh, I like that.

Sarah: 07:33 That plays a not insignificant role. Like there’s a lot of antisemitism in the community and they sort of have to like navigate that and there’s also all these fantasy elements.

Rachel: 07:44 Handled, well? I would hope?

Sarah: 07:46 I think so, yeah.

Rachel: 07:47 Okay.

Sarah: 07:47 It’s sort of, it’s pulling from like a historical Russian context, which I don’t know a lot about, but I do know basically there’s a situation you’re told about in the book, where something had happened at another community where like, the people thought the Jewish people were involved in something bad that had happened and so the one of the characters, her family is trying to be very cautious because of that, regarding some of the more fantastical elements of the book. So there’s just, there’s prejudice and different things that you see in the book. I don’t think handled poorly, I just think you know, handled because like I said, this has three. Well, I don’t think I mentioned this, but there are three main characters in this book, uh, one of which is Jewish and the other two, one of whom is like Christian and one of whom is probably Christian. She’s her. She’s not someone who may be basically, they’re like, they’re also from like different socioeconomic classes and historic sort of fantasy world based on Russia and Eastern Europe. So there’s just a whole lot of different things going on about the way they interact with one another. Plus all the fantasy stuff, but it’s great.

Sarah: 08:47 I was worried I’d have trouble getting into it because I had some trouble getting into Uprooted, which I really did like. But, I had trouble getting through parts of it. No, chapter one, I was hooked immediately and as I mentioned, it’s definitely pulling from what I suspect is like Russia and fairy tale, but it’s also doing the whole rumpelstiltskin myth too in some ways because maybe you gained from the title of Spinning Silver. It’s pulling from the Miller’s daughter who spins gold.

Rachel: 09:13 Yeah I suspected.

Sarah: 09:16 So sort of playing on that in both less magical ways and then more magical ways. It’s just a really, really good, interesting book. It’s long, but definitely worth reading. Also, I had thought based on the way the cover looked that it was sort of a companion novel to Uprooted, like set in the same world or something. And no, as far as I can tell, they have no relation at all other than the cover being similar stylistically.

Rachel: 09:41 Maybe the same cover designer.

Sarah: 09:42 And similarly pulling from a similar setting and folklore and culture. So I think drawing from a similar place of inspiration, but in terms of story, I didn’t notice any links between the two at all.

Rachel: 09:54 Yeah, that’s great. I’ve heard mixed reviews, so I’m really glad that you enjoyed it.

Sarah: 09:58 I had too. I loved it though. I just couldn’t put it down the whole way through. I was like, how are they going to resolve this? There’s no way that they can resolve this that’s going be good for everyone. And I really liked the resolution, but to the very end I had no idea how it was going to turn out because I just couldn’t figure out how this was all going to work. I also got nervous because like 30 percent of the way through the book, I’m like, oh no. The thing that I thought was going to be the big thing has already happened. So what’s actually happening here, which is always nerve wracking when that happens to you. Like, uh-oh, I thought this was going to be the whole plot and we’re done with this. So clearly something else is about to go wrong. So tell me about what else are you reading?

Rachel: 10:37 The other book I’m reading is definitely a departure from all the other books we’ve discussed and so it had been mostly fantasy and a little touch of sci-fi. The other book I’m reading is Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore, which I believe you’ve also read.

Sarah: 10:52 Yes.

Rachel: 10:53 So for anyone who isn’t familiar with it, because I know it was, I think it came out last year and it was a pretty hyped up when it came out. It’s the story of the young woman who worked in the radium dial factories as dial painters in the first half of the 20th century in America. I mean there were radium factories in similar situations in other parts of the world, but I think they worked a little differently and the biggest issues as far as I know, did happen in America for reasons that I will explain.

Rachel: 11:19 Which is because they were working with this paint called undark, which was a paint made with radium, a very highly radioactive substance and at the time it was heralded as this really incredible health cure. Obviously not so much and this was even despite some knowledge of it, it’s dangerous at the time from people like the Curies who had worked with it a lot because radium had been a very recently discovered element and so the women who worked in these factories who were often as young as 14 or 15, we’re told that the paint was entirely safe and we’re even encouraged to lip point the brushes, which was this practice where they were supposed to shape the very delicate bristles of the brush with our mouths. Even though the brushes were coated in this radioactive paint and some of them were kind of like, ohh I don’t know about that. That doesn’t seem safe, but they were told, you know, totally safe. Actually. It’s probably kind of a, you know, a work benefit that you’re getting this extra radioactive substances supposed to be really great for you.

Rachel: 12:15 And it’s really heartbreaking because of course we know now that obviously this was incredibly unsafe and as the women began to become ill and die at this horrifying rate and in really horrifying ways. It took way too long for anyone at the companies to admit that there was anything unsafe or that they had even encouraged the women to lip point. In fact, they were actively like, no, no, of course we would never do that. We told them not to do that, but they won’t stop even though the factory overseers had been like, oh no, you need to do that. You have to. Don’t waste the paint. That’s the only way to do it. And so they took no protective measures around the substance, so it’s a really. It’s a dark read, and it’s pretty frustrating and upsetting at times to see how these women’s stories were dismissed and how the warnings from all of these outside sources were really unheeded by the companies and by the groups that were meant to be protecting these workers rights and health. And yeah, it’s, I’m, I’m really, really enjoying it because it is a fascinating read. It’s a little. It can be a little clunky sometimes because…

Sarah: 13:17 Yeah.

Rachel: 13:18 She does include like all of the women, but the way I’m getting through that and kind of not letting that worry me too much if I’m not really trying to keep track very well or distinguish between them to a high degree because you just. You can’t because there are too many people included in the story so you just kind of have to let it wash over you a little bit and take in the whole of the story. But I am really, really enjoying it. I’m finding it a little hard to put down sometimes just because it is so horrifying and interesting and such an important story I think to tell because it, it didn’t. It really happened to these women and I think we need to be aware of that. But I will also say it’s quite graphic so it’s definitely not something that I would recommend to any one who’s more squeamish. Because I mean when I say that these women were dying and horrifying ways from the radiation poisoning, I really do mean horrifying ways. So like if that’s going to be an issue for you, I would not dive into this or I would at least maybe you know, go look at the wikipedia article or something so you get kind of an idea before you make a choice about whether you want to read it. Because she really does, I think it’s good and I think it’s necessary that she’s very explicit about what happened. But it is, it’s very graphic.

Sarah: 14:29 And you use the word radiation poisoning, but I want to point out like because of the type of radiation, this isn’t like what you might have seen in movies as radiation poisoning. This is radium that bound to calcium. So, that’s not what you’re imagining when you think radiation poisoning it is something different.

Rachel: 14:48 Yeah.

Sarah: 14:48 And very bad.

Rachel: 14:49 Yeah.

Sarah: 14:50 But yeah, I agree with Rachel. It can be a little clunky to keep up with all the characters, but it’s a great read. Well worth it.

Rachel: 14:56 Definitely worth it for anyone who’s a nonfiction fan out there.

Sarah: 15:00 And you know, for the more squeamish maybe avoid it because it does end with pictures. So you know.

Rachel: 15:06 Oh yeah, I haven’t gotten there yet.

Sarah: 15:07 I didn’t think you had. I don’t remember the pictures being super graphic, but there are pictures so you know, if that’s not for you, maybe just read the wikipedia so you know about it without having to read the graphic stuff.

Rachel: 15:21 You know your own limits, listen to them.

Sarah: 15:25 Uh, so let’s talk about our 2019 reading goals.

Rachel: 15:31 Yes. Because what better resolutions are there to have at the new year than bookish ones?

Sarah: 15:36 Yes. And I think we both generally do some different book related resolutions every year and have book goals for the year.

Rachel: 15:44 For sure.

Sarah: 15:44 We wanted to talk about those and share them and you know, hopefully hear what you guys are doing for the new year.

Rachel: 15:50 Yeah. So I think the first thing we wanted to discuss was the Book Riot Read Harder challenge, which for anyone who isn’t familiar Book Riot for the past few years has released a challenge that’s meant to help readers kind of expand their book horizons, read outside of their comfort zones and read more diversely. So it’s a really cool challenge to be a part of if you’re interested. And also if you complete it and submit it to Book Riot, then you get, I don’t know, it’s like 20 or 30 percent off in the store at the end of the year. So that’s a pretty cool perk as well.

Sarah: 16:21 Yeah. So I’ve done it since 2017. In 2017 I did quite poorly. I don’t think I even got halfway through this year. I’ve gotten halfway through. I did 12 of the 24 challenges, which I’m pretty proud of myself because they’re not easy. You have to, you really do have to push. You can’t just read what you like to read, you have to read other things because nobody reads this breadth of things on their own, I don’t think.

Rachel: 16:47 Yeah.

Sarah: 16:48 And I’m really excited for the 2019 list, although there are a couple of things where I’m like, Dang it, I, if this had been this year, I already read this thing and now I’ve got to go find another book that counts.

Rachel: 16:59 I know, right?

Sarah: 17:00 Yeah. I’ve got. I’m like, man, I read a bunch of these this year. But I’m sure I’ll find plenty this year. The one that really got me was the epistolary. So the first one for 2019 is an epistolary novel or collection of letters, and I don’t read those all that often, but I read an epistolary novel this year. And now I’ll find another one.

Rachel: 17:20 You’ll just have to read Lady Susan next year. There you go.

Sarah: 17:24 I mean this year I read, Hey Ladies, so Lady Susan is going to be a bit of a departure from that. But.

Rachel: 17:30 Yeah, slightly different.

Sarah: 17:32 Maybe I will. Maybe I’ll read a classic.

Rachel: 17:35 The one I think is going to be really, really challenging. And in fairness I will say I love the Book Riot Read Harder challenge. I think it’s really awesome and I do always try to kind of like keep track of how I’m doing on it, but I usually am not like super going out of my way to try and meet all of the goals on it, if that makes sense. Um, I’m usually just kind of trying to track and see how well I can do with the books I am reading even though I think it’s awesome. And everyone should do it if they’re interested in a really good challenge, but I think the one that’s going to be killer next year that there is no way I will meet is a business book. Did you see that on the list? I was like, guys.

Sarah: 18:11 We’ll I’ll have to…

Rachel: 18:12 I happening.

Sarah: 18:13 I’ll think about what that means though because for me.

Rachel: 18:14 Well you could, yeah, it could be like, you know, Girl Boss or like something like that where it’s know about how to succeed in business or something.

Sarah: 18:22 And like business book can mean a few different things. So I’ll be interested to know, see what other people do for that when and gets some inspiration.

Rachel: 18:28 That is the nice thing about the Read Harder challenge is they don’t give you specific parameters. I mean some of the ones are fairly specific, like I think there’s one that’s um, where is it, an own voices book set in Oceania. So that’s pretty specific. But they don’t, you know, like for the business one and things like that, they don’t necessarily tell you this is what we mean by this. So you must do this thing for it to count, so you really can kind of figure out what those things mean to you.

Sarah: 18:55 Yeah, and what I really like about this challenge is I like you, I don’t go super out of my way to meet every thing, but if there’s something where I’m like, this seems doable, I will pick up books they wouldn’t otherwise read. Like this year I read an essay anthology, and I don’t think I’ve ever read an essay anthology before.

Rachel: 19:11 And I do I think it’s really good for people who don’t tend to read outside of their comfort zone very often and want to try to push themselves. I think I tend to be a person who reads pretty broadly anyway, which is part of the reason I don’t necessarily push myself really hard to meet these very specific challenges, but if I wasn’t and I did want to find a great way to try and really push myself outside my comfort zone, I think this is the challenge I would definitely go for.

Sarah: 19:36 Yeah. Yeah. And I’d say, most of these I tend to, um, they’re books I probably would have read anyway, but it does encourage me to read a little outside the genre and I’m already looking at this list. I’m like, okay, I’m already, I know for a fact I’m already going to read books that meet these ones and then there’s other ones where I’m like maybe I could read this.

Rachel: 19:52 It gets you thinking. Like you’ll, you’ll look at certain things on the list and think I’ve never read a book that would meet that criteria. That could be a cool thing to try and find. So I think it’s a really great place to kind of start getting ideas for what you want to read.

Sarah: 00:39 I am. One of the challenges for next year is a book of nonviolent true crime and I on a wait list right now for a book of true crime, but it’s violent so it’s not going to count.

Rachel: 00:55 Yup. Have to read some more true crime.

Sarah: 00:56 Yup. Not a genre, I read much of, but I really want to read that book. Oh, I just blanked on the title. Something dark?

Rachel: 01:02 Something in the dark?

Sarah: 01:03 Yeah. What is it? It like won a bunch of awards.

Rachel: 01:05 It’s the one everybody knows about.

Sarah: 01:05 It was. Yeah. I’m gonna. I’m going to figure out what it was.

Rachel: 01:05 Gone in the dark? Something.

Sarah: 01:05 I’ll be gone in the dark.

Rachel: 01:05 I’ll be gone in the dark. We got close.

Sarah: 01:05 By Michelle Mcnamara.

Rachel: 01:05 Yes.

Sarah: 20:48 Yeah, so I’m on a like 12 week waiting list for right now for that. It was a 20 week waiting list, but apparently my library bought a second book to shorten wait list.

Rachel: 20:58 Everybody wants to read it.

Sarah: 20:59 They do.

Rachel: 21:00 Okay. So tell me about your specific 2019 reading resolutions. Do you have certain ones that you have in mind even outside of the Book Riot Read Harder challenge?

Sarah: 21:09 Yeah. So I do have some that are. I’m more serious about tracking, so I do, Goodreads always does like their, you know, how many books are you going to read this year challenge. And they always do that. Last year I set my goal at 100 and I hit it, which was very surprising because I’ve never read 100 books in a year before, and I’ve sort of beaten quite handily. I’m at 111 right now and I think by the end of the year I’ll be a little over that even.

Rachel: 21:32 That’s awesome.

Sarah: 21:34 I can’t believe it, and I’m trying to figure out what I should set my goal for this year because normally I set my goal a little higher than what I actually did, but I can’t imagine I can read more books than this. This is.

Rachel: 21:48 Yeah. I think it’s always fair to not push yourself too hard, especially because you know, there can be a big different sometimes you read a lot of shorter books and sometimes if you’re so worried about hitting a goal, maybe you’re not going to try and read as many really big books because you’re worried that that would set you back a little.

Sarah: 22:06 Probably what I’ll do is I’ll set the goal for 100 again and see if this year was an outlier or not and if I handily beat it again next year, then maybe in 2020 I’ll think of a more ambitious goal.

Rachel: 22:14 It’s kind of fun to see how much you can beat it by two, you know?

Sarah: 22:18 Yeah. I don’t stop when I hit the goal.

Rachel: 22:20 Yeah, or you can increase your goal. I’ve done that a few times too. If I hit it really early and I was like, okay, I underestimated.

Sarah: 22:26 Yeah, and that’s a possibility too.

Rachel: 22:28 Yeah.

Sarah: 22:29 And then I also have two goals that have nothing to do with any sort of websites at all. They’re just things I want to do. And one is to read 12 nonfiction books this year. I had this goal for 2018 too, and I think in the end I read 10 nonfiction books.

Rachel: 22:44 That’s really close.

Sarah: 22:44 I don’t read. I like nonfiction. I don’t read a ton of it though. I don’t know why. I think I’m just. I really like fiction so I don’t pick up a lot of nonfiction, but I’m going to try and do 12 nonfiction in 2019 and the bigger and I think more important one which is new. I’ve never tried this before, but I’m going to read 12 books I already own this year because I have a problem that many book lovers have where I preorder books or I get books for a gift and I’m really excited to read them. I want to read them, but I have all these library books.

Rachel: 23:19 They’re just sitting on those shelves.

Sarah: 23:20 Library books have due dates, so I read those first and I would say a good third of my bookshelf is book. I haven’t read. Books that I really want to read that I haven’t read, so it’s a little embarrassing. They’re really good books. A couple of them are like books that won a bunch of awards. This year I’ve got Circe, which won a goodreads choice award, and I’ve got books that are like years old. I’ve had them for years. I still haven’t gotten to them it’s, it’s a problem. So that’s one of my goals for this year is to try and get through at least 12 of those and maybe I’ll get really into it and do better, but the goal is at least 12.

Rachel: 23:57 I think those are really good goals.

Sarah: 23:59 Yes. So tell me about your goals.

Rachel: 24:01 The first one, like you said, talking about the goodreads goal. I also I think set my goal for 100 this year and went just way over. In fact, at one point I considered bumping it up to 200.

Sarah: 24:14 Oh my gosh.

Rachel: 24:14 But I decided that was maybe going to push me a little too far, so I don’t think I’m actually going to hit 200 books, so I wound up just doing the thing. I suggest you just take how far over it I could go, but I think I’m in the 180s now. Maybe. So. Yeah, it definitely hit a much higher number than I expected. I too thought 100 would be a pretty lofty goal, but I think between the podcast and you know, my own personal reading for enjoyment and then also always feeling like I need to be reading a lot for Book Riot and researching for articles and stuff. Yeah. It just definitely pushed me to read even more than I normally do. So I’m thinking that I’m going to bump my goal up to 150 for next year. I think that will be doable, but we’ll see what happens.

Sarah: 25:03 Yeah. It can be hard with these goals, you never know what your year is going to be like.

Rachel: 25:08 Because things happen.

Sarah: 25:09 You could have a great reading year or you could have a terrible reading year that just stuff happens and you never know.

Rachel: 25:14 Right. Well I’m also not above lowering my goal. I’ve done that before too when I had like a really bad reading year because ultimately it’s about just trying to push yourself to read and so if the goal is hindering you from that by making you anxious about how far away you are from hitting it or you go so far over it, you’re like, oh, I want to increase it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with increasing or decreasing it. Depending on how your year is going. I think it’s just a good way to help encourage you to try and meet a good goal for reading and keep you reading.

Sarah: 25:43 Yeah.

Rachel: 25:44 So yeah, I think I’m going to go with 150, but we’ll see how that goes. But then I have a few more specific resolutions I’m going to go for, which are kind of like you did a by the month thing, so one of them is that I’m going to try and read one classic a month. I’ve been kind of wanting to do that and I think there are several things that I’m interested in, one of which is this app serial reader, which I know you use as well. I just downloaded it a few months ago because I saw you using it on litsy and it’s this really cool app that. I mean obviously there are lots of places you can get classics for free because they’re in the public domain. But I really liked this app because it gives you like small bite size chunks of the books every day. So it’s an easy way to kind of encourage you to just spend 10 minutes or something reading a classic. And so I think that could be a useful tool in helping me meet this goal. And then also I’m using kind of a looser definition I think, of classics than some people would obviously we talk a lot about genre fiction on this podcast. So I’m definitely including classics of Genre Fiction when I say classics.

Sarah: 26:44 Oh yeah.

Rachel: 26:45 I’ve really been wanting to reread Lord of the Rings recently. I don’t know, I just, I rewatched the movies last year and it really made me want to reread the books because I read them for the first time. I think when I was 14, that was a long time ago. So I’d really like to reread them and yeah, just kind of get a refresher on those. I think that’d be really fun. I’d also like to reread Dune. I think I also read that one when I was 14.

Sarah: 27:11 Oh, I’ve done least one if not two rereads of Dune. So that one’s.

Rachel: 27:15 Yeah, see. I’ve never really read either of those series. So I think those would both be great to reread.

Sarah: 27:21 I reread Dune and then I got, I read some of the newer novels that are Frank Herbert’s son, his dad.

Rachel: 27:27 I’ve never read any of the newer ones.

Sarah: 27:28 And I’ve read, I think I’ve read two or, I think I read three of those, three of the newer ones, so it was like House Atreides, House Harkonnen, and House Corrino. I read those which are sort of like a prequel to Dune. And I think when I did that I also re-read Dune.

Rachel: 27:42 I probably wouldn’t count those as classics.

Sarah: 27:44 Oh, for sure not.

Rachel: 27:44 But I’d interested, interesting to read as well. But I think…

Sarah: 27:48 They’re fun.

Rachel: 27:48 Yeah. I think I’d also like to, you know, try and get around to reading a few that I’ve started but never finished. Like Anna Karenina is one that I’ve started a few times, and I think gotten like halfway through each time. But I kept getting distracted or busy with other things. I think the first time I tried to read it I was in college, which was a crazy choice to make.

Sarah: 28:05 I looked at how long it would take on serial reader and I think it takes more than a year.

Rachel: 28:11 Don’t, don’t. There are certain classics you should not do on serial reader because of the fact that it’s bite sized chunks. But anyway. Yeah, Anna Karenina because I really did enjoy it when I was reading it. I just need to actually set aside some time to read it. Love in the time of Cholera, you know, like some one’s like that, that I’ve gotten started on but just never actually read or even when one’s like 1984, things like that that I’ve just never gotten around to reading somehow despite the fact that I have the degree in English literature. I don’t even know how that happened.

Sarah: 28:38 Wait, did you not have to read that in the 10th grade? I had to read 1984 in the 10th grade.

Rachel: 28:43 No.

Sarah: 28:44 What did you read instead?

Rachel: 28:45 I don’t know.

Sarah: 28:46 This is wild.

Rachel: 28:46 We read, what was that awful book?

Sarah: 28:49 Well yeah, A Separate Peace, but we both read that.

Rachel: 28:51 A Separate Peace. Yeah. I don’t know.

Sarah: 28:54 This is wild.

Rachel: 28:55 We read Julius Caesar and A Separate Peace.

Sarah: 28:57 I read that too.

Rachel: 28:58 I don’t remember anything else.

Sarah: 29:00 We had for high school. We had all the same teachers just a couple years apart, so like this is wild. When I learned Rachel read something different than me because like did the change the curriculum in between us? What happened?

Rachel: 29:09 Like I honestly don’t remember what other books I read in 10th grade for like for school.

Sarah: 29:15 I also know, for your senior year you read a bunch of different books than I did, and I was jealous because I think you got better book for senior year than I did.

Rachel: 29:19 Oh yeah, I did. Accurate.

Sarah: 29:23 Yeah.

Rachel: 29:23 So anyway, yeah. I want to try and read some classics. That’s the goal for this year. So that would, if I met that goal, that would put me at 12 classics for the year. Then I also like, you want to try and read one book a month that I already own because that’s a serious problem. Like that wouldn’t, that won’t even put a dent in the number of books that I own and have not read, but I think trying to at least do one a month. Well, you know, at least make me feel like I’m moving somewhere in that direction. So yeah, I’ve got a lot, a lot, an embarrassing amount on my shelves, but also a horrifying amount on my kindle like I don’t even want to think about, so like both of those are going to count. It can be a kindle book or on my shelf either way.

Sarah: 30:05 Same way for me.

Rachel: 30:05 Some books I already own because that’s just gotta, because I’m always getting new books. Like I’m not going to stop, that’s not going to stop, but I need to at least try to read some of the ones I already own and then I also want to try and read one advanced reader copy a month because I also, I mean that’s kind of a requirement anyway. I feel like for work, but I’m also just always way behind on those. So that’s another goal is to try and read at least one of those a month. So other than that I’ll obviously if I’m trying to read at least 150 books in a year, hopefully more than that, need to be reading way more than three books a month. But those are the only ones where I want to try and meet specific things for the month. Other than that, it’ll be whatever else I feel like I need to be reading.

Sarah: 30:46 Well, it sounds like we’re going to have a pretty busy year of reading.

Rachel: 30:50 Yeah. Here’s hoping we have another really great year of reading and don’t succumb to burnout or too many readings, slumps, the scourge of bookworms everywhere.

Sarah: 30:58 And we’re hoping the same for all of you.

Rachel: 31:00 Yup. I’d like to give a big thank you to Sahara Sky for the use of our theme song, Never Long Time Goes By from the album Escapism.

Sarah: 31:07 And thanks to all of you for listening. You can get in touch with us by tweeting @unassigned pod over on twitter, emailing us at unassignedreadingpod @ Gmail .com or going to our website We’d love to hear about your bookish New Year’s resolutions.

Rachel: 31:21 And we especially love it if you left a rating and review of the podcast over on itunes. It means a lot to us and helps other people find the show.

Sarah: 31:28 Also, this is the first time we’ve had other projects to hype, so that’s pretty exciting, but Rachel has a story featured in an anthology.

Rachel: 31:37 It’s true. My short story, My Name Was Never Frankenstein is a new anthology from Booth Press that you can find on Amazon, Walmart, Barnes and Noble, you get the idea.

Sarah: 31:48 You can actually buy it and hold it in your hands, you guys. And the title of the Anthology is My Name Was Never Frankenstein and Other Classic Adventure Tales Remixed. So.

Rachel: 32:01 Yeah, it also features a story by one of my very best friends, Molly Gutman and a lot of really other incredible writers. It would mean a lot to me. If any of you lovely listeners wanted to check it out.

Sarah: 32:13 You definitely want to check it out. I say that as someone who’s had the privilege of reading many of Rachel’s short stories. Worth a read.

Rachel: 32:21 Thank you.

Sarah: 32:21 And we’ll be back on January 25th for our first book club of the New Year on Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.

Rachel: 32:28 We’re really excited to share that discussion with all of you. It’s a really rich fantasy book, full of magic and a lot of allegory for modern events, so there’s a lot to talk about.

Sarah: 32:37 Now go read some books.

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