Shelfie Skelfie Challange

It’s look back at the year time again. Every New Year I set myself a challenge for the year ahead. Last year I set two challenges, one large, one small. One I achieved and one I failed.

I’ll start with the one I failed on. It was to play chess at least once a week. On January 1st 2015 when I set it I thought it was small but would be good for me.   Because my husband worked away during the week I reckoned it would be a skoosh to play my phone. I enjoy playing chess and with my phone set to easy I could even be assured of a win. In the first couple of months I did play, but there is something quite demoralising about sitting alone on a wet, dark February night before a log fire, playing a Blackberry at chess. I gave up, there seemed no point to the challenge and I never regretted the decision to quit.

Shelfie 31st December 2014

The second challenge was greater and harder – I would not buy a book for myself in 2015. This might not seem hard for most folk but I am a confirmed biblioholic. I can’t stop buying books!  At the beginning of 2015 I had a whole bookcase filled with books I had bought over many years and never read (I have more in another bookcase, but more of that later). Over the course of the year I would work my way through the bookcase and use the local library.

I am happy to say I did succeed in not buying any books (ebooks included) for myself, although I did buy a few gifts and download one free ebook to allow me to take part in a Global Reading Salon event.

So how big a challenge was this really?  It was huge!  So difficult. The first thing to happen was I attended two great lectures at my mountaineering club. The first was given by John Allen, about the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team. His book Cairngorm John sounded brilliant but I couldn’t buy it. Luckily one of the other club members owned a copy and loaned it to me.

The second lecture was given by hill runner Manny Gorman. This was a worse situation because Manny is a friend, I really wanted to buy his book. I had to apologise to him and explain the situation.  He came up with the solution. My novel Ways of the Doomed was due to be published in June 2015. We would swap books. Perfect.

This leads me onto the main problem I had. Many of my friends are writers who, like me, were launching books in 2015.  I wanted to support them as they supported me but couldn’t buy their books. I leave this year with a list of books I must buy from these friends.

Shelfie July 2015 (books on top left are loans and gifts)

Everyone has been very understanding of my challenge. Many people bought me books as gifts, other loaned me books.  My local library has been a saviour providing me with much needed research books and new releases I couldn’t live without.

I have to admit that I haven’t finished all the books I took from the bookcase during the year. The larger tomes like Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and Alan Bennett’s Untold Stories are at my bedside but are ongoing reads along with shorter works.  I consider this challenge to be a success.

Shelfie 31st December 2015 (still some to read!)

In 2016 my reading challenge will be to work my way through the rest of these books and my ‘Want to Read’ list in Goodreads, (including some of the books from other shelves) but for now I will be heading out when the bookshops open in January and I will buy myself a book.

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