Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Picky Pledge: 2015 Review

You might be wondering - what in the world is The Picky Pledge? To put it simply, it's a partnership of accountability between Hannah of So Obsessed With & I. We're helping each other stay accountable when it comes to the books we acquire! For more details, check out the 2015 introduction post or come back tomorrow to see our 2016 introduction post.

I can't believe it's been a full year since this personal project of ours came into existence! Since the slate has now been officially wiped clean and we're starting all over, Hannah & I figured it would be just the thing to share three things we've learned from our first year of taking part in The Picky Pledge, and our main goal for this year. (P.S. If you want an in-depth look at my progress, you can check out my official pledge page. Also, if you're interested, check out my 2015 reading stats.)

1. I started listening to my own instincts when considering reads for review. I did a pretty good job at whittling down the number of review books I read in 2015. When I was reflecting on how that happened, I realized it was because of one simple thing: I'd started trusting my own instincts. Each one of us, as readers, will have stories we gravitate towards or away from. Paying closer attention to what I was drawn to (instead of being influenced by hype) really helped me narrow down my choices. And it also meant that the review books I did read got pretty high ratings from me (in most cases), since I was already predisposed towards liking them.

2. I broke my habit of impulse book buying. I've gotten good at setting books down and walking out empty-handed when I visit bookstores! I realized early on this year that I constantly felt like I had to leave with a book when I went to bookstores, and I worked hard on breaking that habit. I got into the habit of texting my husband or Hannah or Rachel to get their thoughts on what I was considering to purchase. It was really helpful to have one of them talk me through it (or out of it)! It also really helped to stop and take a moment to ask myself why I wanted something. Nine times out of ten, I'd realize I just felt compelled to buy something for no good reason or I'd start thinking about the books I had waiting for me at home. And, like magic, I'd be able to set down what I had been debating about purchasing that day.

3. I prioritized books I already owned when hunting for my next read. This is probably the accomplishment I'm most proud of for 2015, as it's a habit I've been wanting to return to for years. I used to read solely what was on my to-read pile (which was, at most, seven books), and then buy new books when I'd finished. But a year or so after I began blogging, I got into the habit of acquiring more books faster than I could read them (which made my to-read pile massive and was not fun for my wallet). I really went out of my way to pick up more of the books I owned (or bought) last year, and it really helped whittle the number down to something manageable. (I did cull quite a few times too, and send some books off to new homes, and obviously, that helped too!)

1. In order to whittle down my review reads number, I need to get even more picky. I'm determined to keep my review reads under control (though it was sorely tested by being at ALA Midwinter, which was all sorts of amazing and where attendees could pick up some excellent titles). I do enjoy getting the opportunity to read books I'm excited about early, but I want to be more conscious of reading stuff that's already out or that I already own. I hope to maintain the balance I managed last year when it came to alternating sources for my reads, but it would be even cooler if I could manage to read less review books overall.

Were you more intentional with your reading choices in 2015?
Check back tomorrow for all the details on The Picky Pledge in 2016!

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