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General SF&F Chat > Do you have a reading theme for the year?

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message 1: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments I'm one of those people that has a tendency of saving up books that I think I'll really love for a special day...of course those days never come and last year after a health scare I realized I'd better get around to reading all those books I'd been saving (and re-reading a few favorites). The main one I still didn't read was The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle because I love the movie so much I've got this crazy high expectation of the book that it can't reasonably meet.

But that was last year. This year, my plan is to catch up on many different series I've started, particularly ones that have already been completed by the authors. So I just finished the Powder Mage trilogy, part way through the Mallorean after re-reading the Belgariad, got most of the books of the Dark Tower series, and of course my regular ongoing ones like the Chronicles of Elantra and The Dresden Files (assuming Butcher gets the next one out).

But in addition to that, I've been catching up on books already read by this group. Last year I already started on some of the short stories that I could download for free, but I also own a lot of books that have already been covered like The Martian, or the Amber series, so will see if I can squeeze some of those in.

So what about you? Do you already have an overall plan for the year or you just kind of go along with whatever you feel like at the moment you need to pick a new book?

RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) No theme for me, but I'm trying to read some new authors by reading along on group reads for my various GR book clubs whenever something interests me.

I also try to read books that are being made into movies or have been made into movies, assuming the book or movie sounds interesting to me - that's another way I get to try new authors. Some books from that category include It and The Gunslinger.

As for series, I'm going to read A Dance with Dragons so I can be caught up for the release of The Winds of Winter...whenever that may be. I'm going to continue to poke along with my reading of the Enderverse (next one coming up will be Ender in Exile followed by Shadows in Flight) and also I'll try to get to Rama II since I read the first one a while ago but never got to the sequels. Also I'm reading the Discworld series occasionally, with next up being Equal Rites.

message 3: by nick (new)

nick (ogier79) | 8 comments I'm planning a year of rereads. I have a large library so I'm planning to revisit many favorites. Wheel of Time, maybe some Valdemar trilogies, Sandman, etc. I'll still read plenty of new though.

message 4: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikekeating) | 242 comments No theme for me, but I do tend to plan out my reading several books in advance. Some are rereads, some are my first time through.

message 5: by Darren (last edited Jan 21, 2017 08:34PM) (new)

Darren | 26 comments I absolutely do themes, and often have a "Year of the x" shelf. Had a Year of the Viking, which sort of overflowed well beyond that year. Last year was Year of the Culture.

This year is Year of the Pioneer, but I don't have any books lined up yet.

I'm looking for books I haven't read which are about or heavily feature pioneering. SFF books about establishing frontier cities or civilizations. Think Red Mars, rather than Green, or Zoe's Tale. I read Allen Steele's Coyote Trilogy last year, and that's probably what kicked off my interest.

All of those are sf, and I hope to be reading more like them, but I'd really love to see this in fantasy, if it's out there. I don't really consider Red Country a good example.

Any suggestions?

message 6: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) Darren, the 'Homecoming' story in the Epic anthology we're currently reading is all about frontier life. I strongly suggest that one.

I don't have theme but have some plans:
- all group challenges I committed to
- more female authors
- finish all series I am currently in especially the completed ones (Dagger and Coin, Mars trilogy, Magician, Discworld's Death arc)

message 7: by Jevon (new)

Jevon Knights (jevonknights) | 55 comments This is the first year I'm tryin a reading theme. My to-read shelf is really piling up and figured it was a good way to tackle it.

This is my year of Brandon Sanderson where I'll only be reading books written by him. I'm starting off with the Mistborn trilogy, then moving on to Infinity Blade and Elantris.

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Jevon wrote: "I'm starting off with the Mistborn trilogy, then moving on to Infinity Blade and Elantris...."

I thought the Infinity Blade novellas were terrible. It's a commissioned work based on a video game app. I suggest The Emperor's Soul novella instead.

message 9: by Davy (new)

Davy | 47 comments This year's theme is the same as last year for me, i.e. reading the wheel of time books alternated with another (SF&F) book in-between each book. This year I'll be finished with that, so I'll need to look for another. So the rest of the year I'll be focusing on exploring I think! I'll keep doing the alternating thing though, I kind of like it (variation etc.). When possible I'll switch between ebook and paperback.

message 10: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 522 comments I'd add Warbreaker by Sanderson and maybe some of his Young adult stuff

message 11: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments Davy wrote: "This year's theme is the same as last year for me, i.e. reading the wheel of time books alternated with another (SF&F) book in-between each book. This year I'll be finished with that, so I'll need ..."

Whenever I read a series I never read it straight through, I have to at least alternate with other books, or even keep the series to one installment a month.

message 12: by Richard (new)

Richard Francis | 13 comments No real theme for me. I'm trying to make sure I complete my challenges for the year. There are so many great sounding books talked about in this group I won't have any trouble doing that. I'm basing my reading list from that.

message 13: by Jevon (new)

Jevon Knights (jevonknights) | 55 comments If a series is good, I usually read three books at a time before switching.

That works good for trilogies, but if there are more books in the series the I'll come back to it in a couple months.

My mind needs a switch in main characters every so often.

message 14: by Bryan (new)

Bryan | 249 comments I don't really have a reading theme, but this year I'd like to finish off as many series I've already started as possible.
This reminds me I need to enter goals for the challenges.

message 15: by Brendan (new)

Brendan (mistershine) | 743 comments Last year I tried to read a lot more short stories, and accomplished that goal. No theme for this year yet, though so far January has been spent reading the 2016 books that 2016 didn't have time for.

message 16: by nx74defiant (new)

nx74defiant | 22 comments Davy wrote: "This year's theme is the same as last year for me, i.e. reading the wheel of time books alternated with another (SF&F) book in-between each book. This year I'll be finished with that, so I'll need ..."

I'm slowly reading the 2nd Wheel of Time book right now.

My theme is no bringing home new books until the pile under the computer printer is gone. (let's just ignore the 3 copy paper boxs, the book shelves, & misc books here and there)

I like to alternate genres.

message 17: by Gary (new)

Gary Gillen | 100 comments If I have a theme this year, it would be reading book two of a series. I'm planning on reading The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks (Lightbringer #2), The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan (Powder Mage #2), Bane and Shadow by Jon Skovron (Empire of Storms #2), Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (Mars Trilogy #2), The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King (Dark Tower #2), and The Atlantis Plague by A. G. Riddle (The Origin Mystery #2).

message 18: by Shona (new)

Shona Kinsella | 3 comments Not a theme as such but I set myself the challenge of reading a book by a non-U.K./U.S. author each month this year and blogging about it.

In between those, I'll be reading review books for BFS, of which there are many, and trying to catch up on my TBR list a bit.

message 19: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments Reviving this since I'm interested in knowing if people are making any interesting plans for next year.

In 2018 I did all dragons, and in 2019 I did unicorns. I considered maybe fairies for 2020, or gods/angels/demons...but in the end decided that being restricted two years in a row was enough and dragons/unicorns were the two things I tended to intentionally collect but never got around to actually reading.

Instead, this year as I'm doing some housecleaning for Christmas, I'm pulling out books from series I've started but haven't finished (let's just say it's a BIG pile, and those are the ones I own, just wait till I see what the library has!) So that's my plan, make a dent in all those series I've left hanging, preferably before I forget the earlier books...which is too late for some series already, will have to do a "re-read" year perhaps for those!

I can finish things we started as a group like the Long Quartet, Riddle-Master of Hed, finally get around to the rest of The Dark Tower so I can finally get around to seeing the movie. There's the second half of the Amber books, the rest of Narnia... I'll definitely nominate the next Vorkosigan book soonish since that seems like a group yearly tradition so far :) Stuff like that. There are so many just from the group itself, let alone my own personal reading.

I will definitely have more books to read than can fit in one year, the trick will be picking which ones to tackle. For now I'm just putting them all into one massive heap.

And of course, I don't have a rule that says I can't start any new series, since I have some of those I want to do to ;) I still plan to participate in most, if not all, group reads. And there's the BINGO challenge which is always fun.

message 20: by Angie (new)

Angie | 59 comments I don't know if I would consider it a theme, but I want to read more Epic Fantasy next year, because there are a few series I haven't read yet, and if I don't soon, I'm afraid someone will take away my geek card. :)

message 21: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 522 comments My plan is actually the same as yours - I plan to work in all the unfinished series I’ve accumulated!! There are quite a lot plus the new entries in favorite series coming next year.

message 22: by Carrie (new)

Carrie  (icanhasbooks) | 23 comments My plan for 2020 is to try to either finish or catch up with series that I have started at around the beginning of the last decade or had started going into it. My reasoning, I had 10 years to do that. Also to get to ones that I've really wanted to read but thought if I read it it'll be over. And to not buy so many, not check out so many because I own more books then some second hand stores.

message 23: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments Carrie wrote: "not check out so many because I own more books then some second hand stores"

*snickers* My father thinks I should open one...

message 24: by Book Nerd (new)

Book Nerd (book_nerd_1) | 154 comments Kind of...

1 Star Wars - Star Wars books I haven't read and revisit a couple of classics. Nothing from the Disney era.

2 Rereads - LOTR, Harry Potter, and It by Stephen King. I'll read these three slowly through the year,

3 H.P. Lovecraft - I'll also read these slowly through the year.

message 25: by Book Nerd (new)

Book Nerd (book_nerd_1) | 154 comments Carrie wrote: " And to not buy so many, not check out so many because I own more books then some second hand stores."

Andrea wrote: "*snickers* My father thinks I should open one..."

How many?

It was around 1200 last time I tried to count. I'm sure it's 2000 by now.

message 26: by Jevon (new)

Jevon Knights (jevonknights) | 55 comments Going and continue reading some old favorites from the Warhammer series - Gotrek and Felix, and Space Wolf

message 27: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments Book Nerd wrote: "How many?"

That is an excellent question, I have absolutely no idea :) I'm the main reason for having massive amounts of books in the house but my sister has some, my Mom has a lot of cozy mysteries, we've inherited books from my great uncle, my grandmother, school text books (have one from my Dad about using programming using punch cards, hanging on to that since that seems so amusing to me a generation later). Still have some favorite little kid picture books. I hate parting with books, but I've been forcing myself to at least get rid of some as it becomes blatantly obvious that I'll be hard pressed to read all the books I currently own once, let alone keep them for re-reads.

Maybe as I'm dusting all those bookcases as I can do some quick counts to get an estimate of the total. I'm just won't tell my father what that count is ;)

message 28: by Tony (new)

Tony Calder (tcsydney) | 422 comments I couldn't count either. Physical books would be close to 2000 I would think - as well as 3 full size bookcases full of book to read, I also have 3 piles of books each taller than myself - legacy of many years working in bookshops. Then are are 8 bookcases of books I have read - and ebooks. Over 1500 from Amazon, another couple of hundred from Google Play, and several hundred from various other sites. I think it's safe to say that I will not finish all these in my lifetime. Doesn't stop me buying more, but I have made a concerted effort to buy less :)

message 29: by Carrie (new)

Carrie  (icanhasbooks) | 23 comments Andrea wrote: "Carrie wrote: "not check out so many because I own more books then some second hand stores"

*snickers* My father thinks I should open one..."

Haha funny

message 30: by Carrie (new)

Carrie  (icanhasbooks) | 23 comments Book Nerd wrote: "Carrie wrote: " And to not buy so many, not check out so many because I own more books then some second hand stores."

Andrea wrote: "*snickers* My father thinks I should open one..."

How many?


How many? Oh dear I'm not even going to touch ebooks/amazon.

I have 4 large bookcases all but 1 are double/triple stacked the 1 that isn't is the bf's and he has books that are mine on that too. Medium height bookcase but longer in width that is normal stacked which houses a shelf of books belonging to my daughter (she has her own bookcase in her room too)

Also I have 3 sets of cubes that are double/triple stacked. I have on top of the cubes in teetering stacks are plies upon piles of books. I have a large milk crate full, I have piles in random places, I have a container in the basement with books. My book cart is overflowing. My dresser now has piles on it.

I have a slight book buying problem.

message 31: by Andrea (last edited Dec 12, 2019 10:33AM) (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments Good to know there's a whole bunch of us :)

I guess I could add to my reading goals for next year to read at least a few books I have sitting around that I suspect I would be willing to give away after a single read (I simply cannot give away a book I haven't read unless it is on a topic I despise) so that I can make more room for the ones I'm sure I'll want to keep. But will only do a few of those, since don't want to prioritize so-so books when so many good ones still to read.

At least I don't pick up too many ebooks, I rarely buy something unless it's a great deal and I have reason why I'm reading it now (e.g. group read). And for the most part I've stopped picking up free indie books (some are great but some are terrible) since I find a decent amount of free professionally published books (Baen Free library, Tor monthly giveway, etc). I just prefer reading dead-tree books, ebooks I only read when out of the house, so they need to be something I can interrupt frequently as I switch buses, or if I stay home on a weekend and don't read for a few days in a row.

I also discovered OpenLibrary, so much stuff one can borrow from there for one's eReader (assuming you don't mind a few bizarre typos from the scanned conversion to ePub), or if you have a tablet can read the quality PDF's instead (PDF on an eReader is unreadable IMHO, especially in a moving vehicle)

message 32: by Carrie (new)

Carrie  (icanhasbooks) | 23 comments I love openlibrary, I have found so many hard to find books on that site.

message 33: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments Alright, did a pass through the books we have upstairs (this includes things like cookbooks, and craft books) and came up with something around 1,700

Still a lot lot books downstairs to count so I'll definitely go over 2000, maybe 2500?

message 34: by Gary (new)

Gary Gillen | 100 comments I see I commented on this thread in 2017 about my planned reading in 2017. In 2020, many books I plan to read complete a series. I plan to finish book 8 (Tiamat's Wrath by James S.A. Corey) and book 9 of The Expanse. Book 4 and 5 of the Lightbringer by Brent Weeks. Book 3 of the Interdependency by John Scalzi. Books 2 and 3 of The Imperial Radch by Ann Leckie. I am also continuing reading the series, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold

message 35: by Lynne (new)

Lynne Stringer | 100 comments I think my theme is 'try and find the time to read'! It doesn't help that, being a professional editor, I spend all day reading books that aren't at their best, so it doesn't make me feel like continuing to read at the end of a long day.
Someone recently gave me Disruption by Jessica Shirvington. Has anyone here read it?

message 36: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Vick | 10 comments My reading theme for the year is "books I've bought and haven't had time to read yet." ;p

message 37: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments Katherine wrote: "My reading theme for the year is "books I've bought and haven't had time to read yet." ;p"

Looking at my piles of books and overflowing bookcases that theme would keep me going for the rest of my life LOL But I can't help it, those bookfairs and used bookstores are just too much fun to poke around in, finding treasures you didn't even know existed so my piles keep growing faster than I get through them. It's actually taken COVID to slow my book acquisitions by closing the stores and cancelling the fairs!

message 38: by Violet (new)

Violet | 7 comments It wasn't planned, but yes. My reading theme for 2020 is clearly "All Brandon Sanderson has writen".

message 39: by Andrea (last edited Jun 10, 2020 02:09PM) (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments I must admit I almost considered doing an "Oz" theme year, after having read the first 15 Oz books by Baum (under "complete a series I started" banner) I then found I had access to quite a few of the near 50 books that other authors wrote after him. And then there are other spinoffs like Wicked or Dorothy Must Die series, and I either owned some or the library had them. But when Covid shut the library down I decided not to go Oz crazy after all and stick to my original plan :)

Ironically in the Dark Tower series there was an Oz-esque themed scene, which made me wonder if it was "ka" (i.e. destiny/fate) that I should keep reading Oz stuff, but decided it was just a fluke, ka being a hard thing to grasp after all.

message 40: by Audrey (new)

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 81 comments For 2019 my theme was to re-read favorites, but I didn't get far on that. For 2020 I am trying to finish series, which is going pretty well, but it makes it hard to do any group/buddy reads.

message 41: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments I was tempted to do another "finish series I started" since I've got around 500 books on that shelf. But the past few years I've been neglecting SF. I've been getting a little bit here and there, but after reading dragons, unicorns, and gods/angels/demons, while there are SF variations for all of those (the dragon year was inspired by Pern after all) it's been limited.

I'll probably also make sure to include some of my other neglected genres like Mystery and History, maybe one short series each. And of course there will still be some fantasy to mix things up.

Since I had to redo a wall where the plaster was bulging and cracking, and then realized the carpet was looking really faded and dirty, I had to pull all the books out of my bedroom, so when putting them back I start picking out all my SF ones, of which I have far more than I can read in a year. Will focus first on the big hardcovers (that way if I don't like it, it will empty out some shelf space), and those where I can read the whole series without having to buy more.

Dune kind of inspired it, since the movie came out I figured I'd reread the original 6 books...then might as well continue with the ones his son wrote, and from there, might as well go all out SF!

message 42: by Tony (new)

Tony Calder (tcsydney) | 422 comments Andrea wrote: "Dune kind of inspired it, since the movie came out I figured I'd reread the original 6 books"

I'm impressed that you got through the second trilogy. I got about a third of the way into God Emperor and gave up. I never started the 5th and 6th books.

adventuresonapage | 10 comments Andrea wrote: "I was tempted to do another "finish series I started" ..."

That's exactly what I'm planning on doing next year; but only those that I liked the first book of. So for example I'm finishing the Riyria Revelations next year, and the Lonesome Dove series; and I'm also planning on reading the First Law series in its entirety. Then I'll also be working on the First Mountain Man series, but that has like 48 books, so there's no way I'm finishing that in 2022, I'll also need 2023 for that. ;P

message 44: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments I created a to-read-2022 shelf, and another for "maybe" books (i.e. I don't have the whole series or otherwise probably unlikely to tackle the book). I've got 106 on the first and 66 on the latter and I didn't yet add Asimov's robot/foundation/etc stuff, plus a bunch of Star Trek / Babylon 5 books I've got. Or anything that's an ebook. And I know there are a few "complete an SF series" that I'll be using the library for. At least I'll have a lot of variety to pick from! Got classics like Clarke, Asimov and Heinlein, also modern stuff like Liu Cixin, some YA, a decent amount of Steampunk, and a LOT of anthologies (at most will pick one or two of those)

I also started clearing out my 2021 to-reads, I've got a pile that goes about up to my hip...not gonna happen in two months, so have to figure which ones I'll have to leave for another year. I already kicked out a bunch a while back, but from this last batch not sure what I'll feel like reading in December yet so hanging onto the rest for now. Good thing I'll have at least two weeks off work at Christmas time :) Of course might have some family actually visit this year, last year it was a Zoom get together, so that will cut into some reading time (annoying right? hehe).

So many books, so little time...

message 45: by Lynn (new)

Lynn | 5 comments I plan to continue my retro-read - of sci-fi (even space opera) that I have read before or "classics" I never got round to. I don't seem to want fantasy/magic at the moment.
I have just started "Solaris" by Lem and plan to reread Dune, some Sheri S Tepper, Iain M Banks's "Culture" series as well as my current obsession with C J Cherryh's "Foreigner" series.

message 46: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments Went through the SF series I've started, but didn't own the next book and compared with what my library had available. Ended up adding another 16 to my potential list of 172 for a virtual pile of 188 books for next year :)

Also seems if I'm to dive into Asimov, I need to start with the Robot books and stories. And those are kind of tricky since there are a lot of anthologies that repeat various stories and hard to get them all with the minimal of duplicates, but I found a suggested list for that, I'm only missing one (Robot Dreams byt the library will save me there). So another 8 added for a total of 196. I'll save Empire and Foundation for some other year.

I may toss in a few classics like Lynn is doing, because it would be weird to do an SFF year and missing certain books/authors but I'll see how it goes :) Solaris would actually be one of them

message 47: by Tony (new)

Tony Calder (tcsydney) | 422 comments Andrea wrote: "Also seems if I'm to dive into Asimov, I need to start with the Robot books and stories. And those are kind of tricky since there are a lot of anthologies that repeat various stories and hard to get them all with the minimal of duplicates"

I agree that if you want to do the full Asimov Future History trip, starting with the Robot series is best. However, a number of the short stories in I, Robot and The Rest of the Robots, and The Complete Robot are not set in his Future History timeline - some of them aren't even Robot stories.

If you were to read I, Robot followed by the 4 novels - The caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, The Robots of Dawn, and Robots and Empire - that would certainly cover all the relevant stories.

message 48: by Noor (new)

Noor Al-Shanti | 63 comments My reading theme for the year seems to be giving up on/getting bored with books halfway through... >.>

message 49: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (michellehartline) | 225 comments Oh, that stinks! Maybe you could re-read something that you really liked in order to get out of the slump.

message 50: by Janet (new)

Janet Still FNP  (cosmoblivion) | 20 comments Reading theme? My theme is -- "must. be. character. driven!"
Fantasy or Sci-fi ... I want to be swept up in the expansion of the character's consciousness.

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