I’ve taken my time with this post. I’ve been watching the various strategies that my fellow bloggers have been creating to see if there’s anything that I could adopt for myself – particularly with regard to purchasing targets.  I’ll come back to that later.

Reading plans, I need no help with – except perhaps on how to cut down on my ambitions.  You’ll understand when you look at the following mindmap. Believe me this is the simplified version!

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A quick explanation perhaps?

Reading from left to right, top to bottom.

The leftmost box (top level) is self-explanatory.  The mindmap will represent My Year in Books.  Level One (Grey round-edged rectangles): The top four are the broad categories  which will form the basis of my reading in 2017.  I started Adventures through the TBR with the letter A last year.  I wasn’t going to be so obvious as to move onto B this year but 2017 is the centenary of Heinrich Böll’s birth and I have a full set of the Melville House Press Bölls to read.  So B it is.  Following the recent cull, I know exactly what’s in My TBR and so it wasn’t difficult to find a few more B categories to flesh out the branch.  The other centenary this year is that of the Russian Revolution, hence R is for Russian – specifically Chekhov’s Short Stories and Doctor Zhivago, but I’m sure many more Russians come my way.  Also R is for recommendations – I have a pile of books purchased purely on the recommendation of others: bloggers, friends, authors at literary events.  You know how it goes.  Time to read them.

Categories 2 and 3 are lists I’m working on and ongoing reading projects.  Category 4 are all the social reading temptations that will come my way this year. As you can see, I am signed up to Stu’s Pushkin Press Fortnight, Marina Sofia’s #EU27 project and the forthcoming 1951 club.  There’s also the Voss readalong in March ….

Enough I hear you say for the full year.  No doubt, but I’m not restricting myself to this. The WHIM category, while not represented, will undoubtedly grow as the year progresses.  But, as a starting point, this little lot will keep me busy without any feelings of deprivation throughout the 3 months of the TBR Dare.

I was reasonably happy with my reading last year.  The one area of concern was that I only read 5 books published prior to 2000.  So this year I’m aiming for at least 25% of my reading to be older books.  Böll and the Russians  will help with that, of course. They’ll also help with the 33% target of works in translation.   I also want to read 6 chunksters (450+ pages),  6 non-fiction and at least 12 e-books.  I might also add 6 books in German to the mix (because if I don’t, I’ll just get lazy).

I think this is a plan that will keep me interested and that it will work for me.  I’ve tested it for the last 3 weeks, and I’m enjoying it. This is how the expanded measurable reading targets branch looks at this moment. (The colour shading indicates which branch the book originally came from. Green = B for Brontes, Purple = B for Books about Books. End bubbles show other categories that the book fits into also.).

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Of course, I could manage this much more efficiently on a spreadsheet, but that wouldn’t be as entertaining or as pretty!

And so to those pesky purchasing targets, or rather constraints. Before I say anything more, I want to be clear that I’m only doing this because I have run out of space.  For that reason e-books and review copies are exempted from the following statements.  I am drawn to Simon’s Project 24 but know, I will fail.  I’m also drawn to Caroline’s One Book A Week, but that won’t work when I’m at a literary festival.  I also enjoyed last year’s tactic of earning purchases which made me cull about 300 books, resulting in an over purchase of only 6 books for the year. I won’t have that many books to cull this year, so I’m combining Simon’s strategy with mine to form Project 24+.  This means that I have a starting allowance of 2 books per month.  Further purchases are earned using the same formula as last year: Additional Purchase Allowance = (Books read + Books culled) / 5.  Assuming that read plus culled will average 12 books per month, my total purchase allowance will be 24 + 144/5 = 52 books. (Same as Caroline’s One Book Per Week but with leeway for more if need be.😉)

This will still be a challenge.  3 weeks in and I need to finish 3 books before my purchases from the Folio Society Sale arrive.  😂😂😂).

So there we have it in a rather large nutshell.  But I’m looking forward to the 2017 reading (and purchasing) year. How are your reading and purchasing strategies panning out?

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