Fancy Coffee Friday: Not Another New Year’s Resolutions Post

The Amusing Muse Fancy Coffee Friday: Not Another New Year's Resolutions PostI never really cared for the setting of resolutions, but as I got older, setting goals became more appealing. Successful goals are specific and have a timeline. So the experts will tell us, but admittedly, my goals often are more along the lines of “amorphous blobs”. All encompassing ideas of doing better.

For instance, I love reading and back when life seemed a lot simpler, I had what appeared to be a HELLUVA lot more time to read. I could rip through books numbering in the hundreds of pages in a couple weeks, or less if it was summer time. Now, as life appears to be complicated and my free time is significantly curtailed when compared to the mid-1990’s, I feel a loss when I don’t get in reading time.

Last year, I set some goals for myself, and while I wish I had attained “perfection” in reaching all of them, I can’t say that I did. However, I did alright. Sometimes having amorphous blobs for goals means you just have to keep working at them. I dare say that my most successful blob of a goal was reading more.

For a few years now, I’ve made use of the website Goodreads to track the books I have read and those I want to read. They have yearly reading challenges and I decided to set a goal of 12 books completed for 2017. I started off pretty well, and then I really started to fall behind. Talking to some other love-to-read friends and asking how they were ripping through books so quickly, I was told about audio books.

I don’t know how I didn’t get in on the audio book action sooner! I commute two hours a day on work days and it’s not uncommon for Mr. Muse and I to have trips in the car upwards of three hours. Enter my saving grace: audio books. Thanks to them, I completed 25 books in 2017, and here they are in order:

  1. Diary Of An Oxygen Thief by Anonymous
  2. The Art of Manliness Manvotionals: Timeless Wisdom and Advice on Living the 7 Manly Virtues by Brett McKay
  3. Web Marketing All-In-One for Dummies by John Arnold
  4. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
  5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  6. Death at Wentwater Court by Carola Dunn
  7. Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden by M.C. Beaton
  8. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  9. A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
  10. Frontier Grit: The Unlikely True Stories of Daring Pioneer Women by Marianne Monson
  11. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
  12. Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? By Frans de Waal
  13. Pushing Up Daisies: An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. Beaton
  14. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  15. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  16. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  17. The Winter Garden Mystery by Carola Dunn
  18. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  19. Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton
  20. On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle
  21. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
  22. Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener by M.C. Beaton
  23. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
  24. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  25. The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

When I was closing in on the end of the year, I honestly was trying to cram as much reading and as many audio books in as I possibly could, just to see how many books I could finish before the end of the year.

I’m proud of the 25 I completed. A big ol’ pat-myself-on-the-back happened.

But, I’m sure you’d like to know my favorites; there are so many, but I’ll see if I can pluck a few from the list:

  • Born to Run was a fantastic book filled with fascinating characters – plus, it’s non-fiction, so these people exist, or once did.
  • Anna Karenina is deeply philosophical even if it is a work of fiction, and so is…
  • War and Peace – which I enjoyed so much I bought the book. Leo Tolstoy’s writing has become a favorite.
  • Frontier Grit had excellent stories of little known women who made their way in the American West. It’s a great bit of history and would be a great read for any woman in your life.
  • Astrophysics for People in A Hurry was delightful and I’ll be surprised if the people on my flight from Los Angeles weren’t looking at me as I cracked up in my seat and alternately made surprised “WOW!” faces. Because, SCIENCE!

And what about this year? I set a goal of 25 books for 2018. I think I can do it. I’m still working on reading The Complete Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky – not a “light” read at nearly 4000 pages – which I’ve been working on for nearly three years (it could be longer). After that, I plan to complete James Joyce’s Ulysses – not quite as lengthy, but a book that has given me grief for years with Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness style writing. He’s all over the place! However, I’m determined to finish it this year.

In the meanwhile, I’ll continue to listen to audio books while I commute or mow the lawn during the warmer months and then get started on the stack of books that has accumulated from people giving them to me on loan or volumes which I couldn’t stop myself from purchasing.

How about you? How many books did you read in 2017?

What is, or are some of, your favorite(s)?

What are you looking forward to reading (or listening to) in 2018?

The Amusing Muse is a blogger and beekeeper living in Southern Wisconsin. While she loves the snow, the two weeks of below zero weather has been sticking around FAR too long. However, the cold is tempered inside by all of her orchids currently flowering.

Clip art in blog title image courtesy of

About The Amusing Muse

Deep thinker whose mind operates at warped speed. Philosopher pondering the big (and little) things in life. Storyteller. Office Ninja. Model. Teller of bad jokes. User of big words.
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3 Responses to Fancy Coffee Friday: Not Another New Year’s Resolutions Post

  1. I am right there with you with the “amorphous blobs” of goals. This year I purchased a 90-day planner to keep me focused on five goals, one of which is reading more. I just started a book by Anne Lamott which is a natural, humorous read. One step at a time!

    • Let me know how the 90-day planner works for you; I’ve been intrigued by them but stick with the 12-month planners because I know they work for me. You also brought up another good “goal setting” tactic – sticking with about five goals. I have about that number, maybe a couple more, but my “amorphous blob goals” have tracked from year-to-year so it’s more like “continue to work on my fitness”, etc. I don’t recall reading anything by Anne Lamott, but I’ve been introduced to the British Mystery genre through audio books. I initially found the libraries borrowing system for audio to be a bit annoying as the same 25 books were showing up for MOST of last year, then I took it as an opportunity to read items I wouldn’t have normally selected if given more choices. That’s how I ended up with the Frontier Grit book as well as the Frans de Waal book on animal intelligence – and low-and-behold, they made it into my top selections for the year!

      Last month the library must have added a whole HOST of new audio books to their catalog because my choices went from 25 to 75.

      Also, I learned that “Amish Romance” was a thing for book readers. Who knew that was a thing!? Who would have THOUGHT that was a thing?

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