Unreadshelf Challenge and other goals

It hasn’t exactly escaped me that half of January has already passed without me announcing my monthly book challenge choice, as well as my 2021 goals. My personal goal-setting is normally a simmering process: I give myself a whole month to figure out which ones I want to pursue. But this year, at the risk of spoiling all the fun, my reading goals are basically the same as last year:

  • Read at least 80 books, from which at least 12 non fiction
  • Keep my Netgalley books under 20
  • Follow the Unreadshelf challenge (I heard she has new prompts!)
  • Prioritize my own books over the library’s
  • Don’t hesitate to drop books midway

It’s probably good to have these goals written black on white, especially the last one which I have so much difficulty applying. The new thing I’m adding is to have a pile of TBR books already picked in advance and all grouped in my bedroom, instead of perusing the shelves.

The Unread Shelf project starts off this new year with a brand new list of prompts. For January, it is “a book with high expectations“. It kind of threw me off kilter, because I normally stay away from books with high expectations for fear to be disappointed. So, I chose to interpret it as books I was eagerly looking forward to read:

The first one is La Disparue de Saint Maur, by Jean-Christophe Portes, the next mystery in the series set during the French Revolution. I read The mystery of the headless corpses at the end of October, and it’s nice, for a change, to read the sequel not years after the first one! This one was a present by my husband. The second one is a Georges Simenon novel, also a sort of mystery, although this one doesn’t feature Commissaire Maigret: Les Rescapés du Télémaque.

I said I would read Simenon Maigret-less novels for so long and it’s high time I make good of this promise to myself. I started the book with some trepidation, because I’m secretly afraid I might not fall in love with it. If I have to put my finger on it, I would say my expectation for the book would be: “tough”. The good thing about this challenge is that if I don’t finish it by January 31, I’ll get rid of it!

Speaking of getting rid of something, I want to mention one manga I have finished by the end of last December for the Unreadshelf challenge, but that didn’t quite work for me: Autour d’elles (Around them), by Torino Shino. It’s a highly unusual manga, focusing on the relationship between two young women sharing a small apartment.

Michiru and Maya once were an item, back when they were students. But Michiru left Maya behind, and when she came back five years later, she was a single mother, raising a cute baby boy, Yuta, by herself. Now, although they share a flat, they are clear that they want to be “just friends”, just like the cute neighbor is “just” hanging out with them for sake of Yuta.

I enjoyed the originality of the themes of this slice-of-life manga (I don’t think that lesbian relationships are often mentioned in the manga world, or at least in what is translated into French, it was a first to me), but I had no patience for the two main characters. Michiru seems very immature, especially as a mother, and Maya very unobservant. I am aware that this first tome is just the set-up for further developments, but it didn’t keep me interested enough to care for the next episodes. This was one of my 2 choices for the December Unreadshelf challenge, and so I decided to make some space on my shelf for new 2021 books!

3 thoughts on “Unreadshelf Challenge and other goals

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