Well, my goal this year has been to read 24 "real" books.
I'm going to fail.
I was doing great this fall. I was even two books ahead! So what happened? Well, I started comfort-reading.
Back in September, I tore my rotator cuff and that sidelined me from most normal activities, which was kind of unhappy making. Then as I started to get a handle on that, I got a cold. Then another one. Which turned into a sinus infection. And then, when that went away, I got another cold. All of these things made me sad. So I've been living in some state of disgruntlement for the past three months. And my normal response to grumpiness it to read (and re-read) fluff.
So have I read some new books in the past few months? Yes, quite a few, actually. But it's all been romantic fluff, which I am not counting towards my goal as they are not the books that I wanted to get read this year (since I typically have no problem reading those fluff books on my reading list). I've also re-read some of my favorite fluff books. And I've read a fair amount of fanfic online (which really doesn't count as any sort of book in my world). But I haven't really read any "real" books.
I'm half way through Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld by David E. Kaplan and Alec Dubro, which I started reading back in September. But it's been kind of difficult to get through (and to get to the point) which, combined with my need for fluff, means that I'm not sure I'll be able to finish it this year.
So yeah, my chances of getting through enough "real" books in the next two weeks to meet my goal of 24 are fairly low. Though now I am, at least, one book closer. Because audiobooks count.
I used to listen to audiobooks quite a bit on my drive to and from work. But since I'm not working anymore, I don't have a commute. And I can't normally focus on audiobooks unless I have something to occupy me visually (like driving) so my remaining audiobooks have just been languishing. Until I realized I could listen to them while knitting, cleaning and cooking. So the past couple of days I've been listening to The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do by Clotaire Rapaille. It's presented as a business/marketing book but it covers some pretty interesting psychology, specifically how (and in which culture) someone learns about a concept impacts the subconscious associations with that concept, giving certain "codes" to certain words and ideas. The codes differ from culture to culture as an American and a German will have had different experiences when first learning about/experiencing something, for example cars, and that means that different advertising will be required to "speak" to each culture's experience.
Overall, it was quite interesting. The narrator was a bit flat but not so annoying as to be difficult to listen to. I did sometimes question how up-to-date the book was; a few of the studies seem like they could be many (many) years old even though the book was published in 2007. (For instance, when talking about the concept of beauty in Japan (and associated codes), it spoke about how women would dress in their kimono to accent their neck, as the neck was seen as sexy. Yes, that's true - the Japanese view the neck as very sensual. Geisha makeup is even done in such a way as to accentuate the neck because it is alluring. But the book talked about kimono like it was daily wear, not the special occasion wear it is now. That made me question how current the information was and if the author was fudging things or skimming topics, potentially ignoring facts that didn't match his conclusions. There are other instances that made me question how current (and thorough) the author's studies and conclusions were, but the kimono one stuck in my mind the most.) Anyway, I took the information presented with a tiny little grain of salt but I really found it interesting. And I'd love to know more specific codes, actually, because it was very intriguing.
But for now, I'll switch gears and pick another "real" audiobook to see if I can't get closer to my year-end goal before failure happens. My goal now: little failure instead of big.