A parenting message board I am a member of has a reading challenge every year. The challenge is to read 50 new books a year - rereads don't count. Although it is called a 50 book challenge, people are encouraged to sign up for any number of books. There are people signed up for as few as 12, and as many as 200. The first year I participated, I signed up for 25, and I think I ended up reading 32. Last year, I initially signed up for 30, but after taking a less demanding job, upped my goal to 50. I read 28. Although I had more free time, I was no longer commuting by train, and lost my primary reading time! I've challenged myself to 30 this year.
My first book of the year was George R.R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons. I actually started it in December, but I didn't finish it until early this week, so I'm counting it in the 2012 challenge. It was ok. Not worth the however many years delay since the previous book in the series, but entertaining anyway. I read some reviews prior to starting the book that indicated that it was a bit boring, and focused mostly on the characters missing from A Feast for Crows, characters some said no one cared about anyway. Other than Tyrion, I tend to agree. The first half to two-thirds of the book felt like a retread -- because for the most part it was. The plot didn't really advance at all. Once the timeline caught up to the end of A Feast for Crows, it got much better. I'm not holding my breath for the next book in the series.
For the next book, I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I've been reading Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars series off and on this year. I really enjoyed the first two books, but thought the third book (The Burning Stone) was a bit of a slog. I had to go on a short trip for work this week, and intended to bring the next book in the series with me. I somehow convinced myself that I was on book 5 (The Gathering Storm) of the series, not book 4 (Child of Flame). Oops. But I was already at the airport, and didn't have room in my bags for another book, so I stuck with it. Apparently a lot of stuff happened in Child of Flame. The Burning Stone covered all of 6 months, painfully, and slowly. The Gathering Storm starts, and almost three years have passed! Anyway, I'm about 100 pages into The Gathering Storm, and I think I'm going to continue with it, and not go back and read Child of Flame.
My husband is appalled. "But stuff happens!" I know - but so far, that stuff has been summarized fairly neatly by the characters. I'm not sure I need the nitty gritty details. I'll admit to being a fairly lazy reader of fantasy novels. I read them for enjoyment, I don't think they are great works of literature. So I read for the story, and don't pay much attention to small details that end up being Very Important Pieces of the Puzzle three or four books later. So I'm pretty much ok with not knowing everything that happened or was said in Child of Flame. Maybe if I ever feel compelled to reread the series, I'll read it then.