The Reading Year Ahead – 2018

Last year I was all about the goals and, uh, it didn’t go so well.  Let’s recap:

  • Read 36,000 pages

I counted by pages instead of books this year, hoping it would encourage me to read longer books.  But… no.  Not only did I miss the goal (31,000 pages read in 2017) but my average pages per book went down.  Eep.  Part of this is due to a huge reading slump I had late in the year so while I’m not happy I missed my goal 110 books is awesome in its own right.

  • Add at least five titles to my ongoing 20th Century list
  • Add at least five titles to my ongoing Dewey list (hopefully 10+)

No and no.  I had maybe one or two for each list.

  • Have 30%+ of my reading be by authors who are people of color or otherwise diverse

This is the one goal I rocked. 33% of books were by authors who are PoC or from other marginalized groups.  Most excellent.

One out of four goals is an awful percentage, and I’m beginning to wonder if these year-long goals are the best thing for me right now. The 20C and Dewey lists, in particular, had no bearing on what books I picked up.  Making sure at least one book in three is by a marginalized author has become ingrained but the rest has fallen by the wayside.

It’s time to shake things up.

2018 Reading Un-goals

I know they say that goals should be worded positively as something you will do, not something you will avoid. But seeing as how last year went I feel a new approach is justified.  Bring on the un-goals!

  • I will not set a hard number of books or pages to read.

I’m still going to put a number in the Goodreads challenge to give myself some kind of pace to measure by, but I will edit it whenever I start getting stressed out.

  • I will not join any challenges that dictate what books to read (with one exception).

Over the past couple of years I fell hard for group challenges on Goodreads and while they were good for me at the time they feel stifling now.  I want the freedom to read what I want without outside pressure.

This doesn’t mean I’ll be skipping out on all challenges, though!  Anything based on a time frame (Dewey’s, 24 in 48, Bout of Books, and so on) are still fair game.  You didn’t think I could give up cold turkey, did you?  I’m also working a major exception in: Reading with Style, a Goodreads group I’ve been with for over four years now.  The challenges there are more an invitation to branch out in your reading, and hopefully that will soak up any challenge-y energy I have.  Ideally RwS will be the frame my 2018 reading is built on, but we’ll see.

  • I will not update my Dewey Decimal and 20th Century lists monthly.

It doesn’t matter when I crunch the numbers so I can wait until the end of the year if I want.  Time and peace gained, no harm done.

  • I will not hold myself to these goals if they’re not working for me.

One year is a long time to stick with something I’m not happy with, so I reserve the right to revisit and change goals as I see fit.  I might want to do a personal challenge or follow a shortlist or do Nonfiction November again, and I can decide at the time if it’s working for me.  Maybe I’ll check in quarterly, maybe not – no pressure, no worries.

The one thing I haven’t touched on is my diversity goal, but it’s for a good reason – reading diversely has become second nature (yea!)  Whenever I open my read shelf on Goodreads I scan the covers, making sure at least two of the six books on the first row are by PoC and other marginalized folks. I may aim for a higher percentage in the future but for the moment this is working great.

Those are my un-goals for 2018!  Have you changed your goals drastically this year?  Which one are you most excited about?


7 thoughts on “The Reading Year Ahead – 2018

  1. I love this! I did set a goal for 120 books to read but I read nearly 300 last year that I feel it’s doable. I tried to join challenges that had me reading books that I own so I get my own books read, so hopefully I can still do them. Good luck with your unreading!

    1. Thank you! 120 books sounds more than doable (300, holy cow) and challenges are a great way to shape your reading. I’m not against challenges or goals completely, just for me, for this year. 😉

    1. Thank you – you too! Today I went through some of my paper record keeping and the lack of goals leaves me with some extra room so I’m going to make the cover page my un-goals, writ large, so they’re always close to hand.

    1. Work has been really up and down lately so I’m really enjoying the flexibility, but I get the feeling that after a few months I’ll be trying to shoehorn a challenge of some sort in 😉

    2. The realistic is what I’m going for – hopefully the fun will follow! I’m glad Nonfiction November is a long way off, though, because that will give me more mental leeway to join once the time comes, hehe.

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