The Reading Year Ahead – 2019

New year, new goals…? Let’s start with a recap of last year’s Un-goals:

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

Check! I changed my Goodreads challenge number as I saw fit, both up and down, and it felt great.

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

I haven’t updated my Dewey Decimal list at all, and the 20th Century list only when I get the urge. For the record, that’s only once every few months. 😉

  • I will not join any challenges that dictate what books to read.

I broke this one, joining some readathons on Youtube, but that’s okay! Because…

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

I think this is my favorite goal. Flexibility does me good, and the success I had with these un-goals. I read 115 books, embraced my mood reading tendencies, and read a higher percentage of books by authors from marginalized groups. So guess what?

I’m doing it again this year. 😁

2019 Reading Un-goals

  • I will not set a hard number of books or pages to read.
  • I will not join any challenges that dictate what books to read.
  • I will not hold myself to these goals if they’re not working for me.

That being said, I will have some soft, “wouldn’t that be nice”-type sorta-goals I’d like to keep in mind.

First is continuing to read authors from marginalized groups. I broke 40% for the first time in 2018 and would like to do so again this year. Getting to 50% would be icing on the cake.

I’ve also signed up to be a judge for the Booktube Prize on Youtube. That will necessarily direct my reading at certain points in the year, so I’m working that into un-goal number three. Huzzah flexibility!

I may end up returning to more concrete goals in 2020 but for now un-goals are suiting me just fine. What goals and challenges are you looking forward to tackling in the new year?

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?

 

The Reading Year Ahead – 2017

Happy New Year!  I love clean slates – perfect for ambition and all kinds of plans.  But before I get into that let’s see how I did with last year’s goals:

  • Have at least 20% of my reading be by an author who is a person of color of otherwise diverse
  • Read from more library categories than last year
  • Add at least ten titles to my ongoing Dewey decimal list

These were all successes.  I ended up around 30% diverse, with one more library category than last year and 15 titles added to Dewey. Woot.

  • Add at least five titles to my ongoing 20th Century list
  • Read at least one more book than last year.

Two fails.  I added four titles to the 20th Century (the pull of the frontlist is strong) and I just barely matched the number of books read.

Mid-year I set a goal to read all of this year’s Goldsmiths Prize nominees… which also didn’t happen.  To be fair, though, a couple of the books haven’t been released in the US yet while library holds doomed me on another.  I do hope to read a couple more in the future and plan to tackle the nominees again in 2017.  So many good books….

Overall I’m happy with what I accomplished. The goal that was the most stressful was number of books – counting feels silly when some books are 100 pages and others are 1000 pages.  So guess what I’m doing this year, bwahahahahahaha.

2017 Reading Goals

  • Read 36,000 pages

The last couple of years I’ve been avoiding chunksters to avoid falling behind on my Goodreads challenge, which is just silly.  Counting pages solves that problem and lets me get to all the delicious tomes that are sitting in heavy piles on my shelf.

So that’s how much I hope to read.  The rest of the goals help me broaden my reading life:

  • Have 30%+ of my reading be by authors who are people of color or otherwise diverse
  • Add at least five titles to my ongoing 20th Century list
  • Add at least five titles to my ongoing Dewey list (hopefully 10+)

Do you count books or pages?  This will be my first year doing pages and I’m still not sure it’ll be the best plan for me, so I’d love to hear what you do.

Here’s to a happy and book-filled 2017!

The Reading Year Ahead – 2016

Happy New Year!  I don’t do resolutions – I think that if there’s something you want to change in your life you should do it no matter what the calendar says.  But reading resolutions?  Those I like.  I’m going to read no matter what, so I may as well take a look at what’s going in my brain!

I’ve decided on a few changes compared with years past.

First – I’m determined to read more books by people of color.  I got better towards the end of 2015 but there’s a long way to go.

Second – I’m not going to keep track of or worry about author gender.  I read many more women than men – this is not a problem.

Third… actually, I think that’s it.  So!  What does it all boil down to?  I’m glad you asked:

Goals a la 2016

  • Have at least 20% of my reading be by an author who is a person of color or otherwise diverse (LGBTQ, people with disabilities, ethnic/religious minorities, etc.)
  • Read from more library categories than last year
  • Add at least ten titles to my ongoing Dewey list
  • Add at least five titles to my ongoing 20th Century list
  • Read at least one more book than last year

Library categories: The e-library lists genres or “subjects” for each book and I collect them as I read through the year.  I had 31 in 2014 and 33 so far in 2015, split basically evenly between fiction and non-fiction categories.

Dewey list: It’ll probably take my whole life, but I’m trying to read a non-fiction book for each Dewey Decimal number.  Currently I have 30 out of 99 divisions (groups of ten numbers) and 61 out of 908 individual sections.

20th Century list: Like the Dewey list, but for each year of the century.  I’ve read 41 out of the 100 so far.

Clear as mud?  There’s a lot of “at least”s but these are a bare minimum.  Especially the diversity… 20% feels low, so I’m hoping I can blow that number out of the water.  I’m also looking at a couple of reading challenges but haven’t settled on any particular one just yet.

What do you have planned for this year?