Saturday, January 2, 2021

2021 Reading Plans


Though I think the last couple of years have been really good for my reading life, I wanted to make some changes for this year that would introduce some balance and boundaries that might make it easier for me to occasionally do things in my free time besides read. I've also been more intentional about choosing my reading challenges for the year in the hopes of being able to slow down and appreciate the books that I read a bit more.

So, first, here are 10 goals I have set for myself for 2021. 

Goal #1: Stop tracking picture books and board books.
I started tracking every single book I read back in 2011 when I was a new children's librarian. Because I was doing a lot of story times and class visits each week, I needed to be able to keep track of which picture books I read, and to which audience, and how it went, and what themes I used, and things like that. I continued tracking these for my own kids after I left the library, and this was really doable until I had my third daughter, and still pretty manageable up until this past year. Now, with five kids, and two doing school, it has become burdensome and I haven't been able to keep up with it very well.  I've decided to stop tracking these on Goodreads, and to just blog about them and use my blog as my record, as I do with all of our school subjects. And this means that my Goodreads challenge number could be reduced, which leads me to the next goal... 

Goal #2: Read exactly 200 books, and no more.
I'm used to inflating my challenge number every year to make up for the fact that I included picture books and board books, so it took me a little bit to settle on this number. I will still count middle grade and YA books that I read for myself, as well as the chapter books I read aloud to my kids for fun (rather than for a specific school subject) so I decided to pad it a little bit more than I would if I were reading only adult books. Since my combined total of adult, middle grade and YA in 2020 was 247, and I wanted to cut back a little bit, 200 seemed like a good number. And there is a catch. 200 is both my goal and the maximum number of books I will permit myself to read this year. I want breathing room in my reading life setting a cap on my reading is the only way I'm going to get that. 

Goal #3: Read 50 e-books.
I have a Kindle Fire and a bunch of unread Kindle books as well as a ton of e-books I want to read on Hoopla and Scribd, so I knew that whatever number I chose for my reading goal, I wanted to make sure that 25% of those books would be e-books. Basically I'd like to knock out one ebook per week if I can.  

Goal #4: Cut back on audiobooks.
I became really dependent on audiobooks in 2019 and 2020, to the point where I started avoiding reading books for which I couldn't find an audio recording. I still want to listen to some books, such as the ones for book club, and some cozy mysteries, but I want to re-train myself to read with my eyes as well. 

Goal #5: Keep up with Goodreads reviews.
Last year, my biggest failure goals-wise was that I didn't post something on Goodreads for every book I read. I am attributing this in part to the fact that I was trying to review all of those picture books and homeschool books as well as my personal reading, and it was just too much. Hopefully reading less and tracking less will translate into more time to spend writing reviews.

Goal #6: Write down more quotes from books.
I made  a very brief effort to do this in 2020, but it was hard to do when I was reading so many audiobooks. This year, I'm planning to post pictures of my letter board to Instagram with quotes from the books I'm reading, so I have a practical reason to keep track of them, and I hope that will help. 

Goal #7: Host a read-a-thon.
I've hosted reading challenges, and I hosted a read-along, and neither one was that successful, but I love read-a-thons and I can't resist giving one a try. This will most likely happen in the second half of the year. 

Goal #8: Read the Bible in a year.
Father Mike Schmitz of Ascension Presents is hosting a podcast to guide Catholics through reading the Bible in 365 days. This is another reason I wanted to cut back on audiobooks. I want to prioritize actually sticking with this and finishing the Bible.   

Goal #9: Fill in Literary Listopia journal. 
My mom gave me this journal for my birthday which provides a variety of lists on bookish topics. I have a tendency to acquire things like this and then never use them, so this time I'm going to make myself jump  in and do it right away. 

Goal #10: Write 1200 words per week. 
After NaNoWriMo (about which I am still working on a blog post) I decided I wanted to keep writing in a small way throughout the year. I wanted it to be possible to reach a goal in as few or as many days per week as suited my mood, so I low-balled it at 1200 for each week, knowing that I could write that many words at once sometimes, but that I could also break it down into four 300-word days to make it less overwhelming. By the end of the year, I hope to have written 62, 400 words. 


I am keeping things very simple with my reading challenges this year. I'm basically only doing two: The Unread Shelf Project and the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge. I've decided that I will sign up for Craving for Cozies and continue to post in the Facebook group but that I won't keep track of it here on the blog since it's not really a goal I'm striving toward as much as a group I don't want to leave because I like seeing what books are out there. 

In any case, the Unread Shelf Project has prompts for each month, plus a set of bonus prompts for a total of 24. I'm not going to copy them all here, but they are on my 2021 Challenges page

The prompts I do want to share are the ones for the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge because I chose them myself. This year, the challenge focuses on creating goals that will help improve our reading lives in the ways we need. The instructions said to choose 12 books, but I chose 12 categories, and I'm challenging myself to read 3 books in each one. Here is my list:

  • Three Newbery Award winners
  • Three books that are the last/most recent in a series
  • Three books of more than 500 pages
  • Three books by the same author
  • Three audiobooks with the same narrator
  • Three Catholic nonfiction books.
  • Three general nonfiction books.
  • Three books under 200 pages.
  • Three books about books or reading.
  • Three books about writing.
  • Three books published in 2020.
  • Three re-reads. 
I am expecting some of these to overlap with the Unread Shelf prompts and others to require borrowing library books and finding books on Scribd. 

And those are all my plans for now! What are you planning to read in 2021? 

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