Friday, July 2, 2021

2021 Reading Plans: Mid-Year Check-In

This year is half over, and it's time to check in once more on how my reading plans from January have panned out so far. There have been some definite changes in priorities in my reading life since the end of the first quarter of 2021, so this is the perfect time to regroup and change my trajectory if needed.

As of the end of June, in 2021 I have read 95 books: 60 written for an adult audience and 35 children's books. I read the most books in January and June (17), the least in February (13), an equal number (16) in March, April, and May. 

Here's a look at my goals: 

There are two I don't really need to discuss. Goal #1, to stop counting picture books and board books, has been a complete success because I just don't count them anymore. I had considered starting to put them on Goodreads again without including read dates, but I haven't, and it's honestly been fine. Goal #10, to write 1200 words per week, proved not to be feasible almost immediately and is no longer in the plans. 

That leaves 8 goals I am still theoretically working on. 

Goal #2 is to read exactly 200 books, and no more. I have consistently been behind my goal for months now, but not by a lot. Often I'll get to the point where I'm 7 or 8 books behind and then I'll finish a bunch of read-alouds and that will close the gap to 4 or 5 books instead. There is a part of me that really wants to lower the number from 200 to 185, but just as I don't want to be reading to meet a certain number, I also don't want to have to stop reading when I want to in order to avoid surpassing the number. So I've decided to stick with my original goal for another quarter. 

Goal #3 is to read 50 e-books. As of the end of June, I've read 24. That's pretty close to half of the goal amount. I have at least two underway at the moment, too, so I'll soon get past the halfway point. I think I can definitely meet this goal by the end of 2021.

Goal #4 is to cut back on audiobooks. In January, my reasoning for including this goal was that if I wasn't listening to audiobooks, I would have time to read more ebooks and physical books and more time to listen to other things. But it turns out that I don't listen to audiobooks at times when I could be reading physical books, and it also turns out that I have had no problem listening to podcasts when I've felt like it. Giving up audiobooks for Lent was a good sacrifice and I may do it again, but I don't have the need I thought I did to cut back on them all year long. So for the second half of the year, this goal is off the list.

Goal #5 is keep up with Goodreads reviews. I have been doing this, but mostly at the end of the month and not in real time as I finish reading. I do usually get them marked as read right away, but typing out my thoughts doesn't happen until days or weeks later. I wish the app was more reliable. I feel like I would type a lot more of my reviews on my phone if the app didn't do weird glitchy things to me all the time. 

Goal #6 is to write down more quotes from books. I like doing this in theory. I definitely liked doing it as a teen. But it's just not the priority in my reading life right now, and that's not likely to change. In the last few months, as my kids have been busier, I've had to start looking at the amount of time I actually have to devote to bookish things, and then really consider how I want to spend that time. Writing down quotes was fine to do during a pandemic winter when we couldn't go anywhere, but summer playdates are back, and I just don't have time now.

Goal #7 is to host a read-a-thon. I used to want to do this, but I don't think I do anymore. My natural inclination in the past has always been to join a community and then immediately want to become a leader within it. But #bookstagram has not wanted any of my reading challenges, and I just can't imagine they will want a read-a-thon hosted by me either. I may do a few little read-a-thons on my own, but I think hosting a public one is off the table now. 

Goal #8 is read the Bible in a year. I'm still going strong with the Bible in a Year podcast. I'm caught up, and I look forward to it every day.

Goal #9 is to fill in my Literary Listopia journal. In April, I said that sounded like a good summer project, but summer is so much busier than I anticipated! I'm considering taking it to the beach with me on the off-chance there is downtime, but otherwise it might turn out to be a fall project.

And then there are my challenges. I only committed to two this year: the Unread Shelf Project and Modern Mrs. Darcy's design your own challenge. 

The prompts for the Unread Shelf project haven't really worked for me the last couple of months, and it seems like the host of the project isn't really involved anymore, except on her membership site, so my motivation to participate is dwindling. I'm still keeping track of the books I read from own shelves, but for no real purpose. 

I have almost completed all the books I planned to read for my Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge. I chose 12 categories and planned to read 3 books for each. I only have 4 of 36 left to read! One of those is my current audiobook, The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe, which will be my third one narrated by Cassandra Campbell. I also need to read one more book about books, one more book on writing, and one more re-read. If I finish those soon, I may add a few more categories to concentrate on during the rest of the year. 

So that sums up where things stand as I hit the thick of summer reading and look ahead to the end of the year. I'll be back after the holiday weekend with my June reading wrap-up! 

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