Friday, January 3, 2020

2020 Reading Goals & Challenges

In the words of Anne Bogel, "Part of the fun of reading is planning the reading." Though I fully expect that the arrival of the twins in March is going to cause books to go on the back burner for a while, I can't start the new year without making some reading plans. These go a little bit against the grain, since most of them are designed to encourage less reading than I have done in past years, but I really want to make sure to set the tone early on for a slower pace and an emphasis on quality over quantity, since I have no idea what life will look like with two newborns.

First, I have my set of personal reading goals for 2020. These are just guidelines for me to make sure I leave a good amount of breathing room in my reading life for things like blogging and taking breaks every now and then, and to make sure I'm reading a good variety to prevent reading slumps and burnout.

  • Read 365 books for the Goodreads challenge.
    Given that I read almost exactly 200 picture books in both 2018 and 2019, this number is pretty low, and there is a part of me that really wants to increase it. I've decided not to make changes until the halfway point in the year, however. By then, the twins will be 3 months old and I should have a better idea of how our routine is going to look. So it's 365 for now, with the option to increase or decrease in June. 
  • Post something on Goodreads for every book read.
    This was not one of my official goals last year, but I actually was posting something for every book right up until I started having morning sickness. I don't like that I left so many books un-reviewed at the end of 2019, so I'm aiming to do better in 2020. Hopefully reading fewer books will make that easier. 
  • Take one day off from reading per week.
    One of my 2019 goals was to allow breathing room for activities besides reading. I did make some effort, but I think having a specific policy of not reading one day every week is a more concrete way of allowing that space. My original thought was to make the day Sunday, but I decided to leave it open-ended since again, who knows how things will look for us when the babies come!
  • Read one book per format at a time.
    In the interest of trying to get to all the books I've been thinking about reading, I'm going to try to have one audiobook, one e-book, and one physical book (maybe two, if one is middle grade) going at a time. Since I have access to different books in different formats, hopefully I'll end up with a more well-rounded reading list.
  • Blog more.
    This is a vague one because I don't want to set an unrealistic goal. My blog became neglected in 2019, however, and I would like to revitalize it a little, even if that ends up happening just before the end of 2020.
  • Read 6 vintage middle grade novels from our shelves.
    I wanted this number to be 12, or even 24, but then decided to go easier on myself. I didn't read as much vintage middle grade in 2019 as I did in previous years, though, so I want to make sure that's something of a priority. 
  • Read 6 adult books that are at least 20 years old. (Not counting classics.)
    Now that I actually regularly and willingly read books written for adults, I want to go back and read some of the titles that I missed. I haven't actually considered what these books will be, so this is probably the goal I am most likely to abandon, but I'd at least like to give it a shot. I suspect some of the titles I've jotted down while listening to What Should I Read Next will fit what I'm looking for. 
  • No monthly TBRs.
    As much as I love to go on Instagram and post a photo of the books I plan to read each month, it's too restrictive for me, a mood reader at heart. This year is going to be about fitting reading in wherever I can, and I need to be free to read what I like when I like.
  • No open-ended read-a-thons.
    In the past, I have done several read-a-thons throughout the year where the only goal is to read as much as possible. This usually results in me breezing through a bunch of books quickly and racking up a high total on Goodreads, but it often doesn't feel productive. This year, I'm sticking to read-a-thons with a specific page or time goal so that there is a point where I feel done and I can move on to other things.
The second set of my reading goals for 2020 are the reading challenges I'm planning to join. I tried to stick to challenges with an emphasis on specific categories, and to choose complementary ones so that one book can count for several challenges if needed. Here's what I've selected:
  • A Year of Flannery O'Connor
    I'm hosting this one on Instagram with my friend Mary. We're reading The Complete Stories over the course of the year, and actually, quite a few people have said they want to join us. I'm terrible at hosting these things and will probably be worse with newborn twins, but I think I can probably at least keep up with the reading.
  • 2020 Classics
    This challenge started in May 2019, and I'm currently two books ahead of where I need to be to have read 20 classics by the end of 2020. Hopefully this means I'll be able to skip a couple of months when the babies come without falling behind.
  • The Unread Shelf Project
    I eyed this challenge all last year and finally counted up my books and jumped in. I'm not worrying about the buying and borrowing bans or anything like that because I'm not really worried about reducing my number of unread books. I just want to make sure some of the titles that have been hanging around for a while do get read. 
  • The Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge
    I like the categories for this one, and it's a short list so it feels really manageable. If necessary,  I should be able to use books from the Unread Shelf Project to fulfill these categories as well. 
  • ScholĂ© Sisters 2020 5x5 Challenge
    For this challenge, the goal is to select five different categories and then read 5 books per category. My categories are: Catholicism, Biography/Memoir, Books About Books, Concord, Massachusetts, and Linguistics.  I have a tentative list of books on my challenge page.
  • Catholic Reading Challenge: A Year of Short Stories
    I probably won't do this one every month, but the list of authors to be covered was too good to pass up. If the stories they read end up being repeats for me, I might skip the re-reads and just listen to the podcast. 
  • Craving for Cozies
    I have done this challenge for a few years now, and I'm not ready to give it up, so I just picked the lowest level, 1-25 books. A lot of my unread books for the Unread Shelf Project are cozy mysteries, so it shouldn't be hard to hit 25. 
I'm excited for a productive year of reading great books! 

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