Checking in on My 2019 Reading Goals

I made a super informal list in a random notebook near the beginning of this year outlining my reading goals for the year. Since we have just about two months left of the year, I wanted to check in and see what goals I have reached and which I can try to do better on by the end of the year! Most of these are not super quantifiable, but I think I have a pretty good feeling on whether or not I think I could do better.

I made a super informal list in a random notebook near the beginning of this year outlining my reading goals for the year. Since we have just about two months left of the year, I wanted to check in and see what goals I have reached and which I can try to do better on by the end of the year! Most of these are not super quantifiable, but I think I have a pretty good feeling on whether or not I think I could do better.

GOODREADS GOAL

In 2018, I read 127 books, so I set my goal this year to 100. Currently, I have read 96 books! I will definitely meet this goal by the end of the year. I don’t think I will surpass my tally from last year unless I really a bunch of graphic novels between now and the end of the year. My Goodreads goal isn’t super important to me because I would rather read good books than a lot of books, but is still nice to see that I am 14 books ahead on my goal. I knew that it would be pretty realistic if I kept my same reading pace up.

REREAD SERIES BEFORE CONTINUING

I really wanted to make it a point this year to reread books when the sequel comes out. I made this mistake a few times last year, specifically with Warcross by Marie Lu, and it worked out well for me to reread The Cruel Prince by Holly Black in January when The Wicked King came out. I tend to forget a lot of side characters and side plots, so if I don’t reread the book before the one being released, I tend to get confused and that taints my opinion of that book. So far this year, I haven’t done that with Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian and Kingsbane by Claire Legrand and I regretted it. There are tons of sequels coming out this month, so that’s when this goal is really going to come into play. It’s stressing me out to just think about how much rereading I’m planning on doing, but they are all series I’m enjoying, so I am excited to be able to refresh myself and continue on with them!

READ MORE NONFICTION

I’ve never been a big nonfiction reader because it has always seemed so dull and dry to me. I was into memoirs about North Korea a few years ago and I really appreciated what I learned from them, so I wanted to read more, both similar to that and different. Since the beginning of the year, I have read only two nonfiction books. I am currently in the middle of one and have another on my TBR. This will bring me up to a total of four for the year. I think I am pretty happy with this. I know it isn’t a lot, considering how much I read, but it’s a start.

READ MORE DIVERSELY

By this, I mean that I wanted to read from different genres that are out of my comfort zone. The majority of what I read is fantasy, followed by romance. I absolutely love these genres, but sometimes, it is nice to discover something you didn’t know you’d love. I’ve tried more historical fiction this year, most of which was not for me, but I have found some favorites, like A Sky Painted Gold. I’ve read a bit more science fiction than normal, which I have mostly enjoyed. I tend to stay away from space stuff, like The Illuminae Files because it confuses me, but I have enjoyed some books like that this year. I would still love to try some thrillers, but I don’t really know where to start and I have a lot on my plate already. I don’t think I will be doing much of this for the rest of the year, since I will mostly be catching up on new releases.

FINISH SERIES

I really wanted to finish or catch up with series as soon as I could. I just don’t want to give myself the chance to forget the details. I currently have only four series with books out that I haven’t read. I think this is pretty good! I also want to finish series before starting new ones. I have definitely been putting off picking up books that are the first in a series recently.

What were your goals for 2019 and what can you do to get them accomplished by the end of the year?

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Quality vs. Quantity of Books

When I discovered that there was a community of people on the internet devoted to books and reading, I was so excited! It was such a great way to become so much more immersed in books. However, it didn’t take me very long to notice something about the mindset of the community that bothered me: the constant goal of reading a TON of books.

When I discovered that there was a community of people on the internet devoted to books and reading, I was so excited! It was such a great way to become so much more immersed in books. However, it didn’t take me very long to notice something about the mindset of the community that bothered me: the constant goal of reading a TON of books.

From Goodreads’ yearly reading goal to readathons on Youtube, I was surrounded by people trying to read a certain number of books, whether that be in a week, a month, or in a year. At first, I was totally swept up by this, wanting to read more, more, more, but as time went on, I realized that there is something very odd about this way of thinking.

There were so many people focusing on how many books they read, rather than if they enjoyed reading them. I saw so many videos where people would just pick short books to read so their number of books read went up with less effort than reading a longer book or they didn’t want to drop a book because it wouldn’t count towards their goal. I know people in my personal life that were disappointed they weren’t going to make their Goodreads reading goal. Reaching a numerical goal seems to be driving so many people to read more.

But why do we read? For me, I love stories and being transported to a different world to escape my reality and I always have. I read because it’s fun and it makes me happy. I think most people read because they enjoy it. But the second you start reading to reach a certain number of books read, is it still fun? Are you still reading because you love reading? I know that for me, when I put pressure on myself to reach a numerical goal like that, it makes reading feel like a chore, not something I love to do.

I’m going to present two scenarios and in both, your reading goal is to read 40 books in a year:

  1. You read 63 books and surpass your goal! But you only loved a handful of those books, and the rest were bad or forgettable.
  2. You didn’t make your goal, since you only read 28 books. But for the vast majority of those books, you loved them!

Now, which of these scenarios is more satisfying? For me, it would definitely be the second. At what point is reading a lot better than enjoying what you’re reading?

This isn’t to say that reading goals are completely bad. For example, a Goodreads goal for someone who doesn’t read, but wants to get more into reading can be a good motivator. A readathon can be good when you just have not had time to read, so you are making time to sit down and do something you love. But for someone like me, who reads a lot, is it really necessary to set a goal? That’s up to everyone to decide for themselves, but I have been less motivated to reach a numerical goal and more motivated to make sure read books that I enjoy.

What do you think about reading goals? Is trying to reach a certain goal hurting your enjoyment of reading at all?