This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is about our reading goals and challenges for 2021. In my last post, I wrote about my reading and blogging trends in 2020, so now it’s time to think about what I want out of the coming year. It’s not quite a “top ten” list; I’ve got five reading goals, five challenges, and three non-reading resolutions for the coming year. Updates on my reading challenges will be posted throughout the year on this page.
When I thought about how I wanted to read this year, I came up with these general principles:
- read for enjoyment/comfort
- read to understand others, focusing on authors of color, LGBTQ, and books set in other countries
- read to learn about important issues, such as racial justice, current events, and history
Additionally, I’d ike to read with greater focus, paying deeper attention to how books are written and reading for quality rather than quantity. One way to do this is by highlighting meaningful quotes and spending more time on reviews.
In 2020 I avoided quarterly TBR lists and I mean to continue with that. It was one less thing to stress about, although I know for many, choosing what you read without a plan is stressful as well. What I mostly do is load up my library lists with what I’m interested in, put books on hold, and see when they come in. The downside to that approach is that those books come with a deadline and you have to resist taking out more than you can read. Plus I’m much more likely to read books that are on hold than books that are available whenever I want them, since the holds have other people waiting on them. In 2021, I’m going to make more effort to read books that aren’t on wait lists, which will also address my plan to read more “backlist” books. All too often I say “I need to read more by that author” but then something else catches my eye .
In the Reading Nonfiction challenge by Book’d Out, you need to read nonfiction that falls into these categories:
- Essay Collection
- Indigenous Cultures
- Wartime Experiences
- Published in 2021
Some of the nonfiction I hope to read this year: The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Sukla (essays), Eat a Peach by David Chang (food), Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright (disease), and A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell (wartime experiences). I haven’t identified books for the other categories yet.
This year I’ll be joining the Beat the Backlist challenge by NovelKnight.com. This challenge includes any books not published in 2021. I may go a bit further with the definition than that; I might define “backlist” as 2019 or earlier and books by authors I’ve already read. Or I might identify a list of specific authors I want to read from. I’ve already finished one backlist book this year, Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill. Other authors I want to read more of include Ann Patchett, Octavia Butler, Elizabeth Strout, Sarah Moss, Susan Orlean, Ruth Reichl, James Baldwin, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Ariel Lawhon, Courtney Summers, Aminatta Forna, Sarah Waters, TJ Klune, and Neil Gaiman. In classics, I’d like to read more by George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Edith Wharton, and Thomas Hardy. To name a few.
Also new to me, this year’s reading challenge by Modern Mrs. Darcy is similar to Read Harder but completely customizable. You define your reading goals and then pick prompts that will help you satisfy those goals. Here are the prompts I’ve chosen.
- Read a book in translation.
- Read a book set somewhere I’ve never been but would like to visit.
- Read a book of poetry, a play, or collection of essays.
- Read a book of any genre that addresses current events.
- Read a book that’s over 600 pages.
- Read a classic I’ve been meaning to read.
- Read a book that intimidates me.
- Read a book I had previously abandoned.
- Read a Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner.
- Read three books by the same author.
- Read a book in the backlist of a new favorite author.
- Read a book I own but have never read.
Finally, I plan to continue with the Feed Your Fiction Addiction’s Book Blog Discussion Challenge, and my five-year “Reading Around the World” challenge, where I try to read books set in 50 countries I haven’t read about before.
- Manage email and social media better. My email is full of clutter I need to unsubscribe from, which causes me to lose the occasional important email. I also want to spend less time on social media like Facebook, which I don’t care for, while paying more attention to programs like LinkedIn which actually share information that is useful for me.
- Purchase less from Amazon. I get most of my books from the library and I switched over to Kobo last year, but I want to move to other retailers for things like household goods and drugstore items. I’m not sure if moving from one big business to another makes a real difference – but still, I worry about the dominance of Amazon and I hear better things about Target’s employment practices than Amazon’s. If anyone has other suggestions, I welcome them!
- Decrease waste, particularly from plastics. 2020 was a good year environmentally, since we dramatically reduced our driving an flying. I’ve been gradually replacing disposable goods like plastic ziploc bags with reusable ones, but I still have a ways to go. I’ll also be looking for books with practical suggestions for reducing waste – I know there are quite a few of them.
Those are my goals for the coming year. What are some of yours?