Photo credit: Ralf Steinberger via Flickr
You’re probably sick of blog posts about reflecting on goals met in the past year and on new year’s resolutions, but tough potatoes, here’s another one. I find it really useful to write these things out and post them publicly, to keep myself accountable. So this is more for me than for you, and if you actually read the whole post, why, that’s true blog-friendship right there. ❤
Last year at about this time, I wrote two posts about my reading goals: one focused on reading more books than I acquired and thus reducing the chaos of my to-be-read bookcase, and one focused on how many and what types of books to prioritize reading.
How did I do? Well…. okay, mostly.
(1) I succeeded at my Goodreads goal for number of books read.
I met my Goodreads goal, even though I read fewer books than the previous year. That was fine with me, though, because it did its job – reminding me that reading is a priority that I give myself credit for – while still giving me the flexibility to do other things, like writing and watching movies (which are also good for learning about storytelling, folks!). So I’m setting my GR goal for 2020 at 52 books: one per week.
(2) I improved my TBR situation, but not by much.
Hey, at least it didn’t get worse! To summarize my progress:
2017 Goodreads goal: 30. Read: 35. Acquired: 52. TBR reduction: -17
2018 Goodreads goal: 40. Read: 60. Acquired: 62. TBR reduction: -2
2019 Goodreads goal: 50. Read: 54*. Acquired: 44. TBR reduction: +4
* including 6 re-reads, not from the TBR stacks
So the current TBR situation stands at -15. You wouldn’t think it would be too hard to purchase 15 fewer books than you read. Apparently it is. Still, I’m going to try.
(3) I did better at my some of my other reading priorities than others.
According to my blog post last January, my reading priorities for last year were: comp books, fantasy classics, finishing series that I’d started, the latest greatest in SFF, diverse authors and especially more female writers, writing craft and resource, and short story collections and magazines. I also prioritized buying and reviewing books by new writers I know and also by people I would meet at cons.
I read more fantasy than last year (76% v. 60% of fiction books), and although I didn’t keep track of how recent those books were, I believe more of them were either comps or classics than in previous years. I increased the proportion of female v. male authors too (57% v 41%), but I actually did worse on other aspects of diversity such as race and sexual orientation (although I’ll admit I didn’t go back and research each writer to verify whether they are white and straight).
Almost half the books I read last year (25) I bought because they were written by friends of mine or because they were featured guests and/or award nominees at cons I was attending and I hoped to meet them (and often did). Those award-nominated books also helped me beef up my comps, or at least have a better idea about the books that everyone else is talking about in my field. However, this strategy was a problem in terms of paring down my to-be-read pile, because I had to purchase all those books this year.
Most of the books I read were fiction (81%), and more of the remainder were writing craft rather than resource books. That’s similar to the ratio from 2018 and that works for me.
I did succeed in cataloging my books (hooray!) and identified series that were partially started, but I didn’t finish any of those series. I don’t know how many short story collections I read in earlier years, but they made up 21% of the fiction I read this year, so that sounds pretty good – and it doesn’t even count all the short stories I read in magazines I’ve subscribed to.
(4) Priorities for 2020
Here’s a crazy idea: I’m going to keep the same priorities! I want to focus a little more strongly on what I didn’t do as well on last year: specifically, more diversity, more direct comps, and finishing up some old series. Unfortunately that last priority conflicts with the one about reducing the TBR pile, because it involves re-reading books not in the TBR to get to that last one or two. But okay, I’ll just have to restrain my purchasing impulses.
What about you?
Do you set reading goals each year? Let me know what you have planned for 2020, and how well you did on your priorities in 2019. And no matter what your plans are…