In 2019, I read 69 books, with a total of 23,833 pages. That’s four more books and about 1,500 more pages than I read in 2018. I’m pleased that I read more in a way – I’ve picked up books in my spare time solidly, I’ve rarely been ‘between books’ and I’ve read that number without ever picking up short or easier to read books just to make up the numbers. I’ve become more excited about what I’m reading. The downside is that in being so swept up in reading, I’ve really fell out of the blogging habit. I don’t have a lot of free time and often it’s a choice between reading and writing about reading (obviously alongside actually seeing my husband and eating and doing other things I love). So for 2020, my reading goals are much less about quantity. I’ve reduced my Goodreads goal to 52 books. I still want to average a book a week but I want to be a bit more mindful of what those books are, reading books that are longer or books that I know will take me a little bit of time to read. And on that note, here is what I want to try and achieve in 2020:
1. Reduce the number of unread books I own to below 500.
In 2019, I was much more enthusiastic about the books on my shelves than in previous years. The average time that books had spent on my shelves before being read last year was 30 months; in 2018, it was 9 months. You can also see it easily in the number of books I bought in 2018 compared to 2019. In 2018, I bought an embarrassing 224 books, pushing the number of unread books I owned from an already pretty hefty 413 to a slightly out of control 575. In 2019, I bought a vaguely approaching more sensible 79 books and have had a bit of a clear out of those books that I’ve owned for 7/8/even 9 years without picking up and that I’m just not as interested in any more. Between that, I’m starting 2020 owning 545 books that I haven’t read. I’m delighted that in 2019 I reduced my TBR by 30 books but I want to do even better this year. I’m not focusing on how much I buy (not least because I have a Books and Beer subscription that I frankly refuse to cancel), but instead on how much I own that I haven’t read. If I desperately want to buy a book, I obviously will but I’ll either need to have read more to compensate or sacrifice something off my existing TBR.
2. Read at least 12 classics
Lucy @ Lucy the Reader is hosting a year long challenge/community focussed on reading more classics. Of the 69 books I read in 2019, only 2 were books I classified as ‘classics’. 6 books were published in the 1960s or earlier (including those 2 classics). I’m not the type to beat myself up about what I choose to read by any stretch but I do enjoy classics when I read them (and I own plenty!) so it seems daft not to. I’m not going to make a list as such but I definitely want to read The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon and The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski (a ghostly Persephone classic I’m really excited about) this year.
3. Read more diversely
Why yes, that is intentionally loose! I’m not concerned about female v male author numbers – 72% of the books I read last year were written by women and I won’t ever feel sad about not given men less attention than women. I am bothered that I only read 5 translated books last year. 60 of the 69 books I read were written by authors from the UK or the US. That just isn’t good enough, especially considering that I have a Peirene Press subscription and own plenty of fiction by authors with more diverse backgrounds.
4. Write a blog post for each book I read
By this I don’t mean a review necessarily but I do want to chat more about what I’m reading. I actually want to write more generally, including about the other things I love, like food and travel and exercise, but mostly books. I put a lot of pressure on myself when I start writing a book post and I need to stop it and just start writing a bit more casually. I’m not a professional – I do this for fun. That means it should be fun. So I want less structure and more chatting.
And that’s it! My reading goals for 2020! Do you have any goals for 2020 or are you planning on just winging it?