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2017 Goals

A photograph of Hever Castle in the autumn

For the past two years I’ve not paid much attention to the idea of reading goals where it concerns myself. In 2015 I listed all the ways I’d failed the goals I’d set the previous year and threw the whole concept away – I decided reading as much as I comfortably could was best. Last year I hoped to improve my male to female ratio and read more translated fiction.

I was going to do similarly this time but around November I started creating goals without really thinking about it. Shaking my head to myself and thinking ‘I really should read more of X next year’. I’m wondering if that’s a sign of sorts that it’s time I tried goals again. So I’m making some but keeping them vague, a bit wishy-washy. I’m thinking that being non-committal might mean I have more success.

I want to read more books by authors who aren’t white – Having read so much Asian literature pre-blogging I got into the habit of thinking all was well – it’s taken me a spell of looking through my reading lists to see that I’m not reading at all as I used to. And whilst some of that is to be expected, such a complete change of this type doesn’t suit my personality. More on this when I post about my reading statistics.

I want to read more classics – I say this a lot but without considering how I might achieve it, and without any sort of plan those daunting tomes I’m interested in are going to remain on my shelves. So I’m going to try and see if I can read at least one classic every couple of months, starting February. I’m giving myself a pass this month because I’m in a slump and have a lot of books to read. I’m under no illusions – I most likely will not achieve 6 books this year – but as long as I read something classical, that will be good.

I want to read more books published in recent years that I haven’t yet got to – This goal ties in with the first (I’ve a lot of translated fiction – that Murakami I still haven’t read and the Hiromi Kawakami I got for Christmas) as well as the rest of the Man Booker 2015 shortlist and some Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that I’m wanting to read. It seems everyone has read her work and I feel out of the loop.

And one goal that’s not about books but is related to my blogging:

I want to visit some historical sites – I didn’t visit any castles last year except Old Sarum which I’d already visited before.

In typing these out, phrasing them, it’s occurred to me that my goals, sans the last, can be summed up in one bigger goal: I want to read more widely. I’ve been reading fairly widely already, but I want to improve on that.

Have you made any reading goals for this year? What was your reasoning behind choosing to make goals/not make goals?


Tanya Patrice

January 20, 2017, 3:44 am

I’ve made similar goals this year that amount to increasing my reading diversity. I remember reading a few of your recaps of your castle trips – it’s such an interesting way to see different parts of a country.

booker talk

January 20, 2017, 4:15 pm

i can sympathise – last year I didnt do well on my goals either. so this year I am trying a new approach where I just plan six months ahead and have just two goals in total. One is to enjoy the books i already have and not go buying more for a while. The other is to improve the look and feel of my blog

April Munday

January 20, 2017, 4:16 pm

I have goals. This is the third year that I’ve done the Goodreads Reading Challenge. The first year I exceeded my goal of number of books to read and last year I didn’t reach it. This year I have a reduced number of books to read to something I know I can achieve.

As far as what I want to read goes, I want to read the kind of things that would have been read by educated people in the fourteenth century. I’ve started with Ovid and will be reading Vergil. I’m also intending to read fourteenth century literature – Petrarch, Chaucer, the Pearl Poet and Boccaccio. My plans are the opposite of yours, as I want to read more narrowly. Unfortunately, I keep going to In Conversation events and buying books that don’t match my criteria.

On the castle front, I’m planning to go to Kennilworth when I visit my friend in Coventry.


January 20, 2017, 4:38 pm

I enjoy a couple of annual challenges, just because they’re fun – but I took on the TBR Mountain challenge as a way to force myself deeper into some of the titles that have been sitting on my shelves for years (or decades). My personal ‘tome’ challenge last year was for the same reason and enabled me to tic off several classics.

If I lived where you do, I’d be out exploring every weekend! I love castle/abbey/cathedral architecture and the history that goes with it.


January 21, 2017, 5:03 pm

Good luck with reading more widely. My only goal this year is to hopefully make more time for re-reads and reading new books by favourite authors.

Andrew Blackman

January 21, 2017, 8:44 pm

Interesting post, Charlie! Your goals sound good, especially the one involving Chimamanda 😀 My goal this year is simple – cut back on reading news and social media, and spend more time reading books. I’ve been getting the balance all wrong lately.


January 22, 2017, 9:40 pm

These are wonderful, and realistic goals. I would like to visit more historical sites this year too. My husband and I were on a roll with hitting some of the literary trail, and other historical sites here early last year, and then life got in the way.


January 23, 2017, 8:15 pm

My goal every year for the past several is to read more diversely. I hold myself accountable to as close to 50% as I can get. I find it easier for me to judge progress and success by setting a figure and tracking towards that figure.

I also should read more of the classics! I think doing them in audiobook format might be a better method for me to achieve this goal.

Jenny @ Reading the End

January 24, 2017, 12:15 am

I tried to keep my reading goals modest for this year! It’s the first year in a while that I haven’t given myself demographic diversity goals — I think I’m in a place now where I can depend on myself to get a good 40% non-white authors in my reading diet. But I am trying to branch out into some genres that I’ve slightly neglected, so I want to read more SF this year and more comics, particularly DC comics as I have read very close to 0 things published by DC. :p


January 24, 2017, 9:05 pm

I used to make detailed reading lists for the year and after three months they would pretty much either be forgotten or I felt so constrained by them I didn’t enjoy the reading. For the last number of years my “goal” has been simply to read good books and it has generally worked out really well :)



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