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Bookish Goals for 2016: Read More, Read Harder, Read Mine

Bookish Goals

I don’t know about you, but the new year seemed to really sneak up on me. All of a sudden it was the last week of December and and it was time for reflecting on the year and setting new goals for 2016.

I was talking to one of my coworkers about this, and she said that our unusually mild weather – we didn’t get significant snow until mid-December – really threw her off. It’s amazing how the weather can have such an effect on the feeling of time passing, especially in a place where I count on four seasons to get through the year.

Anyway, I decided better late than never on looking back at the few challenges/goals I set for 2015 and firmed up my reading plans for 2016.

Looking Back at 2015

The one year-long challenge I continue to try over and over again is the TBR Challenge. I signed up in 2015 and, despite my good intentions, failed pretty miserably. On the bright side, I read more books from that list (four!) than from any other year I’ve signed up and failed:

  1. The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara (2013) (fiction)
  2. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley (2012) (fiction)
  3. An Astronaut’s Guide to Love on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield (2013) (memoir)
  4. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013) (fiction)

So, maybe call that one a draw? The host elected not to continue the challenge again this year, so I don’t have to worry about signing up and failing again!

In 2015 I also found myself casually participating in Book Riot’s Book Riot’s 2015 Read Harder Challenge. By my calculation, I managed to finish 19 of the 24 tasks for the year. The five I didn’t finish were a book written by someone when they were under the age of 25, a book written by someone when they were over the age of 65, a book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture, a collection of poetry and a book published before 1850. Not too shabby.

I mentioned my other big reading goal in my stats post earlier this week: I hoped that 25 percent of the books I read would be by authors of color, and I hit that goal by reading about 26 percent.

2016 Bookish and Blogging Goals

I try not to set too many restrictions or requirements on my reading because I, above all, want reading to be fun… when there get to be too many rules, it gets to be less fun and then I don’t want to read at all. That said, I do have a three little goals I want to keep in mind this year:

  • I want to read more books by authors of color. My goal for 2016 is 30 percent authors of color. Just a note on this one: I know race is an extremely limited way of considering diversity, but focusing on that number drew me to a lot of great books in 2015 (and, I think, diversified my reading in other ways as well). I also want to think about other ways to diversify reading, but don’t have a solid plan on that. 
  • I’d like to take a stab at Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge. The 2015 challenge was a lot of fun, and I think many of the categories this year will be fun.
  • I want to Read My Own Damn Books. When I did my big office organization over the weekend, I had to double stack books on all of my unread books shelves. By the end of the year, I want all my unread books to fit, single stacked, on those shelve. And I want to set and follow some rules about buying new books. I don’t quite know what that means, still noodling, but I’ll think of something. 

The one other project I’ll be blogging about a bit this year is One Little Word, my way of setting resolutions and intentions for the year. Lots of other bloggers do this, and it’s been fun to see posts popping up the last few weeks. I’m still trying to settle in on my word, but I’m hoping to post about it soon. 

What reading or blogging goals have you set for 2016?

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Sarah's Book Shelves January 5, 2016, 6:31 am

    Those are probably the same categories of the Read Harder challenge I would have skipped as well! Cheers to a good 2016!

  • Shannon @ River City Reading January 5, 2016, 6:58 am

    I failed pretty hard when I tried the TBR Challenge, too – I don’t think I’m very good with a pre-defined set of books :/ Something like the Read Harder Challenge sounds a little easier to handle. Good luck with your goals this year!

    • Kim January 17, 2016, 9:42 am

      That’s my problem too, I think. I set the list of books I think I’ll want to read, and then end up letting reading on a whim take over and the list seems uninteresting. Read Harder worked because it was pretty flexible… until I got to the end and “had” to read some books in certain categories and then just gave up 🙂

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) January 5, 2016, 8:15 am

    I’m keeping it simple – my goal is to keep reading and to keep blogging. Some days that feels like a tough one.

  • Amanda January 5, 2016, 11:44 am

    I failed the TBR Challenge as well. I made yet another list to try again without the official host though. I like the goal of getting to books I’ve been wanting to read for a while. I might be tempted by this Read Harder list though!

  • Kay January 5, 2016, 5:04 pm

    I think a bunch of us are trying the ‘read from my own shelves’ goal. I mean, how many books can we actually own and read and get through. There are always new ones coming out. Sigh. No solution here.

    • Kim January 17, 2016, 9:43 am

      Nope… it’s the bookworm’s eternal dilemma 🙂

  • Christy January 5, 2016, 6:12 pm

    These echo a lot of the goals that I have informally and formally set for 2016. I’m planning to take on BookRiot’s Read Harder challenge as well! And generally want to expand on reading books by authors of color as well as books I own. And while I’m at it, more classics too. There are just so many worthy reading goals – but as you said sometimes too many rules can take the fun out of reading, so I have to find a balance.

    • Kim January 17, 2016, 9:44 am

      Yes, that’s the super challenging part — how do you balance lots of worth goals, especially when they might not align with each other — and still keep reading fun and casual. I’ve been noodling on that one a lot the last couple of weeks.

  • Allison @ The Book Wheel January 5, 2016, 6:17 pm

    I’ve been working on reading my own books and am trying to read at least two a month that are already on my shelf. It’ll still take me years at that rate but at least it’s a start, right? Good luck!

  • Jenny @ Reading the End January 5, 2016, 8:41 pm

    I want to read more nonfiction by authors of color this year, so if you DO stick with your diversity stats on that front, I anticipate that I will be getting many excellent recommendations from you. 😀

    • Kim January 17, 2016, 9:46 am

      Nonfiction is the area I struggle with! My nonfiction reading is mostly topical, so it seems like it can be hard to find authors of color writing on topics that strike my fancy at a given moment. I’ll jot this down for a post idea though, since it’s something I have to work on as well!

  • Justice @ manuscripts & marginalia January 6, 2016, 6:20 am

    I also want to do the Read Harder challenge, but I don’t know where to start. And I am somewhat intimidated by my massive TBR book stack. I think an organization day is in order…

  • Valorie Grace Hallinan January 6, 2016, 9:32 am

    I haven’t set my 2016 goals yet, but your post has launched me on my way. I didn’t know about the Reading Harder Challenge, and I was delighted to see the NYPL suggested list (what a great place, the NYPL!). I will probably take the Book Riot Challenge and modify it based on my own interests and goals – it is a great list. Thanks so much for this post. I’ve been enjoying your blog and look forward to your take on books this year.

    • Kim January 17, 2016, 9:47 am

      I saw that list — really great! I think the Book Riot challenge is fun, although I didn’t try get hard to get those last five on the list because they were outside what I was in the mood to read at the end of 2015.

  • Beth F January 7, 2016, 4:50 am

    I gave up on challenges completely. I want my pleasure reading to be just that: pleasurable, fitting my mood, whatever catches my eye. Ah diversity . . . for me it’s that we pay attention to it and use whatever criterion suits. POC is as good as any. Book buying? Yeah, I need to get a grip. Not sure what I’ll do, if anything. Happy 2016.

    • Kim January 17, 2016, 9:48 am

      I like that way of thinking on diversity… it’s a tricky and often problematic thing to “count,” and there are lots of different ways to measure. Like you said, the important think is to just pay attention and pick criteria that make sense to us at the time — the attention is the important part, not necessarily the specific number or metric.

  • Laurie C January 8, 2016, 8:37 am

    Take a look at one of my favorites of 2015, Grant Park, for your authors of color goal! The author is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist/columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. I think it’s his first novel.

    • Kim January 17, 2016, 9:48 am

      Thanks for the recommendation!

      • Laurie C January 17, 2016, 11:17 am

        And I may have mentioned Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett to you before, but that’s about an African-American female journalist during the early days of the civil rights movement. Another one you might want to take a look at!

  • Julianne @ Outlandish Lit January 9, 2016, 5:15 pm

    Oh god, I failed the TBR challenge so hard too haha. I think I did maybe 2 books for it? But I honestly don’t want to even go back to look. I’d rather not know. Love your goals! I want to diversify more too. Reading graphic novels this year totally skewed my count toward nerdy white boys.
    Agreed on the snow thing. Minnesota is a v confusing place right now.

  • iliana January 9, 2016, 6:07 pm

    I love joining reading challenges but that is about it when it comes to my reading goals. I try to leave a lot of room for reading at whim. Hope you have a fun reading year!

  • Chelsey January 9, 2016, 7:28 pm

    I majorly failed at my TBR challenge this year too but that doesn’t stop me from trying again lol. I’m participating in the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks too and can’t wait! Hope we all make some serious progress :). Best of luck!

  • Katie @ Doing Dewey January 12, 2016, 3:09 pm

    I’d also like to read my own damn books this year 🙂 And to increase the diversity in my reading, I’ll be focusing on reading more translated fiction this year.

    • Kim January 17, 2016, 9:49 am

      I love that goal — very specific, measurable, and a focus that will definitely bring more diversity. Cool!

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