Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 Goals for Reading and Blogging

I’m not much of a New Year resolution-maker. As a northerner, I’ve always seen winter as something to hunker down and endure—not a comfortable time to make changes—and spring and autumn is when I think about what needs changing and restoring.

But reading goals are different. Reading goals I can’t wait to compile each year. I generally fill my list with things that are relatively easy to accomplish but still push me a little.  

2015 Reading Goals

1. Read (or re-read) a Jane Austen novel.
I’ve been reading an Austen a year for a few years now, and I have Mansfield Park and Emma left. But I’d love to re-read Sense and Sensibility.

2. Read 10 chunksters (books over 400 pages).
This shouldn’t be hard because it seems all the books I’m interesting in buying lately are long ones.

3. Read a children’s classic.
I wasn’t a reader when I was a kid, so I missed out on a lot of great books that I hope to catch up on now. I’m leaning toward Charlotte’s Web, Harriet the Spy, or Anne of Green Gables.

4. Re-read 5 books.
You know how people come into your house, look at your books, and say, “Wow have you read all these?” and then ask, “And will you read them again?” I’ve realized how much I push myself to read what’s new and I’d love to return to some old friends. (Some possibilities: Little Women; Angela’s Ashes; Eat, Pray, Love; Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life; A Girl Named Zippy; Madame Curie; The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio; The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down)

5. Read a book on CD or another audio method.
I’m audio illiterate. I know there are a lot of options these days, but since I don’t know if audio-reading is something I’ll enjoy or not, I’m going to start with one CD book and go from there. I don’t want to spend much on accomplishing this goal! I think the book will be Middlemarch. I don’t have the energy to read this 900-page novel as a book.

6. Read at least one classic besides Jane Austen and Middlemarch.
I have to be honest, there aren’t a lot of classics that appeal to me. I might re-read The Grapes of Wrath, or try Fahrenheit 451 or Jane Eyre.

7. Read a collection of classic poetry.
For this, I’ll read a book I’ve had for years but never cracked, Americans’ Favorite Poems, edited by former poet-laureate Robert Pinsky. I’ve never cared for classic poetry, but as a former creative writing major and poet myself, I feel like I should try again to appreciate some of the classics.

8. Read at least 5 books from my TBR.
A couple possibilities are Under the Banner of Heaven, A Walk in the Woods, Gulp, and Behind the Beautiful Forevers.

9. Read something everyone else is.
I’m sure there will be more than one of these peer pressure books this year, and I think Yes Please will be one of them (even though I have no idea who Amy Poehler is). Also in this category is Brown Girl Dreaming, All the Light We Cannot See, and perhaps, Wonder.

10. Read 3 fiction books.
I far prefer nonfiction, but I made some good friends with novels in 2014, so I want to continue to push myself a bit in that direction. I'm hoping to read three fiction books that don't overlap with anything used to meet the above goals.

11. Continue with my Old Testament reading.
I breezed through the New Testament a couple years ago, and got as far as 2 Samuel in the Old before I stalled out for many months. I picked it up again at the end of last year, and I want to keep going with it.

12. Put less emphasis on the number of books read. Record pages read.
Well, I’m pretty much bound to fail to reach this goal. I like keeping track of how many books I read. In one of Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness books, she talks about herself as someone who needs gold stars. I’m one of those folks, too. I know I spend too much time measuring my reading success against other bloggers’. But I also know that most nonfiction takes longer to read, that fiction and graphic novels and YA read faster, and that you can read two or three shorter books in the time it takes to read one long one. So I’m going to try to take it easy on myself and remember that it’s about the journey, not the number at the end of the year.
   I figure that the 81 books I read last year probably totaled around 24,000 pages. So my goal is to read that many pages or more this year.


2015 Blogging Goals

1. Include more personal posts.
I’ve always been equal parts reserved and over-sharer. If that makes sense. I’ve been struggling with knowing how much I should share about myself personally on my blog. I’ve tried to put a great deal of myself into my book reviews, but I don’t feel like that’s enough. And I know that I enjoy other bloggers sharing about their lives beyond their reading. So I’m resolving to do a little periodic “girl talk”.

2. Include more varied bookish posts.
Things are becoming too formulaic here at OWS: Top Ten Tuesdays, Friday Finds, a review or two, week after week after week. I want to include posts that answer bookish questions, or raise them. Also, I'd like to do an occasional post about picture books.

3. Don’t beat myself up about writing a long, thoughtful review for every book.
In 2014 I got so far behind in book review writing it was shameful. I know most folks would say to just stop reviewing every book read, but I write my reviews as much for myself as for my blog. I have a Swiss cheese memory when it comes to remembering books, and these reviews are invaluable to me. But something has to give, so I’m going to try to concentrate on the books that lend themselves well to thoughtful reviewing and write shorter, more concise reviews for others.

4. Comment on more blog posts.
I'm kind of shy when it comes to commenting. I always kind of figure, "who cares what I have to say?" And yet, I know just how much comments mean to me, so I'm resolving to do more of it myself.

5. Start working on favorite poems anthology project.
For years I’ve been wanting to create a favorite poems anthology for myself. I have hundreds of poems bookmarked in various poetry books and collections and in files on my computer. I’d like to go through these and compile a collection of the poems that have moved me most over the years.


What’s on your 2015 goals list? If you've posted them on your blog, leave the link!


  1. Wow, I have so many things to say about this post that I feel like we should just meet up for lunch or something so we can discuss it all. :-)

    First, YES to Charlotte's Web or Anne of Green Gables. I've actually been meaning to read Harriet the Spy myself one of these days.

    I'm also going to listen to Middlemarch this year! I've found that listening is really the way to go with long, dense classics (at least for me).

    I have no idea who Amy Poehler is either, but EVERYONE is talking about her book.

    I finished the entire Old Testament a couple of years ago. It took me about three years to complete (yikes). I don't know that I'll ever reread it from start to finish again, but I love studying it in small chunks.

    Looking forward to your personal posts (as well as your continued book reviews!). It's going to be a great year!!!

    1. Yes, yes, yes! Don't we have so much in common? Our reading goals feel so similar.

      I bet we were both those kids who were excited by the smell of new pencils every August/Sept. :)

      I have so many books I'm excited about this year, I'm just dying to plow through them all.

      And I can't believe we're both taking on Middlemarch this year! It'll be my first audio book in ages. I don't know that I've ever really gotten used to them, but that whooper ought to give me a good taste of what listening to a book is like. I still don't know when I'll "read" it, though. All of my available time is spent reading already!

  2. Those are great goals. Good luck with them!

    1. Thanks, Cynthia. Hopefully they're not too ambitious!

  3. Wow, these are really lovely and thoughtful resolutions. I am thinking I might steal some of your ideas for my own resolutions. I particularly like the children's classics one because there were so many I missed when I was a kid.

    1. Thanks, Nish. I'm always concerned about putting too many strictures on my reading. It's always a fine balance of reading for enjoyment and challenging myself a bit. So I include some goals that will be easy to check off. :)