Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 Goals for Reading and Blogging Recap

This has been the best year of reading yet for me. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so much, learned so much, and read some great literature I’ve been meaning to get to for years. I felt like this year I really engaged with some books. It was a year of great personal growth and loss, which was mirrored in the books I ended up enjoying most.

When I set my 2015 goals last year, I was unsure how difficult to make them. I wanted to challenge myself, but I didn’t want to take the fun out of reading. I needn’t have worried! Turns out the challenges enhanced the fun of reading, and they were much too easy (of course, I allowed overlap between goals, so that helped).

So, here is a recap of my year in reading and blogging.



2015 Reading Goals

1. Read (or re-read) a Jane Austen novel.
I read Mansfield Park. Now, I only have Emma left.

2. Read 10 chunksters (books over 400 pages).
I finished the year with 11 chunksters under my belt. Full disclosure: four of them were “read” on audio. Some notables: Middlemarch (on audio), Mansfield Park (on audio), Rebecca, We Knew Mary Baker Eddy (vol. 1), and No Ordinary Time.

3. Read a children’s classic.
Who can stop at one? I read Charlotte’s Web, Little House in the Big Woods, and Anne of Green Gables. Anne was by far my favorite.

4. Re-read 5 books.
I had so much fun doing this that I re-read 14 of my old favorites including The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio; Eat, Pray, Love, The Know-It-All, Julie & Julia, The Reading Promise, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake; and The Happiness Project.

5. Read a book on CD or another audio method.
My goal was to try Middlemarch on CD, but I loved it so much, I went on to “read” 13 more. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie was definitely my favorite audio experience. The reader is phenomenal, and I’m so glad she was my introduction to Flavia de Luce.

6. Read at least one classic besides Jane Austen and Middlemarch.
I don’t know if In Cold Blood or Rebecca classify as classics, but I also read The Great Gatsby and A Christmas Carol.

7. Read a collection of classic poetry.
I read Americans’ Favorite Poems, and I ended up enjoying the project way more than anticipated.

8. Read at least 5 books from my TBR.
Well, I feel great about how much I chipped off the TBR mountain this year. I finished 14 books that had been on my reading list for “awhile.” A couple of them—Rebecca, Under the Banner of Heaven, The River of Doubt, Garlic and Sapphires—became some of my favorites books of 2015. I tend to think of my TBR pile as something I skim the best books off of to read, and the rest just sits around and molders. Now I know that’s not necessarily the case.

9. Read something everyone else is.
I read Yes Please, Brown Girl Dreaming, and Go Set a Watchman. Brown Girl Dreaming was definitely the best of the bunch.

10. Read 3 fiction books.
I read Nora Webster, Go Set a Watchman, and The Jesus Cow. I didn’t care much for any of them.

11. Continue with my Old Testament reading. (Amended: Read Old Testament through Psalms.)
Well, I finished Psalms and got through Isaiah. I’ll finish the Old Testament next year, and then I’ll have finally finished the Bible (I began with the gospels).

12. Put less emphasis on the number of books read. Record pages read.
Big. Fat. Fail. This is the only goal I failed at, and I kind of knew I would. I like to keep track of how many books I read (at any point in the year, I could tell you about where I was) and compete against last year’s number. And I’m ready to say that’s okay.

I finished most of these goals by about June and felt a little bereft. What would I work toward now?, I wondered. So, being the goal-setter I am, I worked up another set of goals, all of which I met.


2015 Reading Goals – Additional

13. Read 10 books published in 2015.
I think I finished the year having read 25 books from 2015. I’ll list some of the more popular titles:
Better Than Before
Big Magic
Dead Wake
Go Set a Watchman
Humans of New York: Stories
Killing Reagan
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime
The Residence
The Wright Brothers

14. Read 10 books of poetry.
I fell in love again with poetry this year. I read 11 books of poetry (5 collections and 6 by single poets). My favorites were American’s Favorite Poems; Good Poems: American Places; Horoscopes for the Dead (Billy Collins); 180 More; and The Art of Losing.

15. Read a book by Jon Krakauer.
I read Under the Banner of Heaven, and I loved it.

16. Read a book by Michael Pollan.
I read In Defense of Food, and while I enjoyed it at the time, none of it has stuck with me.

17. Read 5 books from the library.
I checked out: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, The Great Gatsby, The Book of Joan, The Jesus Cow, and The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating.

18. Read The Great Gatsby.
Done! Not so impressed.

19. Read The Christian Science Journal each month.
This is something I’ve been meaning to do for years, and I finally made it a part of my day. In the evening, before I read whatever books I’m currently reading, I read an article from The Journal. It’s been a blessing to me.

20. Read 100 books!
I did it!


2015 Blogging Goals

1. Include more personal posts.
I wrote a couple of personal posts (and boy were they personal), but I really didn’t do as well at this as I’d hoped.

2. Include more varied bookish posts.
Failed here, too. I had trouble just getting the bare minimum done this year. Maybe next year will be better.

3. Don’t beat myself up about writing a long, thoughtful review for every book.
Well, I definitely didn’t write long, thoughtful reviews for every book this year. In fact, I don’t think I reviewed even a quarter of the books I read. I read so much and got so behind, and it all snowballed.

Did I beat myself up? Yes, yes I did.


4. Comment on more blog posts.
I actually accomplished this one. Yay, me!

5. Start working on favorite poems anthology project.
And I did this, too. I read over 500 poems for the anthology project, but I have at least that many left to read. I haven’t nailed down the details of what this anthology will look like, either. Print or electronic? Short (best of the best) or long (all of my favorites)? Themed or random? Chronological? Etc. etc. Decisions, decisions!


So, how did you do this year? If you've posted a review of your goals on your blog, leave the link in the comments!


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