Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016 Reading & Blogging Goals

I’ve been working on these goals for months. I’m strange that way. It’s hard to get the correct balance of challenge and breadth and realistic-ness, but I think I’ve done it. This year, I plan to focus on reading classics and other books that are 30 years old or older (apparently, this is the barometer in some circles of "worthy reads"). Also, I’d like to read more from the library—since I work at one. And since I’ve rekindled my love of poetry and feel kind of lost if I’m not reading poetry pretty much all the time, I’ve put together an ambitious poetry-reading goal. And, since it’s an election year, I’ve created a goal for that too.


1. Finish reading the Bible (Jeremiah through Malachi).
Quite a while ago, I began reading the Bible by reading the Gospels. I more or less sped through the New Testament, but I found the Old Testament rough-going. In 2015 I got back on track and made it through Isaiah, which means I only have 16 books left to read—and most of them are short.   

2. Read Jane Eyre.
I’ve always felt guilty that I’ve not read it, so it’s time to remedy that.

3. Read or listen to Gone with the Wind.
Whew! Can I do it? I own it now on audio (if I can figure out how MP3 CDs work) and as a book, and I haven’t decided how I’ll read it. I think it would be great to listen to it this summer. 

4. Read or listen to Emma.
I’ve read all of Jane Austen’s books but Emma.

5. Read Tarzan of the Apes.
This is one of my husband’s favorite books, and I’d like to read it for him.

6. Read Crossing to Safety.
It seems like this book is on everyone’s list of books read and enjoyed. It’s time I figure out what the fuss is about.

7. Read at least 10 books from the library.
I really like to own the books I read, but I also know I often finish a book and know I won’t keep it to reread it. As I get more acquainted with my reading tastes and habits, I’d like to get to the point where I know what to borrow and what to buy. I think these will be mostly children’s books, fiction, and some nonfiction I’m unsure if I’ll enjoy.

8. Read 10 books of 400 pages or more, including two biographies or autobiographies.
Last year I had a strict 400-page minimum, but this year I’m allowing anything from about 390 and up. I have so many options on my list. I know the two bio/autobios will be Barbara Bush: A Memoir and An Autobiography by Agatha Christie.

9. Read 5 children’s classics.
I had a lot of fun catching up on some children’s classics last year, so I’ve put this challenge on the list again. Some possibilities: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Anne of Avonlea, Farmer Boy, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The House at Pooh Corner, and Harriet the Spy.

10. Read a book everyone else has.
This is another challenge from last year. I think I’ve decided to read Life of Pi.

11. Read 2 books to fill knowledge gaps.
I’ve decided to read Secrets of Mental Math and 50 Paintings You Should Know.

12. Read 2 books from genres out of my comfort zone.
I’ve decided to read Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal (comics) and The Best Short Stories of O. Henry (short stories).

13. Read 1,000 poems.
This is one of the only challenges I’m a little nervous about. One thousand poems is a lot considering the average single-author collection has less than 50 poems in it, but I have a lot of anthologies and loose poems saved up, so if I’m diligent, I should meet the goal. Tracking this one will be tricky, though!

14. In honor of election year, read 12 books about presidents, first ladies, the White House, presidential families, politics/politicians, American history, etc. (Begins Sept. 2015 and runs through Nov. 2016.)
I decided to begin this challenge last September, when I conceived of it, because the 2016 election was already ramping up. I’ve already read five books toward this goal: Gifted Hands, Killing Reagan, The Residence, Rosemary, and Mornings on Horseback. Some other titles I plan to tackle: Lady Bird and Lyndon, Barbara Bush, Killing Lincoln, Under This Roof, and Dead Presidents (due out in February).

15. Read at least 10 books over 30 years old.
I have a feeling this will be an easy goal, especially since so many of the children’s classics and books from other challenges will count. I really look forward to this challenge. Some possibilities: My Cousin Rachel, Endurance, West with the Night, And Then There Were None, I Captured the Castle, Frankenstein, and The Murder at the Vicarage.

16. Read 10 contemporary novels.
This is truly a challenge, because I often have to force myself to choose fiction, but I’ve compiled a list of books I think I’ll enjoy, among them: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag (Flavia de Luce mystery 2), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Carrying Albert Home, and Delicious!

17. Read 2 “manly” books, not used for any other challenge.
I likely tend toward “girly” books, and I let my “guy” books sit on the shelves. For this challenge, I plan to read In the Heart of the Sea (now a movie) and Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air.

18. Read 10 books from my 2015 TBR.
I had this challenge last year, and it was really effective in forcing me to clean up my TBR. I actually look forward to this challenge.

19. Read 5 books I’ve been courting awhile.
You have these lists too, right? Books you think you’d enjoy, but you are a little undecided. I forced myself last fall to make some decisions about those hanger-onners, and then made it a challenge to read some of those I chose. At the top of my list: Philomena, Deep Down Dark, Tiny Beautiful Things, Moonwalking with Einstein, and Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey.

20. Re-read at least 5 books.
One of my favorite parts about last year’s reading was my re-reading. I just loved going back to some of my favorites and revisiting them. There were a bunch I didn’t get to, so I carried them over to this year. Some possibilities: Tender at the Bone, Angela’s Ashes, The Latehomecomer, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

21. Read 10 books published in 2016.
This is one of those challenges I add because I know I’ll do it anyway!

22. Read 5 books from the Goodreads Top 100.*
I read quite a few things off this list last year, and used the list to guide my challenges for this year. I think I’ll finish: The Holy Bible; Jane Eyre; Gone with the Wind; And Then There Were None; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Life of Pi; and Frankenstein.

*The list has likely changed some since I captured it months ago.

23. Re-read a book within 12 months of its first reading.
I’ve always wanted to do this!

I think that will be about 60 books once you take overlap among the challenges into account.




1. Investigate audiobook options (iPod? Kindle?).
I currently listen to CDs on a portable CD player with an extension speaker. It works, but I have to do a lot of recharging, and some CDs are just too quiet to be heard this way. (I listen while in the shower and blow-drying my hair.) I’m not sure how to test an iPod or Kindle for this sort of issue, but I also know audio CDs won’t be around forever.

2. Create a poetry month feature.
This may or may not ever get done, because I can never come up with anything that doesn’t involve possible copyright infringement!

3. Try PicMonkey for blog images and to create a package of monthly images (months, monthly reading lists, monthly wrap ups, Top Ten, etc.).
This may or may not get done because I don’t have a lot of time to devote to this. I created one for December to try it out, but it took me forever. Once done, it will be great, but finding the hours to get it done may never happen.

4. Create a weekly or monthly feature.
I’ve been brainstorming for months (years?) about creating a weekly feature that is “me.” Nothing yet. But I’m going to at least try to answer a bookish question (or something) each week.

5. Do something in honor of election year.
See #14 above.

6. Collapse my blog reviews onto one page.
This has to be done. I know you all can’t find anything the way it is.

7. Memorize a poem.
I think I know which poem it will be, too.

8. Complete a favorite poems anthology.
Sigh. This has been a goal for years. So many questions to answer first.

9. Review books read in a post at the end of each month.
This should have been my #1 goal. I feel terribly guilty for the lack of reviews in 2015. I promise to do better in 2016 by at least writing a very short review of each book read.

10. Interlibrary Loan a book from another campus (or use the public library’s MORE service).
I’ve never used our campus Interlibrary Loan service or the one through the public library, so it’s time to learn how it works and try it out.

11. Read at least 50 picture books.
No sweat!

12. Read 100 books.
If I did it before, I can do it again!


  1. Hi -- I'm here from Sunlit Pages's list of goals and yours look really impressive, and a lot of fun. I'm not nearly as organized in my reading.

    I do want to point out that the first two Tarzan books are pretty much one long story, so if you enjoy Tarzan of the Apes you might want to go onto the next one. My book club is currently reading Tarzan Alive, which is a tongue-in-cheek analysis of the truth behind Burroughs books.

    1. Hi Beth. Thanks for stopping by.

      I didn't know that about the Tarzan books. Thanks for the info. I'm especially interested in how Burroughs handles Tarzan's language acquisition. Kinda geeky, but that just facinates me.