As I have previously stated in many a post, I love a five-point plan. The idea of setting reading goals at the start of the year has never occurred to me before, but, as a dyed-to-the-core list-maker, it naturally appeals. I’d also like to do more with this blog, and the new year is a good excuse to think about what that might look like.
In particular, I’d like to update here more consistently. I love writing these posts, though I still find writing reviews quite challenging, and, despite the fact that my PhD has literally nothing to do with literature of any sort, I think that writing regularly has, via some bizarre act of alchemy, improved my scientific and technical writing skills… all of which is to say, I want to post at least once a week. According to the helpful statistical breakdown sent to me by WordPress (statistical breakdowns are one of my favourite things), I am best at posting on a Friday, so I’ll try to have a post queued for Friday morning every week next year. That’s quite a big undertaking, and is very much not a promise, but deadlines are helpful. I’m also trying to get into the habit of actually reviewing my Classic Club reads. I still find it a bit intimidating to review books that have been deemed classics by the general population, especially because there is generally so much to talk about in a classic novel, and because the language is so extraordinary; often, I don’t even know where to begin. However, I will try. Brighton Rock was one of my favourite 2014 reads (and is likely to become a permanent fixture on favourites lists), so it seems like a good place to start. A review of that will be forthcoming.
I’d also like to post a greater variety of content. For example, I’ve recently been rereading Little Women, and can’t stop thinking about how much I love the ending of Jo’s story. I love Prof Bhaer, I love Plumfield (both its incarnations–Little Men and Jo’s Boys), I love everything about it. I realise that’s a wildly unpopular opinion, but I have actual literary, narrative, and even feminist reasons for my feelings, and I found myself wanting to frantically express my opinion to somebody. There are actually a number of novels–classic and modern–that I like despite lack of popularity, or vice versa. I’m thinking of starting an occasional “Unpopular Opinions” feature, in which I don’t necessarily review a book, but discuss some aspect of it where I maybe disagree with the collective opinion of the internet. This will hopefully stimulate some interesting discussions in the comments, which I am always in favour of. It’s just an example, though–I’m hoping to have lots of other new content up here in the coming year.
In terms of reading goals, I’m not going to set a specific number of books that I want to read. I read 60 books in 2014, which is the greatest quantity since I was a teenager; it doesn’t seem like an especially necessary target. I’ll probably still put a number into Goodreads, but I’m more interested in what I read.
I’d like to read more non-fiction (I buy popular history compulsively, and I absolutely love it when I read it, but I find it very hard to get into), more poetry (I have no idea how to review poetry, except to pretty much list the emotions I experience when I read it, but I want to read more of it anyway), more science fiction, more new publications… of course, I’m not sure what I should cut out of my reading life in order to make room for these new things, but I’m sure I can manage. Right? Right. And, like the rest of the book-blogging and -vlogging community, this was the year I became aware of exactly how white publishing is. As a result, one of my most important goals for this year is to try and read more diversely. Without trying, I will read pretty male and female authors pretty evenly, but if I’m not paying attention, I will read almost exclusively Caucasian, Anglophone authors. Bookriot have compiled an excellent series of lists to help people address this problem, which I shall leave links to at the bottom. I’m not going to try and read through any of those lists, particularly, but they make a good starting point.
Those are not set targets with specific numbers or planned goals. I get enough of that at work. However, they have helped me to think about the direction I’d like to take both reading and blogging this coming year, so here it is for your reference. What are your 2015 goals, if any? Does the process of setting goals for a leisure activity suck the fun out of it and make it feel too much like school? Or does it give a sense of personal-life achievement when you hit one of them? What do you think?
Bookriot diverse reading suggestions: