It’s that time again – time to run over my priorities for last year and think about what I want my reading life to look like this year. While I have a tremendous amount of fun writing TBRs, setting specific goals can suck some of the joy out of reading for me if I feel like I’m “failing”, so for the last couple of years I have written some vague waffle about my book-related hopes and dreams instead. It seems to be working – I’ve had two great reading years – so I am doing the same again this year. First, a recap of last year’s priorities:

-Read more science fiction and fantasy. This is something that I definitely accomplished this year. The two books that most made their way into my heart, Doomsday Book and Dragon’s Green, were science fiction and fantasy respectively. The science fiction and fantasy bingo challenge really prompted me to pick up more genre fiction, and I enjoyed most of what I read. I did learn from the #SFvsFBingo challenge that I really, really don’t like cyberpunk, no matter how hard I try, so I didn’t finish that square on the challenge, but I read something from every other category I identified!

-Read something in German. Slowly, slowly, I am plodding my way through the first Harry Potter audiobook in German. It’s interesting the way that reading (listening, I guess) in my second language is having an effect on my reading experience. My German is good enough to follow the story roughly – I don’t frequently have to pause to translate – but I am not having the same experience that I get when I read Harry Potter in English. They are such visual stories – Philosopher’s Stone especially, because so many settings are being introduced for the first time – and at the moment I am not getting that sense from the narration. I’m only at Diagon Alley, though, so as I get more comfortable listening in German I’m hopeful that the reading experience will start to feel more natural.

Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen (Harry Potter 1) [Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone] cover art

-Read a few of the longer books that I’ve had on my shelves for a while. Yes and no, for this one. I definitely read a few longer books this year – Doomsday Book, The Vaccine Race, All Creatures Great and Small, and The Way We Live Now are all 500+ pages. They mostly weren’t books that had been lingering on my shelves for ages, but I enjoyed getting engrossed in them for a few weeks at a time, which was the feeling that I was after.

I’m really happy with how my reading year went, so with that in mind I am setting some new priorities for 2019.

-Sign up for a reading challenge. While I comprehensively failed at the TBR pile challenge in 2018, I really enjoyed SFvsFBingo and the way it ran through my reading year. This year, I am signing up for The Backlist Reader challenges – I enjoyed rereading some old favourites this year, and there are still lots of books lingering on my TBR that have been there for years.

-Reread some childhood favourites. There are a lot of books that I loved as a child but haven’t picked up again since then. I still reread Swallows and Amazons and the Chronicles of Narnia every couple of years, but Ballet Shoes, We Danced in Bloomsbury Square, Five Children and It… there are a lot of books that really made my childhood which I haven’t picked up in years. I want to write a mini series on this blog as I revisit them, and then finish the year off with Bookworm: A memoir of childhood reading by Lucy Mangan. I’ll be sticking a post up about this with my TBR shortly.

Start a book club at work. I do not really like parties, loud music, being around people who are drunk, or being under excessive pressure to drink. Ergo – I have pretty much stopped going to any work social events. It’s not that I don’t like my colleagues, though – so I have floated the idea of having a lunchtime book club with a few people, and it turns out that lots of people don’t like our work socials but are very up for reading together. One of my reading goals for this year is to start a work book club.

This year is much calmer-looking at the outset than many of my previous years have been. After my thesis corrects are handed in (by the end of February), I don’t have any big deadlines or plans. I am still trying to learn to drive – there is a 5 month + waiting list for lessons with any reputable instructor around here – and I am beginning to look for a more research-focussed job, but my year is a fairly blank slate at the moment. It’s a great feeling, and should hopefully allow me lots of time to read!