220 for 2020! And Other Reading Goals
What are you hoping to accomplish in your reading life this year? Although I’m not posting all my New Year’s resolutions here, I thought I’d outline some of my reading goals for the upcoming year.
Last year was my most prolific reading year since finishing graduate school in 2015, finishing off at 75 books–more than twice what I’d read in the two previous years. (See my top reads and follow me on Goodreads for 2020 reading ideas.)
Read 220 Books in 2020
Call me a sucker for nice, round numbers, but this is an admittedly ambitious goal. At the same time, however, in the last few months (after deleting Netflix from all my mobile devices) I have held steady at reading a few books a week and I want a bit of a challenge. So, 220 for 2020, here we come!
Here are some other reading intentions I’ve set for 2020…
Read more Canadian lit
Even though I’ve lived in Canada for more than five years, I still feel like a newcomer when it comes to the deeper routes of Canadian cultural identity. When I lived in Germany, one thing that helped me was reading German literature. This year I’m hoping to take a similar approach and read more books by Canadian authors, especially indigenous writers. Luckily, CBC books runs #CanadaReads every year. It’s a fun, communal way for Canadians and Canadiophiles worldwide to celebrate Canadian authors–I’m looking forward to participating with a reader friend of mine.
Read more YA lit
I’ve always loved juvenile and YA lit, and this year I’m looking forward to making this a more intentional part of my reading journey–not just what I turn to in desperation when the world of adulthood is too disillusioning. I especially love Newberry Medal and Honor winners and well-crafted picture books.
No library fines!
They should have a special tax rebate for people who have paid as much in library fines over the years as I have. Until then, I can’t afford to get any more library fines in the near future. Last October, the librarian who cashed in my most recent debts turned away from the computer screen for a moment and asked me in a friendly but firm tone why I get so many library fines. I mumbled a few excuses–a busy work schedule, laziness, existential qualms concerning mortality that are uniquely triggered by library due dates and the finality they represent…
“Why don’t you just go completely digital?” She asked, reminding me that ebooks and audiobooks checked out on the library’s mobile app get returned automatically on their due date.
Until that point, I’d done about a third of my reading digitally. The main hurdle to increasing that ratio was learning to use the search function of the app better so I could find more books on my to-be-read least, which I promptly did later that night.
It’s been a few months, and I haven’t gotten any library fines since going (mostly) digital with my reading. For 2020, I’m giving myself permission to stick with this method, even though it takes more work to find and reserve ebooks with my public library since there tends to be a higher demand.
Be more mindful about what I read
I learn so much by reading–about life, people, places, relationships, myself, God… A few years ago, I started keeping track of what I read on Goodreads, but this year I’d like to go one step beyond that by keeping a book journal. (I’ve already started this free printable one by Anne Bogel!) Unless it was a particularly significant read, I typically just record 2-3 sentences or points about the book in the journal–updating my reads to Goodreads at a later point. It’s a great way to stay mindful of the gift of reading without adding more screentime to my life.
Read and review more books by author friends
Something that happens when you become an author is that you meet other authors. I know so many writers who have generously read, reviewed, and promoted my work. Despite good intentions, though, I’ve found it difficult to reciprocate.
It’s not that I don’t read enough or find their books lacking, it’s just that there is an added layer of pressure that comes with reading and reviewing the work of people I consider friends. This year I want to make their books more of a priority and tame this inner hurdle. It’s not about writing the perfectly polished review or finding all the right things to say about a book, it’s about showing up and being generous with what I’m able to give just as others have done the same for me.