Over at my Bob on Books Facebook page, I asked followers what their 2019 reading goals are. Here are the responses, in the order received:
- Read read read read
- I’d like to branch out and try new authors and writing styles.
- I have set the goal that I will spend 2019 reading only from my own stacks. No library books (unless needed for a class) and no new purchases. It won’t be easy.
- To read more. And get a job at the library (for real).
- Just to read…
- I’d like to read at least 2 nights or more a week. I have enough books to last a lifetime and want to get enough for 4 to 5 lifetimes so I need to catch up.
- Read more bios and autobiographies.
- Not to feel obligated to finish every book I start. Start more, finish the good ones.
- Reduce my bought-not-read shelf by 5 and read a book in Spanish.
I loved every one of these goals! I identify with those whose goal is “just to read.” I’m not sure I have much more of a program than that. It also makes good sense to read the books we already have and our families, and the family budgets probably appreciate this. I’ve sometimes wondered what it would be like to work at a library. I hope the person who shared this goal lets us know how it goes if she gets the job. I know I’d probably be broke if I worked in a bookstore. I think the aim to read more diversely, which shows up in several goals, makes sense. I like the idea of reading a book in another language to brush up one’s knowledge of the language. Perhaps I should dust off my French…
Compulsiveness can kill the joy of reading. That’s why I like the idea of not feeling obligated to finish every book we start. If it’s not working, move on. Likewise, I noted that no one set a numerical goal for the number of books they would read. This is a big deal on Goodreads. I always set a low one for me so I don’t stress out about it and can get the nice badge!
So, my reading resolutions for 2019?
- I want to grow in what I would call “attentive reading,” where I’m actively engaged in thinking about what I read, why I am reacting as I do to it, and what I want to carry into my life from what I want to read.
- I want to read at least one more book from my “Ten Books I Want to Read Before I Die” list. Leading candidates right now are Chernow’s George Washington, and Taylor’s Secular Age. Both are tomes, so if you see a drop in the number of my reviews, that’s probably why (unless I’m reading another big book).
- I’d like to read at least one collection of poetry this year. I have them in my TBR piles, and one on my “Ten Books…” list above.
- I like the idea of reading a book in another language. It had better be French, and even this is pretty dusty. Any suggestions, from those who know French literature, of something that is not too demanding?
- Finally, I want to be more selective in the books I request for review. Any book I request for review, I feel I need to read. In particular, I want to ask, “am I really interested in this?” and “is this saying something fresh, or is it just a repackaging of old ideas?”
I better stop there. I will probably break at least one of these resolutions as it is. And more might be an exercise in compulsiveness. It’s not a good thing to start hating something you love!
The only reason I see for reading goals is they bring focus to what gives us joy. As frustrating as it is to admit sometimes, we can’t read everything–not even everything we think we’d like. If goals can help us think about what we really want to read, what will be life-giving and world-enlarging, then they seem a good thing. If not, then just “read read read read.” As someone has said, “the way is made by walking.”
Happy walking and reading in 2019!