More Specific 2016 Goals

Following up on the handful of low-key resolutions I made at the start of the month, I can report that three of my volunteer reviewing positions plus a paid one all seem to have come to a natural end, so that frees me up a little more to seek out big-name opportunities and focus on reading more of the unread books in my own collection plus library copies of books by the authors I’m most keen to try.

Now that nearly one twelfth of this ‘new’ year has passed, I feel like it’s time to set some more specific goals for 2016.


Be more strategic about which books I review in full on here. So far it’s just been a random smattering of books I requested online or through publishers. Overall, I don’t feel like I have a clear rationale for which books I feature here and which ones I just respond to via Goodreads. Perhaps I’ll focus on notable reading experiences I feel like drawing attention to (like The Goldfinch recently), or target some pre-release literary fiction to help create buzz.

Start writing more concise reviews. The task of writing just two sentences about my top books from 2015 got me thinking that sometimes less might be more. (See Shannon’s Twitter-length reviews!) Ironically, though, dumping a whole bunch of thoughts about a book can feel easier and less time-consuming than crafting one tight paragraph. As Blaise Pascal said, “I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”

Redesign this blog and get lots of advice from other book bloggers on how to develop it. It’s my one-year anniversary coming up in March and I want to think about what direction to take the site in. I feel like I need to find a niche rather than just post at random.

Update my social media profiles and pictures. In some cases I’m still using photos taken of me nearly three years ago. Not that I’ve changed too much in appearance since then, but I might as well stay current!

Leisure Reading

Make it through my backlog of giveaway books. In the photo below, the books on the left I won through Goodreads giveaways, and the pile on the right I won through various other giveaways, usually through Twitter or publisher newsletters.


Although there is no strict compulsion to review the books you win, it’s an informal obligation I’d like to honor. Before too many months go by, then, I’d like to read and review them all. That’ll help me meet the next goal…

Get down to 100 or fewer unread books in the flat by the end of the year. Although this seems like an achievable goal, it does mean getting through about 100 of the books we own, on top of any review books that come up throughout the year, not to mention my Kindle backlog from NetGalley and Edelweiss (so I am definitely NOT counting those in the 100!).

Weed our bookshelves. Alas, it’s looking like we’re going to be moving again in August, so before then it would be great if I could reduce our overflow areas so that everything can fit on our four matching bookcases with little or no double-stacking. I’ll start by picking out the books I’ve already read and don’t think I’ll read or refer to again. Which brings me to a related goal…

Start a Little Free Library or make another arrangement for giving away proof copies. Advanced copies technically should not be resold, so ones I don’t want to keep I tend to give away to friends and family or to a thrift store if they don’t too obviously look like proofs (i.e. they have a finished cover and don’t say “Proof copy” in enormous letters). I figure if a charity shop can get £1 for the copy, why not? It’s a perfectly good, readable book. However, I should really come up with a better solution. If not an LFL, then maybe I could arrange to keep a giveaway box outside a charity shop or at the train station wherever we next live.


Take control of my e-mail inboxes. There are currently over 11,000 messages in my personal account and nearly 1,100 in my professional account. I attribute this partly to sentimentality and partly to fear of deleting something important I might need to reference later.

Find a way to incorporate exercise into my workday. I really, really need a treadmill desk. Or any piece of exercise equipment with a ledge that would hold a Kindle or laptop. That way I could continue reading and writing so that working out wouldn’t feel like lost time. Otherwise I am far too sedentary in my normal life.


Apropos of nothing, but always worth remembering.

What are some of your updated goals for 2016 – reading-related or otherwise?

7 responses

  1. All your goals are worthy, and I applaud you. May the Lord enlighten you with ideas and solutions.

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. I am lucky to have a Little Free Library just up the street from me, which is exactly where I take my unwanted ARCs (although, there really aren’t very many unwanted ones or ones I don’t pass onto a friend or family member). Still, it’s nice to have there!
    I would also love to redesign my blog at some point – it’s been the same since I started it, and I feel like I need to freshen it up, or something. But, I barely have time to keep up with it, let alone spend time tweaking the look. Sigh.
    Good luck with all your goals! 🙂


    1. I’ve only ever seen a Little Free Library in Philadelphia, and it was empty! I love the idea, though. I was pleased to learn they have a branch in the UK. Initially I thought it was just an American thing.

      My blog design was literally about a half-hour job; I just wanted to get a platform up and running and have paid it very little attention over the past year. So even just some minimal changes should help spruce it up 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Im feeling so much better now I see how many emails you have. I am in a panic with just 1400… I’ll have to have a look at that technique of writing shorter reviews, then I can get them out of the door much quicker


    1. I’m not sure I’m up to the challenge of Tweet-length reviews, but maybe I’ll try to get closer to a paragraph or two?

      I have e-mails all the way back to 2001 in my personal inbox. Clearly I have not been ruthless enough about culling them over the years! There will probably be hundreds of order confirmations and newsletters I can just get rid of; the personal messages will be more of a challenge, though.


  4. Emails: if you have a Gmail account, archive everything. It gets the crap out of your inbox without deleting it, and you don’t have to wrack your brains to think of a suitable category/folder for every piece of mail. Finding them again is easy too because you just do a search in All Mail. It has revolutionised my inbox, I tell you.

    Short reviews are lifesavers. I too feel the need to bash out 1500 words per book and sometimes I just don’t have the time, so I’ve started introducing capsule reviews, usually two books at 500-700 words each. It’s quite liberating!


    1. Thanks, Eleanor! Archiving e-mails is a great idea. I have a Hotmail and a Gmail account; I think that would be an option in both.

      Short reviews…I’m thinking more like a paragraph 😉 It’s tough because I feel like I have to do a book justice: draw attention to all the noteworthy quotes, discuss the good and the bad, and so on. But I just can’t do that for every book I read (28 in total for January, for instance — an above-average month). I see some reviews on Goodreads that really get to the essence of a book in just a paragraph, even a few sentences. So that is my aim for more of my leisure reading reviews.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: