Year-End Reading Goals

With less than a month left in the year, it’s time to be realistic about what I’m likely to finish before the end of 2016. My goals are fairly simple:

  • Finish all the books I’m currently reading.
  • Get through my stack from the public library; it’s not as daunting as it seems because I plan to just skim two or three of them.
  • Make as much of a dent in my giveaway books pile (below) as possible. This particular goal is looking increasingly unlikely. I certainly don’t have any illusions about getting through the 900+ pages of City on Fire, though I might start it over Christmas and hope to get caught up in it. Before then I’ll try to read another couple books I won in various giveaways; any that remain will be priorities for January.

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  • Finish my next two review books for BookBrowse, due in early January: Valiant Gentlemen by Sabina Murray and The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. They’re extremely different – rollicking historical fiction set in the 1880s–1910s and a contemporary YA story with teen narrators – but I’m very much looking forward to both.
  • I had hoped to make this the year I finally try Karl Ove Knausgaard. I might start the first volume over Christmas and see how I get on with it. I was also thinking about picking up the first book of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy. Luckily, Christmas promises to be conducive to reading: a very quiet few days sat around the fire in my in-laws’ Hampshire rectory and at their home by the coast!

As usual, a peek at a few Books of the Year lists has left me feeling glum about how few of the year’s best books I seem to have read. From the Kirkus list, I’ve read 11, skimmed one, and am currently reading another two = 13/100 read. I’ve done slightly better according to the New York Times list: I’ve read 20, skimmed two, abandoned one, and have one (Murray, see above) to read soon = 21/100 before the end of the year.

What do you hope to read before the end of 2016?

How have you done on various best-of lists?

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20 thoughts on “Year-End Reading Goals

  1. Absolutely loved the Gormenghast trilogy when I first read it although the third book seemed weak compared to the other two. Often mean to re-read.
    I too am finishing off a pile of Library books (I help run our local Community Library and get very tempted) as 2017 is definitely my year of Reading From Home. I need to reclaim our third bedroom as a bedroom and not a mini Library.
    Your in laws Hampshire rectory sounds very Jane Austen!

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    1. I also hope to read a lot more from my own shelves, along with more classics, in 2017.

      Alas, their rectory is a 1960s monstrosity. BUT, my mother-in-law is the vicar for duty in the parish that includes the town where Jane Austen was born (Steventon), so gets lots of tour groups and American visitors. Lucy Worsley has filmed there a couple times.

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  2. Love me a good Hampshire rectory; my grandparents live in one too 🙂 (also a 20th-century fabrication, sadly)

    Also, Gormenghast is INCREDIBLE. It’ll be totally absorbing as a Christmas read!

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    1. The amazing centuries-old rectory was, of course, sold long ago and became a private residence, probably of some banking type. In any case, it’s still a big house in a quaint village setting, so it’s a nice place to spend the holidays.

      I’ll let you know how I get on with Gormenghast!

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      1. My grandparents don’t live in the rectory proper, since my grandpa is technically (though not practically!) retired; their village still retains a lovely old house for its vicar, so very Trollopian-looking. (And actually, Trollope lived in the village! So that might explain that.)

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  3. I’ve been crazy with my library holds and now have a stack of eleven library books to finish this month. Four of them are inter-library which means no renewals and $1/day overdue fees. They are my priority. A couple of them came out of the flurry of nonfiction we were exposed to during Nonfiction November. 🙂

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  4. I’m at the tail end of Dorothy Richardson’s ‘Pilgrimage’ series – 11 1/2 down, 1 1/2 to go! I’ve enjoyed it, but am looking forward to some easier-reading Icelandic crime as a Christmas treat. I read the first volume of Knausgaard’s ‘Struggle’ earlier this year (it was brilliant!) and have the next 3 lined up ready for the new year. But before I get to those, I’ll be reading his new book on football – bliss! 🙂

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    1. I’ve seen the Richardson reviews in various places and can’t quite believe what an undertaking the series is. Liz’s reactions always seem fairly negative as well, or at least bewildered. I don’t suppose there’s a one-volume abridged version out there? 😉 That’s probably all that would tempt me, unless there was one outstanding volume that could be read as a stand-alone.

      I hope I love Knausgaard too (though if I do I’ll feel stupid for not buying the 2-euro copy of the 3rd volume I saw in an English-language bookshop in Switzerland). He seems like a very interesting figure anyway. I think one of his earlier books was a translation of the Bible.

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    2. I’m reading the Pilgrimage series as well! Very enjoyable, but the character driven stream of consciousness is a little difficult to hold my attention while going through the usual two or three books at once. Perhaps volume two is one for reading by itself.

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  5. I’ve just four books left on my personal goal. Currently reading Silas Marner by George Eliot, which is good so far but left me with a little wordy whiplash after going through another Hemingway, and The Waves by Virginia Woolf, which is AMAZING. There I was looking for something short, yet still legit and I got that treasure.

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    1. I’ve not read Silas Marner, though I’ve read several others by Eliot. Same with The Waves — that’s not one of the Woolfs I’ve gotten to. I think I have a copy in America, though…

      Eliot, Hemingway, Woolf: those are certainly some extremes of style!

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  6. I never do well with the Best-of lists, since most of my reading is Canadian. But that just goes to show that the lists don’t mean much – I’m sure a lot of the books I read are just as good or better than the ones that make the lists. I still like to look at them, though. 🙂

    I enjoyed Girl Runner when I read it last year!

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  7. I won’t accept best-of lists until the END OF THE YEAR!! I get very heated about that. Very often, I’ll read a really fab book between Christmas and New Year that makes my top 10 and it’s not like publishing completely stops in December. Hmph. Anyway, having said that, I never seem to have read what people go on about in newspapers etc. perhaps because I usually wait for the paperback or find things in our charity shops a year or so after publication!

    Re reading goals, I have FINISHED the Richardsons!!!! And I will be reviewing the last volume today, hopefully. I am glad I’ve read it as it does inform one’s reading of the modernists, but it was hard going and, and … well, wait for the review but there is a spoiler.

    I’d like to finish the slim but Quite Hard book on Richardson I bought recently. And I aim to read Woolf’s “The Years” before the end of the year to finish off Ali’s fab Woolfalong project (I think I may have another Woolf in a Secret Santa, in which case I’ll try to do that, too). I really want to finish the big book on pop I’m reading, and between Christmas and New Year I’m hoping for a week off work and a good old reading time. Let’s hope, as my TBR is about to BURST.

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    1. I always think your physical TBR shelf looks quite manageable 😉

      I agree, I often end up reading some of my favorite books of the year in the last couple of months. I suppose newspapers and magazines have to get a jump on things.

      Congratulations on finishing the Richardson challenge! Would you agree with William (above) that I could read Vol. 2 as a standalone if I’m not willing to embark on the whole series (I think that’s “Backwater”)?

      I’d like to read some more Woolf next year. I have The Voyage Out on the shelf.

      I’m giving myself four days off around the holidays. That means extra work in the next few weeks to prepare, though!

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      1. You haven’t seen the TBR shelf now with its 9 extra and at least two to come (actually, the Christmas ones aren’t going on the back of it until I’ve taken a photo of them).

        I’d say yes, if you want to experience Our Mim without reading the whole cycle, Backwater would be a good one to try.

        And yes indeed, I imagine I’ll be doing extra to carve out that time off myself. Good luck!

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