Reading Goals for 2017

I’ve set just a few modest goals for the coming year’s reading:

  1. As always, I’d like to focus on reading more of the books I actually own. I went around and did an inventory of unread books in the house and came up with 221. That could easily fill two-thirds or more of next year, yet I know I’m unlikely to cut down on my library borrowing or NetGalley and Edelweiss requests. I think the strategy will be to always have two of my own books on the go at all times, one fiction and one nonfiction, no matter how many other public library or Kindle books I’m reading.
  2. Some of the books I most want to tackle have 500+ pages. I wonder if I have enough really long books to sustain a Doorstopper of the Month feature? To get a head start on this goal, this past week I started City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg and Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake. Also on the shelf are A Suitable Boy, This Thing of Darkness, An Instance of the Fingerpost, Until I Find You, and a few chunky biographies; I’m also sure to get some long books from the library and NetGalley.
  3. The classics bookcase.
    The classics bookcase.

    I read very few classics in 2016, just a couple short books by Jerome K. Jerome, a Stefan Zweig novella, Tender Is the Night, and two rediscovered 1930s works from the Apollo Classics series. So that’s something to rectify in 2017. Three classics from the list of “Books to Read in Your 30s” in The Novel Cure are calling to me, and it’s also high time I read some more Dickens (maybe I’ll finally return to Dombey and Son?), Trollope (at least The Warden, if not more of the Barsetshire series), Brontë (Anne, in this case) and Woolf (The Voyage Out). Maybe I’ll also start a Classic of the Month feature?

Regarding my career…

I’d like to replace some of my individual book reviewing with longer articles. For instance, this past year Foreword magazine invited me to write three articles surveying new and upcoming books in various genres: young adult, climate change and middle grade. It’s more rewarding (and remunerative) to prioritize full-length articles.

Regarding the blog…

I’d love to get involved in more blog tours and collaborative challenges. I also hope to continue maintaining a balance between straightforward reviews/lists and different stuff, whether that’s travel reports or more introspective pieces. My dream is still to judge a literary prize, even if that’s just as part of a shadow panel.


What are some of your goals for 2017 – reading-related or otherwise?

 Tomorrow: Some final statistics on my reading for the year.

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20 thoughts on “Reading Goals for 2017

  1. Some of my goals are similar to yours. I have loads of unread books on my shelves. Buy less, read more for a while then, for me. I want to read more books in translation, and also to try to get to grips with graphic novels, which don’t attract me at all, but which I feel I ‘ought’ to try. Oh yes, and like you, I still have unread classics to tackle.

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    1. Several of my top fiction picks of the year were translated. I was pleased with that. It will be interesting to see what percentage of my reading was in translation when I work out my final stats later today. It’s certainly an area where I could improve.

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  2. Like you I didn’t read many ‘classics’ this year – surprisingly I found I was reading more contemporary works than in past years. As for next year I am reigning back on Net Galley since I already have more than I can get to realistically so adding yet more doesnt make sense especially when I saw a piece by a small publisher about how much it costs them to provide free copies – makes me feel guilty now at all the ones I havent yet read

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    1. That’s true. I think it costs publishers several hundred dollars/pounds to put a title on NetGalley. That means I like to support smaller publishers and lesser-known titles. (Though the big-name releases are hard to resist!)

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  3. I too keep promising myself to read all my unread books. Every year. But who can resist a new book, a treat, unopened, untouched, with so much promise ……. 🙂

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  4. My goals are almost always to read from my own shelf, although I top up the translated fiction every year because I don’t want my reading to be dominated by one or two dominant cultures, I couldn’t manage a chunkster a month, but I always read one over the summer and actually read two in 2016, Barkskins and A Brief HIstory of Seven Killings. I already have my summer chunkster for 2017, The Complete Claudine (Books 1 -4) by Colette. I’m also continuing on my exploration of writers from or connected to the Caribbean region and will spend August reading Women in Translation.

    I look forward to following your reading in 2017 Rebecca, Happy New Year!

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  5. I’m reading the new Paul Auster at the mo – 880 pages – but wonderful so far! I tend to shy away from chunksters in general as they take up so much time – but in terms of pages read, don’t affect my reading, so I shouldn’t worry – but I do.Like you I always want to read more from my shelves each new year – I start off well, then get distracted.

    You should join the Book Connectors group on Facebook – lots of access to people who talk about book tours there.

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    1. Thanks, Annabel, I’ll look into Book Connectors! I’m about to do my second-ever blog tour, but two in two years doesn’t seem like a great record. I imagine they’re a good way to connect with other bloggers and get a higher profile.

      I agree that doorstoppers are a huge time commitment. I’m loving City on Fire, but even the 80-some pages I’ve read have barely made a dent!

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      1. I gave up about 250 pages into City of Fire … I hope you have better luck. (OMG, my stats are wrong – I did have 1 DNF!). Personally I dislike constant blog tours and am very picky about those I join in on – so I hope you find some that fit.

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    2. Whoa, that’s a lot of pages to read before abandoning a book! It must have felt like such a waste of your time. I’m thinking of giving up on Titus Groan at 50 pages…I’m sure that would shock and disappoint Mervyn Peake’s many fans.

      I definitely wouldn’t want to do blog tours all the time, but maybe one every other month or so. It would help me plan what will be my straightforward reviews.

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    1. Well, the answer in my case is that I formed my own, to shadow the Wellcome Book Prize. In terms of the future, the best thing is just to be connected to a lot of bookish people via blogs and Twitter, and then your name may be in someone’s mind to recommend or add to their own panel.

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