Thinking Realistically about Reading Plans for the Rest of the Year

The other year I did something dangerous: I started an exclusive Goodreads shelf (i.e., an option besides the standard “Read,” “Currently Reading” and “Want to Read”) called “Set Aside Temporarily,” where I stick a book I have to put on hiatus for whatever reason, whether I’d read 20 pages or 200+. This enabled me to continue in my bad habit of leaving part-read books lying around. I know I’m unusual for taking multi-reading to an extreme with 20‒30 books on the go at a time. For the most part, this works for me, but it does mean that less compelling books or ones that don’t have a review deadline attached tend to get ignored.

I swore I’d do away with the Set Aside shelf in 2020, but it hasn’t happened. In fact, I made another cheaty shelf, “Occasional Reading,” for bedside books and volumes I read a few pages in once a week or so (e.g. devotional works on lockdown Sundays), but I don’t perceive this one to be a problem; no matter if what’s on it carries over into 2021.

Looking at the five weeks left in the year and adapting the End of the Year Book Tag Laura did recently, I’ve been thinking about what I can realistically read in 2020.

 

Is there a book that you started that you still need to finish by the end of the year?

So many! I hope to finish most, if not all, of the books I’m currently reading, plus I’d like to clear these set aside stacks as much as possible. If nothing else, I have to finish the two review books (Gange and Heyman, on the top of the right-hand stack).

Name some books you want to read by the end of the year.

I still have these four print books to review on the blog. The Shields, a reissue, is for a December blog tour; I might save the snowy one for later in the winter.

I will also be reading an e-copy of Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce for a BookBrowse review.

The 2020 releases I’d placed holds on are still arriving to the library for me. Of them, I’d most like to get to:

  • Mr Wilder & Me by Jonathan Coe
  • Bringing Back the Beaver: The Story of One Man’s Quest to Rewild Britain’s Waterways by Derek Gow
  • To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss

My Kindle is littered with 2020 releases I purchased or downloaded from NetGalley and intended to get to this year, including buzzy books like My Dark Vanessa. I don’t read so much on my e-readers anymore, but I’ll see if I can squeeze in one or two of these:

  • Fat by Hanne Blank
  • Marram by Leonie Charlton
  • D by Michel Faber
  • Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19, edited by Jennifer Haupt
  • Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann
  • Avoid the Day by Jay Kirk*
  • World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil*

*These were on my Most Anticipated list for the second half of 2020.

The Nezhukumatathil would also count towards the #DiverseDecember challenge Naomi F. is hosting. I assembled this set of potentials: four books that I own and am eager to read on the left, and four books from libraries on the right.

Is there a book that could still shock you and become your favorite of the year?

Two books I didn’t finish until earlier this month, The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel and Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald, leapt into contention for first place for the year in fiction and nonfiction, respectively, and it’s entirely possible that something I’ve got out from the library or on my Kindle (as listed above) could be just as successful. That’s why I wait until the last week of the year to finalize Best Of lists.


Do you have any books that are partly read and languishing? How do you decide on year-end reading priorities?

34 responses

  1. I loved The Glass Hotel and, while it wasn’t my favourite thing I read this year, it’s definitely in contention for the top ten. I also never write up my final lists until 31st December!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I split my Best Of into 4+ posts (fiction, nonfiction, runners-up, backlist, other superlatives), so I have to spread everything over a week. But by that late I tend to know whether anything I’m reading has a chance of being one of my best reads of the year.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I am the same, Laura. My best of lists always come early January

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved both Tyll and Lot. I’ll be posting my books of the year early as ever. It’s the old bookseller in me hoping to help out with present ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope I’ll make it to both of those this year, but in January would be no disaster.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not talking about the amount of books languishing on the pile unread…. But my priority during December is going to be not to get stressed so it will be whatever my reading heart desires! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That sounds lovely, having no pressure at all. (Granted, most of my pressure is self-imposed…)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reading Plans for the Rest of the Year:
    I have 16 books to go on my Good Read Challenge! And I have a list of review and challenge books to work my way through

    Is there a book that you started that you still need to finish by the end of the year?
    Yes – Vickery’s Folk Flora. I have way too long reading this.

    Name some books you want to read by the end of the year:
    You’ll have to wait until my December TBR

    Do you have any books that are partly read and languishing?
    Yes – Vickery’s Folk Flora and Lotharingia

    How do you decide on year-end reading priorities?
    Is there anything that I must read?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve already surpassed my challenge, so everything else is a bonus at this point, but I do need to get to the remaining review books. I’d noticed the Folk Flora book has been on your currently reading stack for ages! I’m guessing it’s more of a reference book than one to read straight through? I’ll be looking out for your TBR and best-of-2020 posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is one to dip into really and there is always something else to read, hence why I have been very slack in finishing it. It has been well over a year!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I always finish my year with finishing books and start the new year with new books. I HATE carry-over! The books I’m aiming to finish this year – The Body Keeps the Score by van der Kolk (good but heavy reading, and it’s partly for work so I’m not quite as motivated to pick it up in my free reading time!) and a novel, Kokomo by Victoria Hannan – (don’t know why I started this but haven’t ripped through as it’s exactly my kind of book…).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I could have a clean slate by the end of the year, but it seems very unlikely! On the plus side, it means that I tend to finish lots of half-read books in the first part of January, which makes my numbers look good early on. The Body Keeps the Score sounds intense.

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  6. According to Goodreads, I’m currently reading 14 books, but that’s only because I started up a half-read bookshelf (17 books) to park some on. But some of my currently reads are really ‘started reading, got distracted, but I can plan them in for later in the year’ or, if we have to be realistic, next year. Pressure all self-imposed. Several were only distant blips on the radar until the 1956 Club and NovNov shone the spotlight on them (notably The Enchanted April and half-finished though already reviewed The Drunken Forest and Diamonds Are Forever). I have an existing challenge to read books with first names in the title and have a lot of novellas lined up for that, so I might have a personal NovDec challenge, not to mention the possibilities of reading David Copperfield or Adam Bede and Dutch classic Max Havelaar, etc., etc. And then there are the unfinished whoppers: Midnight’s Children (counts for Diversity), Michener’s Centennial (started reading in 2012 and taking up valuable space since) and Sunne in Splendour, which will definitely get pushed back until next year. So, in answer to your question, you’re definitely not the only person who has many books theoretically on the go. My book club members are horrified.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha, a “half-read” shelf — I like your style! 😉 I think most of my friends are one-book-at-a-time sorts; it’s just my blogging and online friends who are into the multi-reading. I did, for a while, get my husband reading 8-10 books at a time. During the first lockdown he made a lot of headway in books we own, but since then he’s gotten too busy with work and has slowed or stalled on lots of them.

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  7. I started reading The Killing of Crazy Horse, historical non-fiction, while my husband and I were traveling across Wyoming and South Dakota last summer. It’s perhaps more detail that I was looking for. I’m 250 pages in and very little has been said about Crazy Horse. I have appreciated knowing more about that time and place in American history, but I feel the editor might have weeded out some of the details. I don’t want to criticize the book, yet am finding it hard to dive back in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see what you mean. I have done the same thing, starting a book ‘on location’ and then losing interest once I’m not there any more. I don’t read a lot of history books because I find them such a slog. Maybe you could allow yourself to skim to the end?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. That’s what happened to me with Centennial on a road trip round the West. I did finish Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and bought the sequel, but have never read it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have a copy of Wounded Knee that I got for free. It might be the kind of book I’d skim for interesting nuggets rather than read straight through.

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      2. I enjoy reading that sort of account, but then wish I could remember the details later. Mind you, I dare say I could look the facts up on Wikipedia nowadays if I wanted.

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  8. I thought My Dark Vanessa was just OK (Putney is way better) but really loved Tyll and know it will be in my top reads of the year. I usually have 5 or 6 books on the go at one time and even that can get confusing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think 2-3 or 5-6 books at a time is common among my book blogging friends. I was put off My Dark Vanessa by the hype and controversy, but I do think I’ll read it someday.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. When you say an exclusive shelf, is that different from making a normal shelf? I’ve long wanted a “re-read” option that sits alongside “currently reading”, “want to read”, and “read”, and would find a “set aside for later” option useful too, but don’t want to make a normal shelf like that because to me the normal shelves are more like genre or theme filters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If it’s a book you’ve already marked as read before, when you set it to currently reading again, it will automatically come up with a read count of 2. To make an exclusive shelf, though: from the “My Books” tab, click on “(Edit)” next to Bookshelves in the top left. This brings up a screen where you can create new shelves or rename current ones. Then, once you’ve created a shelf, you just need to tick the box along from it that says “exclusive” (in the fourth column). [This is what I see on my PC; it might be different for you if you’re using the app version.]

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Brilliant, thank you!

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  10. I don’t have anything outstanding but I’m pretty disappointed that somehow a) Former Me pre-ordered at least two books in Aug/Sept and surprised me with them this week, b) I haven’t read nearly as much off my physical TBR as I wanted to this month. I have FIVE new, unshelved Christmas-themed books to read in December, too … !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Surely that’s a bonus that Former You ordered you some gifts? 🙂 I have a number of Christmas books, too, but don’t want to start on them too early. The same goes for the winter and snow-themed ones.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, it’s just my shelf is SO FULL and I’m normally restrained at this time of year thanks to Christmas, birthday and not so secret santa arrangements bringing a lot of wish list books in. Hm. Neither of the incomings were on my wish list, though. And yes, I want to read the Paul Magrs stories I have early to encourage other people to get them (and also because there is one about a Christmas Trilobite and I’m not sure I can resist that) but the four light novels will be read between Christmas and New Year.

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    2. A Christmas trilobite?!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh that story was SO good!

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  11. HAHA, a cheater shelf. So funny. I’ve got an exclusive Tasted-Sampled-Dabbled shelf, which is actually mostly to track books that I’ve consulted for essays or reviews and either did not finish or studied one part of it (especially if it’s essays/stories), something that I spent enough time with that I want to record the details but not something I managed to complete and I don’t immediately see a reason to return (to leave it as “to be read”). But I can see the temptation (problem?) with your cheater shelves. Not least of which being that they feel like cheater shelves to you. *grins* My 2020 list is still really bulky, even just with research reading, let alone reading projects…so I’m trying not to think about it too much yet. Maybe at the middle of the month I’ll have to peer more closely at reality. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have an exclusive Skimmed shelf that fills that purpose, but yours is more felicitously named!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I have only a couple of books part read right now – The Party Wall by Steve Davis which is a net galley copy. The plot idea is good but its taking too long to get to it, and Why We Sleep which I’m dipping into .

    I just finished Girl With The Louding Voice – terrific read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why We Sleep is one I just skimmed for information, but kept on my Kindle for future reference.

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  13. […] additional 2020 releases I most wished I’d found time for before the end of this year (from my late November list of year-end reading plans) include Marram by Leonie Charlton, D by Michel Faber, and Alone […]

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