Time to assess last year’s reading and make some plans for this year!

Reading in 2019

Here are my goals and accomplishments:

1. Read 40 Books:

After struggling to read 40 books in 2018 (and finishing on a technicality), I set a goal of 40 and managed to finish 50. (Goodreads made a lovely summary page of my reading challenge.) I feel good about that considering other goings-on.

In March, I left my position as the short story editor at Coffin Bell, a literary journal. I enjoyed the process, but it required a lot of time to read my assignments—time that I needed for other projects. In 2019, I read:

  • 49 short stories
  • 1 CNF (creative nonfiction)

I also started a full-time editing job in May, so I’m happy with 50 books.

2. Decrease My TBR:

I began the year with 73 physical21 Kindle and ended with 77/22. Unlike other years, I didn’t purge my pile for donations, though that’s coming soon. I don’t think I bought myself a lot of books, though I’m trying to support our local independent bookstores when I do. Plus gifts and souvenirs.

3. Read 6 short story/essay collections:

I only read 2 in 2018, so I wanted to increase that. I finished with 10:

  • 5 short story collections
  • 3 poetry collections
  • 2 essay collections

How Many Stars?

  • 5 stars:  10 books
  • 4 stars:  18 books
  • 3 stars:  19 books
  • 2 stars:  3 books
  • 1 star: 0 books
  • 0 stars: 0 books
  • Abandoned: 3 books
  • Not rated: 0 books

Pages Read:

  • January – 993
  • February – 1232
  • March – 454 (ouch)
  • April – 1615
  • May – 1248
  • June – 1076
  • July – 375 (ewww)
  • August – 1603
  • September – 1196
  • October – 929
  • November – 1992
  • December – 1779

14492. It’s a significant increase from 2018, even though I had a couple of low months.

Other Word-Related Activities:

  • Reading for Coffin Bell: As I said above, I stepped down in March because paying contracts were on the rise.
  • New copy editing contract: It was great, and then it became full-time in May. It’s a good thing, but it’s been a huge adjustment.
  • Online book club: It started well and then fell apart. Too many different reading styles and too many timezones to coordinate live discussion.
  • Write more & expand my local writing group: I chose to go in the opposite direction with both of these writing-related goals. Writing group is now smaller, and I’m taking a hiatus from writing.

2020 Plans:

1. Read 48 books

I’m going to push for an average of 4 books per month.

2. Decrease My TBR

I need to take a little time to consider my collection of 77 unread physical books and 22 unread Kindle books. Borrowing from the library, supporting our local indie bookstores, buying books as souvenirs when I travel, plus receiving books as gifts keeps my collection growing. But some of those books have been sitting on the shelf for years. I’m going to consider donating a significant number of them if they’re readily available to borrow.

3. Read 12 not-novels

On average, I want to make sure I’m reading 1 book each month that isn’t a novel. Nonfiction, poetry, essays, or fiction anthologies all count. It’s similar to my 2019 goal, except I’m specifically adding nonfiction and increasing the number commitment.

Other Word-Related Activities:

  • Editing: In addition to my full-time job, I want to keep finding freelance contracts, especially for editing fiction.

I may change up my review format for 2020, but I haven’t figured out what that means yet. I may review books on Goodreads and post a monthly update here, along with an occasional longer review if something moves me. One of my (non-reading) goals for 2020 is to spend less time creating busy work for myself just to feel productive and to instead spend time accomplishing projects, goals, etc. (For example, is this post perfect? No. Am I finished spending time on it? Yes.)

What are your 2020 reading goals?