Today, I’m kicking off a series of posts where I’ll look back at what I accomplished in 2014 and what I have planned for 2015 in the three main word-related areas of my life: reading, writing, and editing.
Reading in 2014
My reading goals in 2014 weren’t very defined but looked something like this:
- Read at least 30 books (my original Goodreads challenge goal)
- Read a couple of classics
- Read some short stories
- Read some non-fiction/memoir
Looking back at 2014, here’s what I actually accomplished.
Read at least 30 books
I met that goal in July. I was really surprised, especially considering how I struggled in years past to read 30 books by December. I think the difference this year was discovering used bookstores and surrounding myself with a huge shelf of unread physical books. I have my own little library of unread books waiting for me. I also have book club awaiting me with another selection most of the time.
I adjusted my goal to 45 and met that in November, finishing the year with 55 books total. I tallied the pages for reasons and came up with a total of 15,779. That’s a lot of pages!
Here’s a link to everything I read in 2014 (Note: the kids’ books on the list are placeholders for books I read/edited that aren’t currently available in Goodreads).
Random note: I see a lot of people talk about trying to read more by female authors. I didn’t make a specific effort on this but I did a count and 37 of my 55 books were by female authors. Yeah!
Read a couple of classics
I not only read some classics last year, but I quite enjoyed them.
Book club read Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) and Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen). I also read four short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Gift of the Magi by O. Henry and a play (The Importance of Being Earnest) by Oscar Wilde. I would also consider Daphner du Maurier (Rebecca) and Agatha Christie (And Then There Were None) modern classics and add them to the list. I’m pleased with this and plan to read more.
Read some short stories
In addition to the Poe and Henry mentioned above, I also read The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and The Princess and the Pea by Diane Setterfield. I read a few other short-form works but wouldn’t truly call them short stories. I feel I fell short here.
Read some non-fiction/memoir
If I’m generous with myself (or perhaps with the authors), I could say I read six books that fall into this category.
- Lost Cat (Caroline Paul)
- The Poisoner’s Handbook (Deborah Blum)
- Haunted Houses: Chilling Tales from 24 American Homes (Nancy Roberts)
- Ten Days in a Mad-House (Nellie Bly)
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (John Berendt)
- It Chooses You (Miranda July)
- The Art of Asking (Amanda Palmer)
If I’m honest, I don’t know how I feel about including a few of those on a non-fiction list. But we’ll have to save the discussion of truth in memoir for another time. Overall, I wish I had read more both in quantity and quality for this category.
Read 40 books
I’ve set my Goodreads goal at 40. I may have set it a bit lower but so many of my book club friends were choosing 40 that I didn’t want to feel left out. Plus, if I did 55 last year, I should be able to do at least 40 this year.
Read more short stories
I’m not setting a number, but I have a bit of a plan to make sure I read more short stories this year. I’ve purchased several books of short stories and my plan is to read one per day, at least on weekdays. That means I’ve read two already (I’ll read today’s after I finish this post), which is already well on my way to outnumbering last year.
Try new genres
I surprised myself by liking a sci-fi/fantasy novel last year. And I’ll admit the only reason I read it was literally because I was paid to read (edit) it by a very good friend. This year, I want to read a couple of graphic novels. I may try an audio book again – it’s been years since my last failed attempt. I’ll see what else I can find.
I’d like to make a dent in the pile of books I’ve accumulated recently. Between Christmas and the annual library sale, my physical TBR shelf is very full (that’s it in the photo above). According to Goodreads, I have 85 unread books on that shelf plus 19 unread Kindle books.
Also, and I’m not putting numbers on this, I want to make an effort to pick up books that are about topics, cultures, religions, regions and ideas not my own. I think reading is a very important learning tool at all ages so I want to make sure I’m not reading too narrowly within a comfort zone all the time. Though there’s certainly nothing wrong with escaping into the pages of a comfy place from time to time as well.
So that’s my report on my reading in 2014 and my plan for 2015. What are your reading goals for this year? Are they more or less specific than mine?