I read a ton of books in 2021, which was my goal for most of the year. When the year began, I wanted to drink books. I wanted to be surrounded by stories and ideas and characters. And that’s exactly what I achieved.
As the year went on, I began to put pressure on myself to read 3-4 books a week. I managed to do it a lot of weeks, but realized I was choosing to put off bigger books with more complicated ideas in favor of shorter and snappier ones. Around September I went on a reading detox and didn’t read anything for myself for a month or two. It was exactly what I needed at the time.
Now I’m ready to lean back into the reading world but with a different posture. This year’s goals look different than in previous years.
1. Slow down and use my book journal
In essence, one of my goals is to read fewer books. I think Amy at Hearth Ridge Reflections put it best on her YouTube channel: I’d like to go deeper this year. Dive into cultures and ideas, while taking the time to reflect on what I’m reading.
This means utilizing the reading journal I started last July but put aside in late August. Honestly, my reading journal was one of my first inklings that something wasn’t quite right in my reading life. I didn’t want to take the time to write out quotes or thoughts about what I was reading because I was too consumed by starting the next book.
I’ll share more peeks into my reading journal as time goes by. I’m not an artist and am not able to write in pretty script like many journalers, but I’m enjoying the process of setting up spreads in my own simple way. And I’m finding that taking the time to prep a spread for a book gets me more excited about diving into the story itself. I hope that continues to be the case. And if I get tired of decorating, then just a plain entry will do just as fine. I don’t want to get caught up in the reading journal the way I can get caught up in tracking stats. This is about sinking into the enjoyment of reading for the sake of it.
I’d like to read more books written by authors with a variety of ethnicities and backgrounds. It’s amazing to read the words of someone with a completely different life than my own and learn about what’s important in their lives, get an idea about some of the challenges, and see people around the world find joy in everyday life. And most importantly — recognizing that, just below the surface, we all have the same hopes and fears.
3. Big books
I don’t want to be afraid of picking up big, juicy books this year. I read 3-4 books that were 800+ pages last year and loved how it felt to sink into those sagas. Shorter books can be powerful and yet – there’s nothing like experiencing the centuries of family history described in The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois. And drawing out a family tree along with a map to keep track of the characters in The Arsonists’ City (see picture to the left).
So this goal means just one thing: if a book looks interesting, don’t put it aside because “it’s too long.” Go for it and take small bites if necessary.
4. Prioritize Japanese Literature
Several of my blogger friends have mentioned the Japanese Literature Challenge hosted by Dolce Bellezza, which is in its fifteenth year. I’m not sure if I’m up for a challenge, but I’m definitely interested in reading more Japanese literature. Over the past couple of years I’ve read several books that have piqued my interest in Japanese culture and am anxious for more. A quick glance at these challenge posts gave me a ton of recommendations that I’m excited to start looking for. I’d also welcome any of your recommendations, intrepid readers!
5. Louise Erdrich Along
Mary is hosting a year long Erdrich-Along in 2022 that I’m excited to participate in. I’ve read a handful of her books and am very excited to read along with the support of an impressive group of readers and bloggers. And the fact that it’s only six books over the course of the year makes the escapade feel much more manageable.
How to share what I’m reading? I used to write about finished books each Wednesday, but I think I’ve fallen out of that groove. Monthly? I’m trying to figure out how to bring the bookishness back into this space in ways that feel natural and pressure free. Stay tuned!
That’s it! Five goals and three of them are rooted in focusing on diversity. No number target, nothing really measurable. Just a posture. Something to lean towards. A permission to let up and sink in.
I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone else’s posts on goals as the new year has begun and am going to enjoy following your progress in 2022. Here’s to another year filled with good books and great discussions. Stay safe and cozy!