I had so many grand plans for my reading this year, and while things have changed and that’s totally cool, I’m still a little disappointed that things haven’t gone according to plan. That said, I’ve read some amazing books this year and learned more about my reading and book buying habits, so I really can’t complain too much.
My primary goal going in to 2018 was to read my books within three months of purchase. Unfortunately, that has not been happening at all. I just buy too many books per month and create a bad cycle of wanting to read my latest purchases while also feeling compelled to read the ones I bought three months ago on top of some of my other reading plans, and it’s just not sustainable. The reality is that I’ve been buying too many books per month.
I think this is a good goal to set in the future when I’ve dramatically shrunk my physical TBR shelf, but for now I’m going to adjust this goal and try to read books immediately upon purchase. So if I buy a book, I want to read it almost right away so that it really doesn’t even make it to my TBR shelf. I’ve been doing well on this for the last couple of months, and I’d like to see it through the end of the year. It’s a good way to get me to cut back on my buying and prevent my TBR shelf from getting out of control.
I’m also adjusting my goals so that, rather than trying to read all of the books I purchased in 2017 by the end of the year, I’m going to try and read all of the arcs I accumulated at Book Expo and RWA Blogger Day before their publication date. While I don’t want books I’ve purchased to sit around on my shelves for too long, half of the fun of reading arcs is reading books before they’re published, so it doesn’t make sense to keep them on my shelves if I’m not going to get to them until after publication. Unfortunately, the number of books I have prevents me from accomplishing both of these goals simultaneously, so I’m prioritizing the arcs now, but I’m still making an effort to pick up one of my 2017 purchases fairly regularly. And they’ll definitely all be read by the end of next year!
As for my goal of reading at least 30 percent of books by authors of color, I’m really glad I’m doing this check in, because of the 141 books I’ve attempted this year, 31 percent are by authors of color. It’s still accomplishing my goal, which is a goal I’m absolutely unwilling to compromise on, but it’s not the 40 percent I was at in April. So picking up more books by authors of color is definitely something I have to do more consciously through the rest of the year.
Fortunately, I do have one goal I’m absolutely crushing it at: rereading a book a month. I’ve actually done a fair amount of rereading this year, and it’s been such a great experience. It’s just been so much fun to revisit some of my favorite worlds and characters, and I have a huge stack of books I’m hoping to reread soon!
As for the lists I’m working on, I surprisingly have only five more tasks to complete for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. I wasn’t planning to push myself to finish it this year, but I’m so close that I think I have to. I have books in mind for the task of reading a book about social science, reading a book with a cover you hate, and reading an assigned book you hated, but I’m not definitively settled on a choice for reading a book about nature. I’m still leaning towards The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, but we’ll see. And as for the task of reading a book of genre fiction in translation…I have a few potential options, but I really haven’t picked one yet. This will probably be the most difficult task for me to complete.
My 18 in 2018 list is in shockingly good shape as well, though it’s starting to stall a bit. I have six books left, which doesn’t sound like a ton, but two of them are literary fiction that I’m reconsidering whether I really want to read, and two are nonfiction that I don’t own and I’m not sure I want to buy before the end of the year. So I guess we’ll see how this task goes, but there are two on this list (Between the World and Me and The Fifth Season) that I definitely know I’ll be picking up soon!
As for the checklist I had put together…yeah, that’s not happening. I’m actually doing decently at it, but some of my priorities have changed (like, I don’t think I care about trying to read literary fiction anymore), and I think I put too many nonfiction tasks on there that I’m just not going to accomplish if I’m also trying to focus on reading what I own because I don’t own books that complete those tasks, and nonfiction just takes me longer to read. So while this list is helpful and I still like the idea of using it to broaden my reading, I think I’m going to scrap it for this year and plan on using it to craft a targeted list of books to read next year, or to supplement the Read Harder Challenge.
I am trying to at least stick to the plan of reading books from the six geographical regions I identified, though! I just have Central and South America left, and I have books for Central America, and I’m thinking I’ll try to pick up a South American book for the Read Harder translation task, which would kill two birds with one stone. Oh, and I absolutely have to read a f/f romance this year! And by that I mean a real genre romance, and not a YA or fantasy or something with a f/f relationship. I wish there were more of them out there to choose from! Though I did recently buy one on Amazon that I think looks like it will be fun (A Marriage of Inconvenience).
So yeah, some of my original goals are going better than others, and some have needed to be adjusted, but I’m really glad I set goals and have been evaluating them throughout the year, because I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself as a reader and book buyer. I’m excited to finish 2018 going strong on the goals I’ve identified for the remainder of the year!