Our Reading Lives

2020 Book Goal Updates

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P.N. Hinton

Contributing Editor

Born into a family of readers, P.N. gained a love reading as a sort of herd mentality. This love of reading has remained a life long passion, resulting in an English Degree from The University of Houston in Houston, Texas. She normally reads three to four books at any given time, in the futile Sisyphean hope of whittling down her ever growing to be read pile of no specific genre.

At the beginning of this year, I wrote about my 2020 book goals. Like everybody else, I looked at the start of a new year full of hope and optimism. I viewed this year as an opportunity to really challenge myself and not just in reading. I was going to really shine this year in my personal growth, my professional growth…

Then March happened.

*cries in quarantine*

We’re eight months into 2020 and no one expected this year to shape up the way it has. However sometimes you have to laugh through the tears! With that in mind, I decided to do a pulse check on my goals and how I’ve measured up so far. Yes, I know it’s technically no longer mid-year. I did intend to write this last month but (gestures wildly) life happened so here we are. Better late than never though, right?

One quick and serious call-out: I recognize that I’m fortunate to be able to focus enough to read. I know a lot of us really can’t right now. If you’re one of those, please don’t take this as a finger-wagging at you. If nothing else, 2020 has taught us that life is not a competition. Everyone is running in their own race and at their own pace. You have to do what is best for you and yours as well as your mental health.

And if anyone is saying there’s something wrong with you for not being able to focus on reading, put them out on the curb with the trash, be done with them, and be sure to thank your sanitation engineer if you see them. Who’s to say that my fanatical approach of keeping close track of what I’m reading on Goodreads and a spreadsheet is healthy? No one. I know that sitting in my own little corner, in my own little chair (cue music) works for me. It helps to give me a semblance of control in this otherwise hectic year, but it’s not the same for others.

That said, let’s get back to the humor and check in on my goals so far.

Fewer Books At Once

*laughs frantically* Oh yeah, this didn’t hold at all. It went straight out the window at the end of March when I started working from home and doing home schooling. I needed the distraction and sometimes I was just in a mood to start or read a different book. It helped the brain from worrying too much about the current state of not just my country but the world. Plus sometimes I would start a book and then need a break from the topic. It happens. I’ve fully embraced that I will likely always have a book harem.

More Audio Books

I was actually pleasantly surprised when I checked the numbers for this. So far in 2020, I have listened to a total of eight audio books. That’s an average of one per calendar month. This was especially impressive for me since I used to listen to my audio books while commuting to work. And, well, I’m not commuting currently. Technically, I started a total of ten but I stopped listening to three total (more on that later). There are other audiobooks I plan on reading before the end of the year is up as well. I am confident that I will surpass my number from last year. 

Quality Not Quantity & DNF More

I’m combining these two since they essentially fit hand in glove. It may seem that I ignored this rule, based on the fact that I am reading more books at once, but that isn’t the case here. I’ve DNFed three books so far this year, two of which were audio. The first was a cozy mystery and by chapter five it was dragging and we still didn’t have a body. So away it went. Don’t @ me! Cozy or not, in a murder mystery I expect a body by chapter five or some sort of action. The second one was a cold case mystery, but again—roughly five chapters in, I just didn’t care. And the third one, which was actually a bummer, I just couldn’t get into in print. I plan on trying it later in audiobook form even if it isn’t this year.

I won’t name books here since it’s not my style to discuss books I didn’t like or finish. Since I am DNFing without hesitation, I call these goals a win as well.

Selective Reviews

I don’t think that I have done a lot of reviews this year; so I guess we’ll call this a win? If anything, I need to write more reviews. If nothing else, it will get me into the habit of writing more regularly.

Read More Nonfiction about Women’s Contributions

I haven’t read a whole lot of nonfiction at all this year at all. I read a few graphic memoirs, but two of those were rereads. While they count in my overall numerical reading goal, I don’t personally count them for this goal. However, my book club did pick The Lady from the Black Lagoon for this month’s pick, so there’s still hope! Although I’m not going to beat myself up too much for this. Reading about women’s contributions is great, but it can also be enraging, especially when you read about the chauvinism that women deal with daily now just as they did back then.

Finish One Previously Started Series

Nope! Haven’t even attempted this since I’ve been getting distracted by other books. But it’s only August, so I still have time. Due to how late in the year we are, it will likely be the The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle, which are the final two in the Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve read the other five. Even if it has been years, it still counts!

And there it is. That’s my recap. Overall, I’m middlin’ to fair on my goals. Considering the rollercoaster of emotions that 2020 has been, I’m pleased with myself. There is still time to meet at least one or two of these goals and, if we’re lucky, for the year to turn around. If you have a reading milestone that you’re proud of, be sure to let us know over on social media! There’s not a scale or grading curve here. We’d love to cheer you on, since any achievement in 2020 is one worth cheering about.

And if your only reading goal for the year is to have more fun, that’s okay too.