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Digging Into 2020 Book Goals

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.

As the dawn of 2020 rises, book dragons everywhere are anticipating what challenges they are going to undertake in the coming year. People may find themselves taking part of the Read Harder challenge or the PopSugar one. If you search the interwebs regularly, it’s easy to find a list of challenges that meet your interest. You could also go here for here for an ever-evolving list. And of course there is the Goodreads Challenge, which is a hard number as opposed to topics. 

I thought about the reading that I have done over the year, factoring in both the number and the specific books. And I had a thought that in the coming year I would rather focus on goals rather than challenges. I made my own challenge this year and managed, by juggling a bit at the end, to meet it. But, even though it was a challenge of my own design, I felt a pinch of fear that I would fall short. I have written about how failing the Goodreads challenge before made me feel. I decided that I didn’t really want to do that in 2020.

I’m still going to take part in the Goodreads challenge, since if you don’t pick a number the reminder will never go away. I might take part in the Book Riot one as well. But I won’t hold myself too firmly to it. This year, rather than the actual number of books, I’m planning on book goals. Here are the main ones that I will be focusing on.

Fewer Books at One Time

When I was younger, I was strictly a monogamous reader. That changed when I got my first Kindle and then eventually my smartphone. But over the last few years it has gotten out of hand. At one point this year I was reading five or six books at once. That led to books taking longer to read than they should have. It honestly decreased my overall enjoyment of a few. By the time I finished them I had mostly forgotten what had happened. My goal this year is to limit myself to two physical or ebooks at one time. There will be only one exception to this rule and that is audiobooks, which directs us to my next goal.

More Audiobooks

Of the 88 books I read this year, only six were audio. Two of those I started in physical form and then moved over to the audiobook version of it. The reason I want to read more audio is that it will help with my commute to work. I have a tendency to road rage if I’m stuck in the car for too long and stuck in traffic. The drive there isn’t terrible but sometimes the drive home can be.

Factor in the familial visiting I do that take me near downtown, which is always a hellish experience. Sirius radio only soothes the beast so much. Even with all those options. it is still possible to have nothing on you want to listen to. Plus it will serve to develop my listening skills a bit more, because we could all use help there.

Quality Not Quantity

This kind of loops back to the first goal. The reason I read so many at once was because I was so worried about my Goodreads challenge. I am going to work on that taking a back seat. While I will still pledge a number, it will likely be the same I did in 2019 or even less so I can work on the other goals I have planned. I have already proved to myself that I can meet and surpass my reading goal more times than when I don’t. So that will no longer be a primary focus in my yearly reading.

DNF More

To be fair, I am much better about this than when I was younger. However, there were at least three or four books this year that I probably should have given up on. I pushed through with them because they fulfilled a requirement in my personal book challenge. Starting next year, if I am not heavily invested in a book by 50%, I am going to let it go and move on to the next one. After all, I’m only going to be reading one or two a time this year so they all have to be gripping. 

Selective Reviews

In years past, I had tried to write a review for every book I read. This quickly proved to be tedious. Most of the time, they came out very much like a Dick & Jane review: “I liked this book. It made me happy.” Rather than write one for every single book I read, I’m only going to write them for the ones that I feel passionately about. Whether it was a favorite or not so favorite, only books that move the lever in one direction or the other will get written about on my Goodreads. 

Read More Nonfiction About Women’s Contributions

There were a lot of books that came in 2019 under this topic that I didn’t read. Prime examples are The Lady From the Black Lagoon and Monster, She Wrote. I fully intend to rectify this in 2020. Even in this day and age, women do not always get the recognition they deserve for the contributions they have made to our society as a whole. Whether it is in the sciences or the arts, women have always been and continue to be integral in the development of new and innovative ideas. And it’s amazing that those that history may have forgotten are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

Finish One Previously Started Series

There are two contenders for this: the Harry Dresden series or the Chronicles of Narnia. Honestly the latter would be the easiest since I only have two left, but I can listen to the Dresden thanks to the Audibles available in my family library. So in theory I may do both, but by this time in 2021 one of these will be finished.

And there you have it! My goals for 2020. I hope that they might inspire you to pick up some of your own for this coming year to help make your reading adventure a memorable one.