Dec 28, 2010

Reading Goals for 2011

Reading Goals for 2011
Photo Credit

To me, 2010 was the year of rebelling against reading commitments. For the first time in nearly four years as a reading challenge participant, I failed as many challenges as the ones I completed. I’m not even going to list the ones I failed, lest I begin to feel guilty (the Terry Pratchett challenge, self? Really?). Surely this a sign that I need to step back a little from commitments or reading lists.

Of course, I wouldn’t be a true addict if things were that simple. In 2011 I’m only going to officially sign up for one challenge – the Graphic Novels challenge, which is being hosted by Vasilly this year (and which you should all join as well). But then there’s the Year of Feminist Classics project which I’m hosting with Amy, Emily Jane and Iris. And then, because I’m nothing if not full of contradictions, I decided to set myself a Children’s Classics challenge. It’s an unofficial thing, a bit like the Carnegie Medal project I’ve been doing for a few years now, and my main goal is to encourage myself to read books that I feel I ought to have under my belt for both personal and professional reasons. If you’re curious about what I’m going to read for it, you can find my list here.

I’m also swapping reading lists with several blogging friends. The result may be a dauntingly long list of books, but I know none of my friends will hold it against me if I take it more as a pool of suggestions rather than a list of books I have to read next year, Or Else. I do hope to get to most if not all of them, but I want to approach this as relaxedly as possible.

The rest of my goals are more general: I’d like to read more diversely; I’d like to devote more time to re-reading; I’d like to explore the back catalogues of authors I already know I love, rather than read so many books by new-to-me authors.

Finally, and because I have a love-hate relationship with reading lists, I’m going to do something I have done in past years and name some books I’d like to get to in 2011. I won’t be pressuring myself to read them all, but it would be nice to get to at least some of these:
  1. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
  2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  3. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. Armadale by Wilkie Collins
  5. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
  6. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  7. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
  8. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  9. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (I think this has been on the list for as long as I’ve been making it.)
  10. New Grub Street by George Gissing
  11. Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  12. Catch-22 by Joseph Hellar
  13. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (Same. #shame)
  14. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  15. A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
  16. The Doctor’s Wife by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  17. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  18. Testament of Youth by Vera Britain
  19. The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner
  20. The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
  21. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  22. Maurice by E.M. Forster
  23. To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  24. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  25. East Lynne by Ellen Wood
What about you? Do you have any reading goals for the New Year?


  1. I can't decide if I have any reading goals for 2011 or not! I have signed up for just two challenges and I'm not going to repeat host my actual challenge. I turned out to be a terrible host - not that anyone was surprised by this, I'm just not organized enough for it. I aim to decide tomorrow so I can actually get the post up before the new year!

  2. What a great post! My reading took a sharp drop this last year -- too busy, I guess. My new goal for 2011 is to get my book count back up to 75 or so... read more of the authors I love, get to some of the new ones people keep recommending, read less crap and more "good stuff," and tangentially perhaps, get involved with my local library. Happy 2011!

  3. Meghan: I'm not the best challenge host either, especially when life gets too busy! Which is why I passed the GN challeng on to Vasilly :P I feel terrible that I failed your challenge, but at least I really really loved the last book I read for it (Doomsday Book).

    Daphne: Good luck with your goals! I especially like the library one - surprise surprise :P

  4. Good luck with your goals. A lot of books on that list are short and I hope you can get to a bunch of them. Some are favorites of mine, like Persuasion and The House of Mirth and Lord of the Flies. I'm ambivalent about reading goals. I want to get away from the flavor-of-the-month thing (really, it's flavor of the week), that pressure to read every hot new book people are talking about on twitter or whatever, and concentrate on the things that are more "me". of course i said that last year and look where it got me, LOL. Now i just have a house full of hot-new books I won't get to for months. Oh well. All we can do is the best we can!

  5. This is the first time I've joined a challenge (I joined 5) so we'll see how I do.
    The House of Mirth is one of my favorite books. I read it every few years. Hope you get around to it 2011!

  6. Look at all those yummy books on your 2011 reading list! I must say I have been meaning to read Catch-22 for years but have neglected to include it on my 2011 list. maybe I'll be able to sneak it in sometime in spite of that!

  7. I am angsty over reading challenges at this point, so the only thing I'm officially doing this year is The TBR Dare, which I will only read my current stuff from now through April 1st. It will be a good thing. But never fear, I am officially addicted to GNs so I shall do plenty of reading in that category. I have an itch to read Great Expectations too. Need to get to that one...

  8. Sounds like a great year of reading, Ana! Will this be your first time with Lord of the Flies? That was such an intense book for me when I read it in high school I had nightmares about it. :)

  9. I've got several goals - my main one being that I will not accept review copies in 2011 except from a short list of authors. Sticking to that will help me clear off my review commitments by summer.

    I'm also participating in several read-alongs that I'm really looking forward to, and Vasilly and I swapped lists. I think it's going to be a great year!

    And Persuasion is my favorite Austen, so I hope you find time for Anne and Captain Wentworth. :) Oh, and House of Mirth is excellent, too!

  10. I think a lot of us are scaling back our reading commitments, but I have to say I'm VERY much looking forward to the Year of Feminist Classics project, so thank you for making time to co-host that one!

    I bet you will love Mill on the Floss whenever you get to it - the first half in particular is some of my favorite Eliot. :-)

  11. I"m going to join a few Challenges in 2011, even though I didn't really finish many of the ones I was in this year. I just like making the lists and thinking of all the POSSIBLE reading I could be doing ;)

  12. I talked about my plan to increase the diversity of authors that I read and next year I'd like to keep my author gender balance a bit closer (as in read a few more male authors) whcih might be hard as I seem to ahve joined all these female centred reading challenges ;) My main goal though is to get reading non-fiction next year - at least 6 non-fic next year, hopefully 12 (one for each month).

    Can I say wu to the hooo for Maurice being on your reading list - you'll breeze through it, it's such a fast read despite being (as I think all Forster's fic is) just brilliant (new biog on order for 2011). AND Persuasion - yipeee.

  13. Great Expectations is such an awesome book, and I hope you get the chance to read it this year! This year I am going to be reading at least one classic a month and trying to read more of the things that I want to read, and less prescribed reading. I also want to read more then I actually do and am going to try to get a few hours in each day with some long uninterrupted stretches over the weekend as well. I have lots of goals this year, and only time will tell if I get them all covered!! Just in case I don't see you around, I wish you a very Happy New Year!!

  14. First of all let me say that you'd better not even *think* about picking up one of the books on our swap list unless you are totally in the mood for it!!! I love the way you put that--"suggestions"--that's exactly it! And you also better know that I will not be the slightest bit hurt if you don't get to any of them, or if you do read any of them but just don't like them. (And yes, I realize all that really goes without saying...but sometimes I can't help myself. :P )

    I love your goals, and I love the way you're approaching them. It just sounds so utterly healthy, if you know what I mean.

    As for me, I'm not sure I'm going to make any real goals...other than to start keeping a record of what I do read again. I sort of thought that if I didn't keep track, I wouldn't feel like such a failure at getting so little read, but I have to admit I miss having a record of it somewhere. (And of course, having said I have no goals won't stop me from putting together my own personal lists for all these incredible challenges out there. I just love making the lists even if I never get to a single book on them. :P )

    Hope 2011 is your best reading year yet, Ana!!!

  15. Your lists look wonderful. I'm not a challenge person - I'm too apt to be distracted by recommendations from all around (including the results of YOUR challenges!) but I'll look forward to hearing your take on the books on your lists!

  16. You've got some great titles on the "2011 hope to be read" list. The Mill on the Floss is my favorite George Eliot, and Persuasion my favorite Austen.

  17. It seems a lot of us who have been blogging for awhile now are backing off on the challenges and commitments this year. I think it's probably good for us...

  18. I am soooo looking forward to the Year of Feminist Classics!! Thanks so much for co-hosting this one :) I'm going to try and use my challenges as an organizational tool rather than a competition...not sure how this is going to work out, but I want reading to become more of a priority in my life. I've spent more time in the last few years reading things I HAD to rather than things I WANTED to. I'm one of those weird people who enjoyed signing up for literature classes and seeing a huge reading list for the semester!!! My idea of joy was someone forcing me to read all of those books I so wanted to read anyway but shoved aside as pleasure! Does that make any sense?? ;)

  19. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my favorites. If you get to it, I hope you enjoy it!

  20. I still haven't done any concrete reading goals. I'm upping my readalongs this upcoming year though, as I want to be more social.

    I'm glad you are still participating in the graphic novels challenge!

    Also, Allie at A Literary Odyssey is hosting a readalong for The Three Muskateers in March, so that might be something to check out.

  21. What a fabulous list! I'm still musing on my reading goals for 2011.

  22. Great list! I'm hoping to read Tender is the Night and House of Mirth this year too. I love A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A Doll's House and Persuasion. I cut back on my challenges, but I may have to add the GN one to the list. Too tempting.

  23. Reading challenges are fun, but next year I'll focus on reading books from my pile. I'll still be joining in a few though, just can't resist them!! :P

  24. I don't think I am really going to set any reading goals for myself next year. I am trying to read more diversely (in terms of genre and such) overall, which I think I did well on this year. I also think I'd like to do more partner reads as I really enjoy discussing books with people in-depth. So... if you wanted to do a read-together of Birdsong or Great Expectations, I'd be up for it! Though I haven't forgotten our plans to read some Studs Terkel together, either :-)

  25. All this talk of reading goals makes me feel odd for not having many!

    I'm currently reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (it's, uh, the hair-drying read, so it's slow), and it's delightful—it opens with Irene Adler just being fantastic. And I want to see what you think of The Three Musketeers. Good luck with all your reading goals!

  26. Every year I think next year I am NOT going to sign up for many challenges, but here I am again!

    In the last list, I must say that book by Chinua Achebe is really good, you must get to it :)

  27. I love your book list, there are many on there I should get to.. I've signed up for just a few challenges and plan on joining read-alongs and getting through as many of my own TBR books as I possibly can!

  28. I love challenges but I think I need a break. Towards the end of this year they just felt more like a chore and that's never a good thing so I'm going to take a bit of a break and with my main goal is see that I make a dent in my stack of books. Granted at the rate I keep bringing them in, that might be a hard proposition :)

    Hope you have a fabulous reading year ahead!

  29. I think making a list of books you want to read in 2011 is a fantastic idea! I might just steal that idea from you even though I know most of the books on that list will be made up of all those on mount tbr.

  30. You have some great books on that list! The Mill on the Floss was one of my favorite reads of 2010, so I do hope you get to that one. I am also hosting a Three Musketeers readalong in March if that helps you get it off the list. :) And Sherlock Holmes isn't too bad. I read the entire collection this past year and while by the end I was a little tired of him and Watson, I still loved all of the stories.

    Good luck in 2011!

  31. Yay for joining the GN challenge! I have Herland on my tbr list for next year. I can't wait to read it and a few others for the Feminist Classics. Good luck on your goals!

  32. I like your list, though it makes me feel a bit of a dunderhead. My own "I hope I can read this in 2011" list contains books like THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE. :) (I've got some classics on there, too, but... yeah. Mostly it's "trashy" stuff).

    I really want to read more nonfiction in 2011, but I say that every year. I'd also like to read across more genres, and focus on fantasy--mutually exclusive goals, unfortunately. Sigh. The trouble is, I have so very many genres and subjects I'd like to explore in some depth, but I need to exclude other genres and subjects in order to properly immerse myself. This sucks. I want to read more quickly so I won't have this problem!

  33. This is very much where I've got to over the years - my lists represent a pool of potential reading rather than an obligation. As soon as I feel I HAVE to read something, a little bit of pleasure falls away from it, and I am a pleasure miser and want to keep it all. ;) Some lovely classics on your list - I adored Persuasion this year, and I'd really like to read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn too.

  34. I think I overstretched myself with challenges this year too. But then I can't seem to stop myself from joining them, heh;P But then you did have a very busy year, what with your studies and moving to the UK.

    An interestingly diverse list you have there, Ana. I've got New Grub Street which has been on my TBR forever, so maybe seeing you read it will spur me one!

  35. I'm putting together some goals too - I didn't do many challenges this year and missed the lists, so I'll have a mixture of structure and spontaneity, which is what everyone aims for, I suppose.

    I like your idea of doing a list of books you'd like to fit in - yay for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I really liked that one!

  36. Great plans...I wonder if I should be more structured in 2011.

  37. Excellent list! I loved 2, 3 (hope to reread this year), 8, and 14. To The Lighthouse is on my list for the year, too.

  38. I don't want to do challenges this year either and it seems like most people agree with me. I think I'm going to do the A-Z challenge and the What's in a Name Challenge because they get me reading different books that I never would pick up otherwise. Sometimes that's a great thing and sometimes... well, it's not. But that's always a fun risk to take :)

  39. Love your children's classics challenge! I'm limiting myself over challenges this year, but I'd love to do the graphic novels one some time.

  40. Nymeth-
    I'm so excited about your list! I can't wait to read what you think of "The Well of Loneliness." I look forward to all of your reviews in the next year. I can't believe it took me so long to find out about this blog! Thank you so much; you are amazing.

  41. My goal at this point is to just sit down and actually think about some reading goals. One thing I know for sure I will do in 2011 is read more from my shelves.

  42. I love your goals!! I will be looking at your list from time to time because I see several on it that I own and would like to read in 2011 also!

  43. Your goals are a good balance of general and specific, which is nice. This is the first year I've set reading goals, and I gave myself lots of goals and potential books so that I don't get bored! :-)

  44. A lot of the books you'd like to get to are favourites of me, but more often they are books I'd like to read as well :)

    Have a good 2011!

  45. Great goals Ana! Your list of 25 titles looks like it will be fun to read through. I have a few of those books and miiiight pick them up as well... but we shall see :)

  46. Firstly, ditto Debi! If you don't get to any on my list, I will not be hurt in the slightest! It's meant to be fun!

    Secondly, you haven't read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn??? No pressure, but read it! You will love it.

    I like the way you set your goals for the year. I'm still debating. I feel like my reading has really... evolved? this year. My tastes really changed, it feels like.

  47. Good luck with your plans, Ana! I think I'm going to read whatever I want whenever I want next year (except for uni reading of course, heh).
    Happy New Year! :)

  48. Sounds like you have a busy reading plan set up for next year, Ana, even despite your best intentions. LOL It's hard to stay away from those challenges. I'm going the opposite way: no challenges, no reading plans--I'm just going to read wherever the moment takes me.

    I hope you have a great New Year!

  49. Even if you "fail" challenges, I think it's fun to set reading goals and work on categories that you might not otherwise get to. I love your 2011 goals and hope to make a similar list soon. Happy New Year!

  50. I know how you feel about not completing all your challenges, but all is not lost! You've read some great books this year. Good luck with your goals for 2011.

    Have a wonderful New Year!

  51. I hope to read The Mill on the Floss and Tender is the Night this year, too. I just went through my books and listed 108 unread ones. Yikes. TBR whittling down it is, this year. Happy new year, ANa! Your list is awesome, may you have the time and chance to read them all! :)

  52. Yay!!! Yes, read East Lynn, Ana, it's wonderful!

    You have quite a few planned 2011 reads from your list too so I can't wait to read your reviews this year.

  53. Marie: I completely understand wanting to get away of the pressure. But it can be really hard to say no! Whatever you end up doing, I hope you have a great year filled with excellent books :)

    Linda: I hope I enjoy it as much as you do! Best of luck with the challenges you joined :)

    Stefanie: Sometimes I think leaving a book off my lists is the best way to ensure I *do* read it ;)

    Sandy: I'm glad you'll be reading GNs anyway :D Good luck with the TBR dare, Sandy! You and CB and everyone else are much braver than I am :P

    Amy: Yep, first time! The book does seem to cause very strong reactions. I can't wait to find out how I feel about it.

    Carrie: Good luck staying strong when it comes to the review copies! And I can't wait to meet Anne and Captain Wentworth :)

    Emily: I bet I will too!

    Melanie: I like the way you approach challenges! But I told myself that was what I was doing in 2010 and in the end I still felt pressured. Clearly my brain hates me ;)

    Jodie: I bet I'll love Maurice, as I've loved everything by Forster I've read so far! I want to give his books a hug. Good luck with all your goals!

    Zibilee: Following your reading whims sounds like the perfect plan to me! Happy New Year :)

    Debi: Don't worry, I promise I'll approach this in a completely relaxed way. If you promise me NOT to feel like a failure about your reading, that is ;) Happy New Year!

    Jill: I'm becoming less and less of a challenge person myself, so I understand :P

    Brenna: I hope I love them as much as you!

    Amanda: It's hard to avoid challenge burnout after all these years, isn't it?

    Pepperminth PhD: You're most welcome - so glad you're joining us for the feminist classics! I've never thought of challenges as a competition either, but once I set a goal I feel this inner pressure to complete it, you know? I try to let go of it, but it's not always easy. And lol, I completely understand about envying all those lit majors :P

    Charley: I hope I do too!

    April: Oooh - I'd definitely love to join Allie and everyone else!

    Amanda: Whatever your goals end up being, best of luck with them!

  54. Avid Reader: Do join the GN challenge! You'll be done with it in no time.

    Melody: A true addict can never say no :P

    Aarti: I'd love to read those books with you! Just say when :)

    Clare: lol, I love how you have a hair-drying read :P

    Veens: We all say that every year, don't we? :P

    Gavin: Good luck with your goals!

    Iliana: Yes, exactly. That's what it felt like for me as well.

    She: Doo eet!

    Allie: What an excellent idea - I'd love to join you for The Three Musketeers!

    Vasilly: Thank you! Good luck to you as well.

    Memory: The only reasons why there aren't more books considered "trashy" in my list is because I know I don't need to nudge myself to read those :P Also, I know what you mean about needing to devote your full attention to certain genres or themes... which sadly doesn't leave room for everything else we want to read.

    litlove: It's the same for me - I hate feeling that I HAVE to read something.

    Sakura: I hope we both enjoy the Gissing when we get to it!

    Joanna: I think you're right - that's what most of us are aiming for!

    Verity: Structure or not, you always read so much!

    JoAnn: I hope I'll love them too!

    Lu: Best of luck with those two challenges :)

    GeraniumCat: Hopefully the GNs one will continue for many years to come!

    Lisa Alexander: Thank you so much for the kind words!

    Kathleen: Not a bad one as far as goals go ;)

    Staci: I hope we both enjoy whichever ones we get to!

    Erin: Good luck with them all!

    Iris: Thank you; you too!

    Amy: If you want to read any with me, just let me know :D

    Heather: I think I'll love A Tree Grows in Brooklyn too! And changing tastes are only natural... it would be boring if they never did :P

    Bina: Happy New Year to you too!

    Wendy: Funny how that always happens, isn't it? ;) Happy New Year!

    Jessica: It IS fun, but I always feel a bit bad about the ones I don't complete. Silly, I know, but I can't help it. Happy New Year to you too, Jessica!

    Orchidus: Thank you, and Happy New Year to you too!

    Claire: It's so good to hear from you! I hope we both discover some excellent books in 2011 :)

    Boof: I will! Hopefully this year :P

  55. What a fabulous list! I quite enjoyed The Lord of the Flies. I only read 62 books in 2010...

  56. LOL--goal is to read 24 books. One more than this year. ;)

    Some of the ones you want to read are ones I really loved. I can't wait to hear what you think of Tender is the Night. Also Dickens. And Catch-22. As for me, I think I'm going to start the year off with The Knife of Never Letting Go! The plan is to love everything i read this year. Would be lovely, huh?

    Hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year my dear!!

  57. I didn't think I had reading goals until i started reading others' reading goals. lol I think my goal is to keep taking things a day at a time, book by book. No more challenges, just keep enjoyign things. And read more classics.

    I haven't read any of the children's classics you list except THE CHILDREN OF GREEN KNOWE. You should also read STRANGER AT GREEN KNOWE as I found it to be the best (although, it's more serious than the others, so I suspect adults like it more than kids). Anyway, GREEN KNOWE is fun.

  58. Several of the books you listed are among my favorites! The Mill on the Floss is beautiful and a book I return to often.


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