Dec 29, 2011

Reading Goals for 2012

Cuckoo Clock

As I was saying yesterday, 2011 was a bit of an odd year for me. My reading was pretty erratic, and as a result I really didn’t do well in the few challenges I joined. My plan for 2012 is to take a break from them altogether – I’ll even temporary hide the “Challenges” tab at the top of my blog. I still thinking reading challenges are great, especially as opportunities for reading socially, but after so many years of joining them compulsively a break will probably do me good.

I’ll continue to work on my long-term reading projects (which include reading through the winners of the Carnegie Medal and of the Printz Award), but I’ll do that slowly and leisurely and without having to think about self-imposed deadlines. Another thing I did in 2011 was swap reading lists with several blogging friends, but I’m afraid the results were a complete failure. I still want to read the books in question, though, and I’m sure my friends will understand if I take more time to get to them. The same goes for my Children’s Classics Challenge (which I’m renaming “Project” to trick myself into thinking of it differently).

Another thing that will continue in 2012 is my policy of accepting very few review copies and thus avoiding the stress involved in the whole process. I may make the occasional exception for favourite authors or books I’m very excited about, and I’ll continue to request the odd comic or non-fiction from academic presses from NetGalley (these are books I wouldn’t otherwise be able to have access to, and I appreciate having the opportunity to read and review them), but that will pretty much be it. In 2011, review copies were only 4% of my reading, and I don’t imagine that will change in the New Year (this is of course a personal choice, and not a judgement on bloggers who do accept them).

The rest of my goals directly follow from the reading stats I published yesterday. I loved the comment Kiirstin left me: she said that if nothing else, stats make her a better librarian because they make her aware of her own reading gaps and biases. I’m not a real librarian yet (I’ll only consider myself one when/if I start working as one), but this is certainly something I always want to keep in mind. So, my reading goals for the New Year are the following:
  • Read fewer new to me authors: I know there’s much to be said for branching out and trying new things, but I keep saving books by authors I already know I love for… when? The zombie apocalypse? It’s silly to continuously put off reading them, and I want this habit of mine to stop. However, non-fiction will not be included in this resolution, as I’m much more likely to pick it by topic than by author.

  • Climb Mount TBR: I hereby declare my intention of joining C.B. James’ TBR Double Dare, which invites readers to focus on their to be read piles for the first three months of the year. However, as I’ll explain in the following point, I’m tweaking the rules a little bit. I’m also excluding the two highly anticipated 2012 releases I’ve pre-ordered (the new John Green and the new Margo Lanagan).

  • Read more diversely: I’d like to read more glbtq literature and more books by authors of colour in 2012. But this goal stands in direct opposition to the goal of focusing on my TBR pile – Jodie was saying recently that she notices a bias towards white authors in her book buying habits, and it’s much the same with me. I could go on and on about how it’s not a level playing field out there, but this is something I want to act on rather than talk about endlessly (I’ve done too much of that in the past). So, my strategy for the first three months of the year (partially inspired by Renay's soon to be revealed project) will be: for every 4 books knocked out of my TBR pile, I’ll earn a library book or an e-book download, and I’ll make these predominantly books that also count towards my diversity goals. Sounds simple enough, right?

  • Try to read five poetry books: I know, I know – that sounds suspiciously like a challenge. But hey, I’m adding “try”, so it’s pretty pressure free. I actually used to read a decent amount of poetry, but I’ve completely lost the habit in recent years. This is something I want to do for myself, so I can reconnect with something I know I’ll really enjoy if I only make the time for it. It’s also an excuse to read all those Anne Carson books I keep hearing wonderful things about. And Charlotte Mew.

  • Read and review more comics aka graphic novels: During my first few years of blogging I was a bit of a champion for the medium, but comics were largely absent from my blog in 2011. I didn’t intend for this to happen and plan to rectify it in the new year. I particularly want to read more comics by women, since they are still underrepresented in the industry.

  • Finally, I want to read a reasonable amount of classics: this is a goal my shiny new e-reader will surely make easier.
For the past three years or so, I’ve been making lists of classics I hope to get to in the new year. In 2010 I did pretty well and got through almost the entire list; this year I only read about five titles. I don’t mind this very much, since the goal was never really to read them all, but rather to have fun putting the list together and to remind myself that these are books I’d like to read. So, with this in mind, here’s my list for 2012. We’ll see how many I actually manage to get to.
  1. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
  2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  3. Quicksand by Nella Larson
  4. Armadale by Wilkie Collins
  5. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
  6. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  7. Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald
  8. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  9. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  10. Indiana by George Sand
  11. Tess of the d’Ubbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  12. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  13. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  14. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  15. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
  16. The Doctor’s Wife by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  17. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  18. Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
  19. The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner
  20. The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
  21. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  22. Maurice by E.M. Forster
  23. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  24. Diana of the Crossways by George Meredith
  25. East Lynne by Ellen Wood
What about you? Any reading goals for 2012?


  1. I could join you on almost any of those classics and participate in the TBR dare while I'm at it.

    Also, congrats on the ereader!

    I am trying not to do challenges, but it's hard not to dream of what you want to improve. I want to to read more diverse lit too. I just haven't found the courage to voice that goal yet.

    Good luck and I hope you have a good 2012!

  2. Renay's reading goals for 2012: READ MORE THAN FIVE BOOKS -- what a novel thought. /terrible puns But then again, most of my reading is fanfiction. I've read a ton, but it's....mostly fanfic...hahaha

    I love that you adapted my project! I have high hopes, but I am also terrified of abject failure. I am sure you'll do great!

  3. Of course I am excited about your classics list. I'm reading a couple of them in 2012 too! :-)

  4. Iris: Let me know if you'd like to read any of them together. That would be lots of fun :D

    Renay: YOU CAN DO IT! But you know I think fanfiction totaly counts. Also, feel free to borrow my brand new "oh well, try again" attitude to failure. This is what I've learned from all these months of fruitless job searching ;)

    Jillian: I look forward to comparing notes with you!

  5. I also want to join the TBR challenege and still have two projects in mind for which I wouldn't need to buy books. One is African American writers, the other American Indian writers.

  6. just because reading "commitments" stress me out I only do 2 (both are Carls) and sign to do the least reading.. that way I am always an "overachiever" in the end LOL..

    I am glad to see Wilke Collins on your list of classics.. I to have to read more since I have more Dickens books here but am out of Wilke's books right now (and Wilke I favor over Dickens).. good luck, not that you need it! I think people put too much pressure on theirself to read as much as they sign up for and in reality... no one is going to see you as a failure if you do not read everything...

  7. The zombie apocalypse cracked me up :) But I agree with you there. Then again, I haven't had the time to really sit down and blog about books (I've read, started, haven't finished, and so forth). Now's the time to do something about it, but Morpheus is calling and I might just doze off for now.

    I like your list, too. You will positively adore the first handful of Sherlock Holmes' adventures. While it's a good collection, I won't advice reading the book in one sitting. I think it's meant to be savored in little doses. I read it one story after another and it was quite easy to be not as astonished at Holmes' deductions afterwards :)

    Happy new year! Hope to read from you more in 2012, end of the world/zombie apocalypse or not :P

  8. I have felt so much happier after dropping all challenges and reading resolutions. I just enjoy my books better that way. I have no idea how diversely I read or anything. I could add it up, but I don't want to stress myself out about it again. I know that I should read more deliberately and all that, and I did for years, but now, I just want to be very lax about my reading, I suppose.

    I love your classic list. For some reason, I don't remember reading your potential list from the last few years. Not sure how I missed that! Unless this is the first time you published it. My favorites from your list this year include Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Catch-22, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Things Fall Apart. :)

  9. I want to read more of my best-loved authors too! I started doing that this past year, and it's so fun I want to make it an even bigger priority for next year. :)

    I'm getting much better at reading diversely, but I've still got a ways to go. Especially in the nonfiction arena!

  10. Good luck with your goals. I probably won't set any since I'm so bad at meeting goals.

  11. ha! I was just about to comment/ask how exactly you would have time to read during a zombie apocalypse when I see Lightheaded's comment! too fun.

    Happy Reading PROJECTS!

  12. I definitely need to climb Mt. TBR as well...I might even make a TBR before reading/buying/receiving anything new.

  13. Quite a few of those classics are on my to-read list as well. :) And I honestly believe that reading projects are different from challenges - I'm not joining any challenges this year either, but I definitely have projects.

  14. I am also doing the TBR Double Dare and another TBR challenge, so that is my main goal for this year. Like you, I'd also like to focus on reading more by authors I already know (not wait for the zombie apocalypse...hee hee). Not very grand plans, but I'm looking forward to it!

  15. I like your goals. You will find reading more classics comes easier with that new e-reader of yours. I know my reading of classics increased when I began taking my Kindle on public transit with me. I've got some books by favorite authors I've been saving too. Why do we do that? Good luck with your goals. I look forward to following along your reading journey in 2012!

  16. These are all great goals, and I notice a trend among bloggers to make the new year a less stressful endeavor on the blogs and with their reading.

    I have to say that I am going to be doing the same for myself, and am going to be accepting far fewer review copies, and prioritizing my reading a little differently. I have been doing this for awhile, and I need a little freedom from the obligations. It just isn't working for me to be so pressured and unenthusiastic about the things I am scheduled to read.

    I hope that you have great success with your reading plans this year, and that you are able to fulfill all your goals!

  17. As someone who has not participated in challenges in years now, I highly recommend the lifestyle :-)

    I definitely think having an e-reader helps you to read more classics- or even, more obscure books that SHOULD be classics. I have gotten access to so many interesting books written by women, in particular, that I've really enjoyed and that I never would have encountered otherwise.

  18. I like your goals Ana! I feel much the same, it's so funny I keep wanting to make goals for myself but I keep trying to stop myself. We'll see how it goes. :)

    I love renaming the challenges to projects.

  19. I hope you enjoy A Tree Grows in Brooklyn if you get to it. It's one of my favorites. It's about a girl who loves books! I also enjoyed The House of Mirth and Great Expectations.

  20. Good luck with your reading goals Ana. In 2012 I'm hoping to read more on my TBR and read less US authors.

    As far as your list of classics go, The Mill on the Floss was the first Eliot I read and it still remains very dear to me. While Middlemarch will always be my favorite, The Mill on the Floss is a very close second. I hope you get a chance to read it in 2012.

  21. I like you goals very much! I want to read more classics in 2012, too. I even joined a challenge to do just that. Also, there are all too many books on my bookselves I have not read, so the climbing of the mount TBR sounds great! :) I'm not sure how well I would manage that, though...

    By the way, you have two of my favorite books on your classics list: The Three Musketeers and Brideshead Revisited. It will be interesting to read your thoughts on them.

    I noticed you also have The Well of Loneliness on your list. I once read about 2/3 of it and then needed something different to read and somehow never finished the book. Some time ago it was published in Finnish translation and I've been thinking of maybe finally reading it in 2012. Would you be interested in some kind of a read-a-long with me?

  22. Good luck with your goals. I too joined C. B. James' challenge. I need to get to those books that have been hanging out on the shelves forever. They're mostly classics that I really want to read anyway.

    Have fun with your e-reader. I have yet to buy a book on mine, but I have read several classics. I love it for that! I have several of the classics on your list waiting for me on my kindle.

    Out of your classics list, I loved Catch--22, Brideshead Revisited, and Great Expectations. You have some great books ahead of you for 2012. Have a great new year!

  23. Good luck with your goals :)

    I'm trying something similar with a laid back approach to my reading, with no review books and hoping to just read whatever I feel like reading each day.

    I'm going to go check out C.B. James challenge, because I need more incentive to reduce the tbr!

  24. Sounds like you've thought long and hard about your goals and come up with a list that will work for you. I'm still mulling over how I want to approach my reading in 2012. I know I want to do a lot more of it but that always seems to be my goal at the start of the year!

  25. You and I are in the same boat I think. I quit challenges last year after feeling like a slave to them. I have some perpetual ones but I don't count them. Very few review copies because they stress me out and make me ultimately resentful. Graphic novels - yes! It is looking like it will be a fun year!

  26. My reading this year isn't that fantastic, but I think as long as we read, that's all good, isn't it. ;)

    I think I may join some challenges, but I won't be joining too many and I'll have to be picky when choosing them.

    Good luck with your goals, and happy reading!!

  27. Because it was by the only Bronte sister I hadn't yet read, I bought a copy of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall when I was in Haworth, and I plan to read it sometime this next year.

  28. I'm doing the Classics Challenge, but I only have 7 on my list. But that's still a lot by my standards. But Catch-22 is on the list!

    And the zombie apocalypse comment gave me the giggles.

  29. Yay, Ana! Glad to see you're joining the TBR Double Dare. I've joined the challenge a few weeks ago since one of my goals for next year is to read more books from my shelves. I'm also hoping to put a dent into my Project Fill-in-the-Gaps.

    Good luck!

  30. I think this group of goals are really spot on for you. Good luck with them!

    I am working on compiling my reading resolutions for 2012 myself!

  31. I think my reading goal for 2012 is to read more books I like! Haha. Also I'd like to reread more books.

  32. I am also doing the classics in the new year, in fact have gotten half way through Jane Eyre, I also have Brideshead revisted and some Jane Austen, which I will be rereading.
    Here's to 2012 reading! And as for that TBR pile, I think I may do what you are doing, and 'treat' myself to a book after reading 4:-)
    Happy New Year!

  33. "Read fewer new to me authors" - this is the most interesting goal I think I've encountered in all of the year-end posts, but I completely understand your sentiments. I often feel that I'm trying too hard to read all of the new and fresh books/authors, that I never have enough time to get around to the books and authors I really want to read.

    Also: having The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Indiana one after the other in your list of classics definitely resulted in me thinking that you're going to read a book about the adventures of Indiana Jones... and becoming very confused.

  34. I also tend to read too many new authors and not enough of old favorites. I find that the authors that figure more than once on my annual lists are usually of series... That's something I want to work on too. And the infamous TBR pile! And the classics! Though I'm not giving up on challenges altogether yet, I love them too much even if I never finish them! :-) Good luck with your goals!

  35. I'm sending you a few things that should increase the diversity of what you have on the shelves as well, so you'll have lots of interesting reading. Mysterious girl enjoys being mysterious :D Really interesting goals, but I think my favourite is your goal to read less new authors. There is something so pleasurable when you get to build opinions based on several of an authors works and see their ideas develop over time. Happy reading next year :)

  36. CHARLOTTE MEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Did you just slip that in there to see if I was really reading your posts? ;)

  37. I really enjoyed reading your year-end posts and heartily agree with your plan to read more by authors you already know. That helped make 2011 a very enjoyable reading year for me, so I'll definitely continue in 2012.

    Love your classics list, especially #8, 14, and 23. My classics numbers were down this year... may make a list like this for myself.

  38. I do exactly the same as you and save up favourite authors for some rainy day in the future. I ought to at least read some of them! And I never read enough poetry, either. You have a lovely list of classics there, which I hope you'll thoroughly enjoy. Oh and since I'm having trouble commenting on blogger again, I should add that I read your stats for this year and thought you read an amazing amount, even more amazing when you add a dissertation into the mix! I will end up reading about 130 books this year and I feel it's too many, and should slow down and savour them more in 2012.We'll see how that goes......;)

  39. Yay for adding more graphic novels and classics. You've got some great goals for next year. I can definitely recommend 2, 8, 9, 12, 14 and 15. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Catch-22 are both amazing! Happy reading.

  40. I just finished a graphic novel I bought my 13-year-old for Christmas that I think you'd love. It's called Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge. Have you seen it? If not, I recommend that you add it to your graphic novels list for 2012! :-)

  41. I also tanked on my just took up so much time! I'll say that i really liked Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Sherlock Holmes is a favorite. I remember loving Musketeers when i read it many years ago; a big fun adventure story. good Luck

  42. Most of my reading comes from your recommendation

    Have a good reading year

    Happy new year


  43. I think you're first blogger I've come across whose goal is to read fewer new-to-you authors, but I think you made a great point. Makes me wonder why certain books are still sitting on my shelves. What AM I waiting for??

    Great goals. Good luck!

  44. I've signed up to three challenges - a classics challenge, a TBR challenge and a brick challenge. I have never done challenges like this before because I usually stink at sticking to a list or goal for things like this.

    Like you I really do want to diversify my reading. The trouble is I find it hard to say "right I'm going to read so and so because of such and such reason" so I rarely go out and seek books out like this. I let books come to me.

    I do want to focus a bit on nationality - read more translated fiction and from a wider range of countries rather then just Europe as well. I'm not sure if I'll do that in 2012 as I seem to be focusing on other things.

    I want to tackle my TBR - and dig down into it a lot because I'm sure I'll find some diversity in there somewhere. As you and Jodie mentioned - I probably do have a bias in the types of books I buy anyway - so obviously I'll have to go to the library a bit more as well.

    I'm pretty excited about my books to come however... I think I'm gonna have a good year this year in reading.

    Good luck with your goals Ana and a Happy New Year.

  45. My goals are modest. I joined three challenges but all fit with what I wanted to read in 2012 so while it might feel like slight cheating, I'm going for it anyway. Can't wait to see more reviews of graphic novels. I don't read enough of these either but I want to. Happy New Year!

  46. I'm going to try and add some more classics as well. I always love them and wonder "Why didn't I read this earlier?!" I also plan to comment more on blogs -- this last year was hard and I really sort of dropped out. But I'm back! Er, sort of. Getting there!

    happy new year, Ana!

  47. Caroline: Both sound like wonderful projects! I'm looking forward to hearing more about them.

    DesLily: I think I favour Wilkie too, though to be honest I need to give Dickens more of a chance than I have to date. This also reminds me that I need to read Drood! And very wise words about self-induced pressure.

    Lightheaded: I'll keep your words about Sherlock in mind! That's often the case with me and short stories, especially formulaic ones (and I don't mean this in a bad way, of course). I remember feeling the same way about M.R. James. Happy New Year to you too! I look forward to being in touch more :D

    Amanda: Nothing wrong with taking a break from goals and just going with the flow, of course! I did that for much of this year - I don't think I'd have read at all if I had kept goals and commitments in mind. I did post my classics list before, but I'm kind of glad you don't remember because some of those books have been the same for 4 years now. Kind of embarassing ;)

    Eva: You're miles ahead most of us, though! Thank you for being such an inspiration and for always having such great recommendations to offer :D

    Kathy: Like I was telling Amanda, nothing wrong with going with the flow!

    Care: Well, I'd be hiding in my bunker, where presumably I'd have lots of books ;)

    Peppermint Ph.D.: Sounds like a good plan - best of luck!

    Trisha: It's funny how big a difference in our mindset a word can make, isn't it?

    Priscilla: Best of luck with your goals! Being excited about our plans, no matter how modest, is half the battle.

    Stefanie: It's funny how so many of us tend to do that! Part of my reasoning is that I don't want to run out of books by an author I love, especially when they're no longer writing, but I just take it too far.

    Zibilee: Yes, I've noticed the same trend. I guess a lot of people are feeling burned out. It's good to remember why we're doing this in the first place! Thank you for the good wishes, and best of luck to you as well :)

    Aarti: You know I used to be a challenge addict, but I've come around to your point of you ;) And yes about obscure classics! I'm definitely counting those as well.

  48. The gap in my reading of classics is growing ; it may just swallow me up whole. I think it would be useful to come up with a list like yours. My mother keeps urging me fill the gaps in my reading. Happy New Year, Nymeth. Enjoy your reading in 2012.

  49. Wish you all the best on your reading plans, Ana! I loved the list of classics you are planning to read. I have a few books in common with you - I am reading George Eliot's 'The Mill on the Floss', Thomas Hardy's 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles', Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart' and Henry James' 'The Portrait of a Lady' this year. I loved the first paragraph in 'The Portrait of a Lady' - it is about the afternoon tea custom in England and it is so awesome :)

  50. Fantastic goals and plans! I, too, am focusing on tbr books which means my diversity in reading will suffer. This bothers me. I'm unsure what I'll do about it except to read more newer tbr books as well maybe? LOVE your way around it!

  51. I'm with you regarding reading more from my tbr. It's just getting way out of control;P I'm looking forward to seeing what classics you get your teeth stuck into. Maybe I'll finally start War & Peace which I was meant to read last year, heh.

  52. he he... I've done the same thing, rename my "challenges" to projects. I'm in the midst of an urge to cull my books owned so I'm hoping that will help me either read them or pass them on in the coming the TBR challenge.

    And as for the list of classics! Wow! some of my recent favorites on there, others I am planning on reading this year, and some I am not familiar with at all. Do enjoy your reading this year!

  53. I've been guilty of saving up my favourite authors for a rainy day, and shiny new books I wanted to read too. Last year I decided to read all the books I wanted to read, first. So it meant I didn't finish a lot of challenges, but I had a fabulous year of reading what I wanted to read! So I perfectly understand what you mean and what you want to do....I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (and do!)

    Your classics to read list is inspiring, you know. I am disappointed in myself that I haven't read more classics, so one of my reading goals for this year is to read more of them. Mostly I want to read what interests me. I'm curious to see how my tastes are changing now.

    Good post, Nymeth! I think I'm going to make a list of classics I really want to read. This could be interesting!

  54. Yay for Mill on the Floss. :) good luck!


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