Saturday, January 14, 2023

Reading plans and goals

I miss having my own place to talk about books. And I miss hearing about other people's reading. I'm on LibraryThing and GoodReads, and I'm always happy to find new people and their books to follow. I also spend a lot of time over at Smart Bitches Trashy Books, where the reviews and discussions have enriched my reading (and added to the TBR stacks). 

With the new year turning, I was thinking about reading resolutions, plans or goals. I weeded a fair number of physical books off my shelves last year, but I didn't manage to read all the books I bought. Over the past year I followed Simon of Stuck in a Book's Project 24, where he bought 24 books - my fingers automatically typed "only 24," because I can't imagine buying just 24 books over an entire year. (For the record, I bought 98 physical books last year; I've given up trying to track how many ebooks I buy or own.) 

After thinking it over, I decided my project goal for 2023 would be to buy no more than 52 books, one book a week (or for each week). I decided it would apply only to physical books. (I still read much more in paper, especially lately when I struggle to focus on ebooks.) And I think it's only fair to have an exception for my birthday week. But I also realized that the concern for me still isn't the number of books I own, it's the number of unread books. So if I read a book I borrowed, and it's one I want to keep on my shelves, that book wouldn't count against the 52 books.

This, I thought, is a reasonable goal and a plan I feel really comfortable with. I have a list of upcoming books by favorite authors, and intriguing ones from new-to-me authors, which I know I will be buying. Scheduling a list of books to pre-order has been a wonderful distraction and comfort over the last two difficult years, giving me something to look forward to each month. First up for this year is Femina, by Janina Ramirez (she was a guest on the BBC History Magazine podcast, also a rich source of book recommendations over the past couple of years). And there's still room for the lagniappe books.

However, this week highlighted the main weakness of my goal - and really, what got me to the TBR shelves and this blog in the first place: impulse buying. On Monday I read a glowing review of Heather Fawcett's Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries, and rather than waiting for my library hold to come in, I headed over to Barnes & Noble and bought a copy. When I went after work to pick it up from the store, I told myself I wouldn't look at other books, I would just go to the counter and get that one. But I couldn't resist browsing, and then I found Talia Hibbert's Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute. It had a "Buy 1, Get 1 50% off" sticker, so of course I had to find another book to get the discount <insert eyeroll emoji>. Sure enough, I found Ms. Demeanor by Elinor Lipman (also already on my library list).

So here I am, two weeks into 2023, and three books down. Hopefully tracking my 52 books here will help me focus. I'd like to meet this goal, while still working to reduce the number of unread books, and also to weed my shelves of books that I don't need to keep.


  1. It's nice to see a new post from you! That sounds like a great goal for 2023 - good luck with it. I have far too many unread books on my shelves too and really need to read some of them before adding any more.

    1. Thank you, Helen! It's exciting to be thinking about how to write about books again - and not just plans for reading them.

  2. So nice to see you here again. And I feel you on the book buying/not reading issues. I've been trying to read more from my own shelves, although I do find that library books end up being the most read each year. That's not a bad thing, but the books I am buying are also still waiting for me. I like your plan!

  3. Thank you, it feels good to be writing again.

    I made a list of my unread books, by year acquired, and it's ridiculous how long some have sat on the shelves unread. And I still get distracted by new shiny books. I'm going to try to get those new shiny books from the library this year, even if it means waiting for them.


Thank you for taking the time to read, and to comment. I always enjoy hearing different points of view about the books I am reading, even if we disagree!