I wanted to write a post talking about which books – and how many – I’m planning to read in 2018. Maybe I’ll make it to 52, or even 60, I thought to myself, feeling excited. Until I started to really think about that goal. We’re talking about reading books, immersing ourselves in stories and reflecting on them afterwards. Books are (in my opinion) meant to teach you something, meant to leave a mark on you one way or another. Meant to make you feel something. Then why would I make it a goal to read as many books as possible?
To quote this very profound piece published in The Guardian, ”literature is one of the few areas of modern life where it’s not all about the numbers. Of course figures matter to bookshops, publishers, writers and even libraries, but if we enjoy reading – if reading is in some sense good – it doesn’t make any sense for the reader to say that if you double the number of books you manage to get through in a year, it will be worth twice as much.”
Stop worrying about how much I’ve read, or haven’t read
If a ”read x amount of books a year” challenge works for you, then more power to you! but I’ve noticed that around the internet – on YouTube, blogs, Goodreads, etc – it has somewhat become a competition to read more. I often see people read novella’s or graphic novels (that you can read quickly) just so they can finish their reading challenge. Personally, that competitive mindset isn’t for me, not when we’re talking about books. So one of my goals for next year is to completely stop worrying about how much I’ve read, and especially haven’t read.
I’m still going to set myself a ”loose” goal of reading at least one book every week which will land me somewhere between 25 and 52 books at the end of the year. But that goal is meant to keep myself in check and practice my reading habit. The most important part for me is to not beat myself up if the one-book-a-week doesn’t work out, as long as I’m enjoying my book.
Read more classic novels
In the past, I read classic novels because I had to. And when you have to do something it automatically makes them less fun to do. Of course, there are some classics I enjoyed reading (Huckleberry Finn will always be one of my favorite books) but this year I want to try to get more into reading classics for fun. And because I’m legit interested in them. Some I want to tackle this year: Slaughterhouse-five, Treasure Island, 1984, Animal Farm, the Great Gatsby and Ulysses.
Read at least five autobiographies or memoirs
Lots of people have lived lots of interesting lives. And sometimes those lives – or a specific part of it – are captured in books. I want to read those books. Somehow, I haven’t read many autobiographies in my reading life. I would always prioritize some kind of flashy crime novel or whatever. Next year I want to take the time to read at least five autobiographies or memoirs by prominent figures.
Read more diverse authors
Yay for diverse books! Except that I really haven’t made much of an effort to read more diverse books. In 2018, I want to read more novels written by non-white authors, or LGBT+ authors, both fiction and non-fiction. I think it’s important to hear different perspectives and commentaries on (for example) social issues and politics among other things.
But my biggest goal is – and I know this sounds cheesy – to have fun with reading. I’ve always loved getting lost in a book, and I want to allow myself the time to do it more often.