Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bookish goals for 2015

Last year, I set myself ten reading goals, the first time I'd ever planned my reading in such an organized fashion. I failed two outright, never quite getting around to Anthony Trollope's Barchester Towers or finishing Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, but I had a fairly successful realization of (or at least attempt at) my other goals, and thanks especially to my desire to read more contemporary fiction (published in the last five years), I found myself getting back into fantasy and science fiction, my first great love.

The experiment went so well, in fact, that I've put together ten more bookish goals for this year:

  1. Finish Les Miserables. I'll probably have to start this one over, since it's been about a year and a half since I last visited it. My bookmark still sits at 478 pages out of 1463.
  2. Finish Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Another brick of a book that I started and then allowed to languish on my bedside table. You'd think as an academic, I'd love the footnotes, but somehow at least in the introductory section they make the book feel like work. I genuinely love my work, but I like my fiction to not feel like work, if that makes sense. However, various folks have assured me that the book picks up soon, so I'm willing to revisit it.
  3. Read the long form of Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love. I read the short form last year; it was exquisite and deeply moving. I'm still extraordinarily disappointed not to have made it to my patron saint's church when I visited England last summer.
  4. Read Shirley or The Tenant of Wildfell Hall for my winter break Bronte. Only two Bronte novels left before I've read their entire oeuvre and have to loop back to the beginning!
  5. Begin reading my complete Sherlock Holmes for October. I tried reading Wilkie Collins's Armadale last year for my annual Wilkie Collins October, but it wasn't nearly as engrossing as his Woman in White or The Moonstone. I still love the idea of reading something mysterious or suspenseful around Halloween, so I think I will open up this annual tradition to other authors. I bought the complete Sherlock Holmes well before I fell in love with BBC's Sherlock, but still haven't taken the time to read it (although for a little while when we were dating, husband read a few of the short stories aloud to me, which was lovely).
  6. Read another novel by Shusaku Endo. In the last three years I've read Silence, Deep River, and Volcano, each more inscrutable than the last. I thought I was reaching the limits of his novels that had been translated into English, but it turns out that my university library has an entire shelf of them - so my next ten years at least are covered!
  7. Read the Moomin series and The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh in conversation with each other. I often describe the Moomins to curious Americans as a sort of Scandanavian Winnie the Pooh, and I figure I should follow up this intuition with some comparative reading. I own almost the complete Moomin series, all except the newer and rarer The Moomins and the Great Flood. I've read two of them so far, and am eager to encounter the others.
  8. Get my TBR pile down from two and a half shelves to one. Especially since they live on the bookcase newly designated for my dissertation work, and which is quickly filling up! This goal should also help minimize new book purchases, because anything I buy would add to the TBR pile. A lot of my TBR books are Viragos, which will be fun - for a while I was alternating YA fiction with Viragos for a really nice contrast in themes and intended audience. To help reduce the TBR pile further, I'm considering moving the nonfiction to the separate nonfiction stack earmarked for "Tangential Tuesday," in which I read something not dissertation-related in order to keep my mind thinking about things other than the English Reformation.
  9. Get my public library to-read list (mostly fantasy and sci-fi) down from over a hundred to 75. This may be tricky because every time I get it down below a hundred, one of the blogs I follow posts a few excellent review that brings it back up again.
  10. Write my book. Since I was about five years old, I had a children's book planned out, and I've been meaning to write it ever since. This will be a deeply emotional process, because it represents deep loves and, in a way, abandoned dreams...but dreams that I can pick up again by writing the book. I know that sounds cryptic - sorry - and I hope one day to write about it here.
How about you? What are your goals for the year? Are you participating in any challenges or setting yourself a book-buying ban? Or do you perhaps have a non-bookish New Year's resolution you'd like to share?



  1. These are ambitious goals! I think you have a wonderful year of reading laid out! I'm most intrigued about your last goal and hope you do write more about it as you spend some time with it. Good luck!

    1. Thank you! I was reminded to write out my list by yours. :-) I'm always impressed at your goals of reading or finishing whole series - I'm kind of inconsistent with series, sometimes reading all of them in a rush and sometimes never returning to them to read book two.

      It occurs to me that if I do end up writing my children's book, book blogger friends might be a fantastic chance to get some feedback. I wonder if you might be willing, someday?

    2. Well, that's why I have to make those series goals - I'm terrible at finishing them on my own!

      YES, I would love to take a look at it when you have a draft ready to show to others!