January is traditionally the time for looking ahead, making plans, setting goals and creating well-intentioned resolutions.
Judging by the number of posts on this topic that have come through my news feed recently, this is a task that book bloggers have clearly taken to with relish. You’ve all been super busy coming up with ambitious and impressive sounding reading goals and plans.
Up until a few years ago I’d have been doing exactly the same: studiously listing all the reading challenges I wanted to join and devising my own projects to broaden my reading.
But I’ve gradually moved away from the idea of detailed planning. I did enough of that when I was in full time work and I don’t want to spoil the pleasure of reading by thinking of it as “work to be done”.
Not that there is anything wrong with reading goals or plans. Some bloggers love them because they give a framework or a direction. They also seem able to cope with multiple challenges far better than I can.
This year I’m taking a more relaxed approach. No reading goals. No targets. No plans. Just some general ideas.
Read What I Own
I have just under 300 unread books in my bookshelves (294) to be precise. At my normal reading rate it will take me about 4.5 years to read them all. Yet I keep buying books, swayed by titles I’ve seen in a bookshop or library or books mentioned by another blogger.
It’s futile to say I won’t buy/borrow anything new in 2023 — honestly, such a declaration would be unlikely to last more than a few days. I’m going to say instead that I’ll put more effort into reading books in my TBR. That includes physical copies and e-books (especially all those requested via NetGalley that I have yet to open).
Explore The World
This month marked the end of the challenge I set myself to read books by authors from 50 different countries. I’m not going to set a specific goal but I do want to continue to explore literature from around the world.
I’ll be using The Armchair Explorer, edited by the Lonely Planet (a Christmas gift) for inspiration. It might help me complete the empty squares in My Wanderlust Bingo card. If I manage to complete that, Fiction Fan has a new card up her sleeve.
Read The Classics
One thing I’ve learned is that I don’t stick to plans or lists when it comes to reading. That doesn’t stop me making a list of course — making the list is usually the fun part while the reading can feel a chore. The only reading list I currently have is for the Classics Club but I’ve made sure it doesn’t include books that collective wisdom says “should” be read. I’ve also built in plenty of choice to avoid feeling constrained.
Get Those Reviews Done
I confess that I have been very lax in the last year so the list of books awaiting review has reached double figures. I’m going to make a conscious effort to write them in a more timely fashion — while they are still fresh in my mind and I don’t have to rely on my notes. Ideally I’d like to have them written within a month of finishing the book. It might mean doing shorter reviews than I’ve tended to, particularly with books about which I don’t have a lot to say. My new mantra is “Done. is better than perfect.”
Choose Reading Events Wisely
I do love the spirit of comradeship that comes from the reading events that take place throughout the year. So I’m reluctant to abandon them entirely. But I also know it’s easy to get over committed because there are so many of them. My new strategy is aimed at striking the right balance — I will join a reading event only when I already have a suitable book in the TBR and have the time.
And that just about sums up my entire “plan” for the year. It will be interesting to discover whether I am able to stick to the no plan, plan. I’m curious whether you are a planner or prefer to just read according to your mood. Do let me know by leaving a comment.
I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Goals For 2023