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A Year of Reading Intentions and Directions But Definitely No Plans

A new year begins and my news feed is chock-a-block with blog posts about reading challenges, goals and plans.

I’ve held back until now, frankly because I’ve been in a bit of a dither about my own intentions for 2022. Do I go for a year completely devoid of any specific plans, more or less just reading what takes my fancy? Or do I commit to some reading projects/plans?

It’s the same question I come up against every year! You’d think I would know the answer after nine (soon to be 10) years of blogging.

Best Laid Plans Go Awry

I’ve had some years where I made plans on a grand scale to read classics and books from around the world. committing myself to everything from Japan Literature Challenge and #20booksofsummer to projects to tackle the TBR Mountain or read series like The Chronicles of Barchester and the Rougon-Macquet cycle. Other years I said to hell with reading goals, I’m going to have a year off.

Last year I decided I would take the path of simplicity: no targets for reducing the TBR or reading X number of books and no involvement in challenges which required me to read a specific list of books. I would complete my World Of Literature Project, using the European Reading Challenge 2021 as the spur, (it was called a challenge but is actually a very casual event ) hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader. And I would join events that enabled me to connect with other bloggers but curtail my natural enthusiasm to join in every reading event announced.

Like all of my plans, these didn’t go exactly as intended. There were many successes. Fortunately no mega failures.

I didn’t complete the World of Literature project though I did read books from six more countries putting me just two countries short of the goal of 50.

I did nine reading projects not six: Japan Literature Challenge, #ReadIndies month, Dewithon 2021, #1936 club, Reading Ireland Month 2021, #20booksofsummer, Novellas in November, Australia Reading Month and Non Fiction November. In fact there were only two months in the year when I wasn’t doing a reading project.

Somewhere along the line I added to the complexity by devising my own project #21in21 to read more of the books that were lying neglected on the shelves. It worked far better than anticipated with 30 books read that I’d bought before 2021.

To Plan or Not to Plan Dilemma

Sounds like a pretty good year doesn’t it? So what’s the problem you might be wondering.

It’s this.

I love the idea of having a framework to guide my reading through the year. I love the spirit of comradeship that ensues I can connect my reading with what other bloggers are reading and posting about. I love the satisfaction of ticking off accomplishments.

But I don’t love the pressure of challenges and goals. Nor do I enjoy the feeling that I’m reading certain books just because they fit with the theme of a reading event or a personal project.

This is the dilemma that’s been driving my crazy the last couple of weeks.

The Way Ahead

The outcome of all my deliberation and cogitation is this: I’m not making any plans or setting any goals for 2022. Those words just make reading sound like work rather than a pleasure. I am in awe of the number of challenges and projects some bloggers take on simultaneously. If they can accomplish them without feeling pressured, then good luck to them. They’re not for me.

Instead of plans I’m going to base on reading on overall directions and themes:

That doesn’t mean I’m calling time on reading projects entirely. I’ll still participate but only when they dovetail with my interests and I have already have suitable books. So you can expect to see me pop up in Irish Reading Month, Dewithon (assuming Paula hosts it again this year) and Australia Reading Month. But Non Fiction November and #20booksofsummer will have to take a back seat this year.

That should be more than enough to keep me busy. Now do tell me what is in store for you in 2022? More of the same or are you changing directions?

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