Despite being in grad school, I set myself some rather lofty reading goals for 2021. Some I succeeded at, like my overall goal to read and log 65 books on Goodreads. Most of the others, however, were not quite so successful. This post is an honest look at the goals I set and an introduction to my 2022 goals. You can also peruse my 2021 Reading Challenge Tracker/Homepage here. My new 2022 landing page is here.
Read a Book Set on Each Continent
Target: 7 books
Notes: My children’s lit class got me surprisingly close to completing this. Unsurprisingly, most of the books I read were set in North America or Europe, but I also read books set in Asia, the Middle East, and South America. Highlights include Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (juvenile historical fantasy), set in China; Digging for Words by Angela Burke Kunkel (picture book biography of Jose Alberto Gutierrez who built a library out of discarded books), set in Colombia; Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz (middle grade recent history), set in the Philippines; and The Sea-Ringed World featuring stories from several Native American traditions.
Read 15+ Books Set in Different States
Target: 15 books
Completed: 9 books
Notes: Part of the problem with this goal is the fact that so many novels do not say where they are set. But, I did cross off a few states that I had not “visited” in the past few years. Highlights include Luciana by Erin Teagan set in Georgia, A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole set in Louisiana, and Tune it Out by Jamie Sumner which is set partially in Washington state and partially in Tennessee.
Read Six Classics
Target: 6 books
Completed: 1 book
Notes: Most of the books that I thought I might read for this challenge are books that require a substantial amount of attention over an extended period of time, and I just wasn’t able to do that this year. I don’t feel bad about this; the books will simply stay on my to-read list. The one classic that I did read in 2021 is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery, and sadly it did not live up to my expectations. It wasn’t terrible, but it was disappointing.
Read 6 Christmas Books Before Thanksgiving
Target: 6 books
Completed: 0 before Thanksgiving, 5 after
Notes: This goal was intended to help buffer posts during the 12 Days of Christmas and A Literary Christmas blogging challenges. Again, though, it just didn’t happen. Nothing jumped out at me throughout the year as some books have in the past, and I did not take the time to go hunting for them.
Read Every Book on My 2021 High-Priority TBR List
Target: 12 books
Completed: 2 books
Notes: I would like to add to the 2 books I completed the 3 which I started to read but did not finish for various reasons. Most of these books I will come back to, but like my goal to read 6 classics, these books are largely ones that really make you think and therefore require more attention. In addition to The Blue Castle, the other book from this list which I completed is Discernment by Lauren H. Salisbury. Thankfully, I enjoyed it much more than The Blue Castle – in fact, I rated it a rare 5 stars (my review here).
Target: 65 books
Completed: 159 books
What’s in a Name? Challenge hosted by Carolina Book Nook
Target: 6 books + reviews
Completed: 4 books, did not link any reviews
Notes: I honestly did not pay much attention to this challenge once I signed up, so it’s kind of surprising that I made as much progress as I did. The prompts I completed are Doubled Word (Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire by Gordon Korman), Reference to Outer Space (The Postman from Space by Guillame Perreault), Possessive Noun (Mirror’s Edge by Scott Westerfeld), and Botanical Word (Tiny Plants by Leslie F. Halleck).
New Years Reads 2021 hosted by Elza Kinde
This challenge was more about posting than reading books, and only covered the first few days of the year. I made three posts for it:
Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge hosted by In the Bookcase
Target: 1 book + 4ish posts
Completed: 2 books + 3 posts
Notes: For this challenge I read Virginia Kantra’s modernized Little Women duology of Meg and Jo and Beth and Amy. They were interesting, but won’t be my top picks for anything. You can see my review of both books here. I always enjoy this challenge, whether I do much reading that counts for it or not. I just enjoy seeing everyone talk about Alcott and her books, some of which are among my favorites.
My Local Library’s Summer Reading Program
Target: Read 600 minutes during June and July
Completed: Goal achieved on July 9
A Literary Christmas Reading Challenge hosted by In the Bookcase
I ended up not signing up for this challenge, even though I listed it last January as something I intended to do. Since I did not read any Christmas books before Thanksgiving, the turnaround required to read and post about Christmas books for this challenge would have been too short for me this time around.
Looking Ahead to 2022
Now we’ve come to the part of the post where I’m supposed to set new goals for 2022. But I’m not going to. Instead, I’m declaring that 2022 will be a year of reading whatever I feel like, whenever it is reasonable. With school continuing for the first half of the year and absolutely no idea what will come after that, I don’t want to set myself up for struggling to reach goals which may or may not end up being reasonable or attainable. I’m still going to keep track of some reading statistics this year (although I’m again reconsidering how to do this and have not settled on a specific method yet), including how many books I read, what genre they are, and where they are set; but I am not going to set a goal to read a specific type or place or anything else. I’m going to follow my mood, my intuition, and whatever sounds good when I’m perusing the library or Goodreads shelves. Maybe every book I read this year outside of class will be middle grade historical fiction – that would be perfectly fine, as long as they are all books that I enjoy reading or get something out of.
My Goodreads goal for the year is set at 52 books – one per week, although I know that in practice it will not balance out exactly this way. I probably will sign up for some short-term challenges throughout the year, which may direct my reading a bit, but I don’t want anything big hanging over the entire year. I want to read for fun and personal development, and I want to talk about books that I am genuinely excited about here on Reviews From the Stacks. Year-long challenges can be fun, but I just don’t think it would be a good fit for me for 2022. If I’m wrong, I can always change my mind, right?
My main goal for life in general in 2022 is a similar thought process. I’m not calling it a resolution, but goal feels appropriate. I want to focus on the distinction between good, better, and best things in 2022. This means looking at the things that I do, the habits I form, and all the things that go into that, and looking at what is not necessarily bad but also not the best. For example, social media is a good thing when used appropriately – but is scrolling through it the best way to spend an evening, even if I don’t have homework to work on? Would it be better to work on an ongoing knitting project, or clean the bathroom cabinet, or even go to bed early? The answer could be different every day. Perhaps the foundation of this is a simple desire to be more aware of how I spend my time and cognizant about living well. As the year goes on, I hope that this way of thinking will spread to every area of my life. Another example of this might take into account the interest I have taken recently in environmentalism and small changes I can make to better take care of the planet. Along those lines, heating up a premade dinner may be a good thing to do, but if I have the time and financial ability, would it be better to cook my own food, with ingredients that don’t come wrapped in plastic and drenched in chemical preservatives? Sometimes this may be feasible, and other times not.
Okay, I’ve rambled a bit more than I intended to here, so I’ll wrap this up now. What are your goals for the year?
Until the next chapter,