On Reading | Looking Back and Looking Ahead.

I’m glad I can say 2016 was a good year…for reading! Way back in January, I set a goal to read 60 books. I did that…and a few more.

Even discounting Fox’s Socks (the one I shelved “with Charlie”), that total surprised me. It certainly didn’t feel like I was finishing two books a week, but that’s what the numbers say I averaged. The Read Harder Challenge and Summer Bingo certainly helped the total (those two challenges each contributed 24 books) and definitely contributed to the overall quality of what I read:

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I rated 19 books five stars and a whopping 56 with four. And I felt like I was being a hard grader this year (I also had less patience for books I didn’t like – I recorded four “not gonna finish” and 3 with only two stars). Overall, I listened to 51 books (less than half) and borrowed 36 (not even a third – I need to work on this, too).

Those 19 five star books were all so good, it’s hard to pick favorites. But I think these 13 stand out.

And these two – An Altar in the World and Invisible Man – made it to my all-time favorites list.

I have high hopes for 2017, too. There’s a third Read Harder Challenge – I’m excited about what I’m planning

shelved here

…except maybe for that first category about sports. In the spirit of “reading harder” I’m not going to re-read The Art of Fielding or Last Days of Summer. Sara suggested something nonfiction about the Olympics. Other suggestions? I’m open!

Thinking more broadly about 2017, I have a number of unread books hanging around my audible, kindle and real life bookshelves. Those were all books I bought intending to read; and next year, I will (at least make a dent in the pile 😉)! I’m definitely planning another Summer Bingo (more to come on that – not sure if we’ll be able to use the Books on the Nightstand card generator) and I challenge myself to read from my shelves then. But y’all know it’s hard – buying books is one of my favorite things to do (along with buying yarn – topic for another post, but I intend to take a similar approach with my stash next year).

I started working through the list … and came up with 55 titles (Read Harder is 23 of them, so 32 more) I’d like to read next year. There are a couple that I plan to buy, but most I either own or will borrow (my library is getting on board with Overdrive in a big way now, so borrowing is a lot easier). Rather than set a goal for how many books I read next year, I’m thinking more about what I read and from where. I’ve used Goodreads exclusively to track my reading since I joined (back in 2007?) but I’m going to start also using a spreadsheet too (like this one). I’m only setting two goals for next year:

Non-fiction – 30%
Borrow – 50%

I’m curious to see what genres, genders and nationalities I read. I’ll bet it’s not nearly as diverse as I would like. And given how much I read, I’d like to change that. …more to come.

Whew – I didn’t set out to write such a long post, but I really wanted to get everything in one place so it would be easy (for me!) to check in next year. If you did read this far, thank you for sticking with me! And I’d love to know – are you setting reading goal(s) for yourself next year? if so, what?

11 thoughts on “On Reading | Looking Back and Looking Ahead.

  1. I'm going to suggest Running with the Buffaloes – it's a story about the Univ of Colorado cross country team and I guess it is really, really good. I'm going to put it on my list. Congratulations on such a successful reading year! I always love to see what you're up to and thank-you for Dog Stars…one of my top reads of the year!

  2. WOW! You read, Girl! This is a not too long post' cause it's very read-able (pun intended) and chock full of info and ideas. An impressive list and I like your plans for 2017. I have one for sure goal for 2017: Read at least one fiction title a month…and even that may be stretching it…but I'm a gonna try. I also intend to become familiar with Good Reads tracking…and check out Read Harder. I like that concept, too. Lots of ideas and food for for thought…thank you for the incentive and inspiration. Read On!Cheers~

  3. Wow! You read a lot of books this year, but best of all it looks like most of them were really great. Here's to more good reading in 2017!

  4. Wow!! This is insane reading, Mary! I am insanely impressed! And you do all this with Charlie and now Sam and knitting and blogging!! When on earth do you sleep?

  5. Your Goodreads list is a great source of inspiration. I enjoy hearing about your plans and will look forward to seeing the books you read over the next year. Thank you!

  6. Wow that is a lot of reading! I really want to focus on the books I already have so they can "move" along to someone else. I really want to do some power knitting this year to get my stash smaller.

  7. Looks like I'm going to end with 63 books for 2016. You are correct with An Alter in the World. It was fabulous. I don't read many sports books either, but I do have The Boys in the Boat in my queue. The best two things I did this year reading related was to join Book of the Month and join the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club.

  8. Impossible to have a post about books that is too long. : ) And what an inspiring post it is – wow! I'm not sure what happened to my reading this year but I barely made my Goodreads challenge, and I'm on the fence about whether or not I'm going to set a goal in 2017. I was hoping to finish The Goldfinch before the end of the year but I don't think I'm going to make it. Happy reading in the new year!

  9. My goodness, you have excelled this year. Between the knitting and the reading and the travelling, I don't know how you fit it all in :). I am going off to google a few of these … Thank-you for the inspiration!

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