Reading Better in 2023.

Last week when I shared my 2022 reading wrap-up, I hinted at a post about 2023 plans … this is that post! This is also deep dive into details about my reading life and intentions that might seem way over the top to you and 🙂 I read a lot (I think I likely read more than I do anything else – at least right now) and how I spend all that time matters to me.

I’ve already finished one of the projects: moving the messy stacks (sitting on top of this cupboard) onto the shelves.

There are still four books for that bottom shelf sitting on Katie’s kitchen counter;

she’ll bring them over this weekend and I know they’ll fit!

Those three shelves now comprise a lot of the backlist I’d like to read this year:

The top left books are not ones I plan to (re) read this year, but they’re antiques (given to me by my grandma and mom) and I know they like being behind glass.

For the past two years, I’ve journaled every book I read; and I’ve tracked stars, format (paper, audio, e-book), source (borrow, own, purchase), and intention (diversity, growth, connection). Along the way, I also started creating monthly to-read lists. Those monthly lists improved the quality of my reading immensely; I’m going to keep them up.

I’m also going to continue the journaling (I think that is probably the #1 thing that changed my reading life for the better) and tracking stars, format, and source (borrow, own, 2023 purchase).

For intentions, I’m going to look at (author) Diversity (person of color or sexuality or language other than my own) and Connection (discussing a book with someone else). Close to 40% of the books I’ve read recently tick the Diversity box and I’d like to increase that. I’m mostly curious about how Connection plays into my reading.

I also intend to read:

  • 2023Shelf – all the books I buy in 2023 (that count is 14 so far – and they’re all pictured above);
  • Prizes – the short lists for this year’s Booker and Women’s Prizes, and backlist winners for both;
  • DeepDive – wrap up Erdrich, and start Kingsolver and Patchett.

And just for fun, I’m going to (try to?!) rank each book as I finish. I think this is going to be hard (I’ve finished 12 books so far and it’s already making me think!), and I hope to learn from this exercise as well. Do you rank your books? I’d love to chat about it!

Finally, here’s my January TBR. as always, I’d love to know if we have any books in common … connecting about books is one of my favorite things!

that bottom row is books I’ll be reading over the whole year; I expect a few others will be repeating into February (The Weary Blues and Little Women and who knows what else!)

10 thoughts on “Reading Better in 2023.

  1. I always enjoy your reading posts. I recently read Housekeeping and have thought about reading the Gilead books this year. Also, that picture! Is that you on the right? Because it really reminds me of Charlie and Sam!

  2. We have very different reading plans for 2023, but am thinking Little Women could be a fun audiobook for my road trip in March. It’s been a loooong time since I read that one. Would be good to re-visit some of those classics.

  3. You are always very thoughtful about your reading, Mary. (That level of thoughfulness wouldn’t work for me as I’m much more “random” about my own reading — but I’m so glad you’ve discovered what works well for you! It’s always interesting to read about your intentions re: reading.) I’m curious about what you mean by “ranking” your books as you finish? I have read many of the books on your January TBR list. 🙂

  4. I enjoyed Wintering and Remarkably Bright Creatures was just average for me. I haven’t read that L’Engle but highly recommend her Crosswicks Journals. I’m considering a re-read this year. No ranking for me; it’s too difficult! I pick my favorites at the end of the year, but even then I can’t really rank them because I often like them for different reasons.

  5. Likewise, I have read many of the books on your Jan. TBR list. I laughed at Duchess Goldblatt… the book is fun! And Remarkably Bright Creatures was one of the best books ever! And I am three weeks in with Poetry Unbound. I am using it as a weekly meditation this year… and as I said on my blog, it is the best start to a January that I have ever had!

    I am glad that you have found a way to make your reading better. I am a bit in Kym’s Camp… I am a random reader… mood driven, I think!

    And I am curious also… how are you going to be ranking your books?

  6. I can’t even begin to imagine how I’d rank all the books I read, and I read at least 100 fewer books than you in any given year! I do intend to read Becoming Dutchess Goldblatt — in fact, it’s up next for me on audio, likely starting tomorrow. Though I haven’t done it yet, I also intend to make a list of books that I already own (mainly on paper) that I want to read this year. Perhaps that should go on to my to-do list for this weekend.

  7. I have read six books on your list. I have read Little Women countless times. Housekeeping is excellent. I loved Wintering. I recall enjoying The Bone People but don’t remember much about it. This year I hope to do more journaling about books read. I journal some about the books I really enjoy. Otherwise I keep a list of books read. I have mentioned before but I make a list for each season of the year and then read some of it and usually add other books that come along. At the end of each season I look at the list to see what if anything I want to carry over.

  8. I read Wintering a few winters ago…and, to be honest, it wasn’t the book I *wanted* it to be (expectations!!). Yet, it was meaningful in its own right (and you will likely read it in a blink!) I’m interested in her book _Electricity…_–and was sorry I had to miss her talk at Chautauqua this summer!
    I see you have J. Ryan Strandal on your list. I did Kitchens of the Great Midwest as a MMD read…and that’s when I realized I just don’t have enough reading time to devote to someone else’s selections.
    Gosh, I’d love to sit and have this conversation with you over a glass of wine in the sunshine!!

  9. I recently re-read Housekeeping and still think the writing is beautiful. I’ve read The Sentence, A Dangeous Business, & Wintering. I’ve read Little Women several times when I was a little girl and remember making a last will & testament like Amy did. When I re-read it as an adult I didn’t like it as much.
    My goal this year is to read Toni Morrison and I’m currently reading The Bluest Eye and it is stunning!

  10. You know we’ve read many of the same books (or will read). My goal is to up my reading of diversity and translation. Concentrating on both will really up my game. Hopefully, what’s to come will fit into that goal.

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