Reading Goals for 2013

Jan 1, 2013

Happy New Year! I love making goals, and even though there is never a wrong time to want to make changes or reach for something new, there is something so fun and invigorating about doing it at the beginning of the year. I've had some reading goals in the back of my brain for the last several months. Every time I thought of a new one, I tucked it away for the coming new year.

Well, now the new year is here, and so I don't want to waste a day before sharing all that I have planned. (I'm pretty excited.) (Oh, and any suggestions/recommendations for how to meet these goals are welcome/appreciated!)

1. Read a new genre
For a long time, I had no interest in graphic novels. (And before that, I didn't even know what a graphic novel was.) But now, I think I'm ready to try one. What should I start with? I want to give it a fair chance, so I want my first one to be really good.

2.  Finish a series I already started
I am notorious for reading the first book in a series and then leaving it for a long, long time; so long, in fact, that I usually give up on the series entirely because by the time I'm ready to read the second book, I've forgotten the first book, and I just don't have the heart to start over. I usually read what I'm in the mood for, so I have a hard time reading five books in a row that have all the same characters and setting and general plot line. Here are a few of the series I have started:

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull (I've read the first three.)
Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery (I've read the first one.)
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (I have read this entire series before, but recently, I've reread the first four.)
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (I've read the first two.)
The Queen's Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (I've read the first one.)
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (I've read the first one.)
Flavia de Luce by Alan Bradley (I've read the first two.)
Matched by Ally Condie (I've read the first one.)
The Chronicles of Narnia (I've read the first three.)
Shadow Children by Margaret Peterson Haddix (I've read the first four.)
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (I've read the first one.)
Little House on the Praire by Laura Ingalls Wilder (I've read the first four.)

So you can see, I have a lot to choose from (and I didn't even list them all). I think I'm leaning towards Emily or Peter or Little House.

3. Begin and finish a series
I don't know if I'll make myself read the entire three or five or seven or however many books in a row, but I do want the continuity of reading an entire series start to finish during the course of one year. I don't have any immediate ideas for this one, but trilogies definitely count.

4. Read and reread a book
I'm becoming more of a rereader (which is funny since I have so many new books I want to read), but something I haven't done is reread a book soon after finishing it the first time. I want to see what things I can glean from it the second time around while the first time is still fresh in my mind. I'm not sure which book this will be. I'm sure I'll know it when I read it. If I had made this goal last year, I most certainly would have reread either The Happiness Project or Edenbrooke.

5. Read something less well-known by an author I like
I have several ideas for this one: I loved Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. All of these authors have written other books, and both Creech and Hesse each published a new book in 2012. It seems a shame that some of their other books are brushed over in favor of the more well-known titles (as good as they are), so I want to give something else a chance.

6. Read two classics from the 19th century and two classics from the 20th century.
This is broad and a tad vague on purpose. I definitely want to read some classics, but I want to keep an open mind throughout the year so I can read what sounds interesting to me. But one that I will definitely be reading is The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Feel free to give me other ideas! There are many very well-known classics I have not read yet.

7. Read at least four Newbery candidates for 2014.
I can already tell you what one of these four will be: Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool.

8. Read Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
Because it is very important that this book not be missed.

I will update this list as I complete these goals, and if I think of any others in the next couple weeks, I will add those, too.

What are your goals (reading or otherwise) for 2013?


  1. Make sure you finish the Emily series! I think those books are pretty amazing. Also, if you haven't read it already, a classic I suggest is "Dracula." It's scary and mysterious and WAY better than Twilight or comparable vampire books will ever be -- though I will say that I'm not a huge Twilight fan anyway. :)

    1. I read Dracula of my own volition in high school and was surprised at how chilling it is, but not quite in the way I expected.
      And Amy, if you want to kill two birds with one stone, read the All-Action Classics graphic novel Dracula. Actually all four All-Action Classics are pretty good. They've got Dracula, Tom Sawyer, The Odyssey, and The Wizard of Oz. (You can type "All-Action Classics" into the search bar at Amazon to see them.)

    2. Megan, thanks so much for the suggestions! I'm going to come back to your list when I'm ready to take the plunge. Since those are all classics, maybe I'll read the actual classic first and then the graphic novel adaptation (or vice versa). At any rate, I think it will be fun!

  2. Shannon Hale has a couple of graphic novels, if you're leaning in that direction. I can't believe you haven't read all of the Narnia books. Also, Roddy Doyle's "A Star Called Henry" is a great 20th century classic about Ireland in the early 1900s.

    1. Shannon Hale’s graphic novels are actually the only two I could think of. Have you read them? Did you like them? I’ll have to look into “A Star Called Henry.” Thanks for the recommendation!

    2. I haven't read them, but they look super cute and all of Shannon Hale's other books are awesome so I'm making the assumption that these are as well.

  3. i was gonna mention shannon hale's graphic novels, but someone beat me to it! :) i loved "rapunzel's revenge" but was not a big fan of the sequel, "calamity jack." and i also can't believe you haven't finished the narnia books! two of the later ones, "voyage of the dawn treader" and "the silver chair" are probably my favorites among them!

    1. Launi--I know! I’m kind of embarrassed I haven’t read all of the Narnia books! But I actually have read “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” because I was reading them in the order they were written, and I really liked many great parallels to the Gospel.

    2. You're in company, Amy. I've only read the first one, and I have no intention of reading any more. They're boring and a little too preachy for my taste.

  4. I also have a goal to do some re-reading this year. My official goal is 5, but I've already pulled 10 books off my shelf and can think of another two that I want to re-read but don't own.

    I second the suggestion of Dracula as a 19th century classic. I loved it. East of Eden is one of my favorites, so that could be a 20th century classic, if you haven't already read it.

    I also recommend Love That Dog and Hate That Cat (2 separate books) by Sharon Creech. They are simple and quick reads, but so sweet and profound too.

    1. Thanks for all the suggestions! I haven't read Dracula or East of Eden. And I've heard of both Love That Dog and Hate That Cat, and I was wondering if they were good, so thanks!

      Good luck with your re-reading goal!

  5. Yeah, I'm thinking you're going to have to finish Narnia! It was my favorite read of last year (maybe Edenbrooke tied but I felt like Narnia made me a better person and Edenbrooke was just fun) and I'd already read them before! I love the Emily books but in my mind they're quite similar to Anne- so if you've just reread 1-4 of those I'd hold off on Emily. The last shadow children was a disappointment to me. And Peter 1-4 were good (I think 1 and 4 were my favorites) but the new 5th one that's more modern time was lousy. Have you read the Saturdays? by Elizabeth Enright. I had high expectations and near the end of the first book wasn't sure they'd been met, but by the time I'd read all 4 of the Melendy Quartet I loved them as much as I'd anticipated. Another series I loved this year with a similar vein was the Penderwicks (#2 was my favorite) I think it's going to be a 5 book series but there's only 3 so far. Basically idyllic childhood adventures and family togetherness.

    1. Funny that you should mention the Saturdays. I read all of them when I was younger and have been meaning to re-read them. And in fact, when I was writing up this post, I almost put that series down as one that I might read from start to finish this year. And I've read all three Penderwicks books, but #3 was definitely my favorite.

      And I think I just might have to finish Narnia just so I don't have an uprising of indignant readers on my hands! :-)

  6. Marvel Comics has done some graphic novels by Nancy Butler of Jane Austen books. I haven't read them, but I want to. Here is the link to one:

    Definitely finish the Emily series. It's too bad you didn't read it as a 12/13 year old. It's the perfect read for that age, being a little more dark and brooding than the Anne series, perfect for the angst pre-teen/young teen.

    1. I did read the first Emily book as a teenager (and then I reread it last year). I guess even back then I had a difficult time finishing series!

  7. I have read everything by L.M. Montgomery, including the Emily books, and loved them all!

    I also highly suggest Creech's THE GREAT UNEXPECTED. And I'm currently reading an ARC of Navigating Early, and even though I'm only about 45 pages in, I think I can recommend that one, too ;) If you're in the mood for another new one by an "old" author, also check out Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli. Trying to get a review up on the blog before it releases in a few days!



    1. Oh, good! I'm glad to hear that The Great Unexpected is good! I actually have it from the library right now but don't know if I'll get to it right now or save it for later.

      And I'm so jealous of your ARC of Navigating Early. I'm excited to read it!

  8. I also vote Narnia. Fun on audio, too (we just finished The Horse and His Boy, and Nathan loved to listen to it, even though a lot of it went straight over his head. I figure we'll read those over and over, so we'll pick up what he missed later!). I think I read Emily back in the day. And apparently I'm no longer a real reader, since I was rather offended that you considered your goal of a mere 52 books for 2012 as a modest one. Humph. I didn't count, but I KNOW it wasn't even close to 52. At least I can say I read some hefty ones like Uncle Tom's Cabin and David Copperfield and Teach the Children :).

    1. Yes, I know I really need to finish Narnia! Everyone in my family has read them, so I'm not sure why I haven't been able to make myself finish them.

      I read Uncle Tom's Cabin last year, and although I loved it, it is a chunker. And you get bonus points for reading Dickens. He's great but long! :-)

      P.S. Did you see that I'm reading A Thomas Jefferson Education? We need to discuss it!

  9. I absolutely adore Alexander McCall Smith. Rosie and I love his warm, insightful and humorous style. Finishing the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series would bring you countless laugh out loud, inspirational and heartwarming moments. We anxiously await the publication of a new book in the series each March. We especially love listening to these on CD. The reader is a very talented South African.

    The Narnia books are some of my very favorites and I enjoyed reading them to each of our eight children when they were younger.

    For a new series I would highly recommend Alexander McCall Smith's Scotland Street series. Our children -- Andrew and Rebekah especially love those books.

    One of my recent favorite classics is Little Lord Fauntleroy -- an easy but very enjoyable read. If you haven't read The Count of Monte Cristo I would recommend it.

    1. Brad--thanks for all the ideas! I truly appreciate all of them. I think I really would like to listen to The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. I'll have to get them from the library.

      My dad read all of the Narnia books out loud, too, but somehow I missed out on hearing them. I'm pretty sure it was my fault, but now I'm realizing what a mistake I made! I'll have to remedy that.

      I've been meaning to read Little Lord Fauntleroy for years. I really need to make it a priority.

  10. Thanks for sharing!

    I'm just finishing up the Matched series and the first book is far and away the best. I wouldn't necessarily recommend the next two - they're kind of long and dragging.

    And I LOVE the Emily books.

  11. Love that first goal - I'm really bad about venturing out into new genres. I've read a couple of graphic novels, one I liked, one not as much. I think I need to give the genre another try.

    Good luck with your goals, especially those series goals. I'm terrible about finishing series.


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