Reading Goals for 2014

Jan 4, 2014

2014 is officially underway, and I am ready to share some reading goals. I've mentioned before that I like to read what I feel like reading, but I also like to have some structure and a reason to push myself to read something I might not be prone to otherwise.

A lot of readers have been posting their reading goals, and I feel like mine look a little lame in comparison. They're not super specific, and many of them are not extremely ambitious. But they're flexible, which I like, and they still guide me to read a wide range of books.

1. Read something that I put on my to-read list in 2009
I joined Goodreads in early 2009. It has now been almost five years, and my to-read list is (at this very moment) 293 books long . . . and it never seems to get any shorter. Thankfully, I'm also always reading books from the list (so it's not as unwieldy as it could be . . . ), but the ones I added in 2009 have been woefully neglected in favor of the ones I'm currently hearing about. I've been looking at and considering these books for years, and I always end up choosing something else. This goal is just a way for me to make a (very small) dent in that vast list. I have quite the variety to choose from: 64 books and everything from Emma to Al Capone Does My Shirts to Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World. This is what I mean by flexibility. 

2. Read something that I've checked out once from the library and had to take back before I could read it
Do you do this too? Put seven things on hold, and all seven come in on the exact same day and cannot be renewed? This happens to me more times than I care to admit. The problem is, once I've checked it out once, I have a hard time checking it out again. It's almost like I've already read it, even though I most definitely have not. So this goal will help me get back to some almost-read books. I actually have two such books checked out from the library right now: 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think and The Great Unexpected. We'll see if I actually get to either of them or if it will take a third time to do the trick.

3. Reread a book from my childhood
I love revisiting old favorites. It's like eating a bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cold winter day (for me, at least . . . Mike doesn't care for chicken noodle soup). I've been wanting to reread The Saturdays for a long time. It's been far too long since I've peeked in on the Melendy family.

4. Finish a series I already started
I'm reusing this goal from last year because it was such a success. I was so happy to have a reason to finish The Chronicles of Narnia, and I want to have the same motivation to finish another series this year. Most likely it will be Little House on the Prairie. Is The First Four Years considered to be the last one? If so, I have five books left in order to finish out the series.

5. Read another installment in a series I already started
This is not to be confused with the above goal. There are some series that I would never want to finish all in one year. I'm talking about the kind where each book is a self-contained story so it stands alone perfectly well, but the series as a whole does have some progression and development because it involves the same characters. I'm thinking of either reading the next book in the The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency or Maisie Dobbs (but I have lots of other choices if the mood strikes me).

6. Read something by Dickens
I've had this goal in mind for a long time, but after reading The Man Who Invented Christmas last month, it became even more of a priority. I've only read A Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities before, so I'm looking forward to expanding my Dickens repertoire. Tell me: which Dickens novel do you love best?

7. Read something less well-known by an author I love
I know, I know. Another goal from last year. I might not be so inclined to make it again this year if I'd read more from favorite authors last year. But as it was, the only book that fulfilled this goal in 2013 was one by Karen Hesse. I had so many more ideas for books that would fulfill this category, so I'm continuing with the goal. Maybe this year I'll get to another novel by Daphne du Maurier. I hope so.

8. Listen to something I've already read or vice versa 
Sometimes I listen to a book and love it, and I wonder if I'd love it so much if I'd read it instead. Or sometimes I read a book and hate it and wonder if I'd like it more if I'd listened to it, etc, etc. Anyway, I can think of two books off the top of my head that I read and didn't love, but I seemed to be the only one: The Wednesday Wars and Hattie Big Sky. I think it would be fun to listen to one of them and see if my opinion changes. By contrast, I absolutely loved Walk Two Moons and Moon Over Manifest when I listened to them. So I might read one of them instead and see if I love it just as much in that format. Anyone have any fun experiences with reading and listening to the same book?

9. Read four Newbery contenders
I love feeling like I'm a little bit in-the-know before the awards are announced, and this goal helps me stay on top of any books that are getting attention and also entitles me to a small opinion.

10. Read a biography
I still reserve the right to change my mind, but I'm setting this goal specifically because I want to read Fire in the Bones, which is the biography of William Tyndale.

To complete these goals I will need to read at least 14-17 books (depending on which series I choose to finish). The only rule I give myself is that I can't use the same book to fulfill two goals. I think it's going to be a fun year of reading. What goals have you set (reading or otherwise) for yourself?


  1. Tyndale! Of the Tyndale Bible. Fascinating guy who left a tremendous legacy to the English-speaking world. Is this a particularly exciting biography of him? (If so, I may have to read it myself!)

    1. Yes, that Tyndale. I don't know if this is a great biography or not . . . in fact, I can't remember who even initially recommended it to me. But I've wanted to read it ever since. I'll let you know if it's any good.

  2. These are great goals, really creative! I want to read more backlist titles this year and utilize the library more for my own reading. (I'm great at using it for kids books! )

  3. I have exactly the same problem with library books - once they are checked out, it's like I'm done with them.

  4. A Tale of Two Cities is definitely my favorite Dickens, but of his longer stuff I really must recommend Bleak House. Since you liked The Woman in White, I think you'll enjoy the mystery type story line in Bleak House (of course, I loved David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickelby, Dombey and Son, and pretty much every other Dickens novel I've ever read, so you really can't go wrong).

    This is a perfect list of reading goals, and I think it's plenty ambitious (my list is pitiful by comparison). When I'm done with school, I totally plan to copy some of your goals myself.

  5. I am going to read an average of 1 book a week again. But I also want to set more specific reading goals like you do. I am going to read to prophet biographies for sure and I am still working on figuring out the rest of my goals.

  6. I really enjoyed David Copperfield. REEEEEALLY long. A fun one to listen to! (I did a combo of reading and listening, because I had a deadline. And Oliver Twist is amazing. And creepy. I read Hard Times way back, but I don't remember much about it.

    I am setting reading goals this year for the first time, thanks to you! I'm not nearly as involved as you, though--I'm thinking 24 books (for an average of 2 a month) and I have specific titles that I want to get to for some of those 24.

  7. I didn't catch the lame goals you mentioned--I thought these were all pretty fantastic goals. I might have to borrow a few. I adored great expectations btw!

  8. I think these are great goals! Am I the only one who thinks it's ironic that you didn't have time to read a book about having more time than you think? It's totally something that would happen to me. :)


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