2016 Reading Goals: The Final Report

Dec 29, 2016

This is one of my favorite posts of the year to write. There's something so satisfying in saying, "Here's what I set out to do . . . and I did it!" Then again, if I didn't complete all my goals, I probably would just hang my head in shame and disappointment instead of writing about it because where's the fun in admitting defeat?  But since I'm writing a post, I guess you know it all turned out okay. Here's what I read to complete each goal (book titles are linked to the full reviews):

1. Read a book I put on my to-read list in 2011
I always think this goal is going to help me knock out a bunch of books that have been languishing on my to-read list for a long time, and then I usually just squeak by with the bare minimum of one or, if I'm really in an overachieving mood, two. This year was no different. My to-read list from 2011 is only one book shorter, and the book that won the honor of being removed from it was Tuesdays at the Castle (July 2016) by Jessica Day George (which I added to my to-read list in October 2011).

2. Read a female author I've been meaning to read
I read two books for this goal. The first was Cinder (July 2016) by Marissa Meyer, and the second was The Great Ghost Rescue (October 2016) by Eva Ibbotson. The ironic thing is I've been wanting to read something by Eva Ibbotson for forever, and out of all the books she's written, I probably picked the book I was least likely to like. The other ironic thing is I really wanted to read a book by Susanna Kearsley for this goal, and it just never happened even though I had the best of intentions (I had The Winter Sea checked out at least once, maybe twice, from the library without ever even starting it).

3. Read a male author I've been meaning to read
I read Crossing to Safety (April 2016) by Wallace Stegner during the first half of the year, and it's still one of my favorite reads of 2016: Quiet, poignant, and meaningful with characters so real I would recognize them if I saw them walking down the street. (And, as a fun side note, my blogging friend, Carrie, also read Crossing to Safety this year but didn't have the same reaction to it. So when she saw that I loved it, she mailed me her copy of the book. Wasn't that so sweet of her?)

4. Read (don't listen) to something by Jane Austen or Charles Dickens
I was so scared of this goal because classics are usually so much easier for me to listen to than read, but it ended up not being bad at all (in part because listening just wasn't as easy for me to do in 2016 as it has been in past years, so I think reading it actually turned out to be the faster route). I read Sense and Sensibility (September 2016) by Jane Austen and enjoyed it immensely.

5. Read six books with Aaron
This was such a fun goal and one that I'm planning on repeating in 2017. Aaron is so easygoing and was basically up for anything I handed to him, so it was great fun to branch out into a variety of genres. We read:

February 2016: Truce by Jim Murphy
March 2016: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
May 2016: One Dead Spy by Nathan Hale
June 2016: Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier  
October 2016: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit  
December 2016: Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming December 2016: Smile by Raina Telgemeier (If you read my review, you'll know this one was unplanned, but we both read it, so I'm including it.)

Out of all of those, Aaron's favorite was Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, and mine was either that same one or Amelia Lost.

6. Read a book in preparation for Europe
Mike and I visited the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, and Norway in July, and it was definitely one of the highlights of the year. It was important to me to do some reading about some of the places we'd be traveling to because I learned a long time ago that those places take on much greater significance when I've read about the events that happened there and then see them for myself. So I read The Monuments Men (summer 2016) by Robert M. Edsel, which tells the true story of the men and women who helped save important pieces of art during WWII. Then I actually saw Michelangelo's Madonna and Child when we were in Belgium, and it was basically the coolest thing ever.

7. Read another book by Louisa May Alcott
After much debate, I read Eight Cousins (November 2016) by Louisa May Alcott, which was all well and good until I realized I really must follow it quickly with Rose in Bloom before I forget everything. So that's going on the agenda for 2017, which is not a bad thing because the more I read of Louisa May Alcott, the more I adore her.

8. Read five Newbery related books
I was purposely vague with this goal, but my hope was that I would read a good mix of past medal and honor winners, as well as a couple that had the potential to win in 2017. I think I achieved my objective:

March 2016: Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (Newbery medal 1936)
May 2016: Rascal by Sterling North (Newbery honor 1964)
June 2016: Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus (Newbery honor 2011)
July 2016: Inside Out and Back Again by Thannha Lai (Newbery honor 2012)
August 2016: Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary (Newbery honor 1982)
September 2016: Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (Newbery honor 1953)
October 2016: The Wild Robot by Peter Brown (potential winner 2017)
December 2016: Pax by Sara Pennypacker (potential winner 2017)

9. Read a verse novel or poetry collection
I chose to read Inside Out and Back Again (July 2016), a verse memoir by Thannha Lai. You might notice that it's also on the list of Newbery books above, but I really read it for this goal and then just included it up there because it fit that category as well. I'm also in the middle of another verse novel right now, A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman, and I'm hoping to have it done before January 1st.

10. Reread Edenbrooke and The Happiness Project
This goal was good for my soul. It was good for me to revisit two books that fill me up as a reader. I know I wouldn't have made time for them without this goal, and that makes me sad to think about because they were two of my favorite books this year. I don't consider myself much of a rereader (there are just so many good books to get to), but this goal helped me see that rereading really does have a valuable place in my life, and so it's important for me to consciously select books to read again. I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin in February 2016 and Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson in December 2016.

How did you do with your goals (reading or otherwise) this year? Do you have grand plans for 2017, or do you think you'll scale back? Which book made the greatest impact on you during 2016?


  1. Love this!! Thanks for sharing. I love this site and come back often, it's a great resource. I too re read Edenbrooke and it was so fun! I rarely re read like I used to, and always feel like 'there is so much out there' but I didn't regret one minute of it. We love Peter Nimble this year- my girls added it to their prize books after listening to it, and we will have to look into some of these others you mentioned....

    1. Thanks, Danielle. And sorry, I obviously had forgotten about this comment when I recommended Peter Nimble to you! I'm glad you've already read and loved it!

  2. Yay, you made your goals! Congrats. A re-read of Sense and Sensibility is on the horizon for me for 2017. I think it's my favorite Austen novel.

    And I see you're listening to Everyone Brave is Forgiven. It's on my 2017 list too, but I just finished All the Light You Cannot See, and I might need time before reading another big war novel!

    Can't wait to see your 2017 goals. I'm still tinkering with mine.

    1. I read All the Light We Cannot See a little over a year ago, so I was ready for Everyone Brave is Forgiven, but I agree with you that they'd be difficult to read back to back.


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