A year in review: bookish reflections and 2018 reading goals.

As we sit in limbo between Christmas and New Year, I have decided to use this time to reflect on my year in books. According to goodreads, I have read 93 books and over 27000 pages. I feel like that is quite a lot considering I have had a very busy year.

At the beginning of this year I made some bookish goals I wanted to complete; now that the year draws to a close, I thought it is now time to see if I completed them.

My first goal was to read three Shakespeare plays. I am just putting it out there I didn’t even try to attempt this goal. One day I will return to Shakey’s words but it is not going to be any time in the near future.

My second goal was to read five new plays and I actually completed this goal! I read: Waiting for Godot, The Crucible, Death of a Salesman, and The Three Theban Plays. I completed this goal quite early on in the year and then didn’t read any plays after March which was quite bad. Hopefully I will get into the habit of reading plays more regularly.  Reading more plays also completed my goal of reading more ancient classics. Although I would’ve liked to have read more ancient literature, I still read more than what I had in 2016.

In my blog post I also said I would read a Dickens novel and read Les Miserables in 2017. When typing the post I knew I would not complete these goals and I was correct – I did not complete these goals. I am one step closer to reading these books though. I downloaded Oliver Twist on ebook and I found a copy of Les Mis in the charity shop so now I am more likely to read them. However, I can confirm 2018 will not be the year of Dickens and Hugo.

Probably the most important goal on my blog post was the ‘read 2/3 of the books I own but have not read’ task. I organised my goodreads and made a folder for all the books I own and have not read yet, I cleared my bookshelves and put my unread ones on one shelf, and I change the orders of my books on my shelves so they are always fresh and new. I have done both very well and quite badly with this task. I have read a lot of my owned books; however, I have managed to buy quite a few books in 2017. I have managed to read 95% of my new books (MA life means my new books pile is a bit larger than usual because I have not had time to read the books I got for my birthday but at least I don’t buy as many books now because I have no time to read for pleasure) and I have managed to tackle quite a lot of books that have been sat gathering dust on my shelf for the last couple of years. I want to continue this goal into the new year because I think I can accomplish it.

Upon reflection, I managed to meet a couple of my goals I made at the beginning of the year. I managed to achieve a lot of things such as reading lots of poetry and reading more non-fiction. I used my university library more for pleasure reads and I will continue to use libraries more in 2018.

Now that I have signed off the goals for 2017, it is time to look forward to 2018. Here are my reading resolutions:

1. Read my ‘tbr’ shelf.

I am carrying this goal into the new year. I really want to have a 0 ‘to be read’ shelf either in the year 2018 or 2019. Thankfully my unread books do fit on one shelf on my bookcase which makes the task less intimidating but I would really like to read everything on my bookcase.

2. Read some genre fiction.

I read a lot of classics and literary fiction. Until this year I thought I would not be a big fan of genre fiction but hearing some of my friends talk about sci-fi (*cough* Jess *cough*) and fantasy has made me want to explore the genres. I would really like to read one sci-fi novel, one fantasy, and one horror novel this year.

3. Tick off two books from my reading list in my journal.

Every year I like to write down a list of books I would like to read in the upcoming year. Last year I did not do this because I had a lot of reading goals and I really wanted to focus on reducing my to be read shelf. However, I have decided 2018 is the year I will tick off some books I have wanted to read for years.

Here’s the list of books I would like to get to this year:

  • Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
  • 2666 – Roberto Bolano
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
  • Labyrinths – Jorge Luis Borges
  • The Complete Cosmicomics – Italo Calvino
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • East of Eden – John Steinbeck
  • The Book of Disquiet – Fernando Pessoa

These books have managed to stay on my wishlist through all of my reading phases so 2018 is the year to start reading them.

4. Read more American Literature.

During my MA I have transitioned from reading English Literature to reading American Literature. I feel quite well-read in English Literature and have read a lot of texts spanning the centuries of British culture, thanks to my BA modules, but I feel like I have a gap in my knowledge when it comes to American literature and culture. I know a lot about certain time periods and have read a lot from certain literary groups, but I want to have a broader knowledge of American literature. As I am specialising in twentieth and twenty-first century American literature, I want to read some key texts so I can understand the references the authors I read make. I want to read at least one pre-1900 text, a Toni Morrison novel, and a Steinbeck novel. I need to make a list of work I would like to read. If any one has any suggestions, I would love to hear them!

Anyway, those are my goals for the new year. I think I can achieve these goals but I do think a couple of them will be carried into 2019.

In January I will post my top books of 2017. I have a list drafted but I am waiting because if I finish the book I am currently reading, it will make the list. I’m not sure if I will finish it before January 1st but fingers crossed!

If you have any reading goals planned for next year, I would love to hear them!

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3 thoughts on “A year in review: bookish reflections and 2018 reading goals.

    1. You will have to tell me if Nicholas Nickleby is good! I have only read Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol by Dickens but would like to read some more of his work. I read him years ago and wasn’t a fan but I think my opinion might change if I read one of his books now.

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      1. I grew up watching “A Christmas Carol”, which is part of why I love it. I love the classics, there is something about them that makes them classics and that is hard to say what that thing is

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