Pardon me while I take a breath here to call myself out. Please feel free to roll your eyes at me at any point, I probably deserve it. For years I would scoff at “Reading Goals” lists. I could understand that they likely worked for many people but decided that they weren’t for me. I was content shoving a rating onto whatever book I happened to pick up, often write a review, and be on my merry way and not think beyond that.
Well, I’ve changed my mind. The last year or two I’ve overall been very dissatisfied with what I’ve read and after some thought…I made a list. It started off as a errant thought about how to better enjoy my reading and progressed to this, my Reading Goals for 2021.
Read more outside of my typical genres
This one, I think, should have been pretty obvious to me for years. But, being the thick headed human being I sometimes am, it was not. Prior to book blogging and being a part of the online bookish community I would pick up a book no matter the genre as long as it sounded interesting. The last few years, however, I’ve stuck mainly with YA fantasy. I can’t say that there was a solid reason to that as it wasn’t a conscious decision but it is still what happened. And, well, I feel pretty burnt out on YA fantasy at the moment. It just isn’t hitting me the way it once did.
So, this year, I want to read more outside of my typical bookish choice of YA fantasy titles. In 2021 I hope to include:
- historical fiction
- adult SFF
- manga/graphic novels
Don’t give in to the hype
I am a self professed giver-inner of the hype. If a book is getting a lot of buzz in the community I know I’ll end up reading it to see what all the fuss is about. Unfortunately, I often find that what the book is hyped for really isn’t for me so I end up giving what may be a great book for many people a poor review because I read a title that isn’t targeted to my reading tastes. Thats on me. So, this year I am going to be more discerning before choosing to pick up a book that is getting a lot of buzz. I will read the descriptions and early reviews to decide whether I would likely enjoy it instead of just jumping on the hype train.
Books I’ve hype read that I didn’t enjoy
- Where Dreams Descend by Janelle Angeles
- Wilder Girls by Rory Power
- Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
- There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool
Books I’ve hype read that I did enjoy
- We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
- Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
- City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Interestingly, the books that I hype read that I DID enjoy aren’t in the YA fantasy genre. We have adult and new adult fantasy and a contemporary romance. I know that We Hunt the Flame is technically billed as a YA fantasy but it isn’t, I would firmly place that one into new adult.
Keep track of reading stats
This one is probably the one I actually feel a smidge of shame about. For years I’ve seen people meticulously keeping track of reading stats and scoffed. I’m just being honest with you, I’m not proud of it. But, I’ve found myself really enjoying watching reading stats videos on book tube and thought to myself, “Hey self, you can do that, too.” So, this year, I’m going to be keeping better track of my reading stats and so far I’ve really enjoyed it. I know how to admit when I am wrong and, let me tell you, with this I was WRONG. Stats are actually kind of fun.
To do my tracking this year I am using multiple formats because I am nothing if not chaotic.
- I have my personal reading calendar which I write down when and how I’ve purchased or preordered books, upcoming releases, as well as blog and booktube posts.
- Next is, predictably, Goodreads where I am trying to tag the books on my shelves more appropriately
- This year I am also trying StoryGraph in conjunction with Goodreads. So far I like their setup better but they don’t have all of the different editions of published books which has been vexing. However, they do allow you to opening state trigger warning for books and that is a feature I appreciate
- Lastly, I am using a reading spreadsheet which was originally designed by HardbackHoarder. I think she did a fantastic job designing her tracker and while there are aspects of it I won’t be using the graphs give me life. It includes things such as genres read, how the book was read, mood tracker, and a wealth of other information.
I just want to find more joy in reading this year. I want to branch out, try new things, and be able to look back on those new things at the end of the year and see if I enjoyed them overall.
Are you making any changes to your reading habits this year? I’d love to hear about them!