I, like many people, set myself some reading goals at the beginning of 2021. For me it was actually the first time I had done so. I’m very much a mood reader and in previous years had just let the reading mood take me wherever it so wished. Something I had noticed the last couple of years, however, was that I just was a little bit dissatisfied with my reading. It wasn’t bringing me the same joy and satisfaction that I longed for. So, in an attempt to change that, I decided to set some reading goals so I would pick out things outside of my normal comfort zone.
What better time to check in on those goals than here, mid way through the year? Let’s take a look back at the goals I set for myself back in January and see if I’m actually accomplishing them and if they are helping.
Read More Outside of my Typical Genres
Something I’ve done since I really dug into book blogging a few years ago was to stick mainly to one genre which has been YA fantasy. I thought that perhaps if I jumped back into those genres that I used to enjoy that I would fall back in love with the things I read. Let’s see how I’m doing reading outside of YA fantasy so far this year.
I had set myself a goal to read more:
- historical fiction
- adult SFF
- manga/graphic novels
I am happy to report that 61% of the books I’ve read have been in the adult/new adult categories! In past years my reading has been around 75% YA so seeing the scales tipping in the other direction at least lets me know that I’m accomplishing my goal. Has it been successful as far as reading enjoyment? Let’s wait and see. The other graph above shows the main genres I read most from. The main one is still fantasy, no surprise there, but I feel like the other 36% is a good mix of things outside of fantasy. I’m not too bothered about reading mostly fantasy, it has always been a favorite, but it is nice seeing that mix of other genres jumping in to claim a space.
So, have I been successful reading outside of my typical genres? I would broadly say yes. Something I have discovered on this journey is that I greatly dislike graphic novels, and I have tried a few, so at least that is something I can confidently tick off my list.
Don’t Give in to the Hype
If there is one thing I know about myself it is that I give into the hype train for book promotion without a second thought. The problem with that is that I end up most often disappointed.
Looking through the 60 books I had currently read so far this year I feel like I am…kind of accomplishing this. There are a few highly hyped books I’ve read against my better judgement which include:
- The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow
- Fable by Adrienne Young
- Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles
- The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
All four of these I ended up reading because they were so talked about and loved within the reading community and I ended up not enjoying any of them. The caveat to that is that upon reading the descriptions for these books I wasn’t sold on them but ended up reading them anyway. Some hyped books the descriptions sound great and I have no problem giving into that but these were on the other end of the spectrum. But, that is only 4/60 books which is a far better ratio that previous years which has been closer to 25% I think that deserves a little pat on the back.
Keep Track of Reading Stats
Ya’ll, I did not think I would enjoy looking at my reading stats but, let me tell you, I sure do! I’ve never really tracked my reading outside of what Goodreads has to offer but I decided to give it a shot this year and see what happens. I LOVE looking at those graphs! Gaze upon a few of them with me…
Look at those shiny and colorful graphs. So pretty. I love seeing where the books I read come from, as well! So many of what I’ve read have been books I own but I’ve used my kindle unlimited membership pretty heavily this year as well. Honestly, I think that has largely contributed to reading outside of my YA fantasy comfort zone. Why? I can try a book with no consequences. If I download one and don’t like it, that’s fine, I feel no obligation to read it because I don’t own it. It has also helped greatly this year because the libraries, at least in my area, have remained closed up until this past month so snagging a book from the library hasn’t been easy.
Overall, I think I have done fairly well at keeping up with my reading goals for the year. I still want to try to read a little more outside of the fantasy genre but otherwise going strong.
Let’s look at the reason I set goals this year. I did so because I wasn’t getting as much joy out of what I read as I used to. For the past few years my yearly average rating has run around the 3.5-3.75 range which is okay but it does mean I’ve read a lot of books I’ve not been impressed by. So far this year my average rating is…3.5. If we look at it from that standpoint perhaps my little experiment isn’t going so well. Either way, I am going to try to keep it up until at least the end of the year and see what my heart tells me then. I do want to try harder to read more outside of the fantasy genre just to give it a go. I have a nice horror/thriller TBR coming up in October so I’m sure the stats will skew a little bit then.
I hope you all are happy and heathy. Happy reading!