Reading Goals

Last year I set myself the goal of reading 50 books in 2014. Unfortunately I didn’t quite get that far, but only made it to 48 books. I’m disappointed that I couldn’t quite squeeze in the extra 2, although some of the books I’ve counted (the Harry Potter companions) are so weeny and not really ‘books’ so they probably shouldn’t be included anyway. I’ve only kept them in the list because they make me feel a bit better about the numbers, but don’t affect my overall (still losing) outcome.

The books I read in 2014 are:
1. Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding
2. A History of Ancient Britain by Neil Oliver
3. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
4. A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulks
5. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
6. Someone Like You by Roald Dahl
7. Accordion Crimes by E. Annie Proulx
8. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
10. Is it Just Me? by Miranda Hart
11. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
12. Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
13. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
14. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
15. The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero
16. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
17. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
18. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
19. Sula by Toni Morrison
20. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
21. Symposium by Muriel Spark
22. Philomena by Martin Sixsmith
23. The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst
24. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
25. Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies
26. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
27. The Twits by Roald Dahl
28. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
29. Faulks on Fiction by Sebastian Faulks
30. The Girl at the Lion d’Or by Sebastian Faulks
31. Crippen by John Boyne
32. Hard Times by Charles Dickens
33. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
34. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
35. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
36. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
37. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
38. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
39. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
40. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
41. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
42. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
43. The Tales of Beadle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
44. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
45. Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling
46. The Trojan War by Barry Strauss
47. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
48. The Hours by Michael Cunningham

Now I look back at them, it seems like most of these books were on the shorter side, and there are obviously a lot of children’s books in there too. While the kiddy books definitely count (can anyone tell I’m working my way through a Roald Dahl boxset?), they’re obviously much easier to read which means my final total is looking less and less impressive. Also, of those 48 books, 19 of them were re-reads and only 3 were non-fiction (so much for reading at least one non-fiction book a month!). 13 were listed on the BBC Big Read’s 200 Best Loved Books list that I’m trying to work my way through though, and therefore count as part of My Culture Mission, so that’s something at least (not that I’ve got around to updating the list yet…)

This year I’m once again setting myself the target of reading 50 books (including more non-fiction), but specifically 50 books which I haven’t read before. Any rereads will have to count as extra (which means there had better be some extra numbers to spare, as I’m already part way through some rereads and want to get to ‘new’ reads in some series which means I’ll probably need to reread the rest). Really, I just want to make as much of a dent as possible in my unread pile (although mountain would be a more apt word), as I currently have around 280 fiction books and 80 non-fiction books lying neglected and unread on my shelves. It’s completely absurd, especially as I still have more books that I’m desperate to buy (and 3 in the post this very minute!) I’ll see how it goes, I originally didn’t think 50 was a particularly ambitious target, but then I still didn’t make it so I’m obviously a fool. I’m hoping to take part in a few readathons this year though, as I quite like an intense period of reading and I absolutely loved doing my Harry Potter marathon in November. I think I’ll probably focus the readathons around series of books as much as possible, so I can fully immerse myself in them properly, and hopefully that’ll make quite a dent in my unread pile.

I also want to try and cut down to reading one book at a time or, at the most, one fiction and one non-fiction at a time. At the moment I’m sort of reading (or at least still have bookmarks in) 7 books, which is getting a little out of hand.

To recap then, my reading goals for this year are:
1) Read at least 50 books that I’ve never read before
2) Read more non-fiction (an unspecified amount, just more than last year)
3) Cut down on how many books I’m reading at any given time
(4) Maybe try and update here more, but let’s not get too optimistic).

To see me through January, the books I’m currently reading and hoping to finish for the first time soon are:
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday
A Games of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
Helen of Troy by Bettany Hughes.

The books I’m already partway through rereading (therefore already damaging one resolution, but it doesn’t count so much because I started them last year) are:
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Witches by Roald Dahl

I also need to reread The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro in time for my wee book club meeting at the end of January.

On a side note, I realise that I’m yet to get around to reviewing the vast majority of the books I read last year. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll just skip the reviews completely, skip some and do full length reviews of the rest, or just do mini reviews of them all. I also won’t be doing a Roll Call of Honour this year, partly because I’ve been so lax reviewing things, but also partly because none of the fiction books I read for the first time last year particularly stood out for me, even though I enjoyed reading them.

Fingers crossed, this year WILL be a more successful reading year than the last! Happy reading x

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