How Do You Plan Your Reading?

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Well we’re a week into the new year and I haven’t finished reading any of the books that I’ve already started. If I truly intend to read 50 books for the year, that equates to about a book a week, so I’m already behind!

View of my monthly and yearly goals, and my January books.

I thought I’d take some time to think about how to organize my reading beyond my Goodreads to-be-read list for the year. One feature that I would really like to see on Goodreads would be an easy way to sort books within a shelf into a particular (reading) order. Now I know you can sort them, but it’s not user friendly at all and I gave up on that some time ago.

I’m trying out a new App that I just found called Read More, which you can find here. It still isn’t quite what I want, but it let me import all of my Goodreads books and shelves with the premium version. I can sort books by to-be-read month and then I can track how many pages or minutes I read each day. I can set a goal for the year as with Goodreads.

It looks like you can highlight sections of a book you are reading, although I think you either have to type in your own notes/text or can possibly scan a page of the book since you don’t actually use the App to read the books.

Highlight screen.

We’ll see if this helps me stay on track to finish some books I started quite a while ago. You can also set a deadline for each book and the App will tell you how many pages you should read per day to meet that goal.

How do you stay focused to meet your reading goals? Do you have a favorite App or technique that you use? Tell me about it in the comments.

Reading Plans for 2021

I try to keep a list of books I want to read in the upcoming year on Goodreads. Inevitably, I go terribly off that initial plan, but here is what I at least see myself reading at this early point:

I set my 2021 goal at 50 books and there are already over 60 on this list. I imagine I’ll add more as my local book clubs make their selections and I find new releases that I can’t resist.

In the past, I’ve also set more detailed goals within that overall number, such as “read two non-fiction books” or “read two classics”. But most of the books on the list this time have just been rolled over from those I didn’t get to in 2020. Many are continuations of series that I have liked and keep trying to finish – Peter Brett’s Demon Cycle, The Earthsea books, etc.

Ultimately, I hop around a lot, grabbing whatever strikes my fancy that day. I also tend to read too many books at once which slows my pace and divides my focus. So maybe that’s something I should work on going forward – finish one book before I start the next? It’s so hard though when they’re all whispering READ ME urgently from their place on my shelves or the Kindle. I wish that Goodreads had a non-laborious way to sort the books on a shelf into a specific order, but I haven’t found that yet.

How do you decide what to read next? Are there any books that you are particularly looking forward to reading this year? Let me know in the comments!

How I Organize My Books to Read

We are well into 2019 and as the end of January approaches, hopefully you have started turning resolutions into habits. I’ve been blogging here consistently for the past few months, but I haven’t quite finished reading a book to review for this week, so I wanted to write a bit about how I pick which books to read for the year ahead.

Last year I realized that I am easily distracted by a new author, new release, or new series. I often enjoy the first book in a series, but then never go back to finish the rest.

One example of a shiny new series that I plan to read this year.

In an attempt to get to some of those books that I keep telling myself I want to read, I built a Google doc To-Be-Read (TBR) list. At the same time, I decided to alternate between a physical book and an e-book, with an audiobook going at the same time (a long-standing habit).

At first this was straight-forward, but then 2019 began and I decided join the Goodreads Reading Challenge where each member picks a number goal for books read for the year. I had failed at 50 books in the past. How many books did I truly think I could read?

I thought this through and settled on 36 for the year – one book every two weeks and an additional audiobook every month. That gives me three books a month x 12 months = 36 books! Simple, right?

Next I decided to lay out which books those would be. I used Goodreads and created a new shelf for the purpose. From there, it was easy to place my chosen books on the shelf. I couldn’t help myself and a few new series snuck in there. But for the most part, this plan would have me finishing several series this year, as well as keeping up on some of my favorite authors’ new releases.

I discovered that Goodreads also gives me the option to view my shelf by showing just the book covers. This made a nice graphic and let me see my goals all in one place.

My initial TBR shelf for 2019, using Goodreads.

After a few days, I realized that my list lacked any classics and was light on non-fiction, both genres that I do try to read. It was also heavily slanted toward fantasy, but I do enjoy science fiction also – anything from space opera to hard SF. I have added to this list since its creation and it’s at 45 books now.

Some of the books I’ve chosen will be quick reads, but I expect those to be balanced out by longer ones (notably GRRM’s Fire and Blood and Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon).

I already own several of these books, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to stick to my alternating physical book and e-book regimen. Only two of the authors on this list (and three of the books) are ones where I typically read the audiobook versions for their books. I may have to adjust my picks because I’m not going to get the audiobook version for any of these if I already own it in another format.

By doing book reviews, I’ll sometimes get specific requests to review a book, and my list also takes that into account. I may also pick up books unexpectedly that will need to be added.

Who knows? Maybe I will hit 50 books for the year! What are your reading goals? Do you use Goodreads? Let me know in the comments section.

See my book reviews here.

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