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!

Reading Summary 2020

With all of the craziness of this year, I haven’t had time to keep up with my book reviews. However, I did want to at least post a year-end summary because I did get a lot of reading done – not as much as I would have liked, but still more than I have done in other years.

Here is my summary graphic taken from Goodreads:

That’s a total of 39 books, which is a bit short of my goal of 50, and down a little from 43 in 2019. Breaking the books down into genre and categories, here are some statistics (some overlap):

  • Non-fiction = 6
  • Classics = 1
  • Science fiction = 19
  • Fantasy = 13
  • Graphic novels = 1
  • Mainstream = 1
  • Romance = 3
  • Novellas = 2

Favorite books of 2020 (links help support this blog):

Least favorite books of 2020:

  • The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
  • The Last Human by Zack Jordan
  • Master of Sorrows by Justin Call
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Coming soon – books I’m hoping to read in 2021!

Goals – Do You Set Them?

It’s a new year, and also a time at which many of us think about goals and accomplishments. This may be retrospective – thinking about your activities over the past year. Or if you look forward, then it’s more about making new goals for the future. It can also be both.

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For myself, I had several different goals that I had set for 2012. I’m not sure that I met any of them. BUT – I worked at these goals. For one example, I decided that I would participate in a 2012 reading challenge over at Goodreads. I set a goal of 50 books. I think I read 28. I blame George R.R. Martin and his long, long books for slowing me down on this one. But you know what? I still read a lot of books. More than I probably did for 2011. I’m trying it again in 2013 and I have a better idea of what it will take to read all 5o.

One of the larger goals that I had set was to write the first draft of a historical fantasy novel. I did manage to start much of the research, outline characters and some of the plot, and write a few chapters. I took a break from it, but instead of halting all my writing, I went back to short stories. I wrote at least eight of those through the year. So while I finished other tasks that weren’t my original goals, I still feel like I’m making progress on my writing.

I also try to constantly fling rejected stories back out to other potential markets. I had done pretty well with this in 2011, but mid-2012 I slacked off. My rejected stories would linger in my files for weeks before I would research the markets and send them off again. I regained my focus around August, and now I have two stories that have been accepted for publication and will be out in 2013.

So, as a writer, do you set goals for the upcoming year, next month, daily? Do you go back and assess how you did? What are your plans for 2013?

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